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Map, rules for land use unveiled

By Emery Cowan Herald staff writer

On Thursday evening, the public received a first look at a draft intergovernmental agreement map and set of development standards that La Plata County and city of Durango officials have been working on for months.

The map and the accompanying standards aim to guide development in urbanizing zones just outside city limits. The areas collectively are called the cooperative planning area.

The area encompasses only properties that would need city services and realistically could be served with city water within the next 10 to 20 years.

New transitional development standards would apply to some but not all properties within the cooperative planning area. Generally, properties already served by city utilities will need to develop according to city land-use standards while properties that don’t receive city services will follow the transitional standards.

The cooperative planning area defined in the current intergovernmental agreement is bigger than that proposed under the new draft agreement. The Grandview area east of Three Springs and properties along County Road 237 in the Horse Gulch area are not included in the new map because of the difficulty in serving them with city utilities.

City and county officials began developing a new intergovernmental agreement last year after county commissioners decided in June to terminate the current agreement at the end of 2012. Commissioners later approved a one-year extension to the agreement when it became clear a replacement wouldn’t be ready by December.

In approving a new intergovernmental agreement, the city and county also will agree on land uses within the cooperative planning area. The land uses in the draft map will be based on the city’s Comprehensive Plan, concurrent work on a La Posta Area Plan and other public comment the county receives, said Damian Peduto, the county’s planning director.

The county and the city will hold another open house on the draft intergovernmental agreement map and transitional standards May 28 at the La Plata County Courthouse. Comments also can be made through the county’s website.

Public comments will be submitted to county commissioners and city councilors as they continue to work toward a final intergovernmental agreement. Both elected bodies hope to have a finished product by the end of the year, though Peduto cautioned that the process may not meet the deadline.

“Nothing is going to go fast,” he said.

ecowan@durangoherald.com

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