Subchapter 62-1 General Provisions

La Plata County staff is pleased to present the draft Module 1 for the Revised Land Use Code. We are eager for you to take a look and give us suggested improvements to specific areas of the code. 

Module 1 is posted below, by section, with a comment box at the end of each section. Please read through the code and make your comments within the relevant section. 

We look forward to hearing from you what suggestions you have for this document! Please provide your suggestions by Jan. 26, 2018.

* 1. Contact Information
Please let us know who you are and how to reach you.

* 2. Sec. 62-1-1 Title; Short Title
 The La Plata County development regulations shall be known as the "La Plata County Land Use Code," or "this Code."

* 3. Sec. 62-1-2 Authority
I.          Generally. The provisions of this Code are authorized as provided in this Section.
II.        Authority. This Code is adopted pursuant to the authority granted by the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) including, but not limited to:
A.        Title 16, Criminal Proceedings; Article 13; Part 3, Abatement of Public Nuisance (C.R.S. § 16-13-301 et seq.);
B.        Title 24, Government - State, Article 65.1, Areas and Activities of State Interest (C.R.S. § 24-65.1-101 et seq.);
C.         Title 24, Government - State, Article 67, Planned Unit Development Act of 1972 (C.R.S. § 24-67-101 et seq.);
D.        Title 24, Government - State, Article 68, Vested Property Rights (C.R.S. § 24-68-101 et seq.);
E.        Title 25, Public Health and Environment, Article 12, Noise Abatement (C.R.S. § 25-12-101 et seq.);
F.         Title 29, Government - Local; Article 20, Local Government Regulation of Land Use (C.R.S. § 29-20-101 et seq.);
G.        Title 30, Government - County; Article 11, County Powers and Functions (C.R.S. § 30-11-101 et seq.);
H.        Title 30, Government - County; Article 15, Regulation under Police Power; Part 4, General Regulations (C.R.S. § 30-15-401 et seq.);
I.          Title 30, Government - County; Article 28, County Planning and Building Codes; Part 1, County Planning (C.R.S. § 30-28-101 et seq.);
J.          Title 30, Government - County; Article 28, County Planning and Building Codes; Part 4, Cluster Development (C.R.S. § 30-28-401 et seq.);
K.        Title 30, Government - County; Article 30, Control of Stream Flow for Purposes of Flood Control;
L.         Title 32, Special Districts, Article 1, Special District Provisions;
M.       Title 34, Mineral Resources; Article 60, Oil and Gas Conservation (C.R.S. § 34-60-101 et seq.);
N.        Title 43, Transportation; Article 1, Control of Outdoor Advertising Devices;
O.        Title 43, Transportation; Article 2, State, County, and Municipal Highways; Part 1, State, County, and City Highway Systems (C.R.S. § 43-2-101 et seq.); and
P.        All other powers authorized by the Constitution of the State of Colorado, or by common law including those for the regulation of land uses, land use planning and development, subdivision, environmental protection, police powers, and the power to abate nuisances.
III.     Federal Law. Certain uses, Development, or activities that are regulated by or exempted from this Code are also subject to federal law or regulation. The County may, but is not obligated to, require evidence of compliance with federal law or regulation as a basis for approvals, monitoring, or enforcement under this Code. Compliance with this Code may not be a defense against federal law or regulation.
IV.      Additional Authority; Limitations. Should further authorizing legislation exist or be enacted, this Code is additionally deemed to be enacted or effective pursuant thereto.

