County planners propose changes to subdivision regulations

New subdivisions in Moffat County will need fences, fire protection and weed management plans, according to new regulations.

Many of the issues addressed in the new subdivision regulations have been hot topics of discussion among the Craig Rural Fire Protection District, Moffat County Board of Commissioners and Craig City Council.

The Moffat County Planning Commission presented the first draft of the subdivision regulations at a public hearing Tuesday night.

The fencing, fire and weed management regulations are three entirely new sections in the regulations.

Planning Director Sue Graler called the fire protection section the "first attempt to implement the fire plan," referring to the fire management plan designed by the county's Natural Resource Department. That plan gave landowners the option to determine how they want fire managed on their land.

Proposed development plans will require approval from the Sheriff's Department, Craig Rural Fire District or Artesia Fire District, depending on the location of the development. Furthermore, developers will need a wildfire mitigation and management plan that shall include a proposed fire protection system, including an adequate water supply for fighting fire, a road design that can accommodate emergency vehicles, rural addressing information and escape routes.

Those requirements could address the concerns of firefighters for Craig Fire District, who have said that some subdivision roads are too narrow or too steep for fire trucks or ambulances. If a water supply were available at subdivisions, firefighters would not have to return to town to refill their tanker trucks, saving precious time while fighting a fire.

The fencing and weed management sections bring the regulations into line with state and county regulations. Colorado Revised Statute Article 46, Fence Law, requires subdivisions to have a perimeter fence of three strings of barbwire with posts no more than 16 feet apart.

The weed management section requires developers to comply with the Moffat County Undesirable Plant Management Plan. A statement must be provided describing the existing weed infestation of the acreage within the proposed development and indicate where weed mitigation is required. A list of undesirable weeds can be obtained through the Cooperative Extension Office, Graler said.

At a Craig City Council meeting last week, council members voiced concern that Moffat County subdivision regulations did not agree with city regulations. The disagreement caused problems whenever the city annexed new properties.

At the city's request, new subdivisions within the Urban Development Boundary shall have a drainage system designed by a registered professional engineer that does not increase the amount of historic runoff from the subdivision, Graler said.

Two other provisions regarding sidewalks and gutters were added to bring county regulations into agreement with the city. That is all that has been done so far, but Graler said a copy of the regulations has been delivered to the City Council for them to comment on.

The regulations will be open for public comment for the next 30 days.

The first draft represents the first official revision of the subdivision regulations since 1973, when the Moffat County Board of Commissioners amended the regulations one year after adopting them.

Between then and now, the county government would interject pieces of information into the regulations whenever they were needed, Graler said.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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