NF Valley

Delta County prepares to launch land use code on April 1. 

By Lisa Young

Staff writer

A moratorium on applications for various land uses is about to come to an end as county officials prepare to launch the Delta County Land Use Code in April. In preparation for the upcoming changes, a number of important positions were filled by the county to carry out the land use code.

Carl Holm was hired this January as the community development and natural resources director. He replaces Elyse Casselberry who was slated to become the land use code director. Casselberry led the county through most of the nearly two-half year process until being named Delta city manager last year.

Delta County commissioners made important Board of Adjustment appointments during their Feb. 16 meeting. While the land use code allows for up to five members, commissioners appointed three.

County Administrator Robbie LeValley said commissioners looked for individuals who had significant experience on the planning commission.

While not required in the land use code, Commissioner Don Suppes proposed that the three appointments be made district by district. The code only requires that members be residents of the county and that not more than half of the members “may at any time” be members of the planning commission.

The code does set BOA terms of three years, to be staggered with at least one member’s term expiring each year.

“I think this is a time that we can set that stagger appropriately from the beginning,” Suppes said. “This is going to be a whole board for the county and it’s going to take a little bit to get everybody straightened out on how this is going operate.”

Any replacement of an existing member would fulfill the remainder of that individual’s term. While the code allows for associate members or alternates, none were appointed.

Commissioners unanimously approved Mike Twamley (District 1) to serve a three-year term ending Jan. 31, 2024; Brett Hilling (District 2) for a two-year term ending Jan. 31, 2023 and former Delta County Commissioner Mark Roeber (District 3) for a one-year term ending in Jan. 31, 2022.

Commissioners also re-appointed Steve Schrock (District 1), Tate Locke (District 2) and Tom Kay (District 3) to the Delta County Planning Commission all three men currently sit on the board and will serve three-year terms ending Jan. 31, 2024.

Delta County Planning Commission met on Feb. 17 to elect officers and review the new land use code. Commission members unanimously approved to retain Kay as chairman and Locke as vice-chair.

In addition to electing officers, Holm, director for the adopted land use code, led a discussion on the implementation of code. The director went over five key areas including the relationship between the county’s master plan, review process, subdivisions, variances and public education.

“When there’s questions about the land use code, I am first going to look to the master plan if there’s guidance from the policies in that master plan,” said Holm.

Key players in the new land use code are the administrative director, planning commission, board of adjustment and board of county commissioners.

“Ultimately if there’s a question as far as how the land use code is being interpreted, the Board of County Commissioners would be that ultimate authority to interpret what they intended,” the new director said.

Holm said staff are working on processing all the prior permits before shifting into the new land use codes on April 1. The new director said he hopes to have all the loose ends wrapped up by mid-March including new application forms.

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