Montezuma County Commissioners agreed to change four items on the Montezuma County land use code, but will continue to review three controversial items.
For public notice on proposed land use changes, the wording will be changed from contacting “adjacent” landowners to “adjoining” landowners. The word adjacent was considered less definitive.
The requirement that each parcel have at least a 230-foot diameter circle for a footprint will be dropped. The rule originally was made to prevent long, narrow parcels that were many times longer than wide.
But county officials said the rule is too restrictive for private landowners looking to build.
For example, some odd-shaped properties could not comply. In other cases, property owners wanting to build on a piece of dry land could not because nearby wetlands, floodplain or ponds prevented them from meeting the 230-foot diameter building envelope, which is about 1 acre.
The commissioners agreed that the setback standards for proposed building projects are sufficient.
“There are long houses. As long as they meet the setbacks, I think it’s OK,” said commissioner Jim Candelaria. “Right now, if you only have a quarter acre of buildable land, you get kicked out.”
Dropping the 230-foot diameter circle will include properties in the Dolores River Valley; however, the 10-acre minimum lot size there will remain in effect.
A change was approved for amending plats and lot lines. Currently, if two property owners want to adjust a boundary line or combine adjacent subdivision lots to their existing lot, they need every lot owner in the subdivision to sign off on the change.
The rule will be changed so that only the signatures of the affected lot owners are required.
It was agreed to eliminate the requirement that a wildfire mitigation plan be prepared, and the work completed, before final Mylar approval of a subdivision parcel by the county commission.
A wildfire mitigation plan still will be required, but it will be within the subdivision covenants instead, said Haley.
The regulation has been problematic, county officials said, because it required the landowner to conduct wildfire mitigation, such as tree thinning, on their entire property before they identified the location of the residence.
Wildfire mitigation is important around each home, commissioners said, a property-wide requirement went too far.
Fire mitigation around each home will be required as part of the subdivision covenants at a minimum, Haley said.
Reviews continue on controversial topicsAfter hearing concerns from the public, the commissioners continue to study controversial code changes, including: reducing the minimum lot size in the county (outside the Dolores Valley) from 3 acres to 1 acre, reducing setbacks on homes and outbuildings from property lines, and eliminating or changing the 1,500-square-foot maximum for the one accessory home allowed on each parcel.
Another potential change under review is the requirement that when there is a change of ownership, or a business ceases to exist for 12 months, then a new high-impact permit is required.
Commissioner Larry Don Suckla said it was unfair to force the permit process on someone who paused a business for a year.
Planning staff suggested looking at the rule as a way to protect nearby property owners and mitigate problems. For example, in a quickly growing area, a high-impact business could affect more homes by reopening.
For agreed-upon changes, new language is being drawn up.
If the commission decides to change some regulations, new language will be drawn up.
Once land use code is amended with the new language, the entire code will be voted on as part of a resolution.
The next meeting on the code proposals is Oct, 20 at 1:30 p.m.