A vacant 66-acre property on Florida Mesa now has the potential for 22 new homes.
On Thursday, the property owner, Joseph Truby, requested the land be reclassified from its agricultural/rural residential designation, which would allow a maximum of six homes, to large-lot residential, which allows a maximum of 22 homes.
The request to the La Plata County Planning Commission, more specifically, was for a “map amendment” for the property, which according to county code, lays out in general terms what could be developed. Any specific construction projects would go through a separate county process.
Daniel Murray, a planner with La Plata County, said staff wrestled with whether to recommend approval of the request.
The property in question, located at 1145 County Road 300, is surrounded by agricultural operations and residential development.
Any future development, as conditions currently stand, would lack connection to central water and sewer services, requiring new homes to drill a water well and be on a private septic system. And, the main access road, County Road 300, is not considered adequate.
Murray, however, said planning staff recommended approval based on the fact there are other nearby properties with a similar use.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to arrive at, and it’s certainly not black and white,” he said. “But there’s enough there that would support changing the land use.”
Truby was not in attendance Thursday night. His land agent, Naomi Riess, said Truby is not likely to build out to the maximum of 22 homes.
Planning Commissioner Jim Tencza, however, said it’s important to remember lands can be sold after a map amendment is approved, so planners should always keep in mind the maximum development allowed.
“Anything could happen,” he said.
No one spoke during a public comment period. Planning commissioners ultimately approved the request unanimously.
Planning commissioners also unanimously approved a request for a map amendment change to allow four homes to be built on a property that previously was approved for only two homes in the Falls Creek area.
Planners said exactly how many homes could be approved in a future development proposal would depend heavily on studies to determine where it’s safe to build, given the area’s topography.
The request was made by La Plata County resident Daniel Baker.
Only one resident spoke during public comment, raising concerns about the access road that sometimes can flood during heavy rains.