After upholding the 10-acre minimum lot size for the Dolores Valley in a previous meeting, Montezuma County commissioners agreed Tuesday to retain the 3-acre minimum lot size in the county outside the valley.
During three public hearings on proposed land use code changes, there has been strong community support for keeping both development standards.
The 10-acre minimum in the Dolores Valley was established in 1998 to control density and water quality in the Dolores River watershed that serves the region.
The 3-acre minimum everywhere else supports rural and open space qualities, provides room for septic systems and allows for privacy, residents said during a public comment period.
In rejecting the proposed changes, the commissioners pointed out the option of building on less than 3 or less than 10 acres is already available in the subdivision process.
“A smaller lot can happen today through the planned-unit development process,” said Commissioner Jim Candelaria during Tuesday’s public hearing. “It is already workable.”
Proposed subdivisions go through a public hearing process and are voted on by Board of County Commissioners.
In July, the county planning and zoning board had proposed a series of land use code changes including the minimum development acreage to 1 acre throughout the county in a move to increase property rights.
While the two major proposed changes to the land use code were rejected, the commissioners did agree to adjust regulations for setbacks and home sizes.
Building setbacks from property lines will be reduced from 50 feet to 30 feet throughout the county. Also, the maximum size of an accessory dwelling on a parcel was increased from 1,500 square feet to 2,000 square feet throughout the county.
Four other changes were agreed upon.
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 development footprint will be dropped. The rule originally was made to prevent long, narrow parcels that were many times longer than wide. County officials said the rule is too restrictive for private landowners looking to build.Elimination of 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.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.
A resolution with the land use code changes will be drafted for approval by the commissioners in the coming weeks.