The next step
So, what about that capital improvements plan?
In ruling that a voter initiative to limit the number of houses built annually in Douglas County is not a legal method for managing growth, District Judge Dave Gamble affirmed what opponents of the initiative said all along: The county can limit growth, but it has to use the process outlined in the 1996 master plan.
One part of that process is a capital improvements plan, which would outline the number and capacity of roads, sewer plants, the amount of water and other resources needed to support growth as it occurs. Get that in place, proponents have urged, and the county will have a basis for implementing an annual growth limit, if one is justified.
What county leaders must do now is define the criteria for developing the capital improvements plan. Otherwise, every factor used to develop a plan will be challenged and attacked by factions seeking a result that matches their vision of Douglas County’s future.
The master plan wasn’t developed overnight, and a capital improvements plan won’t be either. Like the master plan, it also won’t be all things to all people. But 5,000 people have said they want growth management addressed.
To do that, Douglas County needs a commitment of time and resources and, ultimately, a populace that is willing to let planning policies D not the courts D handle growth management in Douglas County.