La Posta-area residents get a peek at the future

Mix of city and county development codes would guide area

An area plan for the La Posta area just outside the southern limits of Durango is beginning to take shape. Residents got an earful about road standards, buffer zones and special districts during a meeting Thursday to further flesh out the plan, which builds off similar efforts abandoned in 2008.

The city of Durango and La Plata County are working on the area plan jointly because the city is willing to extend water services to the La Posta area and plans eventually to annex it.

In the meantime, the goal is to create a plan for development and growth to occur in a way acceptable for everyone and benefiting the good of the community, said Eliot Hoyt, principal at Design Workshop, the Denver-based consulting firm creating the plan.

The firm’s work is on track to produce a finalized product, complete with city and county approval, by the end of the year, Hoyt said.

Thursday night’s plan gave more detail about potential land-use designations for different properties within the 2,100-acre La Posta area, as well as buffer zones between commercial and residential plots. The area likely will continue to support a mix of uses.

The consultants also presented options for future road expansion and various ways to finance infrastructure such as roads, water lines and sewage systems.

Residents can choose between three types of special districts to fund infrastructure. After the area plan is complete, Hoyt estimated it could take a year or more to establish such a special-taxing district.

Beyond that point, development will be market-driven, he said.

The La Posta area planning process parallels a similar process happening for the Grandview area southeast of Durango, said Jason Meininger, planner with La Plata County. The city will service both areas with water and is eyeing both for future annexation.

With that in mind, the city and the county are working on a special set of development standards that would apply to those areas and others like them. Those transitional standards represent a mix of the city and county codes and are meant to facilitate the transition when the city does decide to annex.

There is a recognition by city and county officials that there are parts of the unincorporated county that are urbanizing, and right now, “there is not a good set of standards for that,” Hoyt said.

“La Posta is a beautiful place to live and visit,” he said. “But it is also an important area for the economic growth of the community.”

A third and final public meeting on the La Posta area plan will be held in late August.

ecowan@durangoherald.com

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