The Cortez Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed a near-finalized version of the updated land use code Tuesday night.
Commissioners didn’t have many further edits and appeared to be in favor of moving forward with the update.
“I think you’ve done a really good job, and I’m proud to be associated with this,” Commissioner Lance McDaniel told City Planner Tracie Hughes.
The nearly 500-page document establishes standards for city planning, in terms of regulating landscaping, building aesthetics, zoning and other aspects.
Staff hope to implement the code around March 1, Hughes wrote in her staff report.
Planning and Zoning previously discussed the update at a joint workshop with the City Council, at which time officials honed in on materials used for building exteriors, plant landscaping requirements and zoning districts.
This week, Hughes presented her most recent draft, highlighting some of the significant edits.
“Many are just typographical and clarification, but a few were to address a requirement or provisions that staff felt should be changed,” Hughes wrote in the staff report. “Generally, none of the edits are significant changes overall and have not reduced required design standards or landscaping requirements below what was discussed at the Planning Commission and Cortez City Council joint work session.”
Parking lot setbacks were adjusted to 5 feet across the board, both in the front and along the street side of lots.
Additional standards were set for parking lot island landscaping. Islands would now be required to be a minimum area of 162 square feet and a minimum width of 4.5 feet. An island would need to have an ornamental tree, one landscape cluster and complete ground cover.
Although sign illumination was initially only permitted in nonresidential and special zoning districts, schools and churches were added to the list of exceptions.
“I think having lit signs in schools is fairly important, as well as churches, because they have night events, and it’s a safety issue,” Hughes said.
Chairwoman Rebecca Levy asked about the updated code’s lack of an open space zoning district. Hughes replied that there is no district prohibiting development, but that this wouldn’t be a drastic change from the previous code.
“Most of the open zone is city-owned property,” she said.
The plant list appendix is still awaiting revision in upcoming weeks, after staff receive input from outside resources, Hughes said.
“Other minor changes may be made, for example correcting a graphic or adding in a missed category of use to the parking standards,” she wrote.
Commissioners were in favor of moving ahead with the code, adding that future amendments were inevitable.
“Every (land use code) everybody wants to amend immediately,” Levy said. “It is what it is.”
A clean copy of the draft will be presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission at its Sept. 3 meeting, at which time they will decide whether or not to recommend the City Council approve the code.