Land Use Community Launch “Cliff Notes”

JOANN KALENAK, SENIOR BLOGGER, DCCR — Delta County Planning launched its first community review of a major overhaul to the county’s land use regulations. Planning department head, Elyse Casselberry Ackerman explained to the audience what the current process looks like and how it would change under the new rules.
Attendees were given three handouts consisting of more than 35 pages of information including a draft strategic plan submitted by a law firm with expertise in developing land use regulations. Residents have been asked to review the plan and provide comments on the county’s planning website.
• This plan is a “work-in-progress” and not final.
• This plan has NOTHING to do with building codes.
• This plan only regulates unincorporated Delta County.
• Whatever you’re legally doing on your land today is grandfathered.
• Only “high-impact” development will require conditional-use approval (full and public review) including manufactured home parks, shooting ranges, racetracks, salvage yards, mineral extraction and quarries, landfills and some heavy industry.
• CAFO’s (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) and feed lots will be reviewed and approved by county staff under specific standards — they will not go in front of the Commissioners.
• Oil and gas development regulations and standards are not part of this plan but soon to be addressed.
• Zoning is one tool being utilized in this plan.
• The plan proposes five zones —
A-35 (35 acres or more),
A-20 (20 acres or less),
A-5 (5 acres or less),
RI (rural Industrial),
Urban Growth Area (county/town borders)
• The plan proposes four approval tracks —
E = Exempt from land-use regulations (others regulations may apply)
P = Allowed but a permit is required, reviewed by staff
L = Allowed but subject to specific standards, reviewed by staff
C = Allowed after conditional-use approval, reviewed by County Commissioners.
• Within each zone, development will be approved “as-of-right” (exempt or with permits), with limited conditions, or after review by County Commissioners.
• Some zones will not allow certain development. Most zones allow most development under some level of evaluation.
• Depending on each “A” zone, subdivision of land will be limited to a minimum lot size.
• Conditions and specific standards, ie., set-backs, etc., are still being developed.
• Zone maps have been proposed but are still being developed.
Residents are asked to answer these questions:
• Is the county missing any important land uses in the pictured list (CLICK TO ENLARGE.)
• What changes would you make to the proposed approval track: E, P, L, C?
• What issues should be considered as the county finalizes the zones and uses?
• What issues should be considered as the county develops a zoning map?