Sullivan: Eagle County land use regulations
Currently, Eagle County is in the process of modernizing and simplifying its land use regulations. In watching this process, it is clear that land use decisions should be made with “reasonable consideration as to the character of each zone and its suitability for particular uses, with a view to conserving the value of buildings and land, and encouraging the most appropriate use of land throughout the (Town, City, County) in accordance with their Comprehensive Plan, other adopted plans, and engineering studies.” (online.encodeplus.com/regs/loveland-co)
I am writing to express my concern about how outdated land use regulations can allow developers to drive land use decisions in the valley. The model appears to be:
1) Developer buys land
2) Developer designs development
3) Developer applies for land use change, incorporating required “public benefit” like walking paths and affordable housing
4) Local governments spend staff time and funds facilitating creation and adjudication of the application
5) The public, who fully understand all aspects of what’s being proposed, spends untold personal time and personal funds providing elected officials with a convincing argument to deny or mitigate the application.
6) In the end, the elected officials decide. There are very few “reasonable considerations” driving this process.
I urge other local governments to follow Eagle County’s Land Use Code Modernization project. Although we do not yet know if the outcome will solve “Developer Driven” land use decisions, I believe that there are, at a minimum, valuable lessons to be learned from Eagle County’s Public Meetings and Feedback opportunities.
The next work session is Tuesday, Dec. 12: 1:30-3:30 p.m. You can watch the session live on ecgtv.com, the Eagle County Government Facebook page, or in person at 500 Broadway.