EL PASO COUNTY POLICY PLAN


 CHAPTER 1-B

 SECTION 6.0 GROWTH AND LAND USE

BACKGROUND
Over most of this century, and especially since 1970, growth in El Paso County has been subject to cyclical fluctuations. However, the overall growth trend has been decidedly upward. In the past 25 years, the County's population has approximately doubled to a 1996 estimated total of 465,000. Land development, in response to this growth, has been generally concentrated in a linear north-south direction east of the Front Range along Interstate 25, with the majority of the housing, and the employment growth, occurring within the limits of the City of Colorado Springs.
Rapid growth in the unincorporated County continues to play an important role in land development. In 1995, it was estimated that about 117,000 persons resided in unincorporated areas. Table 6.1 below describes the distribution of these residents by general land use category. Except for military installations, these land use categories are defined for the purpose of this Plan according to a combination of density and service levels.

 TABLE 6.1
 DISTRIBUTION OF UNINCORPORATED COUNTY RESIDENTS
BY LAND USE CATEGORY
 Category   Population
   
 Military Installations  22,000
 Urban Density  65,000
 Rural Residential Density  25,000
 Rural  5,000
   
 Total  117,000

Source: El Paso County Planning Division 1995 mid-year estimates using the State Demographer's unincorporated estimate as a control total.
Overall, the land development pattern in the unincorporated County is dominated by residential uses. Although about 25% of the County's population resides in unincorporated areas, these areas account for only about 5% of the County's total sales tax base. As would be expected, on average, residential densities in the unincorporated County are distinctly lower than in municipalities. The net result is that the roughly 90,000 combined urban and rural-residential residents of the County account for more land absorption than all of the roughly 350,000 municipal residents. Altogether, about 80,000 acres in the unincorporated County have been platted into subdivisions. This equates to about 10% of the privately-held property in the County.
The largest concentration of urban density uses is the Security/Widefield/Stratmoor areas, followed by Cimarron Hills with the Woodmoor/Gleneagle area third. These developments got their start between the mid-1950's and the early 1970's. A few smaller urban density developments, namely Colorado Centre and Falcon Hills (Paint Brush Hills), were not initiated until the mid to late-1980s. Since the late 1980's, no new and geographically separate urban density projects have been developed. However, plans are on the books for several other as-yet-undeveloped urban density projects located primarily in the eastern County.
Rural-residential development is largely unique to unincorporated areas and is a predominant land use in the north-central part of the County. The development of lots in this 2.5 to 5.0 acre category began in earnest around 1960, peaked in the 1970s and 1980s and continues at a somewhat reduced rate today. This rural residential land use pattern appears to be influenced primarily by the availability of groundwater, and secondarily by the presence of trees and/or distinctive views.
Despite significant absorption of land through urbanized growth and rural-residential subdivision, the majority of the unincorporated land in the County remains in the "rural" category, and is used primarily for grazing. A very significant recent trend in more rural areas is the division of land into 35 acre tracts. Additionally, there are a few areas of the County with patterns of use which do not lend themselves well to the general categories described above. Among these are historic railroad town sites including Falcon and Peyton in the eastern County, and "vacation cabin site" developments such as Cascade and Chipita Park in the Ute Pass area or Brentwood in Black Forest. These areas include parcels and roadways which do not meet current County standards.
Residents of unincorporated military installations are limited almost exclusively to base housing and dormitories on Fort Carson and the Air Force Academy.
ISSUE 6.1 Effectively Manage Growth and Land Use Change
To be effective, the land use management system in unincorporated El Paso County must address rapid growth cycles. Additionally, as the population and employment base of the County gets larger, even the more moderate projected future growth will have a profound effect on developing edges.
As is also noted in Subsection 6.6, rate of development in the unincorporated areas is heavily influenced by the fact that approximately 40% of the combined land within the municipalities of Colorado Springs, Fountain and Monument is vacant and developable. This situation often results in a situations where growth occurring in municipalities is separated, sometimes by several miles, from growth occurring in association with unincorporated developments.
Both at municipal boundaries and within unincorporated areas, there tends to be an abrupt density change between urban and rural residential uses where a more gradual transition would be desirable. This is due to a combination of economic and regulatory conditions. Key factors that influence development patterns in the County include a 2.5 acre minimum lot size for individual well and septic systems, and the fact that providing central water and sewer service is difficult for lots in the half acre to 2.4 acre range.
