Grand Junction zoning issues the primary topic at council retreat

City leadership also discusses safety facilities, employees' pay

Grand Junction’s vision of its riverfront areas and the types of business uses that are allowed there according to city zoning codes are, at times, in direct contrast.

How best to make the zoning of existing businesses fit into the city’s Comprehensive Plan was one of several topics discussed during Friday’s first day of a two-day retreat of Grand Junction City Council members.

Council members use the yearly retreats to discuss bigger-picture plans while offering a chance for the elected officials to direct city staff members on the most pressing issues to tackle in coming months.

Topics covered during Friday’s session included a new method of surveying other businesses to determine pay ranges for city employees, long-range plans for fire and police facilities, a discussion about how the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights will affect remaining debt of the Riverside Parkway and potential water issues.

On Friday, council members agreed to allow staff to look into creating a zoning overlay for the area south of South Avenue to the railroad tracks. According to the Comprehensive Plan, a road map for growth in Grand Junction that was adopted last year, commercially zoned areas are preferred over industrially zoned parcels. Placing an overlay over existing businesses in the area would not prohibit businesses from conducting any current activities. Applying more restrictive zoning codes would not allow businesses to expand their sites or increase some sorts of production. If the overlay is approved, some businesses may be required to install more measures to reduce negative visual impacts or noise.

“What you own and what you think you could do today would be different” by following vision set out by the Comprehensive Plan, said Tim Moore, Grand Junction’s director of public works and planning.

The area in question hosts a vibrant mix of commercial activity dotted with homes, council member Bennett Boeschenstein said.

“You don’t just want to come in and wipe them out with one fell swoop,” he said.

If an overlay to a more restrictive zoning requirement is implemented, the biggest impact would be on future businesses. Two businesses have applications pending in that area, City Attorney John Shaver said.

“The longer it goes on, the more potential there is for conflict,” City Manager Laurie Kadrich said of zoning areas being misaligned with the city’s vision for the area.


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