Council Work Session Covers City’s First Steps to a New Comprehensive Plan


Anne-Marie Crampton, City of Lamar Community Development Director, addressed the Lamar City Council in a work session this past Monday, October 9th accompanied by Josh Olhava, project lead from Ayers Associates, regarding the creation of a new comprehensive development plan for the city.

A number of outreach discussions have been held in Lamar, seeking resident input on what they feel are the communities needs and strengths to move forward with a comprehensive plan, replacing the original report from 2004.  Priorities listed in the former plan, coupled with the current vision, will be an integral part of the report, mandated to be completed by the third quarter of 2024.  Some facets of the 2024 profile will include a transportation plan, as CDOT is conducting a freight study on rural highways, a Three-Mile Plan regarding the interface area between the county and the city, an overview of local housing and an Intergovernmental Agreement to provide future coordination mileposts with the county for areas immediately surrounding the community.  Olhava said the plan is considered a ‘living document’ which can be altered to reflect the changing needs of a community over a ten-year span as well as a guide to provide updates to regulations for municipalities.

The Lamar Redevelopment Authority approved an agreement between the board and the Historic Cow Palace Inn agreement.  The current owners as of two years ago, are asking for assistance with sales tax abatement to allow them to follow through and complete renovations since the new ownership.  In 2019, the board approved a request from the former owner, Palace Holdings, for help removing old asphalt and repaving the hotel’s parking lot, estimated at $55,000.  The current owners, Palace Innkeepers, Ltd, have since opened with Inn with 56 remodeled rooms from a total of 98, the Empire Room has been refurbished and the 1301 Tavern has been open for business for the past two months with plans for increasing the days of service through the week.

Under the agreement the city will provide the Cow Palace Inn with 50% of a sales tax remittance for the first year of the incentive, ending December 31, 2024 and for a total of five years, terminating on December 31, 2028. A similar agreement for the restaurant operation, Tavern 1301, was also approved.

Ezra Gutierrez, one of the new owners of the Cow Palace, said he hopes to have a general grand opening for the facilities before the end of the year.  Some code enforcement changes for the motel’s rooms have added to the timeline as well as construction costs and the long-awaited elevator is still on hold until all the equipment has been delivered.  “At present, we have 18 full-time employees in the Tavern and expect to have a total of around 33 once we’re at full staff with all the rooms in the motel opened for use.  We may have some additions to staff when that occurs,” he explained.  A lunch menu has been included now, along with the dinner menu, but breakfast for the public is not a consideration due to staffing limitations and the need to have the restaurant prepare for lunch and dinners.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: Chamber of CommerceCity of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyFeatured


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