Zoning, when thoughtfully applied, is one method used to reduce the potential conflicts which occur as the more densely developed annexed municipal properties eventually merge with less dense development, characteristic of the unincorporated County.
Another major land use issue involves the challenge of balancing the community's desire for some certainty in knowing what future land use plans will be with the desire of property owners and developers to maximize their options to respond to the market or otherwise have the opportunity to use their land as they desire.
It is recognized that efficiencies often result from allowing property owners maximum flexibility in options for developing their land in response to the market. However, in the event these plans are not fully coordinated or are not entirely successful, this approach can result in additional public and private costs.
Issues concerning the availability, adequacy and cost of facilities and services are essential to any discussion of growth and land use. As noted in Sections 7.0 through 9.0, new development ordinarily translates into an immediate need for facilities and services. However, taxes and other revenues from these new residences and businesses are often only realized over time, and there may be a delay before initial collections occur. Therefore, "concurrency" in the provision of facilities and services, can be a serious challenge in higher growth areas.
Goal 6.1 a Encourage patterns of growth and development which complement the regions' unique natural environments and which reinforce community character.
Goal 6.1.b Support growth and development in the unincorporated County in a manner which reasonably limits long term public costs, provides for the development of supporting infrastructure, preserves environmental quality, provides economic opportunities, and otherwise enhance the quality of life.
Policy 6.1.1
Allow for a balance of mutually supporting interdependent land uses, including employment, housing and services in the more urban and urbanizing areas of the County.
Policy 6.1.2
Discourage the location of small discontiguous land development projects where these might not develop the critical land area and density necessary to be effectively provided with services or remain viable in the face of competing land uses.
Policy 6.1.3
Encourage new development which is contiguous and compatible with previously developed areas in terms of factors such as density, land use and access.
Policy 6.1.4
Encourage the logical timing and phasing of development to allow for the efficient and economical provision of facilities and services.
Policy 6.1.5
Support the development of well-planned mixed use projects which promote all, or most, of the following objectives:
  • maximize the economy and efficiency of land use
  • preserve open space or natural areas
  • integrate employment, housing, shopping, schools and other use
  • accommodate multi-modal transportation linkages
  • allow for variations in design and character
Policy 6.1.6
Direct development toward areas where the necessary urban-level supporting facilities and services are available or will be developed concurrently.
Policy 6.1.7
Encourage infill development which complements existing uses, is consistent with Small Area and other adopted plans.
Policy 6.1.8
Encourage incorporating buffers or transitions between areas of varying use or density where possible.
Policy 6.1.9
Viable residential properties should be reasonably protected from the adverse impacts of major roadways and other potentially incompatible land uses.
Policy 6.1.10
Ensure that new development will not create a disproportionately high demand on public services and facilities by virtue of its location, design or timing.
Policy 6.1.11
Plan and implement land development so that it will be functionally and aesthetically integrated within the context of adjoining properties and uses.
Policy 6.1.12
Encourage advance public and private land use planning in order to maximize public awareness of anticipated future land use conditions.
Policy 6.1.13
Encourage the use of carefully planned and implemented clustering concepts in order to promote efficient land use, conservation of open space and reduction of infrastructure costs.
Policy 6.1.14
Support development which complements the unique environmental conditions and established land use character of each sub-area of the County.
Policy 6.1.15
Recognize the need for new development and redevelopment to respond to changes in demographic, market and technological conditions.
Policy 6.1.16
Allow for new and innovative concepts in land use design and planning if it can be demonstrated that off-site impacts will not be increased and the health, safety and welfare of property owners and residents will be protected.
ISSUE 6.2 Protect and Enhance Neighborhoods
Within the boundaries of Small Area Plans, there is often a diversity of unique existing and developed neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are recognized to be important components of land use and political representation; however, there are two factors which make it difficult to implement land use policy on the basis of neighborhood units. First boundaries may not be well defined, and second, local representation may not be organized.
Additionally, some factors traditionally associated with the perception of neighborhoods often are not present to the same extent in lower-density areas of the unincorporated County. Larger residential lots located in the outlying areas contribute to greater distances between homes, employment, shopping, schools, recreation and other services. Commuting greater distances between homes and services require a vehicle for transport and additional time to travel between destinations which may translate into less time for neighborhood interaction.
