The Montezuma County Board of County Commissioners is considering changes to the land use code that would loosen regulations for residential development.
A public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 18 to gather public comment.
Monday, Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Rob Pope presented recommendations made by the planning commission, which reviewed the code.
A major change is the minimum acreage for residential development in the county that is not a planned subdivision.
The planning commission recommends a 1-acre minimum for the “single residence plus one accessory dwelling” category throughout the county.
Currently, the minimum acreage for development outside the upper Dolores River valley is 3 acres for a single residence and accessory dwelling. In the upper Dolores River valley, the minimum acreage is 10 acres for a single residence, plus one accessory dwelling.
“The Dolores Valley should be treated no different than any other area of the county,” Pope said. “Engineering and proper construction can accomplish any structure on any slope, and this engineering also exists for sewer systems.”
The 10-acre minimum standard for building in the Dolores River valley was established to control density and protect the water quality of region’s main water source.
If approved, a new zoning category would need to be created for “residential 1-3 acres.”
Planning officials also suggested an engineering review process for homes built close to the river and a reduction in setback standards.
Setbacks for dwellings on lots 3 acres and larger are suggested to be a minimum of 30 feet from lot lines, down from 50 feet. Lots smaller than 3 acres are suggested to have a minimum setback of 20 feet. And setbacks for auxiliary buildings is recommended to be a minimum of 15 feet from lot lines.
Instead of requiring a home to be 50 feet from a county road right of way, the planning board suggests 10 feet.
Other recommendations include:
Changing development notification language from “adjacent property owners” to “adjoining property owners” to avoid confusion.High-impact permitting should remain in effect as long as the use remains the same, the planning commission said. This also would include when there is a change of ownership and or dormancy.The Planning and Zoning Commission believes the development fee structure should be based on what it costs to maintain the planning office. They suggested an incentive program, where some fees could be waived if the developer improved the property with privacy fencing, exterior building improvements, landscaping, professional signage, etc. Changes to the land use code require a public hearing are voted on by the county commission.