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BoCC advised on regulation changes

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As the county works toward selecting the consultant to guide a "grassroots based" re-write of the master plan, members of the county planning commission last week voted to advise the BoCC to approve proposed language revisions to the county's specific development regulations.

The proposed language revisions recommended for approval are as follows:

• The regulations will "work towards achieving the long-range vision and goals of the Delta County master plan, which provides a policy foundation for Delta County's specific development regulations. The Delta County master plan is advisory and does not affect legally protected interests of property owners. The Delta County master plan does not create individual regulatory requirements that applicants must affirmatively prove."

• "Review of specific development applications will consider whether such applicants will: preserve and protect property rights; preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of Delta County including, but not limited to, wildlife, riparian areas, wetlands, sensitive lands, scenic byways, and areas of significant scenic value; preserve the character of the existing rural and urban communities and neighborhoods in Delta County; protect the agricultural land, lifestyle and economy of Delta County."

• The county's specific development application review process will be streamlined by the following language: "Upon receipt of a completed application, the planning department shall schedule the application for public meetings. Completed applications must be received at least 21 days prior to the appropriate Advisory [Area] Planning Committee meeting. Applications will be placed on the planning commission agenda for consideration coincident with and at the place of the Advisory [Area] Planning committee meeting and on the Board of County Commissioners agenda within 14 days of the coincident planning meetings, if possible. If not possible, the application will be scheduled for the next available meeting after the 14-day period."

• "Any request for sketch plan approval within the Delta Planning Area shall be reviewed by the planning commission at a regular or special meeting scheduled to be coincident with the Area Planning Committee meeting."

The county's suite of specific development regulations and public processes for approval of applications are a type of land use planning. They apply generally to changes in land use that are made by commercial, industrial, and/or residential developments. The county's specific development regulations generally exempt agriculture.

A district court ruling arising from the Powell Mesa chicken barn lawsuit highlighted certain gaps or deficiencies in the county's land use regulations involving the relationship between the master plan and the specific development regulations.

The master plan re-write process is in part an effort to address issues that arose from the district court ruling and to update the master plan which was written in 1996.

The county commissioners will consider the recommended changes to specific development regulations at an upcoming meeting.

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