Proposed updates to the La Plata County comprehensive land-use plan reflect intentions to allow airport growth while considering surrounding landscapes and zoning.
County planning commissioners and staff members met with Durango-La Plata County Airport officials Thursday, and they offered suggestions such as protecting mountain views within the airport’s vicinity.
“I’d like to identify viewsheds we want to protect and not have development occur, so people who fly in don’t say: ‘This looks like anyplace else. I can’t see the mountains, and how many RVs do we have to have?’” Planning Commissioner Lucy Baizel said. “The corridor is not only economic but recreational and for tourists.”
County planning staff members are updating, in increments, the comprehensive plan, an advisory document addressing all aspects of land use. The airport segment comes as the city and county are considering asking taxpayers for money to help pay for an $85 million terminal expansion.
“We have excellent timing with this (airport) master plan and the comprehensive plan,” County Planner Daniel Murray said. “The airport’s objective is to move people and have an economic impact and secondary benefits.”
Airport Director Kip Turner said the airport has graduated from “local” to “regional,” yet the facility was built to accommodate half the current traffic. Commissioner Jim Tencza advised planning staff to add language noting that the airport “doesn’t meet the requirements for today.”
Over the next few months, planners are tasked with ensuring that growth can be realized under the plan without jeopardizing abutting zoning areas such as the Florida Mesa district and the southwestern portion of the county. Staff will continue massaging the airport plan before returning to the Planning Commission with a final draft.