Oak Creek land-use changes move forward

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— The Oak Creek Planning Commission met Wednesday night to consider recommendations on amendments to the town’s land-use code. Members of the Planning Commission and Town Administrator Mary Alice Page-Allen discussed changes to land-use definitions, posting of required notices, a review process chart, a fee schedule and setback requirements.

The meeting was “long and very productive,” Page-Allen said. “For the most part, everything moved forward.”

The Planning Commission recommended changes to the definitions of agricultural and light industrial related to grow operations.

The recommended agricultural changes include adding “working” to the requirement and specifying that the property must be land, ground or soil to “differentiate that an agricultural use does not include industrial or commercial growing operations located within a building,” according to attached staff comment.

The commission recommended to change the title of light industrial to industrial and add optional grow premises and marijuana-infused products to the included uses.

Other recommended changes include adding the requirement of a bathroom to the dwelling unit definition and defining residential as “the use of land for housing and related accessory structures and uses.”

The recommended changes will move forward to a public hearing April 12 with the Town Board.

The elimination of property setbacks for performance districts in town also will be addressed in subsequent meetings along with additional land-use definitions. Page-Allen said she expected those issues to be considered in conjunction with annexation issues in the land-use code, which were not discussed at Wednesday’s meeting.

Those issues require some additional attention, Page-Allen said.

“A lot of the changes enable me to work proactively with any applicant,” Page-Allen said. “I think that’s going to be very important.”

Planning Commission Chairman Jeff Gustafson, who joined the meeting by phone, said most of the changes were moved forward based on a year of recommendations.

“Along with what we did in Performance District 1, these changes were for the good of the town,” Gustafson said, referencing a Feb. 9 ordinance passed to address a citizen initiative directed at changes in Performance District 1 in the core of Oak Creek.

“We’ve been angling toward this for a while,” Gustafson said.

Town Board meeting

At Thursday’s meeting, the Oak Creek Town Board discussed the April 3 election that was canceled because of a lack of Town Board candidates. The town is seeking interested candidates for two board vacancies. Trustee Chuck Wisecup has indicated he would submit a letter of interest and accept appointment by the Town Board.

Page-Allen suggested approaching the South Routt School District seeking a student member for the Town Board. The student member would have to be 18 or older.

“Maybe there is someone interested in this kind of stuff,” Page-Allen said. “At least try and grow them, make them interested.”

The members of the Town Board expressed support for the idea.

The town also is assembling information for a water rate structure study. The Colorado Rural Water Association, of which Oak Creek is a member, will provide the study as part of the town’s regular membership fees.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4254 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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