Zoning regulations need ‘significant overhaul’ | CraigDailyPress.com

Zoning regulations need ‘significant overhaul’

Moffat County hasn’t made major revisions to zoning regulations since 1982.

Former Planning Department director Sue Graler said minor changes have been made to building codes since the 1980s, but other than that, the regulations haven’t changed much.

“There needs to be a significant overhaul,” Graler said. “(Zoning regulations) need to be brought up to this century.”

“Exploratory drilling” for minerals is still a permitted use in residential areas, including developments near Thompson Hill and mobile-home neighborhoods in Shadow Mountain.

Building Inspector Pat Mosbey, who has been handling planning duties since Graler resigned in March, said although he doubts anyone will drill for oil in the county’s residential areas, the fact that drilling is permitted shows the regulations are outdated.

“This is an example of why we need to take a look at these,” Mosbey said.

State laws concerning oil drilling in residential areas would take precedent over the county’s zoning regulations if someone tried to drill near homes.

Linda Pavelka, permit supervisor for the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission in Denver said having county regulations coincide with state regulations would save her office some headaches.

“I suggest trying to match planning to our regulations,” Pavelka said.

County officials hope to have a full-time planner hired as soon as the end of this month. Updating the zoning regulations will fall under the new planner’s duties.

Graler said updating the zoning regulations was “next in line” before her position was cut from full- to part-time in 2003.

Mosbey said updating the regulations could be a long process. The new planner will have to make the changes, hold public meetings to discuss the changes and have the county commissioners approve the new regulations.

Graler said updating the zoning regulations is especially important now because the county is expected to grow in the coming years.

“The big issues are the things people don’t think about ’til it’s too late,” she said.

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