No zeal to zone

News

No zeal to zone

Commissioners express little appetite for ambitious reform of land-use regs
This view of the Animas River Valley, a combination of two photos stitched together, shows one of the only areas in La Plata County where traditional zoning is in effect. Despite the downfalls of the compatibility-based land use system applied in the rest of the county, government leaders don’t have their immediate sights set on duplicating Animas Valley-style zoning in other parts of the county.
Karen Lewis and her husband, Jim, allowed the Durango Kennel Club to use a converted barn on their property for agility training until last year when the Board of County Commissioners decided it was incompatible with zoning regulations. Karen Lewis said she can still have friends visit, but the number of people and the amount of time they can spend training their dogs are limited.
How important is a comp plan?

Commissioners may have agreed upon the most immediate steps toward reforming La Plata County’s land-use code, but they still disagree on what role a comprehensive plan will play in future land-use planning.

After a bruising two-year process to create the long-range advisory document, commissioners decided to shelve the draft document in December 2011. But newly elected commissioners Julie Westendorff and Gwen Lachelt feel strongly about the need to readdress the document.

During the campaign, Lachelt was most vocal about it.

“I still think the missing link for a code is a comprehensive plan,” she reiterated in an interview earlier this month. “You need a comprehensive plan in place that the community has ownership of before you look at major revisions of the (land-use) code.”

Meanwhile, Bobby Lieb said he continues to believe a comprehensive plan isn’t necessary for the county. Infrastructure capacity should be the biggest determinant for future growth and development, he said.

“The importance of a comprehensive plan is way overblown,” he said.

Planning Director Damian Peduto took a more neutral stance.

“The comprehensive plan is a tool, and it may or may not be applicable,” he said. “It’s not the most important issue in order to address the types of complaints I’ve been hearing.”

ecowan@durangoherald.com

Ways to zone

There are four basic forms of zoning, but many communities use a combination of each:

Standard (Euclidean): Designated zones with different standards and uses allowed in each.

Performance: More flexibility allowed, projects judged based on impacts on neighbors and the public.

Negotiated (planned unit developments): New districts designed and zoned specifically for a new development. An option for standard and performance zoning.

Form-based: Defined zones that are based more on the shape and form of the buildings than on uses of the building.

No zeal to zone

This view of the Animas River Valley, a combination of two photos stitched together, shows one of the only areas in La Plata County where traditional zoning is in effect. Despite the downfalls of the compatibility-based land use system applied in the rest of the county, government leaders don’t have their immediate sights set on duplicating Animas Valley-style zoning in other parts of the county.
Karen Lewis and her husband, Jim, allowed the Durango Kennel Club to use a converted barn on their property for agility training until last year when the Board of County Commissioners decided it was incompatible with zoning regulations. Karen Lewis said she can still have friends visit, but the number of people and the amount of time they can spend training their dogs are limited.
Reader Comments
click here to add your event
Durango ~ Events
click here to add your event
Durango ~ Events