Experts say that at least 30,000 people will move to La Plata County over the next 20 years. It is critical that new
development doesn't harm our environment.
There is so much we love about La Plata County that we need to preserve, but that does not mean standing in the way
of new development. La Plata County needs smart growth. Homebuilders, businesses and developers need to have
reasonable expectations of what can be done on a property. By overhauling our land-use code, there can be strong
guidelines about what uses are appropriate for a piece of property, as well as what type of subdivision is
Land-use codes can include rules about necessary water, sewage and waste disposal, and road-use impacts. We need to
encourage the type of growth that protects La Plata County by making it easier to develop areas where we want that
growth to happen, and to make it harder to have development in areas that we want to protect.
Right now, the code does not have incentives for developers to use specific areas, nor does it hinder growth in
specific areas. The system for large developments takes years to negotiate and does not give specific enough guidance
regarding what is appropriate use of a specific piece of property.
The county is in the process of creating a comprehensive plan. It is important that that plan be workable and
enforceable. We have gone through this process before and ended up with code that was not enacted.
We need to be sure this time that we get it right.
Chris Dolphin, Durango