You are here

Commissioners Table Zoning Amendment for Accessory Dwelling Units

The Fremont County Commissioners will give more consideration to a proposal that would allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) through creation of a countywide overlay zone district.   That was the outcome of a public hearing on the proposed zoning amendment at the Commissioners’ November 24th regular meeting as the Board voted to table the amendment pending more study.   The motion to table was put forth by District One Commissioner Tim Payne after opposition was expressed by the Penrose Water District and the Beaver Park Irrigation Company.   Both voiced concerns that allowing ADUs on parcels of one acre or larger would increase density in the Penrose area and increase demand for water which is in limited supply around Penrose.

Charlotte Norman of the Penrose Water District said the district does not have and will not have enough water to support an increase in density.    She argued that allowing ADUs goes against the master plan for the Penrose area which primarily allows 4 ½ acre parcels.   Norman also said increasing density will overload the formations of shale rock around Penrose and cause septic systems to leak raw sewage into the ditches.

As proposed the zoning amendment would permit a total of two residences on a single parcel that is a minimum of one acre in size.   The ADU could be no larger than 1,000 square feet, have no more than two bedrooms, and only one bathroom.   The ADU’s would share utilities with the primary residence.

District 2 Commissioner Debbie Bell said the Board received a number of letters both in support and opposition to the amendment.   Ray Pittman was among those testifying in favor of ADUs.   He said he and his wife live in a small two bedroom home and under current regulations their kids have no way of moving onto the property to assist them as they age.   Dee Dee Clement of Loaves and Fishes also spoke in support saying the ADU amendment offers a potential solution to the housing crisis currently being experienced in Fremont County.

The Fremont County Planning Commission had recommended that two requirements be removed from the amendment.   One is that the property owner would first have to build the primary residence prior to building the ADU and that the property owner must live on the property.    Commission Chairman Ed Norden said in whatever form the amendment comes back for consideration he still believes those two restrictions should remain among the requirements.

Norden said he was surprised at the number of positive comments regarding the ADU amendment because it seems to offer a common sense approach to the housing problems and simply makes good sense to the community.   In the meantime the Board of Commissioners intends to study the matter further to see if there is some way to exclude specific areas like Penrose while still allowing ADU’s to proceed elsewhere in the unincorporated areas of the county.   The Commissioners may or may not take the issue back to the Planning Commission.    The matter was tabled until the February 9, 2016 board meeting.

In other business at the November 24th meeting the Board of Commissioners:

  • Adopted a resolution updating animal control regulations across Fremont County;
  • Awarded a bid to Patch Construction in the amount of $22,784 for repairs to a concrete cross pan for a low water crossing on County Road 132 northwest of Penrose;
  • Appointed Rich LeDoux to the Fremont County Airport Advisory Committee for the balance of a term held by Greg Tabiteau who recently resigned;
  • Reappointed Dennis Wied to be the City of Cañon City’s representative to the Fremont County Planning Commission;
  • Reappointed Maureen Chapman, Deloris Comstock, Jody McKean, and Julie Reeves to the Fremont County Fair Board for additional 3-year terms;
  • Reappointed Mark Masar, Ralph Kunselman, and Tami Ratkovich to the Fremont County Fair’s 4-H Sales Committee;
  • Reappointed Ralph Kunselman, Doug Burford, Fred Smith, Tony Telck, and Darrell Deling to the Fremont County Weed Advisory Committee;
  • Heard a presentation on Hunger and Food Insecurity in Fremont County from Tommy Sakamoto of the Vineyard Church in Cañon City;
  • Heard a presentation on stormwater mitigation concerns from Manny Colon.   Colon spoke on behalf of the Hydraulic Ditch Board saying he hopes the ditch company can work together with Fremont County and the City of Cañon City to address stormwater problems that develop in Cañon City neighborhoods when heavy rains flood into the Hydraulic Ditch and overtop the ditch flooding several residential areas.