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Thu, Dec. 05

Final public meetings on Regional Transportation Plan scheduled

PRESCOTT - The population projections keep falling in the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization's (CYMPO) efforts to plan for transportation needs over the next two decades.

When CYMPO last did a long-range plan for the region in 2006, local officials were estimating that population in the tri-city area would stand at about 430,000 by 2030 (up from 117,671 in 2006).

By the time CYMPO kicked off its updated regional plan this past March, the projected population for the region had shrunk to 232,703.

Now, after several months of work on the new plan, CYMPO Administrator Chris Bridges said the projection is down again - to about 220,000.

"Based on the comments (from the late-March public meeting), we've lowered the population a little more," Bridges said Tuesday.

Next week, the public will have a final opportunity to comment on the plan. CYMPO will conduct two public meetings on Monday, May 21. The meetings will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., and from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. - both in the Board of Supervisors room at the Yavapai County Administration Building, 1015 Fair St., Prescott.

When CYMPO conducted the first round of public meetings in Prescott Valley on March 28, about 45 people turned out, and several pointed out the disparity in the population projections for the various CYMPO-region communities.

Chino Valley, for instance, had projected 6.9-percent growth, while other communities had estimated annual growth in the 1.6 to 3.3 percent range.

In 2010, Chino Valley's population stood at 10,817, and its original 2030 number was projected at 25,743. Under the updated draft, Chino Valley's 2030 population now is projected at 17,322. Bridges said adjustments also occurred in portions of unincorporated Yavapai County.

Because most area governments currently are working on updated general plans, the CYMPO Executive Board decided this past year to delay a full Regional Transportation Plan until updated land-use information is available from the individual communities.

The 2012 plan is a scaled back version, which focuses mostly on updating its population numbers.

Along with the population changes, Bridges said the draft plan also is recommending the completion of the widening of Highway 89 between Prescott and Chino Valley. The widening was the only one of several major projects programmed in the 2006 plan not to be completed over the past five or six years.

Future major road projects, such as the Chino Valley extension and the Fain Road-to-Highway 169 extension, will await evaluation in the full Regional Transportation Plan, Bridges said.

"We need to look at the land use more," he said, noting that a number of planned subdivisions in the area have yet to begin development. "We really need to re-evaluate - are those (subdivisions) going to move forward, and what's the timeframe?"

The full Regional Transportation Plan likely will get under way in 2014, Bridges said.

He expects the scaled-back 2012 plan to be complete by June. The consultant, Jacobs Engineering, will include comments from the May 21 meeting in the completed document.

CYMPO is a regional organization that focuses regional transportation planning. Its participants include Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, Dewey-Humboldt, and unincorporated Yavapai County.

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