Crested Butte Community Compass

HONOR AWARD: Community Engagement

By: Mel Yemma, Long-Range Planner, Town of Crested Butte

The Community Compass is the Town of Crested Butte’s comprehensive long-range plan that charts the course for the future of Crested Butte. Through a year-long community engagement and discovery process, the Town and community of Crested Butte gained invaluable knowledge about what Crested Butte’s community collectively values most, and why. The intent of the Compass is to weave together the community’s values into a decision-making framework and strategic action plan that together inform community discussions and guide Town Council decisions and investments in the future.

To ensure the Compass is actively used, the Town engaged in a far-reaching and dynamic community outreach effort to create a document that the Town Council can stand by. The objective of the Compass’s engagement effort was to ensure that every community member that cares about planning for the Town’s future can see themselves represented in this document.

To achieve community buy-in, the Town led a three-phased process, including:

  • Listening and Learning: The Compass process started broadly with an intentional engagement effort to listen and learn from the community to better understand the Town’s identity, opportunities, challenges, and emerging core values, as outlined in thePhase One Summary.
  • Working with Our Partners: The second phase focused on working with the Town’s partners to discuss aspirations for the future, as well as find common ground and work through tension points, as documented in the Phase Two Summary.
  • Developing the Plan: During the final phase, the Town worked with an advisory committee to distill the process into a draft plan. The draft was shared with the community and our partners for a 30-day public feedback period to help refine the document. During this time, the Town Council also began to test and refine the draft Compass framework through different decisions they were facing.

The draft Compass is now heading towards adoption, and the Town Council can be confident by the multi-faceted and far-reaching community engagement process that the plan truly reflects the community of Crested Butte. Check out the draft plan at


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