Dillon wants to streamline development review process | SummitDaily.com

Dillon wants to streamline development review process

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DILLON – To encourage a town redesign on a budget, Dillon officials are moving forward with its goals to streamline its development review process.

The new concept was considered by town council and staff at a recent work session.

The idea is part of Dillon’s plan to revitalize its old retail sector through its urban renewal efforts. The Dillon Urban Renewal Authority, or DURA, was created last year to make the town a pedestrian-friendly area with a strong business core.

“It will be one more piece on the shelf to get ready (for urban renewal),” said Dillon’s new mayor Ron Holland. “I recommend moving forward.”

Town planner Bev Kaiser said she’s been working on streamlining the process for a little over a year, as Dillon’s current development application procedures “takes too long.”

“I think it’s really cumbersome,” she said.

According to Kaiser, if approved the new application review time will be cut down from six months to three months, and it will require less time in front of town staff and officials. Shortening the timeline of the approval procedures will also help developers get financing and loans for construction.

“It will save everyone time and money,” said town manager Devin Granbery.

Kaiser noted that under the new rules developers would be given the option to meet with staff to review a concept before it comes to planning commissioners and town council, and that will help to weed out problems before too much money is invested in a project. Staff will also be able to approve “some simple remodels” without it having to go to the planning and zoning commission.

Council supported the concept preliminarily at the April 20 work session, and the plan will likely come before them officially at the May 4 town meeting. If approved on first reading, a second hearing with a public comment session will then be scheduled.

“We hope to see it done by the end of the summer,” Kaiser said.

University of Colorado grad students are also helping Dillon officials create a new look for its town center – Kaiser said the students are ready to meet with planning commissioners, town council and members of the parks and recreation committee to come up with ideas for design guidelines. They’ve been working with Kaiser since January, and their work is being funded from a Live Well Colorado grant and the University of Colorado Denver.

The meeting will be held in mid-May. A public workshop with architects and developers will follow.

Once the design is complete, the students’ work will likely be implemented into a “form-based” code, or a type of zoning code that defines where buildings are placed. It will provide standards for street designs, street furniture, signs and building fronts.

A form-based code can be useful for towns wanting a more compact, vital, dense and walkable community, and as redevelopment occurs new buildings will conform to the set standards. This ensures that the Town gets the types of developments it wants.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.

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