La Posta residents hear new land plan

Initial infrastructure upgrades to cost about $9M

Residents and government officials got a clearer view of what future development in the La Posta area could look like at a meeting Thursday night.

The meeting was the third of four public information meetings scheduled to involve residents and gain feedback about a proposed La Posta-area plan. The plan aims to set out land-use designations, development guidelines and an infrastructure-funding mechanism that can guide the area into the future.

The city of Durango and La Plata County are partnering to push ahead with planning efforts because both entities recognize the need for a place where new commercial and industrial businesses can locate, said Greg Hoch, the director of Planning and Community Development for the city.

“The city of Durango and the City Council and the board of county commissioners are in agreement on the need to create places where new jobs and new businesses (can start) and where businesses that need to expand can do that,” Hoch said. “We realize the only place left to do any light industrial or heavy commercial Bodo (Industrial Park)-type business park is the La Posta Road area.”

On Thursday a group of about 40 people saw a revised map of land-use designations that showed a mix of industrial, mixed commercial and residential uses interspersed on the 2,100-acre parcel just south of Durango.

The drawings included the potential for riverside trail that would connect with the existing Animas River Trail.

Attendees also heard a more specific plan for funding water and sewer infrastructure and road construction in the area. The cost for the initial infrastructure would be about $9 million, said Todd Johnson, a subcontractor working on project funding.

Johnson recommended property owners form a metropolitan district to fund construction through a mill levy increase.

Based on current assessed value, property owners would need to approve a 42-mill increase on their property taxes, which would raise the property taxes for the average La Posta-area resident by about $600 annually.

After a final public information meeting this fall, the La Posta-area plan will go to the Durango City Council and the La Plata County Board of County Commissioners for formal approval. After that residents would be able to form a metro district.

City annexation of the area, while discussed as a probable next step, would need to be initiated by La Posta residents, Hoch said. The city is planning to service the area with water.

La Plata County interim planning director Gary Suiter joined with the project’s consultants in making a case for the area plan as a necessary blueprint for development into the future.

“There’s value for creating certainty and predictability,” that would come with such a plan, Suiter said.

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