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2019 WYOPASS AWARDS
The Wyoming Planning Association is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 WYOPASS Awards, which were presented at the Fall Conference held in Gillette, Wyoming, October 9-11th.
The WYOPASS 2019 New Planner of the Year went to Sarah Hutchins of Carbon County. Sarah has been the County Planner/GIS Specialist for just over two years. During that time, she has shown a “can do” attitude in that she is willing to take on new projects and responsibilities, is a team player, and takes the initiative to accomplish whatever task or project is at hand.
Her nomination stated, “In addition to her Planning Department responsibilities, Sarah has taken the initiative to reach out to assist other departments (Assessor, Sheriff\Dispatch E-911 and Information Technology) to improve her understanding of broader County services and functions, which has been instrumental in improving communication between departments. Sarah stepped up to assist the County Assessor when they were shorthanded while also working to improve the County mapping system and create the County Web Map. In addition, Sarah is responsible for the Rural Addressing program and works cooperatively with County dispatch personnel to upgrade the mapping and response system. Sarah supports the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and provides much needed technical and planning expertise which has helped move the LEPC forward with their planning efforts.”
Sarah also recently completed the Carbon County Leadership Program, sponsored by the Carbon County Economic Development Corporation. She is poised to do great things in Carbon County! Congratulations Sarah!
The WYOPASS 2019 Planner of the Year went to Joy Hill of Park County. This award recognizes Joy’s dedication to planning in Wyoming, including her experience and unique ideas in blending the planning and GIS professions to help improve our state’s communities. Joy’s nomination stated, “She understands her role in the planning process very clearly and works to use her GIS experience to improve the process for her community. She knows her responsibility is to provide the opportunity for open and comprehensive dialogue allowing for public participation and enabling the County Planning Commission and elected officials to make good, sound and well-informed decisions.” Congratulations Joy!
The WYOPASS 2019 Planning Commissioner of the Year went to two Campbell County Planning Commissioners, Bob Jordan and Todd Hildebrand. Bob and Todd were nominated by the County Public Works Department who state, “Todd has served on the Campbell County Planning Commission since 2017, and in those few years has shown himself to be a leader on the Commission. He has served as Chair for the past two years. In his role as Chair, Todd is knowledgeable and fair. He leads the meetings with order, decorum and respects the function of the Planning Commission and staff and is a firm defender of planning principles and processes.”
While Bob is a newer member of the Campbell County Planning Commission, his nomination notes, “Bob has taken his position on the Planning Commission to a higher standard. In fact, we believe he is the first Planning Commissioner to serve on
the Commission who read a subdivision soils report in its entirety! Bob views the properties and applications on an individual basis without creating conflicts or having a personal agenda. He is always consistent, credible, reliable and puts the good of the public before any other issue.” A big thank you to both for their public service!
The WYOPASS 2019 Project of the Year went to The City of Laramie for their North 4th Street Redevelopment Project. Over the last year, two interns from the University of Colorado Master of Urban and Regional Planning Program, with guidance from City Staff, have evaluated the future redevelopment potential of a 4-acre City of Laramie Public Works Facility located on 4th Street, within the City of Laramie. With the pending relocation of the Public Works offices and operations from the current location to a new campus north of town, future redevelopment options needed to be ready for the possibility of redevelopment and maximize the future potential of this City owned property.
The entire project was completed with a minimal budgetary cost, mainly involving staff time and a fully digital plan product. The interns also developed an innovative charrette process that was conducted with staff, Planning Commission and City Council during public work sessions. Renderings were developed for the preferred alternative, thereby allowing city officials, citizens and staff to visualize the potential redevelopment alternative and give direction to any future developers who may select this site for development.
Through the hard work, innovation and creativity of the two interns, new approaches were developed which have provided the City of Laramie a redevelopment plan, as well as informational poster boards that can be used by the City to aid in future redevelopment of the property and allow the City to take the necessary next steps to make the plan a reality. Congratulations!
2019 WYOPASS Conference Summary
WYOPASS held their annual Fall Conference October 9-11th in Gillette, WY. It was the second year of hosting the conference jointly with WYGEO, the state organization of GIS Professionals. Over 60 attendees spent the 3-day conference learning how GIS and planning can work together to create better communities. There were many great presentations on best-practices, planning challenges in Wyoming and interactive dialogue on issues the state faces in the coming years in terms of natural resource management.
Legislative issues have been a highlighted topic in many
exception. We were pleased to welcome Jeremiah Reiman of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association and Dave Fraser from the Wyoming Association of Municipalities. They joined a panel discussion with Sweetwater County Civil Attorney Jon Deleon and Planner Eric Bingham to discuss upcoming planning related legislation. The Panel also gave an update on where topics left off at the end of the last legislative session have gone with interim committees. WYOPASS will be sure to keep an
Natural Resource management was also a focus at this year’s conference. Many planners in the state are working on individual county Natural Resource Management Plans, as money has been allocated by the State to assist counties in development of their plans. GIS also plays a role in this, as natural resource database management, mapping and other technologies can aide counties in creating better plans.
Plenary speaker, Campbell County Commissioner Mark A. Christensen gave an excellent presentation about planning in Wyoming and the challenges he has faced as a policy maker. With increasing pushback from the public across the State and the new realm of social media, the struggle for public officials to combat and address false information has become a key issue. Mark discussed how municipalities and counties in Wyoming must work together to find the balance between private property rights and property values while simultaneously building an ecosystem that supports new businesses and economic diversification. Mark gave examples of how Gillette and Campbell County have addressed some of these issues, from public listening sessions to utilizing innovative zoning applications and streamlined permitting processes and regulations.
WYOPASS also presented their 2019 state planning awards at the conference. Planner of the Year went to Joy Hill of Park County. New Planner of the Year went to Sarah Hutchins of Carbon County. Planning Commissioner of the Year was awarded to two Planning Commissioners, Bob Jordan and Todd Hildebrand of the Campbell County Planning Commission. Finally, the City of Laramie’s North 4th Street Redevelopment Project was awarded the 2019 Wyoming Planning Project of the Year.
Overall, this year’s WYOPASS conference was full of learning and networking with fellow planners from around the state. We look forward to our Spring conference in Riverton, with dates to be announced soon!
Pictures (top to bottom):
Conference attendees enjoy the opening reception at The Railyard in historic Downtown Gillette.
WYOPASS President Sid Fox welcomes attendees at the opening session.
Campbell County Commissioner Mark A. Christensen gives the awards dinner plenary speech.
WYOPASS Treasurer Megan Nelms with two up-and-coming planners and conference helpers.
Check out this great feature on our very own Wyoming Featured Planner - Stephanie Lowe!
(Friends Catching Up at the Opening Reception of the 2019 Western Planner Conference)