A construction crew adds decorative brick work to a home being built in the Bent Grass development in unincorporated Falcon, northeast of Colorado Springs, in this file photo from January. (Rich Laden/The Gazette)

The El Paso County Planning Commission will host two special meetings next month, during which they are expected to review and adopt the county’s newest master plan that will guide local development for the next 20 to 30 years.

The hearings begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, when county staff and representatives from design firm Houseal-Lavigne Associates will present the most recent draft of the new El Paso County Master Plan, which has been more than two years in the making. Residents can comment on the new plan during the hearings, county officials said.

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A second hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 26, when planning commissioners will hear additional comments and review amendments to the draft plan that arise from the hearings. If planners wish to revise the draft, they will process those changes during the meeting before casting their votes to adopt the new master plan.

Residents can watch the live hearings remotely or in person with limited seating, officials said.

The hearings will be streamed on the county website at elpasoco.com/news-information-channel or online at bit.ly/3e14zXW. Comcast customers can watch the broadcasted meeting on Channel 59, while CenturyLink customers can tune into Channels 89 or 1089.

Residents can also attend the meetings in person at Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave. in Colorado Springs, on a first come, first seated basis. In-person attendees must wear a facemask and must observe physical distancing, county officials said.

People who want to address the planning commission in person or remotely must register in advance by email to TraceyGarcia@elpasoco.com, or contact her at (719) 520-7952. Commenters must include their name, email address and the best telephone number where they can be reached.

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Those who want to provide testimony on an item being heard by the Planning Commission should also include documents they want to become part of the official records.

New exhibits will not be permitted via email from remote participants the day of the hearings. All exhibits must be emailed to Garcia no later than one day prior to each of the May 5 and May 26 hearings. In-person attendees who present exhibits the day of the hearing must provide them to Garcia before leaving to be considered part of the permanent record.

Speakers will be limited to three minutes each, officials said.

Meeting agendas and additional participation rules and guidelines are available on the El Paso County website, agendasuite.org/iip/elpaso/meeting/details/829.

Residents can view the draft county master plan online at elpaso-hlplanning.hub.arcgis.com.

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Breeanna Jent covers El Paso County government. She previously worked as the editorial assistant for the Pikes Peak Newspapers and joined their sister paper, The Gazette, in 2020.

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