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Update: The discussion of the Private Lands Camping section of Module I is continued to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, rather than the original time of 1:00 p.m.. It appears that the BoCC will then set a future date to review the revised language on agri-tourism.

In another day-long session this past Tuesday, the Chaffee Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) continued its laborious review of Module I of the county’s new land use code (LUC).

They managed to agree on and finalize all but two of the topic areas of Module I, with the exception of agri-tourism and private camping. Their discussion of the Private Lands Camping section of Module I is continued to 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4. It appears that the BoCC will then set a future date to review the revised language on agri-tourism.

Prior to this special meeting, the hearing has been continued twice, first from August 22 to Sept. 13, then from the 13th to September 28. While public comment closed on the items in Module I on Sept. 13, a lengthy discussion ensured when some attendees announced they didn’t know the public comments were closed and they had comments to add (This September 27 AVV story covered that fact, as well as the week prior.)

“My concern is we haven’t noticed this as a public comment session,” said Chair Greg Felt. “We try to get as much info as possible. But my concern is there are people who aren’t here today who didn’t know we would accept public comment.”

It was finally agreed via a formal motion, to allow the new comments, as well as accept the letters received after the Sept. 27 deadline.

Sections included in Module 1of the Chafee County Land Use Code update

Included in their module review were:

  • LUC Module I Private Lands Camping regulations
  • LUC Hipcamp regulations
  • Auxiliary Dwelling Unit (ADU) detached building site defensible space
  • Land Use Code -Consider Adoption of  Final Land Use Code Text Amendments: “Module 1” topics, including Wildland Urban Interface; Accessory Dwelling Units; Agritourism; Short Term Rentals; and Bed and Breakfast sections.

A lengthy discussion ensued regarding the protections contained within the wildland-urban interface section, with FElt pointing out that in major subdivisions, not all the lots are likely to be sold at once, leaving the prospect of undeveloped lots that could become tinderbox areas near homes, nor does the county know precisely where these areas of concern are. In approving this module, they moved to require a wildland-urban interface overlay map.

There was debate over the section on ADUs (auxiliary dwelling units) which have been identified as housing that can help address the county’s workforce housing crisis. The question: the definition of exactly what ADUs are, and how far away from an existing home they will be allowed, or if they might be allowed to be attached.  ADUs are allowed up to 50 feet from the primary residence and cannot exceed the square footage of the main home.

The thorny topic of short-term rentals (STRs) took up more than an hour of discussion. At present, the county has 310 STR-licensed units and it has two waiting lists; one for county residents, and another for non-residents. The new module is suggesting that that number might be adjusted by the BoCC as of Sept. 1, of each year, and finalized no later than Oct. 1, for execution as of Jan 1. of the following year, with the 12-month license timeframe from Feb. 1 – Jan. 31

At present, the LUC draft recommends that STRs be owned by the local resident, or rented for 3 years to the local workforce prior to applying for an STR license application. During that time it does need to be occupied by the local resident.

“It puts a premium on people coming here to purchase a home and take it out of the rental market,” said Felt.

“The requirement if it stays, effectively you could combine the lists, you’d have the three-year workforce requirement to get on the list,” said Commissioner Keith Baker.”In other counties they require that the STR operator be a full-time resident of the county, and be associated with the operator’s principal residence … they’re NOT allowing investor-owned STRs, not allowing condo conversions into STRs, Was that talked about in the Planning Commission?”

To get around the commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution we can’t wholly prohibit it,” said Cottom. “But adding wait lists, and priorities gets around that. We have the workforce housing issues and that meets that standard.”

“Of the 310 (licenses) you could allocate a certain amount to owner residents. It’s the basket approach,” said Chaffee County Attorney Daniel Tom. Whether or not to allow a cap on the number of licenses that can be held by one entity (whether a person, LLC, trust) was discussed. It was noted that right now there is one person who has five Chaffee STR licenses and another with four licenses and if caps are the approach, the county will make sure that licenses aren’t applied for by different members of the same family or corporation to get around a cap.

Baker noted that most Colorado counties have arrived at an approach to STRs offered to those with a primary residence here while prohibiting investor-owned STRs. But it was pointed out that in Archuletta County, 11 percent of STRs are owned by county residents, 27 percent are owned by Coloradans, and more than 40 percent are owned by Texans.

Those operations that have been operating for more than 50 years (which iw when the county adopted its first land use code) will be exempt.

The BoCC unanimously approved the STR section with some amendments, which will be prepared for final approval during the BoCC October 11.

As they neared the 5:00 p.m. hour, the BoCC reviewed and moved to approve the last discussion section that day; Bed and Breakfast LUC. The BoCC had some small amendments to the section, which will be prepared for final approval during the BoCC October 11.

“B&Bs are owner-occupied room rental with common cooking and dining facilities, renting individual rooms,” said County AssistantAttorney MilesCottom. “There is a long-standing understanding of traditional B&B delineated from a short-term rental and not a lockout. B&Bs are by definition a commercial use. In fact, the use standards required are CDPHE requirements.”

The BoCC unanimously approved a letter of support for a Trails and Conservation Plan Grant Application and made quick work of extending its temporary moratorium on the submission, acceptance, or processing of applications for road and alley vacations in the townsite of Nathrop. This was necessary to cover the gap between its expiration and the date the new Module I of the LUC will be final.  Months ago the BoCC put the moratorium in place so that it could get a right-of-way (ROW) assessment of this historic townsite.

County Board meetings are available via ZOOM. To join the Oct. 4 special session follow this link to Join Meeting (ID# 109 079 543).

For BOCC meetings, you may access the agenda and public packet for noticed meetings in the Civic Clerk frame below the calendar, or visit Chaffee County’s Civic Clerk page at https://chaffeecoco.civicclerk.com/web/home.aspx .