County to update zoning regulations

— For the first time since 1972, Routt County has a proposed comprehensive update to its zoning and subdivision regulations.

Over the past 30 years, more than 50 amendments have been made to the regulations.

"I think everybody was in agreement that it was time for an update," county planner John Eastman said.

The proposed update clarifies and reorganizes existing regulations to be more user-friendly. To that end, the document describing the regulations was cut by 40 percent to about 200 pages in length. It also includes simplified handouts and easy-to-understand tables.

The update also proposes changes to some regulations to respond to changes and growth in the county.

For instance, because of the growth of home-based businesses, the proposed plan would eliminate some previous restrictions for such businesses and create a new category of permits for "Home Industry."

Also, because of the increased need for affordable housing, the proposed plan would reduce restrictions on secondary dwelling units.

Other proposed changes include encouraging viability of local agriculture by having a simple permit process for limited retail sales of local produce, reducing setback requirements in residential zone districts, giving more site plan flexibility to commercial zones and discouraging new subdivisions on remote or minimal-maintenance county roads.

"We are trying to be a lot more flexible and deal with the issues that have come up," Routt County Planning Director Caryn Fox said.

The changes are timely because policy-guiding documents, such as the Routt County Master Plan, recently have been updated, the planners said.

In Routt County, the Zoning Resolution and Subdivision Regulations are the primary tools for regulating land use and the subdivision of land into parcels of less than 35 acres. The regulations apply only in unincorporated parts of the county.

Copies of the proposed update are available on the county's Web site at www.co.routt.co.us.

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