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Planning & Zoning Commission sends UDC to trustees

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A new zoning code

By John Colson

Sopris Sun Staff Writer

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Carbondale’s citizen planners, after more than two years of work on rewriting the town’s development review regulations, this week took their final action on a streamlined, updated and in some cases groundbreaking set of regulations for reviewing development proposals.

On Thursday, the volunteer members of the Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the proposed Unified Development Code.

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The night before, on Wednesday, the P&Z met in joint session with the Carbondale Board of Trustees to go over the document one last time before presenting it to the public in a public hearing Feb. 18. (Editor’s note: The trustees’ meetings are now on Wednesday nights, after The Sopris Sun has gone to press.)

The draft version of the UDC, as it is known, now will go before the trustees on March 9 for yet another public hearing in preparation for final adoption.

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Work began on the UDC in 2013, after town officials concluded that the old code, dating back to 1993, was too cumbersome and, in places, too contradictory to be of much practical use to developers or to the town itself as it reviewed development proposals for everything from commercial businesses to residential homes and complexes.

The UDC is 358 pages of text, diagrams and illustrations, comprising eight chapters, that can be viewed on a special website (www.carbondaleudc.com), which features a considerable amount of information about the process undergone by the Planning & Zoning Commission and the town’s consultant on the project, Clarion Associates of Denver.

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Planning Director Janet Buck told The Sopris Sun on Friday that the meeting between the P&Z and the trustees went smoothly.

“No major issues came up on Wednesday night,” Buck said, noting that the trustees did make some suggestions for last-minute changes.

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“Basically, it is some clean-up of the lighting section, putting agricultural lands in sensitive areas, consider food processing in all commercial zone districts and allow community gardens in all zone districts,” she said of the trustees’ proposed modifications.

She noted that, in more than two years spent on the UDC, “There had already been numerous meetings (read many, many, many) working through the UDC, as well as four public meetings in addition to the public hearing (Thursday) night.”

The trustees’ regular meetings typically start at 6 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at Town Hall (511 Colorado Ave.), with work sessions usually the first and third Wednesday. The public is encouraged to attend the meetings.

Published in The Sopris Sun on February 25, 2016.

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