Comprehensive Garfield County maps go live
Is a certain building south of Glenwood Springs within a visual corridor? Where does the floodplain around the Roaring Fork River end? Is this neighborhood a riparian zone? What is the wildfire risk for a Carbondale suburb?
Every one of these questions can now be answered at a new website featuring comprehensive Garfield County maps.
The maps combine topographical, satellite or gray base maps with GIS data from a variety of state, local and federal sources.
Users can select layers like floodplain boundaries, conservation easements, greenway trails, and even building footprints.
The main map shows the county’s proposed 2030 Comprehensive Plan, which will inform land-use decisions for the coming decade.
The maps are also linked to the county assessor’s data, so clicking on a parcel will show the publicly-available ownership and property tax data.
Senior planner Patrick Waller told the Garfield County Planning Commission on Wednesday that the maps should make it easier for people to get information about the various codes during the permitting process.
“Say we identified that a parcel is located in an important wildlife habitat. That information is not available to the public easily,” Waller said.
All the information is publicly available, but previously the county provided much of the information through data downloads, which required additional software to be viewed effectively.
With the new maps, the county can “provide the data that we have to both developers and members of the public in a user-friendly form,” Waller said, as opposed to going through the cumbersome process of explaining the county’s maps to someone who may not have the technology to view them.
“They can actually pull up the map themselves and look at it. (It’s) making our process more transparent,” Waller said.
The future land use map is the current version of the proposed 2030 Comprehensive Plan, which is going through the public review process.
The county is still building out other maps and data, but right now in addition to the future land use map are maps showing agricultural land, various environmental features like watersheds, riparian zones and wells, and a map showing all the parks and recreation areas in the county.
Another map shows the wildfire risk designations for the entire county based on the Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment.
For the comprehensive plan process, the new map website avoids some previous difficulties with releasing static paper or image-based maps.
The previous comprehensive plan, for instance, indicated several “town center” designations with asterisks, where commercial growth in unincorporated areas would be encouraged or at least allowed.
Those asterisks led to some confusion on the official maps because it wasn’t always clear where the town center designation stopped.
The asterisks were a point of contention in 2019 when a developer wanted approval to build storage units across Highway 82 from Catherine’s Store east of Carbondale.
Catherine’s Store had an asterisk, the edges of which touched the parcel across the highway, even though that parcel was not zoned commercial.
That will no longer be an issue. On the proposed 2030 comprehensive plan maps, it’s possible to see how virtually every inch of the county is zoned.
The planning commission will hold the second part of a public hearing on the 2030 Comprehensive Plan on Feb. 12.
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