Hayden studying new land use code

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The town of Hayden had to purchase bigger binders to hold the latest draft of its new land use code.

At about 300 pages, the proposed code is more than three times bigger than the existing code. That may shock the Hayden Planning Commission, which will review the draft Thursday during a work session, planning consultant Tim Katers said.

The proposed code has 13 chapters including zoning and subdivision regulations as well as rules for other projects, such as annexation, that aren't in the current land use code.

The code also has new sections dedicated to signs, RV parks, historic preservation, oil and gas drilling and mining.

"We're in effect making this a unified code (for) anything to do with land use," he said.

Katers has rewritten the code based on the state of Colorado's Model Land Use Code, which provided a general template for Hayden's code. The town's code also reflects guidelines in the town's new comprehensive plan, which the town likely will adopt in April.

The plan was revamped to provide officials an up-to-date tool for maintaining Hayden's family-oriented character and a healthy fiscal balance while considering growth and development.

Extending Hayden's grid street pattern and discouraging "leap-frog" growth separate from developed areas are among suggestions lined out in the plan.

Many of those aspects are reflected in chapter two of the land use code, "Community Design Standards," which will be the focus of Thursday's work session.

"The chapter starts putting that (comprehensive plan) into rules and regulations, not just suggestions," Katers said.

The chapter includes sections on lots and blocks, streets, parking, landscape design, fences and walls, commercial and industrial architecture and lighting.

"It's what folks see on the ground and what they'll use," he said.

Katers will be looking for input and direction on many topics within chapter two.

For example, current rules require 25 percent of most residential developments be dedicated to open space. However, that amount of space requires a lot of maintenance, and the rule may need revising, Katers said.

On Thursday Katers also hopes to have some discussion on chapter three of the code, which focuses on zoning.

New zoning districts will help establish a historic downtown area, service or pedestrian oriented commercial areas and vehicle-oriented commercial areas -- all suggested in the comprehensive plan as a way of increasing sales tax revenue.

The chapter also has provisions allowing for homes along Jefferson Avenue to eventually shift into a commercial operations. That transition, however, would not be forced, Katers said.

"If it wants to change over time it can -- this allows the next phase to happen," he said.

Katers has been working with the town on its new land use code since last fall. He estimated it will be ready for adoption in May.

Thursday is a good time for the public to share feedback on the land use code because the discussion likely will be most relevant to residents.

Drafts of the land use code and comprehensive plan are available for review at Hayden Town Hall, Hayden Public Library and at www.townofhayden.org.

The Planning Commission's work session will be at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

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