Center waiting on report from MASS

CENTER — Following a two-day study session on Oct. 18 and 19, the next step for Center town officials to advance the North 90 Project hinges on a report due soon from the MASS Design Group (Model of Architecture Serving Society).

During their stay for the better part of a week, MASS staff toured sites in town, met with Center residents, and gathered input.

According to Town Manager Brian Lujan, “We expect the report to show the most effective way to put out the plan and develop the land.”

In the meantime, Lujan said, “We need to put out calls for a planning commission that represents the community, not just a select few. We’re talking about three or four kids, elderly people, people who live on Highway 112, people who live up against the North 90… the whole gamut. This will affect people as a whole, so you want different ideas and viewpoints.”

In addition to seeking diversity, Lujan said, “We’re coming up with an application process and the best way of establishing a planning commission.”

After two days of meetings on the heels of years of preparation, Lujan said, “the biggest takeaway for me was knowing that there is a housing need, first and foremost. This is data built on data. We had a housing needs assessment done by the San Luis Valley Housing Coalition.”

Lujan added how town officials agreed to pay extra for intensive housing needs research for the Center community.

Assessing the potential of the North 90 acreage, Lujan said, “This is the bloodline to preserving the town of Center. We need housing, and we need attainable houses that people can buy.”

Lujan echoed resident sentiment from the MASS meeting on Oct. 18, a hope for workforce housing and multi-family units as well as single-family homes.

The MASS report will likely include multiple options for designs that accommodate the diversity throughout Center and address business and residential needs.