After reviewing the revised La Plata County Land Use Code, and attending the public meeting on Jan. 9, I have come to the conclusion that there are numerous misconceptions regarding this plan:
First, this does not constitute a “taking” in relation to property rights nor does it “devalue” our property. Most who attended the Oxford meeting were from the agriculture community, and viewed some of the outlined restrictions as government overreach.
In fact, nearly every occupation and use of agricultural property currently occurring is permitted under the new plan, and I believe in its final form, all current activities will continue to be allowed.
What this plan does, however, is outline quite specifically restrictions and requirements going forward for land use and development – particularly in sensitive areas. River corridors, scenic byways, high-density urban and suburban residential areas, and transition areas near Bayfield, Ignacio and Durango all have comprehensive suitability, compatibility and viability criteria. Many at the meeting took these requirements out of context and misunderstood that they did not apply to their agricultural property.
Nothing in this draft prohibits development of agricultural property. It only outlines standards for the best outcome for all – the current owners, new owners and future generations who will hopefully also be able to appreciate and enjoy all that we in agriculture seek to preserve.
I urge everyone to study the plan and respond to county planning with concerns. I also urge county leaders to take a slow path on revisions.