The Adams County Board of Commissioners (BoCC) has ratified Advancing Adams – the newest suite of Comprehensive, Transportation, and Parks, Open Space & Trails master plans that will guide growth and development in the county for the next 20 years. Advancing Adams also seeks to advance the health, safety, and welfare of the residents and property owners of Adams County.
Leadership recognizes we are at a turning point in Adams County, as well as across Colorado. Advancing Adams charts a new path to sustainable growth with a focus on equity and livability. “It is not just growth itself that needs to be healthy, but it's also the health of the people in this county that must be a priority,” said BoCC Chair Lynn Baca.
Adams County is set to become the third most populous county in the state by 2040 – and because the economy has significantly shifted since 2012, housing affordability has moved to the forefront of this plan. Advancing Adams updates the county’s current land use plan and development policies while incorporating other planning efforts such as open space, greenways, affordable housing, and transit/transportation.
“With this ratification by the Board, we can better integrate our future planning efforts and use infrastructure investments to connect and re-connect diverse communities across the county in historic ways,” said Director of Community & Economic Development Jenni Hall. “There is also an overarching theme of partnership with other organizations and local jurisdictions to leverage these investments wisely.”
The Advancing Adams plans identify areas for infill opportunities, including the development of parks, open space properties, and trails, in areas that will transition between industrial and residential land uses in the future and in areas where higher density residential uses will be supported.
“Adams County is turning underutilized lands into public assets. It’s also one of our responsibilities to protect the environment and to strengthen it for the future,” said Baca.
The 20-Minute community model addressed in this plan also seeks to cluster services and residential and employment opportunities within a 20-minute walk, bike, or drive. 288 miles of bicycle lanes are planned to be invested in Adams County. Additionally, 6,500 acres of collective publicly accessible open spaces, parks, and greenways plan to be added to maintain current levels of provisions per person.
Adams County has the second highest growth rate in the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) region, making community amenities a primary focus of Advancing Adams. As of 2021, Adams County now owns and manages 2,166 acres of parks and open space, a 39% increase since 1998, and 40.75 miles of trails, a 60% increase since 1998.
Through a robust engagement process, Advancing Adams included an unprecedented level of community participation with thousands of completed surveys and responses. The process was also informed by many stakeholder meetings and focus groups, centered around a diverse 50-person community advisory committee. 85% of community survey respondents feel the loss of agricultural land is a significant issue and 93% believe housing affordability is a significant issue.
“Adams County is growing, and it’s growing fast,” said Hall. “It’s critical we have policies in place to make sure we are addressing and accommodating that growth responsibly. Advancing Adams embraces the many different community efforts and visions that will help guide our growth and development over the next 20 years.”
Now that the plan has been adopted and ratified, staff will collaborate with community stakeholders to develop tools and strategies to implement the plan’s policies. The plan will be reviewed and updated as Adams County continues to grow and change.