Planners take look at updated regs

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The County Planning Commission took a first look at the proposed comprehensive update to the county's zoning and subdivision regulations Thursday night.

Overall, the Planning Commission was happy with the document, Routt County Planner John Eastman said. Almost a dozen residents listened to the work session and also offered their input, he said.

The update clarifies and reorganizes existing regulations to be more user-friendly and proposes some new or different regulations to respond to growth and changes in the county.

The Planning Commission did not agree with a suggestion from planning staff to allow secondary units in areas zoned for mountain residential estates, Eastman said.

The suggestion was made because of the difficulty enforcing regulations on such units and the idea that the units would provide affordable housing. However, Planning Commission members said many homes in those zones did not have adequate access or water supplies, so it was inappropriate to encourage more density in those areas.

The proposed update also stated that coal bed methane projects could be subject to stringent standards under only staff review, but the Planning Commission decided that such projects should go through a public planning process to get a special-use permit, Eastman said.

Stronger language to make it clear that the county would not support higher density developments in rural areas, but rather would direct growth to established growth centers, also was added to the proposed update at the request of the Planning Commission.

The idea that growth of home-based businesses, the proposed plan, should eliminate some previous restrictions for such businesses and create a new category of permits for "Home Industry" was well-received by the Planning Commission, Eastman said.

The Planning Commission discussed about half of the proposed update to the Zoning Resolution and set another work session for July 1. Also at that meeting, the Planning Commission likely will discuss possible adoption hearings for the proposed update.

In related business:

n The Planning Commission tabled the Motherwell Ranch's request for permits for two existing buildings and a new lodge until July 1, for skyline issues and concerns on existing septic system permits and slope stability reports, Eastman said.

n The Planning Commission approved a request from the Home Ranch to use a yurt for nonmotorized day and overnight trips, and a request from Grassy Creek at Mount Harris subdivision for a large equestrian barn.

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