Routt County commissioners: Public input prompted action
The Routt County commissioners were prompted to consider the liberalization of rules governing secondary units based upon citizen input received at a public hearing well over a year ago.
We voted to approve secondary units after our planning commission conducted three public hearings, we held four public hearings and one joint meeting was convened between the two bodies. We held joint public meetings with the town of Yampa, the town of Oak Creek, the town of Hayden and the city of Steamboat Springs to garner their input on secondary units.
We received more emails of support from citizens than any other land-use item in the past two years. Considering that many Routt County citizens would have a one- to four-hour round-trip drive to attend a public meeting in Steamboat Springs, email is a valued form of communication that we accept and welcome as genuine public input.
Routt County has a master plan which stipulates, “The Routt County Master Plan is structured to respect the rights of private property owners while considering the best way to solve problems of future county growth and development … The plan is general … The plan is made for flexible guidance rather than rigid control.”
We believe that secondary units are in compliance with the master plan. The divergence between the two bodies hinged on the perspective of “new development.”
The commissioners believe that secondary units, which may not exceed 800 square feet in size and must meet many requirements, including water and waste water capacity, are akin to an addition to a home rather than new development of an undeveloped parcel of land.
We are elected by the citizens of Routt County, and state law explicitly confers upon us the statutory responsibility through the legislative process for setting land use policies. Planning commission is an advisory body that makes recommendations to the county commissioners.
We have a strong record of supporting the work and recommendations of our planning commission.
Since 2014, the planning commission has made 85 recommendations to the county commissioners, and this is the only instance where the commissioners did not accept the recommendation. This is an overwhelming record of consensus.
We believe that the process as outlined above represents an exceptionally thorough and appropriate process that supports the best outcome for the future of our county and its citizens.
Routt County Board of Commissioners
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