MONTROSE – The Montrose Board of County Commissioners’ anticipated approval of an amendment to the county’s Zoning Resolution was continued at the BOCC’s July 21 meeting; the amendment, which would remove conflicting language and restrictions that the county can’t enforce, goes back to the BOCC for review on Aug. 4.
Upon its approval, language in the resolution’s General Agricultural and General Residential districts’ “prohibitive uses” section would be removed.
Both districts allow for by-right land use and for special use, the latter requiring a special-use permit. According to County Planner Steve White, the lists of allowed uses often conflict with the prohibitive uses (and how they relate to the definition of “home occupation”).
The resolution came before the BOCC Monday came at the recommendation of the Montrose County Planning Commission. The proposed amendment would remove “prohibitive uses” language from the resolution, by essentially removing conflicting language, so that only approved uses will be allowed.
“This is clarifying what the code already says,” White said Monday. “Specific to home occupations, part of the purpose of this [amendment] is to clarify that section so there is no misunderstanding on how we go through and use our code.”
The commissioners could also remove language under the General Agricultural District regarding design guidelines for developments affecting agricultural lands.
The Zoning Resolution states, “Before issuing a building permit or special use for any land use change adjoining or affecting agricultural lands, assurances must be established that adequate provisions are included which minimize or eliminate impact on agricultural lands…”
White said the seven guidelines listed in that section are often impossible for the county to enforce – for example, making sure that pets do not interfere with livestock – or encroaches on landowners’ private property rights.
All three commissioners seemed to agree that the zoning amendments were a step in the right direction toward more clarity.
“We need to be willing to make these changes,” Commissioner Gary Ellis said. “I think this is a good step.”
While the commissioners seemed good to go on the set of amendments before them, county resident Barb Bernhardt suggested a minor tweak in the amendment’s language that would “at least give the prerogative to the planner to keep agriculture in mind,” and emphasize that agriculture remains “a county priority.”
The commissioners directed White to bring the changes to the county planning commission for review, and voted to continue the public hearing on the amendments to Aug. 4, when it will go back before the board.