The Archuleta County Planning Commission approved an update to the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) and Community Plan last week that deals with the area immediately surrounding Pagosa Springs, known as the “area of influence.”
The amendments, which include an additional reference map, must now go before the Board of County Commissioners for approval.
The FLUM is a map designed to help guide development throughout Archuleta County, while the area of influence is a three-mile radius around the Town of Pagosa Springs in which development and/or annexation is more likely.
By statute, the town has a right to influence land use policies within that area.
The update to the FLUM approved on May 18 deals directly with the area of influence and stemmed from months of discussion by a joint town and county planning commission — a process in which a proposed map for the zone of influence was created.
The joint discussion map details recommended uses (industry, light industry, commercial, mixed use, etc.) for areas within the area of influence.
The Archuleta County planning commission first met with the hope of approving the maps and language on May 11, but was stopped by County Attorney Todd Starr due to concerns about proper notice of the joint discussion map. That map, then, could not be part of any amendment passed that night.
New members of the planning commission, however, expressed concern over land uses allowed in the zone of influence, apparently unaware of the joint discussion map, which was then explained and shown to them.
In the explanation, Commissioner Ray Lattin said one hoped-for result of the maps is increased efficiency in the planning department, with recommended uses available, and decreased build time for owners and contractors.
In response to audience concern, it was explained that the joint planning commission attempted to build in “buffer zones” between commercial and residential areas to soften the transition and protect home values.
Because of the noticing issue, a special meeting was scheduled for the following Wednesday, May 18, with the intent of meeting noticing requirements and passing the amendments as desired by planning commission members.
The May 18 meeting, while longer in time, focused more on specific word choice for the language in the Community Plan concerning the area of influence, further defining types of uses within the area of influence, said County Planning Manager Cindy Schultz and Commission Chair Bobby Hart.
The map and accompanying language is anticipated to be presented to the BoCC in June, possibly June 21, Schultz said.