Eagle County lifts subdivision ban
EAGLE – As far as Jim Turnipseed is concerned, Eagle County Commissioners Peter Runyon and Arn Menconi took five months to send a message.Menconi, Runyon and fellow commissioner Tom Stone voted Tuesday to lift a ban on new subdivisions in the county. The ban was imposed – over Stone’s objections – in October. At the time, Runyon and Menconi said the ban was needed as a “breather” to give county officials time to write a handful of amendments to the county’s land use laws. Those new rules were passed last month.”If the planning department is confident that the changes are appropriate to fulfill the original intent (of the ban), that’s great,” Runyon said.Turnipseed, though, said the ban was more about appearance than substance.”It was really a symbolic thing anyway,” he said. “Last fall I asked if they were just sending a message, and they essentially said “yes.” Well, they sent their message.”Stone agreed with Turnipseed’s view.”I always thought it was a needless, meaningless, worthless effort,” Stone said. “It didn’t stop a single project.”The ban had language allowing exemptions due to “hardship.” Only two “hardship” applications were filed. One, for a Red Cliff woman, was granted. The other, for 84 Lumber, a national company, was denied, but the firm now has a project working its way through the county’s land use process. Runyon, though, said the new regulations enacted during the ban will help.”We now have rules and regulations that give builders and developers better direction,” he said. “They need to use the comprehensive plan, and reference specific paragraphs of it. It will be an ultimate help to the development community to understand the issues they face.”Stone disagreed.”The board was already able to do everything these changes purport to enable it to do,” he said.Changing the rulesA ban on new subdivisions was lifted Tuesday, thanks to new rules regarding land use. The changes include:- Tighter definitions of proposed density in existing neighborhoods so new projects will be more “compatible” with what’s already there.- Before approval, applicants have to prove their projects provide affordable housing, recreation, access to mass transportation.- Applicants must comply with specific section of the county’s new master plan.
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