Following a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Board of County Commissioners approved changes to development regulations that had been forwarded by the county planning commission.
According to discussion held at planning commission meetings, the changes were proposed as a way of speeding up the process of required hearings and approvals on specific developments. Applicants have complained of months-long delays occuring in the sequence of hearings by the APCs, planning commision and county commissioners.
The changes adopted on Tuesday have been under consideration since at least last summer. They have been published and advertised numerous times and were the subject of at least one news article in August.
The proposed language revisions approved 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.