County adjusts code for areas of mixed urban, rural land use

It is a story straight out of the Wild West — better make that the tame west.

In a land where wide-open spaces abut fenced yards, rural and urban residents are bound to conflict.

On Monday, the Mesa County Commission found a middle ground of sorts. A transitional framework was built into county development codes that changes some distance requirements between residences and structures built for livestock.

The code revision distinctly recognized the differences between rural and urban landscapes as defined in the Future Land Use Map of the Mesa County Master Plan.

The revisions also recognize the Right to Farm Act, which will be placed on recorded plats and site plans so that it is plainly seen by anyone interested in the property. The revisions also call for subdivision covenants to specify that pets shall not be allowed to interfere with livestock and that any breaks in fences separating residences from livestock will be repaired in 72 hours.

“These changes have been a long time in coming,” said County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca.

The changes adjust the one-size-fits-all policy the county had. The old policy simply stated that new homes, or new livestock enclosures, must be placed 100 feet apart.

The new code throws the 100-foot setback requirement out the window in urban land use areas, with regard to the construction of a new home. This was done because the distance requirement could make some land utterly useless. A developer looking to build a home near an existing livestock structure on a neighboring property would have to sacrifice a certain amount of land in order to comply with the old code, said Linda Dannenberger, land use and development division director.

“We feel that it is fair in that urban area to not require that separation,” she said.

Domestic livestock in the urban area is not allowed on less than a half acre. In addition, livestock enclosures must be at least 50 feet away from neighboring enclosures.

In rural land use areas, the 100-foot setback requirement remains. The distance requirement holds true whether building a new livestock enclosure or a new residence.


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