Two landowners are seeking county approval to rezone a portion of their Animas Valley property, with plans to build six affordable rental units.
John and Dana Ogorzalek own a 2.6-acre parcel that includes the Conoco gas station and Hermosa Creek Grill on U.S. Highway 550, nine miles north of town.
Last month, the Ogorzaleks requested permission to subdivide the parcel into three lots and rezone the central portion from one-acre, single-family residential to multi-family residential.
If La Plata County approves the amendment, the couple would pursue a class II permit to build three two-bedroom, two-bath duplexes on the central lot for a total of six rental units.
The eastern 0.6 acre, occupied by the grill, gas station and liquor store, is zoned neighborhood commercial, while the remaining two acres to the west are zoned single-family residential.
A mixture of mobile homes, a U-Haul dealer, storage units and single-family homes surround the land, which is accessed by Mead Lane, a private quarter-mile stretch of road connecting the highway to County Road 203.
The throughway is paved but rough and uneven from thru-traffic, residents and customers of the restaurant, liquor store and gas station. Its well-worn surface, the applicants say, could be a point of contention if rezoning is approved and they pursue their building plans.
“We live near there and have a vested interest in making it nice,” Dana Ogorzalek said. “The road seems to be the biggest concern. For one business owner to be responsible to bring it to county codes – that could definitely be something that keeps us from doing this.”
If the multi-family units aren’t feasible, she said, the Ogorzaleks will simply finish renovating a house they plan to move into on the lot’s western portion, at the corner of Mead Lane and County Road 203.
“There is no project in front of us at this stage, just a rezoning request,” County Planning Director Damian Peduto said. “Depending what they want to do, there could be access alternatives. We don’t know yet.”
The project’s lead planner, Dan Murphey, said the staff report is under draft and a public review date will be scheduled sometime this spring.
Should they receive the proper permitting and the rental units eventually come to fruition, John Ogorzalek said they would be affordably priced.
“Durango needs this type of housing,” he said.