Jay Gallagher: County should not bypass public process | SteamboatToday.com

Jay Gallagher: County should not bypass public process

On Nov. 22 the Board of County Commissioners approved secondary dwelling units as a use by right for homeowners in the AF, AC and MRE zones.

The BCC has justified its action on SDUs based on the premise that

1) there is a significant demand for SDUs in the county;

2) SDUs can play a significant role in meeting our affordable and attainable housing;

3) SDUs – attached or detached – do not constitute ‘development’ in the county’s definition.

The Routt County Planning Commission, Mr. Woodmansee and Mr. Beall have dismissed the first two in public action, public comment and letters to the editor.

I’d like to address the third — the proposed changes comprise a blanket upzoning in the AF, AC and MRE zones and thereby should be considered as a zoning amendment.

Petitioners for zoning amendments in the county must demonstrate that a zoning amendment meets the prescribed criteria in Section 8.2 of the statutory zoning regulations. Among them…

• The proposed change is consistent with the goals and policies of the Routt County Master Plan.

• The advantages of the amendment outweigh the disadvantages to the county and neighboring lands.

• That adequate facilities such as roads, water and sanitation, fire protection, emergency services and public utilities shall be available.

Why shouldn’t this county-wide upzoning of AF, AC and MRE zones be subject to these same criteria?

The county should not be seen as bypassing the public process of reviewing the master plan and zoning regulations in its pursuit of making these changes.

Jay Gallagher

Former chair, Routt County Planning Commission

Steamboat Springs

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