Goal 6.2
Protect and Enhance Existing and Developing Neighborhoods.
Policy 6.2.1
Fully consider the potential impact of proposed zone changes and development on the integrity of existing neighborhoods.
Policy 6.2.2
Promote the unique identity of neighborhoods through the use of focal points, parks, trails and open spaces, preservation of significant natural features, compatible location and design of mixed uses, and promotion of pedestrian and other non-motorized means of travel.
Policy 6.2.3
Encourage land use planning and design approaches which create or reinforce the neighborhood concept.
Policy 6.2.4
Encourage use of innovative techniques to mitigate negative impacts of proposed land uses that differ from zoning in established neighborhoods.
Policy 6.2.5
Encourage the development of unique and diverse neighborhoods within unincorporated areas.
Policy 6.2.6
Recognize the need to flexibly apply the neighborhood concept to areas of the County which have diverse environmental characteristics and varying development densities.
Policy 6.2.7
Utilize the PUD (Planned Unit Development) zone district approach to allow for the accommodation of neighborhood-oriented design features.
Policy 6.2.8
Clearly defined boundaries should be established for large institutional, industrial, and commercial areas and used in order to protect the integrity of established and developing neighborhoods.
Policy 6.2.9
Discourage high volume traffic through neighborhoods by use of innovative techniques including traffic calming.
Policy 6.2.10
Utilize buffer zones to provide mutually compatible transitions between neighborhoods and adjoining development with differing uses or densities.
Policy 6.2.11
Encourage compatible physical character, density and scale in existing neighborhoods.
Policy 6.2.12
Ensure that proposed zone changes and/or use variances in established neighborhoods are of compatible scale and physical character.
Policy 6.2.13
Encourage neighborhood identification, organization, involvement, and input as important elements in the land use review process.
Policy 6.2.14
Encourage the reasonable accommodation of mixed uses within neighborhoods for the purposes of promoting land use efficiency and providing housing options.
Policy 6.2.15
Where feasible, support the stabilization of viable neighborhoods and the revitalization of those which are in decline.
ISSUE 6.3 Accommodate Sustainable Urban Density Development
Some Front Range counties such as Boulder and Adams, actively discourage most additional urban density development from locating in unincorporated areas on the basis that these uses can be best served if located within municipalities with full urban services such as central water/sewer, police protection and full-time fire protection. Others, including Jefferson and Douglas, continue to recognize and allow higher density development in all designated non-municipal areas. El Paso County has traditionally allowed unincorporated urban development to "take its chances" in the development environment. There have been a number of successes and failures. The net result of this activity is a fairly well-established pattern of larger County urban-level developments. Any policies which are intended to address the future of urban density development within the County need to recognize the existence of and the obligation to protect the viability of these existing developments.
The critical issues concerning urban-level development in the County include compatibility and general provision of facilities and services. Land use compatibility is a complicated issue, but one of the key manifestations is that people may choose to locate in urban or semi-urban unincorporated areas as an alternative to the relative high density and congestion associated with living in municipalities. However, as unincorporated developments evolve and grow, they often take on many of the land use and transportation problems of municipalities. Intervening land uses also begin to fill the spaces which once distinguished more remote urban developments from the areas around them.
Some counties have established fairly strict urban growth limits as a means of establishing where and when development will occur with some certainty, preserving open character in other areas, facilitating the orderly extension of services to better allow for the calculation and recovery of infrastructure costs.
By comparison, El Paso County has traditionally relied upon a combination of the market and the Small Area Planning process to dictate when and where urban density may occur. This method maximizes development options and allows for land allocations and potential efficiencies to ultimately be established through the market. However, this approach also introduces greater uncertainty into the system, raises the potential for land use incompatibilities, and makes it more difficult to calculate and assess public infrastructure needs and costs.
