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Commissioners approve zoning updates

Posted on 07/17/2019
Commissioners approve zoning updates

After considering public input from residents and business owners, the Weld County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved on third reading proposed zoning updates to Chapter 23 of the Weld County Code. The updates involve the county’s 14 zoning districts but bring clarity to residents by identifying the types of facilities and uses that belong in the county’s vast agricultural zone.

“Our job as county commissioners is to ensure the harmonious development of our county,” Commissioner Chair Barbara Kirkmeyer said. “The changes we made were based on our experience in land use hearings. We should encourage development in the most appropriate location and in the correct zoning district in our county.”

Final amendments made to the ordinance were in response to public comment and concern regarding certain uses allowed in various zones. Changes involved expanding accepted uses in the county’s industrial zone, clarifying the type of manufacturing, research, or storage facilities allowed in the agricultural zone and inserting language into the code to allow farming of undeveloped land in commercial, residential and industrial zones.

Throughout the three-reading process, some of the proposed updates included restricting certain commercial and industrial uses from occurring in the agriculture zone, especially in subdivisions, while promoting more agriculture related uses; changing whether a use is allowed in the agriculture zone based on whether property is located in a subdivision or historic townsite; and shifting the permitting process for many agriculture related uses from a Use By Special Review (USR) to a more administrative process facilitated by the Department of Planning Services.

While the zoning updates further solidify the intent of the county’s agricultural zone, they also provide a clearer development framework of Weld County, which the commissioners believe will help create growth that is consistent with residents’ expectations, while allowing accommodations to changing needs in the future.

The Public Process

When the county considers changes to the code, including changes such as those approved for Chapter 23, the public is not only notified but encouraged to participate.

“Through public meetings, news releases and public comment opportunities, the board values resident participation,” Commissioner Pro-Tem Mike Freeman said. “Changes to code are to be reflective of our residents’ desires regarding this county.”

During the Chapter 23 updates, information was published in two news releases which were posted on the county website and sent to the media. Information was also published on the county’s Facebook page and a new webpage was promoted that specifically highlighted the proposed changes.