Land-use regulations

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— A sampling of ranchers, real estate agents, City Council members and other residents voiced their opinions about land-use regulations at the Economic Summit.

"The growth is not going to stop," County Commissioner Ben Beall said. "There will be no moratorium on growth, there is no stopping it. So land-use regulations are going to have to control the growth of this community,"

The greatest concern among participants at the session definitely revolved around agricultural lands. Without little hesitation, the group of approximately 30 residents agreed that the agricultural lands in the county must be maintained. The question, they said, is how to change or amend land-use regulations to ensure that happens.

"Growth spreading out into the county is a major concern. Big trophy homes, 35-acre plots these things contribute to the deterioration of agricultural lands, and this destroys the viability of our agricultural economy," said rancher Doug Monger, a candidate for county commissioner.

The group also unanimously agreed that 35-acre parcels of land are not right for Routt County.

"We can change this today. Right now," Beall said.

But changing land-use regulations, particularly those regarding 35-acre parcels of land, is a complicated task and one that might not produce the intended results, Steamboat Ski Corp. President Chris Diamond, Agricultural Alliance member C.J. Mucklow and Beall all agreed.

Nevertheless, Monger and other residents emphasized that agricultural land will never be productive if it is divided into 35-acre parcels.

Some potential strategies identified involve facilitating consolidation of agricultural lands, increasing the strength of the Agricultural Alliance to bridge the gap between developers and ranchers, discussing perpetual conservation easements, and possibly discussing a transfer of development rights policy.

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