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Land Use Code Revision Process described as “multiple bites of the apple”, not a One-time Opportunity

Nearly 30 people turned out at the Salida SteamPlant on February 27 for a public meeting on revisions to Salida’s Land Use Code (LUC) and the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) for the City of Salida.

Attendees at the February 27 LUC meeting. Photo by Elliot Jackson

The event was hosted by Bill Almquist, Salida’s Community Development Director, with Matt Goebel and Paul Donegan, consultants from Clarion and Associates.

Goebel introduced the meeting by giving a presentation and overall project background: “The City wanted to implement plans and policies, to make it easier to develop what the Salida community wants.”

Goebel characterized this as: more/affordable housing options, safe and walkable neighborhoods, more efficient land use, and more business opportunities. Goebel also stressed that one of the points of the LUC rewrite, as well as the FLUM, was to “make development more transparent and user-friendly.”

Proposed Salida Future Land Use (FLUM) map, first draft as of Nov., 2023 Image courtesy City of Salida

Goebel and Donegan went over the timeline of the project from the pre-COVID beginning at the end of 2019 to the end of 2023, the anticipated endpoint of the revisions to the two remaining parts of the LUC, Districts and Uses and Development Standards.

“There will be multiple bites of the apple,” said Goebel. “You will have plenty of time and opportunity to give feedback” during the draft adoption process.

Donegan explained that the FLUM “came about to help inform the rest of the process” of revising the LUC: “It relates to Salida’s comprehensive plan – where is the housing mix going to happen? The FLUM connects the dots between plan policies and land – it describes desired density.”

The LUC is part of Chapter 16 of the Salida Municipal Code, which implements the city’s comprehensive plan. It sets standards and regulations for all development within the Salida city limits, as well as development approval procedures.

The proposed revisions to the Districts and Uses portion of the LUC, so far, sets a whole new lineup of mixed-use districts and non-residential districts. They set district standards, with graphics to show what a typical building in that zone would look like, aligned with district standards: “This kind of setup make it easy to understand” what’s expected in each district, according to Goebel.

Proposed Zoning Districts in the LUC update. Image courtesy of Clarion Associates and the City of Salida.

In addition to reformulating current zoning districts, the proposed changes allow for some completely new ones: Agriculture, Parks and Open Spaces, and Community Facilities. “Agriculture and urban agriculture will cover things like community gardens, and allow for produce sales there,” Almquist explained.

“The zoning changes will allow for more housing affordability – for co-housing, live/work units, more manufactured homes – [the proposed changes] will limit redevelopment of mobile home parks, and bring us into Fair Housing Act compliance,” he explained. “It will also limit low-density housing in industrial areas – we need business, too.”

“I believe that the highway district is the area where a lot more density can happen without destroying any sort of community character,” said City Council member Harald Kasper during public comment: “I foresee giving people that own property their incentives to put in a lot higher density housing.”

Another question asked about proposed intersections with U.S. 50 to make it more walkable. “The portion of Highway 50 we are talking about is about a three-mile stretch – pockets along that stretch can develop over time into something more walkable – The U.S. 50/U.S. 291 intersection is an example of mixed-use development – [creating] small little downtowns, if you will.”

After the meeting, Almquist stated that he was pleased with the feedback so far, but a bit frustrated that more people had not been in attendance that evening.

“I wish [Salida residents] realized that the LUC is going to have a significant impact on their lives and that this is their chance to shape those impacts,” said Almquist.

The February, 2023 proposed revision to the LUC, as well as the FLUM, can be viewed here. An online survey for more public feedback can be accessed here.

Featured image: Aerial view of Salida, looking east to Tenderfoot Mountain. Photo by Dan Smith.