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Commissioners Approve Amended Plan for Accessory Dwelling Units

The Fremont County Board of Commissioners gave final approval to an amended plan to allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) in Fremont County at Tuesday’s regular meeting.    The ADU proposal was tabled from the November 24th meeting following opposition voiced by the Penrose Water District and the Beaver Park Water District.    Both argued that allowing ADU’s would increase density and create more demand for water which Penrose is not in the position to provide.

To address that problem the commissioners opted to amend the ADU proposal by doing away with a countywide overlay zone.  Instead the county will rely on a permitting process whereby a water provider such as the Penrose Water District could deny water service for Accessory Dwelling Units.   Penrose Water has already indicated they would require a second water tap for such ADU’s instead of connecting to the existing water line.

Commission Chairman Ed Norden said the ADU zoning amendment still requires a minimum lot size of one acre for ADU’s, that the property owner live in one of the residences, that the ADU have a separate entrance, that utilities be shared with the main residence, and that the primary residence be built on the property before the ADU.

District 2 Commissioner Debbie Bell said despite the continued opposition from the Penrose Water District the ADU proposal had a lot of support when it was first proposed last fall as a way to deal with the existing housing shortage in Fremont County.   District 1 Commissioner Tim Payne said there was also support from people who wanted to add on a so-called ‘mother-in-law’ cottage to house aging parents or their adult children who might not be able to afford other housing options.

The ADU amendment goes into force with adoption by the commissioners.    Persons wanting to add an ADU on their property must initiate an application process through the Fremont County Office of Planning and Zoning.

The commissioners on Tuesday also voted to approve the purchase of 20 Chevy Tahoes as part of the sweeping replacement of vehicles at the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department.   Replacement of the Sheriff’s high mileage fleet of cars was among the priorities listed when voters approved a one cent sales tax increase for the Sheriff two years ago.    County Finance Director Sunny Bryant said the fleet purchase is being accomplished through a lease-purchase arrangement in the amount of $1.2 million through U.S. Bancorp.    Bryant said after this initial 20 vehicle purchase the Sheriff proposes to rotate out about four vehicles each year in the future.

In other business at the February 9th board meeting the commissioners:

  • Heard the Fremont County Tourism Council’s annual report from FCTC Chairman Steve Kaverman;
  • Approved leases with Skip Moreau and Jason Dawson for skydiving landing zones at the Fremont County Airport;
  • Scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, February 23rd at 10:00 a.m. on a zone change request from Ag Forestry Zone to Travel Trailer Park and Campground zone for the Mountaindale Campground along Barrett Road near the Fremont-El Paso County line.   Mountaindale wants to expand to allow 26 new RV sites and convert existing cabins to other uses.    The campground has operated for decades along Barrett Road as a non-conforming use within the Ag-Forestry zone.