First Master Plan Conserving Open Space Approved

City Council recently approved an ordinance adopting the Open Space Master Plan amending the City's Comprehensive Plan. This is the first time the City has committed to preserve natural open space by developing a long-term plan.

As part of the City Council Meeting of March 13, an ordinance incorporating the Open Space Master Plan into the City's Comprehensive Plan was approved. The direction marks the first time the City has committed to preserve natural open space by developing a long-term plan that seeks to acquire land. The master plan for open space, Towards a Bright Future: Mountains to River-A Green Infrastructure Plan for El Paso is a separate initiative that will compliment the Parks & Recreation Master Plan as an added measure to enhance community livability by preserving open space. The City contracted Halff Associates to develop the plan as they recently had delivered the master plan for the Parks & Recreation Department allowing for solidarity in the development of this critical planning process.

Planning efforts throughout the community commenced in the summer of 2006 to provide ample opportunity for the public to participate in the development stages of the plan. The initiative began with the first meeting of the Open Space Advisory Group (OSAG), a group comprised of 40+ El Pasoans from different sectors (residents, business, community) on June 28, 2006. The meeting launched a series of community meetings held in each planning area around the city. After the public and OSAG meetings were completed, Halff Associates took the information gathered and consulted with the advisory group to generate a master plan that sought to identify an inventory of open space important for preservation and implementation strategies that included potential funding opportunities.

On December 21, 2006 the City Plan Commission voted unanimously to approve the draft that would subsequently have the final approval of the City Council to materialize. Preliminary steps for implementation are currently underway providing an ideal opportunity to make connections with initiatives such as the proposal to create a Stormwater Utility District and the proposed changes to the Subdivision Ordinance addressing the potential factors impacting the Plan's implementation.

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The text of the Plan can be found on the City web page by visiting the following location:
http://www.elpasotexas.gov/green_infrastructure/