* 4. Sec. 62-1-3 Purposes and Objectives
I.          General Purposes. The regulations of this Code shall be implemented for the general purposes of adopting and enforcing ordinances and resolutions regarding health and safety issues as prescribed by law.
II.        Specific Purposes. The regulations of this Code shall be implemented by using the County's constitutional and statutory powers and shall be liberally construed to further these stated purposes:
A.        Common Good. Preserve and provide for the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens and businesses of La Plata County generally, and specifically as related to an adequate water supply, as set forth in C.R.S. § 29-20-301.
B.        Plan Implementation. Implement the Comprehensive Plan and other plans, studies, or maps, which are intended to give residents, property owners, and the community at-large a means for creating a shared vision for the future Development and preservation of the County. (Sec. 62-2-4, Consistency with Plans)
C.         Use of District Plans. Utilize the District Plans of each of the applicable Planning Areas as policy guidance for applying the Zoning Districts and standards set forth in this Code;
D.        Sustained Agricultural Operations. Promote patterns of land use that are compatible with and do not create an undue burden on agricultural operations in recognition of their public benefits to the economy, productive use of land, and open space preservation.
E.        Resource Protection. Protect sensitive environmental resources that provide County residents with safe and clean water sources and enhance the beauty and natural character of the County, including the protection of rivers and creeks and their riparian areas, natural wetlands, and water bodies, wildlife corridors and habitat areas, views of meadows and mountains, and other highly-valued areas.
F.         Character Preservation. Preserve, enhance, and protect the unique and special character of the County's historic assets and other areas of cultural, scenic, or architectural importance or significance.
G.        Responsible Development. Develop in a fiscally responsible and orderly manner in the areas of the County that are most suitable for Development and where level of service thresholds and standards can be met.
H.        Adequate Infrastructure. Ensure that the facility and service demands of new Development will not exceed the existing or scheduled improvements of capacities for existing roads, streets, water or wastewater infrastructure, utilities, and other services as necessary to support safe and healthy Development.
I.          Fair Share of Costs. Consistent with state statutes, ensure that new Development pays its fair share of the costs of required infrastructure investments as necessary to serve such Development.

* 5. Sec. 62-1-3 Purposes and Objectives, continued
J.        Land Use Compatibility. Minimize conflicts among adjacent land uses by creating a consistent land use (zoning) classification system from which predictable outcomes can be communicated to the public at-large.
K.        Fair and Timely Actions. Promote efficient, fair, and timely Development approval procedures by allowing for administrative approvals, where practicable and appropriate, and expressly stating the necessary requirements and criteria for application approvals.
L.         Adequate and Affordable Housing. Provide for an adequate supply of housing that is affordable for residents of the County by promoting compact and mixed housing Developments that are within the existing service areas for the provision of infrastructure and public facilities.
M.        Hazard Protection. Use good land use planning and engineering practices to minimize public and private losses due to flood, fire, landslides, avalanches, or other hazard conditions, and damages to critical facilities, by utilizing best construction practices and abiding by reasonable standards of Development.
N.        Intergovernmental Coordination. Coordinate with other governmental jurisdictions within the County, as well as with the sovereign nations of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.
O.         Inter-Agency Cooperation. Provide for improved coordination of special districts and other state-mandated review agencies to gain efficiencies in the provision of services, to standardize inter-agency standards and specifications, and to streamline approval and permitting processes.

* 6. Sec. 62-1-3 Purposes and Objectives, continued
I.          Objectives. The objectives of this Code are to accomplish the following:

A.        Criteria and Standards. This Code provides decision criteria and written standards that lead to consistent, predictable outcomes.
B.        Streamlined Processes. The application submittal and review processes, and the approval procedures are specified, along with the review and approval authorities, timelines, and applicable requirements or exceptions.
C.         Administrative Approvals. As permitted by law, where there are written standards and decision criteria, County staff is authorized to decide and approve applications for, or minor modifications to, certain plans, plats, or permits.
D.        Imposition of Rational and Consistent Standards. La Plata County will not impose any discretionary condition upon a land use approval unless the condition is based upon duly adopted standards of this Code or other County resolutions that are sufficiently specific to ensure that the condition is imposed in a rational and consistent manner. (C.R.S. 29-20-203, Conditions on Land Use Approvals)
E.        Written Decisions Based on Standards, Laws, and Facts. Application decisions will include a written statement explaining the criteria and standards considered relevant in making the decision. At a minimum, this statement will include each of the following items:
1.         Staff report;
2.         Meeting minutes, if applicable;
3.         Facts relied upon;
4.         Relevant standards or requirements of applicable state-mandated review agencies;
5.         Relevant portions of this Code; and
6.         Relevant portions of State and/or Federal Law.
F.         Use for Previously-Approved Purpose Protected. Land uses originally intended, designed, and approved pursuant to County regulations then in place are hereby recognized, regardless of the subsequent application of new standards, regulations or requirements. Such land uses remain subject to the terms and conditions of any other applicable law (e.g., the express terms and conditions of a special use permit, development improvements agreement, implied consent agreement, etc.). (Chapter 73, Nonconformities).
G.      Respect for Agricultural Practices. This Code does not declare any agricultural operation employing methods or practices that are commonly or reasonably associated with the agricultural production to be a public or private nuisance. (Title 35, Agricultural Administration, Article 3.5, Nuisance Liability of Agricultural Operations).
IV.   Adopted Standards Prevail. Where there is a conflict between a statement of purpose and an adopted standard, the adopted. standard shall prevail.

