By Lisa Young

Staff writer

After a marathon meeting the Delta County Planning Commission voted 6-1 to certify the draft land use code with recommendations to the Delta County Board of Commissioners.

Breaking ranks, member Eli Wolcott requested that the commission review the revised draft before certifying and sending the document to county commissioners for possible adoption.

Wednesday night’s meeting held at the Delta County Courthouse was chaired by Tom Kay. The seven member board labored through numerous issues generated by public comment over several months.

A major change to the draft land use code was the deletion of the language supporting the Right-to-Farm expansion and staying with the state statute.

The question before the commission was, “Shall the Planning Commission change the language in the current LUC draft to eliminate the expanded definition of Right to Farm that includes protection from nuisance suits for future farming operations?”

Prior to discussion, Delta County Administrator Robbie LeValley referenced a confidential attorney memo regarding the controversial issue raised by numerous citizens and ultimately challenged by Delta County Citizen Report.

“There are legal issues that are continuously being discussed but we as a planning commission we have to decide if we want to change language, incorporate language or move it forward,” Kay said adding, the final decision will rest with the board of county commissioners.

LeValley reminded the planning commission that the attorney’s recommendation was to remove the expansion language from the code.

“County attorney, John Baier, had recommended that (expansion language) be removed from the land use code and put in a resolution. His opinion is that it’s a policy decision not land use code. So, he is recommending that it go to a resolution for the county commissioners and not be part of the land use code.”

Following a lengthy discussion, the commission narrowly approved (4-3) to remove the right-to-farm expansion language based on the county attorney’s memo.

The new right-to-farm language found on page 93 of the final draft reads:

“The right-to-farm, as described and protected by C.R.S. §§ 35-3.5-101, et seq. Shall not be compromised by this Section. Uses in the agriculture land use category shall not be found in violation of this Section to the extent that they employ methods or practices that are commonly or reasonably associated with agricultural production.”

The final draft, reflecting the planning commission’s recommendations, will now move to the Delta County Board of Commissioners for possible adoption at a later date.

Planning commission members present were: Chairman Tom Kay, Steve Shrock, Jacob Gray, Dick Gillmore, Steve Shea, Layne Brones and Eli Wolcott. Also present were Associate Commissioners Patti Hoff and Kate Darlington.

The land use code draft is available online: deltacountyplan.com/

Note: This is story is subject to updates so, be sure and check back for additional information on the Planning Commission meeting.

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