As is discussed in several other sections of this Plan, due to a combination of statutory limits, deliberate choices and practical circumstances, the County is not fully equipped to directly provide many urban-level services. Ordinarily, urban and semi-urban areas must rely on a combination of County functions such as public works and Sheriff's protection, along with special financing districts for services such as water, sewer and fire protection. In many cases, a full municipal service or facility standard is either not achievable or will be considerably more expensive to obtain. Often a "critical amount" of urban development is necessary to construct, maintain and administer urban infrastructure in a cost-effective manner. This leads to the "problem of getting started" which is associated with almost all potential new exurban developments. The first few residences or commercial buildings are saddled with major start-up infrastructure development and operational costs until such time as additional development comes on line to defray these costs. As noted in Section 14.0 Public Financing Districts, the combination of lower development standards and speculative special financing districts which allowed many previous exurban projects to "get off the ground" is no longer as available.
The trip reduction and other advantages associated with mixed-use urban density projects are clearly understandable. However, public preferences and the regulatory system both generally encourage a fairly distinct segregation of uses, especially with single family residential uses. Likewise, the orientation of "strip commercial" and other comparable uses, with multiple access points along major corridors, is understood to have an adverse impact on the functional integrity of the regional roadway system. However, it is also understood that free access and exposure to major corridors is considered critical to the success of many businesses.
Goal 6.3 Continue to support existing and carefully planned future urban density development in the unincorporated County, provided the requisite level of urban services is available or will be available in a timely fashion
Policy 6.3.1
Protect and enhance the viability of established urban density developments in unincorporated areas.
Policy 6.3.2
Rely on the Small Area Planning process to define the sub-area specific boundaries for urban density development (refer to Section 1.0 Small Area Plans).
Policy 6.3.3
Encourage major new employment centers to locate in proximity to potential employees and housing opportunities.
Policy 6.3.4
Commercial, office, industrial and, residential development should be compatible with surrounding land uses in terms of scale, intensity and potential impacts.
Policy 6.3.5
The potential for effective integration with multi-modal transportation systems should be considered in the design and location of major non-residential development.
Policy 6.3.6
Where feasible, when compatible and service level issues have been addressed; smaller commercial, office and institutional uses should be allowed to locate within, or convenient to, the residential neighborhoods they serve or complement.
Policy 6.3.7
Commercial and office uses should be encouraged to incorporate unified site design and circulation planning, and conversely, strip commercial and office development should be discouraged.
Policy 6.3.8
Recognize the need and allow for the reasonable accommodation of adequate amounts of land with sufficient infrastructure for land uses of a heavy industrial nature and/or considered to be "locally undesirable" within all subareas of the County provided that adequate facilities and services will be available. Consider the environmental, visual and land use compatibility impacts and incorporate, where possible, buffering and screening techniques to address compatibility with surrounding uses.
Policy 6.3.9
Promote the multiple use combination of non-residential uses such as shopping, offices, government and education in a manner which maximizes the use of available infrastructure during weekdays, evenings and weekends.
ISSUE 6.4 Develop Rural Residential Communities
As noted in the Background section, rural residential development is one of the predominant land uses in the unincorporated County. Often, a rural residential property owner desires the best of both worlds; i.e. a rural lifestyle with urban services, employment, educational and shopping, in close proximity. The quest for such lifestyles often necessitates a trade-off and generally requires driving great distances between where one lives, works, shops and recreates. Critical policy issues concerning rural residential land uses include the State of Colorado regulations governing water and septic systems, County zoning, critical land areas, compatibility with adjacent land uses, the suitability of certain land use practices, service levels and transportation.
Compared with higher density urban land use patterns, rural residential development allows for a much more dispersed development pattern, with the potential of preserving more of the natural environment; however, often in reality, 2.5 and 5 acre land use patterns are considerably more land-consumptive and tend to break up, rather than preserve open space and the environment. While "cluster" development alternatives have long been promoted in rural residential situations as a means of preserving more of the natural or rural environment, actual implementation is problematic. The first difficulty is that the regulatory system (especially as it pertains to individual sewage disposal systems) provides a strong disincentive for creating any single lot of less than 2.5 acres. Developers are reluctant to invest in the central systems necessary to cluster on less than 2.5 acre developments. Secondly, there is a tendency among prospective purchasers to want to retain all of their land in individual ownership. And lastly, County zoning regulations are not sufficient to encourage clustering.
