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La Plata County land use code delayed
1/4/2008 By: Carole McWilliams
La Plata County’s new 400-plus page land use code was supposed to go into effect next week.
But because of various problems with it, the county commissioners have agreed with a planning department recommendation to delay it.
They approved the delay on Dec. 18.
Work on the new code started in 2004. The first draft was released to the public in late September that year. It drew a lot of public criticism and was in revision for two years.
The commissioners approved the new code last August but delayed implementation to this month because of the number of new forms and staff procedures that had to be created first.
The new code “needs to be sanitized,” County Building Department Director Butch Knowlton told the commissioners on Dec. 18. It has errors and “things that need tweaking,” he said.
Planning department representative Brett Sherman agreed. “We’ve realized the transition will be painful no matter when we do it, but it will be far more efficient if we can get everything in place, all the check lists.”
Commissioner Wally White also agreed. “It needs to be cleaned up and details ironed out,” he said. He asked planning staffers to bring a list to the Jan. 15 commissioners’ meeting of things that need to be fixed and how long it’s likely to take.
Interim Planning Director Erick Aune told the commissioners, “Part of (the fix) is getting all the players in the room and asking help from them. Our goal is to give you some reference on the 15th, in writing.”
He continued, “We aren’t leaving out or trying to be disrespectful of the public process that has occurred to this date. We will identify if it needs to go back to a public process. If so, we’ll notify you as soon as possible. At this point, we don’t believe it will.”
Commissioner Joelle Riddle commented, “There are unforeseen circumstances that arise that can be an opportunity to make something even better, opportunities to collaborate, opportunities for the Community Development (planning) Department to show its professionalism.”
The commissioners voted unanimously to delay the new code and keep the old code in place for now.