The Delta Board of County Commissioners meeting held on January 3rd  brought numerous residents out to discuss the proposed Land Use Updates that were announced on December 7. Although the topic was not on the agenda for that meeting, concerned citizens were allowed to participate at the beginning of the meeting.

While the proposed code updates are not finalized, the four-page document has members of Delta County confused and concerned about the proposed changes.  County Commissioner Don Suppes (commissioner for the Surface Creek area), explained that the proposed changes are either simplifying or clarifying the code that was approved and adopted in January, 2021.

“Most of the changes we are making are to clarify the language used in the last land use code.  We are taking some things out that were either unnecessary or needed to be revised in one way or another. Everything we are doing is to simplify the code for our community,” he said. “At this point, the updates and changes have been remanded back to the planning commission for review and resolution.” That meeting will be held on January 11 at 5:30 pm and is available to Zoom (check the county website for a dial-in link) or attend in person.

The code update document, as well as the January 2021 approved code are both available online at www.deltacountyco.gov (search Land Use Code). Proposed changes in wording to the original January 2021 document are outlined. 

The summary of changes is divided into sections of the approved land use code for easy reference. These include format changes (moving topics from one section/chapter to another); personnel changes within the commission; Zoning (more on this); infrastructure; lot and site design; review process; subdivisions and other topics.  

For most of the constituents in attendance, the zoning portion has caused the greatest concern. Don Suppes had this to say in an attempt to clarify, “When we adopted the newest Land Use Code (January 2021) we added zoning to our overall master plan. Prior to that code, the zoning was not clear and we wanted people to understand how it works. We had a regulation that did not allow a person to subdivide their property if it was less than a five-acre plat. Now it is possible to do that with a variance and approval. The regulations have been in place for a long time and the reason for not allowing the splitting of a one-acre lot, for example, was because of proper spacing for septic systems. We are trying to make it easier, not more difficult for people to do what they want with their property.”

When the new changes are finalized and approved, there will be two new zone designations, RES 1.0 (one acre lots) and RES 2.5 (2.5 acre lots). They are currently not on the zoning chart at all.  In addition, a new zoning map will be created specifying urban growth areas which will be based on what municipal services are available.  All of the changes must go through more review and be approved by the planning commission.

Another discussed topic was on the allowed versus permitted use of the land. The new wording will indicate that a non-habitable structure is one that cannot provide independent living facilities like provisions for sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.  Permitted use covers recreational vehicles (temporary and principal), seasonal, manufactured home parks (three or more units), and events.

There has been discussion regarding the use of property for home-based businesses, but Commissioner Suppes said he felt certain this clause would be removed and sent back to the planning commission. 

It also addresses the process for getting a permit (as in purchasing a vacant piece of land and creating a use for it or changing the way property is currently zoned), by eliminating some of the previously required steps.  Many of the changes in the document are to clarify or change the language of the existing land use document (January 2021).

The exceptions to lot size requirements are based on easements, borders, utilities, etc.  Currently there is a minimum lot size variance required, but that provision will be eliminated, and exceptions will be limited to boundary lines, easements, clustered subdivision, dedication accepted in fee title, and reducing the setback for non-habitable structures. Again, simplifying the code is the goal.

A new section of the land use code is regarding solar energy fields and cellular towers. Both are under review by the planning commission and more information about them can be found on the planning commission page at www.deltacountyco.gov

 “This is an adjustment to the code that has already been approved and adopted. We are trying to make things easier for our community. It is a work in progress, and we welcome input from our residents. We want to get it right,” said Commissioner Suppes.

The next time the land use code is discussed will be Wednesday, January 11 at 5:30 pm at the planning commission meeting. This meeting is also available to Zoom (check website for special dial-in link) Any concerned citizen is welcome to attend. Meetings are held at 560 Dodge Street, Board Meeting Room, Delta. 

Please see the attached PDFs for the current land use code as it stands. 

Tags