County to streamline hodgepodge land regs
Planners and elected officials sometimes describe Garfield County’s land use regulations as “a ball of Band-Aids,” and vague.The county starts major surgery on its land use regulations this month, and expects to present a healthier and easier-to-understand code to the public next year.”This is a huge project,” said Garfield County Commissioner John Martin. “Our current rules and regulations have been cobbled together over the past 25 years.”The land use regulation rewrite process starts with four public meetings: two for the general public, and one each for the agricultural and development communities. The schedule is as follows:-Agriculture: 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12, at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle.-Developers: 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 14, at Garfield County Courthouse Plaza in Glenwood Springs.-Public: 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28, Garfield County Courthouse Plaza in Glenwood Springs.To get the public input ball rolling, land use regulation consultants Sullivan Green Seavy LLC and Norris Dullea Co. have written a discussion paper for the county. It summarizes current literature about land use regulations and outlines key land use provisions from across the United States.”The purpose of the paper is to spark a discussion between the county, community leaders and citizens about the key land use policy questions that must be resolved, the goals of land use regulations, and possible approaches that might be suitable for Garfield County,” said Garfield County planner Fred Jarman.The discussion paper is available on the county’s Web site at http://www.garfield-county.com/building_and_planning/index.htm.Jarman said the entire land use regulation rewrite process should take 14 to 18 months.Martin said the county commissioners will hold public hearings before the new regulations are adopted. The project’s ultimate goal is to integrate all of Garfield County’s land use regulations into one document. Martin said currently, planned unit development (PUD) regulations are contained in one document, as are subdivision exemptions and other land use regulations.”This will be so landowners, developers and everyday Joes will understand how our zoning works,” Martin said. “The rules and regulations will be well defined.”Martin said the project isn’t intended to change current zoning, but new zoning could come through new land use regulation definitions after the new document is in place.Martin said the project is being funded in part by a $50,000 state grant, with matching funds from the county.Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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