The recently accelerated trend in the County toward development of 2.5 rather than 5.0 acre lots results from a combination of increased regulation and higher land prices. One key factor is that inexpensive, near surface, domestic wells are becoming less available. Wells in the upper aquifers require augmentation plans to be filed. Alternately, the costs associated with drilling deeper individual wells make them less economically feasible. Although 2.5 acre lots have the advantage of consuming less land than 5 acre lots, the associated higher densities result in increased localized traffic congestion and higher water usage, along with the eventual need for more services and roads. Environmental concerns include the consequences of locating numerous septic systems that may one-day pollute the shallow ground water wells, the disintegration of wildlife habitat into relatively small divided residential lots, and the lifestyle perception that 2.5 acre density is not rural.
On balance, many of the County's larger and more established rural residential developments appear to have achieved a service level standard which is acceptable and sustainable for those residential uses. While a limited number of non-residential land uses may be both required and desirable in these areas, some are problematic. One area of concern is how to provide or extend services for non-residential uses, such as commercial, in areas where only individual wells and septic systems are available. Often these non-residential land uses place different and more complex set of issues on roadways and traffic patterns. And finally, some residents wish to maintain a rural life style by maintaining a number of grazing animals (horses) or domestic pets, while other residents do not. The County experiences many problems concerning neglect of animals, associated animal smells and noises, and overgrazing leading to the occurrence of noxious weeds.
Goal 6.4 Develop and maintain rural residential areas in a manner which protects their integrity, addresses the carrying capacity of the natural environment and provides for an adequate level of non-urban facilities and services.
Policy 6.4.1
Protect and sustain established viable rural residential areas where possible.
Policy 6.4.2
Continue to define and limit the boundaries of rural residential areas primarily through the Small Area Planning process (refer to Section 1.0 Small Area Plans).
Policy 6.4.3
Allow rural residential development in those areas with sufficient "carrying capacity" including roadway capacity, water supply, septic suitability, educational facilities and organized structural fire protection.
Policy 6.4.4
Encourage new rural residential subdivisions to be located within or contiguous with existing rural residential areas or to be incorporated as a buffer between higher density and undevelopable areas.
Policy 6.4.5
Discourage new or additional rural residential subdivision in areas where it is likely they may not develop the "critical land area" necessary to successfully co-exist with other potentially competing land uses.
Policy 6.4.6
Allow for the accommodation of necessary supporting commercial uses within or in proximity to rural residential areas in a manner that preserves the rural character of these areas.
Policy 6.4.7
Accommodate limited very low impact business and other employment uses in rural residential developments if these serve to reduce overall levels of traffic in these areas and do not otherwise detract from the desired rural residential character, provided the requisite level of services is or will be available in a timely fashion. These uses should primarily serve the needs of local residents.
Policy 6.4.8
Allow for flexibility in the application of regulations with regard to the unique variations between different rural residential developments.
Policy 6.4.9
Continue to develop reasonable and consistent levels of service standards for rural residential subdivisions.
Policy 6.4.10
Encourage subdivision covenants that regulate domestic pets.
Policy 6.4.11
Support planning and regulatory approaches which limit the adverse impacts of grazing on lots of 5 acres and less.
ISSUE 6.5 Protect and Support Rural and Agricultural Areas
Agricultural land is a nonrenewable resource. Once public and private decisions are made that result in the conversion of agricultural land and/or water to nonagricultural uses, this vital resource is almost always irretrievably lost. Since 1959, the Front Range has been converting agricultural lands for other purposes at an average of 60,000 acres per year. Trends and forces promoting the agricultural land conversion include the influence of the state subdivision law known as Senate Bill 35, and the desire of people to move from more densely populated urban areas to a more rural setting.
Although much of the entire County and most of its eastern half still have a rural agricultural character, there are economic trends which are contributing to a change in this pattern. One critical factor is that dryland grazing, which is the predominant agricultural use in El Paso County, produces very little income on a per-acre basis. Presently, most rural county residents are not actively engaged in agriculture as their primary source of income. Instead, they commute to the metropolitan area for employment opportunities. Newer rural residents make the choice to live in these areas for a variety of reasons. These often include a desire for a "rural lifestyle", with more space, more control of one's surroundings, and in some cases, the perception of being less constrained by governmental regulations. The fact that much of the eastern County remains unzoned provides maximum flexibility in land use opportunities.
