Development code under revision
The document that guides land development throughout Pitkin County is about to undergo a major rewrite.The Pitkin County Land Use Code hasn’t been revised in the last decade, said Cindy Houben, director of the county’s Community Development Department. In that time, master plans that reflect residents’ desires for how their neighborhoods develop have been completed throughout the county. Houben said it’s time for the code to reflect those plans.”Certain things we wanted to get done, like rezoning based on those master plans, will be reflected in the new code,” Houben said. The county is discussing the land-use code in three sections. In January the board reviewed the first section, which includes zoning and building sizes.The second section, which was discussed Tuesday, includes procedures for developing land. At a special meeting the county commissioners were presented with a number of changes from planning consultants from Clarion Associates, including specific guidelines for preserving wildlife habitat, building on steep slopes and protecting wetlands.At a June meeting, commissioners will discuss the last section of the code, including the review and approval process and enforcement.”No final decisions will be made until all three [sections] are reviewed and we have had extensive discussion about them,” said board Chairwoman Patti Clapper. “We anticipate scheduling public hearings in August and September in front of the planning and zoning board and the [commissioners]. We encourage public participation – this process may take until the end of the year.”In the past months, the commissioners have rezoned some land based on the master plans, rather than waiting for the land-use code to be rewritten. That included creating a “transitional residential” zone on much of the face of Smuggler Mountain, meant as a buffer between the rural and remote areas on the backside of the mountain and the more urban area of the city limits of Aspen.”We have been making small changes on more emergent issues,” Clapper said.She also tried to dispel any rumors of a moratorium on development while the county is rewriting the land-use code, saying that if commissioners had been looking at doing that, they “would have already done it.”In 2,000 commissioners placed a six-month moratorium on development for all houses larger than 5,750 square feet.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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