Skyline rules close to approval

Commissioners will review proposal tonight

Gary E. Salazar

— After five years of discussing how to protect scenic vistas in Routt County, a skyline regulation proposal has been drafted that could be approved tonight.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners will review the proposed skyline regulations and map at 7 p.m. tonight at Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

If the three-member board approves of the three-page document and designated map, Routt County would become the second county in the state to provide guidelines geared to protect scenic corridors from development.

“These guidelines I think will do a pretty good job,” said Chad Phillips, county assistant planning director. “There are people in the community that wish building in these areas would not happen, but there are also people who wish we didn’t have these guidelines.

“I think what we are proposing is a good compromise.”

If the regulations are approved, about 2,600 lots in the county would be affected.

The proposed map designates ridgelines where development is prohibited or where mitigation needs to be done to lessen the visual impact of a home or building.

These ridgelines have been designated because if a building or home would be constructed on these properties, it would create a silhouette against the sky above the apparent or visible horizon.

The ridgelines that were selected can be seen from within one mile from state and county highways, Phillips said.

To build on a property that is designated as “skyline,” the applicant must comply with restrictions that are included in the proposed regulations.

A mandatory restriction applicants must follow is the height of the structure is limited to 27 feet.

From there, applicants must comply with three restrictions from a total of five that are included in the proposal: reduction of building mass, roof profiles, landscaping, exterior finish and other mitigation ideas.

The building mass restriction is to limit a structure so it is not greater than 75 feet, Phillips said.

“To comply with this, a person could have a 50-foot house and a 25-foot garage,” Phillips said. “As long as it adds up to 75 feet.”

Applicants can also design the structure’s roof so it blends in with the surrounding landscape.

Landscaping is also an option. Applicants are encouraged to plant similar trees and shrubs found in the area to diminish the structure’s visual impact.

The exterior finish of the structure can also be done in a way that it is reflective and compatible with the surroundings

Applicants can also propose other visual mitigation efforts, which have to be approved by planning officials.

The only structures exempt from the proposed regulations are communication towers and utility lines.

For the meeting, Phillips will give a 40-minute PowerPoint presentation. The board will take public comment before discussing the issue.

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