* 7. Sec. 62-1-4 Jurisdiction
This Code shall apply to all unincorporated lands situated within La Plata County, Colorado to the maximum extent that the County has jurisdiction under the U.S. Constitution and the constitution and laws of the State of Colorado.

* 8. Sec. 62-1-5 General Rules
I.          Required Compliance. No person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other entity may use, occupy, or develop land, buildings, or structures unless the use, occupancy, or Development is in compliance with this Code.
II.        Nuisances. This Code does not allow public or private nuisances to be established or maintained.
III.     Prior Authorization Required. As required by this Code, prior authorization of the commencement of Development is required.
IV.      Review Criteria in Deciding Violations. Any matter brought before the Board of Adjustment, Planning Commission, Joint Planning Commission, or Board to decide a violation of this Code shall consider the applicable review criteria stated in this Code.
V.        Conflict with Other Governmental Regulations. If the provisions of this Code are inconsistent or in conflict with those of the State, the more restrictive provision shall control, as permitted by law. Conflict with federal law is addressed by Section 61-1-2, Authority.
VI.      Conflict with Other County Regulations or Agreements. If any provision of this Code is inconsistent or in conflict with any other provision of this Code or other adopted resolutions, ordinances, or regulations of the County, the more restrictive provision shall control.
VII.   Conflict with the Official Map or Overlay Areas. In the event of a conflict between the district boundaries on the Official Map or Overlay Area and the Zoning District designation of property provided by a duly enacted resolution adopted before the Effective Date of this Code, the Official Map or Overlay Areas shall control. In case of doubt or dispute, the boundary lines shall be determined by the Board of Adjustment upon receiving an appeal from a ruling of the Administrator, provided the jurisdiction of the Board of Adjustment shall not include the interpretation of the boundaries of flood zones. (Sec. 63-1-5, Official Map of Overlay Areas)

* 9. Sec. 62-1-6 Applicability
I.          Generally. All of the following are subject to the applicable requirements of this Code, and may require one or more Development approvals or permits:
A.        Subdivision of land resulting in lots of less than 35 acres;
B.        The use of any land or the use or extension of use of new or existing structures.
C.         The construction, reconstruction, conversion, structural alteration, repair, enlargement, relocation, storage, or demolition of structures.
D.        Any mining, excavation, land fill, or land disturbance, except traditional agricultural practices and irrigation ditch or reservoir maintenance (including both minor and major maintenance activities).
E.        Relative to flood damage prevention and flood hazard reduction, any man-made change to improved or unimproved property including, but not limited to: structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation, drilling operations, or storage of equipment or materials within an area of special flood hazard, except traditional agricultural practices and irrigation ditch or reservoir maintenance (including both minor and major maintenance activities).
F.         Erection, construction, enlargement, modification, alteration, relocation, repair, improvements, demolition, maintenance, or conversion of signs. (Subchapter 70-3, Signs)
II.        Minimum Standards. The provisions of this Code are the minimum standards necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Code.

* 10. Sec. 62-1-6 Applicability, Continued
IV.      No Effect on Private Restrictions.
A.        Generally. This Code shall not interfere with, abrogate, or annul any private easement, covenant, deed restriction, or other agreement between private parties.
B.        Consistent Enforcement. This Code will be enforced on property that is subject to private restrictions in the same manner as other properties.
C.         No Duty to Search for Private Restrictions. The County has no duty to search for the existence of private restrictions on property.
D.        Interpretation, Application, or Enforcement of Private Restrictions. The County will not interpret, apply, or enforce private restrictions unless it is a party to them, and in such instance, only as the Board determines necessary or prudent.
E.        Private Party Responsibility. Parties to private covenants who seek County Development approvals that are inconsistent with their private covenants do so at their own risk that the covenants may be enforced by other private parties who may have standing to file suit.
V.          Publicly-Owned Property. This Code applies to land owned by the County and other local, state, and Federal agencies to the extent permitted by law.
VI.        Cumulative Regulations. Each and every standard, regulation, and requirement of this Code shall be deemed and construed to be cumulative, and the most stringent standard, regulation, or requirement shall apply, except as otherwise specifically provided.