Building codes changes coming

18 months of work on land use code modifies zoning, regulations

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The days of constructing a commercial building in Craig out of four long metal walls will come to an end if a proposed new land use code is approved.

The city of Craig's land use code has been under consideration for 18 months, and it would change some zoning and regulations that currently govern construction.

"We're combining into one document of municipal codes, the subdivision and zoning regulations," Craig community development director Dave Costa said. "It's modeled after the state of Colorado land use codes."

The 30-year-old document that now oversees building in Craig has been updated occasionally, but Costa said this new plan will be easier to understand and the procedures will be easier to follow.

The new code is designed to bring many of Craig's buildings into compliance with existing codes, as well as allowing some businesses to expand that now are held back by the city codes.

"There are some significant changes, but also some exciting differences," Costa said. "We looked at the entire community, including some incorrectly zoned properties, and we're recommending some significant changes."

In May 2005, the city planning commission joined with a Loveland consulting firm to begin work on overhauling the city's land use code.

Katers and Associates had worked previously with the town of Hayden to revise its codes, and with the planning commission's help, a code better suited to Craig was developed.

Notable changes include creating a special Downtown District, with a central core at Yampa Avenue and Victory Way.

North of downtown -- where the east side of Yampa Avenue is currently zoned light industrial -- will be a mixed-use zone from Sixth Street to the bypass road north of town.

"We'll have a zone district that will allow residences and businesses both," Costa said. "It's a diverse area where professional offices and businesses can be next to homes. It currently is about 60-40, business and residential."

The major highway corridor along Victory Way will be changing from commercial to community-commercial in an attempt to accommodate existing structures in the zone district.

Metal buildings in commercial zones will no longer be permitted without breaks in long walls and facades or other architectural additions being added.

Building height limits will climb to 50 feet from the current 35.

New regulations for oil and gas drilling within city limits also will be part of the code.

"We never had addressed those before, but we don't want the development of the oil industry without complying with the city rules and requirements," Costa said. "Everybody owns mineral rights all over town. We want to require setbacks from dwellings and public right-of-ways."

An open house for public comment is proposed for Jan. 13 at the council chambers, and Costa plans to attend, along with the consultants and city officials.

"We have a good working document here, but we're always open to input from the public," he said. "The more eyes, the better."

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

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