But, this situation also encourages the concentration of those types of land uses which generally do not integrate well in more regulated environments. Because zoning, the basic tool used by the County for protecting adjacent lands from possibly undesirable uses, is unavailable, there is little protection to landowners in the unzoned areas. As more people move into rural areas, there is often an increased demand for limited available services. In addition to creating the potential for land use conflicts, less regulated development and a heightened demand for limited services may also result in substandard building standards and infrastructure which may need to be addressed with public funding. In combination, these trends contribute to some diminishment of the rural character which attracted residents at the outset.
Recently, there has been a distinct trend toward creation of 35-40 acre parcels in rural areas. Approximately 20,000 additional acres have been divided into parcels of this size over the past three (3) years. This trend is largely in response to the general lack of economical development alternatives, combined with the fact that 35 acres is the regulatory threshold below which properties need to go through the subdivision process (also see Section 7.0 Special and Unique Land Uses). Parcels of this size do not require a full suite of services and do provide the opportunity to maintain a degree of openness and agricultural character. However, this type of land use is extremely land intensive (accommodating only about 50 persons per square mile) and does not allow for the continuation of traditional agriculture in most cases.
Another concern in more rural areas relates to the difficulty in accommodating various needed or desired non-residential and non-agricultural uses. As an example, the need for a small-scale rural shopping center may be well-recognized, but difficult to develop due to a combination of limited facilities and a regulatory system which is better tailored to serve more developed areas. Rural eastern County residents could benefit from additional local employment opportunities or transportation improvements as most now commute substantial distances to jobs located in the metropolitan area. Please also refer to Sections 15.0- Land Development Regulations and
5.0- Economic Development.
Goal 6.5 Encourage the preservation of agricultural uses as an important contributor to the economy and land use character of the County.
Policy 6.5.1
Allow for the location of limited supporting commercial uses at locations convenient to serve the needs of rural County residents provided that the requisite level of services are available or will be available in a timely fashion.
Policy 6.5.2
Encourage appropriate opportunities for employment within rural areas.
Policy 6.5.3
Encourage the use of strategies such as land trusts and conservation easements which result in the preservation of agricultural or open land use and character.
Policy 6.5.4
Support the development of land use regulations and procedures which are tailored to meet the specific needs of rural County residents while still providing for adequate levels of service.
Policy 6.5.5
Support statutory changes which will allow for the development of limited regulations concerning facility and services provision for parcels of 35 acres or greater.
Policy 6.5.6
Encourage the reporting of 35 acre tract development for the health, welfare and safety of county residents.
Policy 6.5.7
Discourage the proliferation of locally unwanted and potentially hazardous land uses in rural and especially unzoned areas.
ISSUE 6.6 Promote Intergovernmental Land Use Cooperation
The land use policies and programs of the unincorporated County are integrally related with those of its municipalities. The City of Colorado Springs is obviously the major municipal player in this dynamic because it is home to about 70% of the County's population, it has large expanses of developable land and has a major investment in the provision of utilities. The City of Fountain and the Town of Monument can also be expected to play important future roles in urban development, because they are actively developing, have annexed large amounts of vacant developable property and have established extensive future urban growth areas.
From a statutory standpoint, the County and its municipalities have limited formal control over the land use decisions within their respective jurisdictions. There are a variety of statutes which require jurisdictions to provide notice of land use plans and actions and allow for input. Although attempts have been made in the past, there is also not a great deal of established locally generated formal coordination among jurisdictions in the area of land use; however, on a more sporadic and informal basis, high levels of joint planning and cooperation often occur. Examples are manifold, but include joint participation in planning initiatives and coordination of regulations and codes.
One of the issues in an environment where the County allows some new urban development and several municipalities have an ample supply of developable land could be characterized as the problem of "no man's land". In this scenario, a property owner who wishes to develop land on the periphery of municipal limits, may be in a position of having to wait years or even decades for extension of municipal services if they chose to annex. Alternately, they may attempt to develop in the County, but in some cases, the only available unincorporated alternatives may be rural-residential uses sometimes in combination with certain less desirable commercial and industrial uses which may not need a full range of urban services. These uses may not be the most appropriate for the site over the long term.
Unincorporated enclaves, largely surrounded areas and smaller developed areas located adjacent to city limits often present an intergovernmental planning challenge. A case can be made for annexation based upon improved economy and efficiency of providing facilities and services. It should be recognized that significant progress has been made in this area over the past several years; however, municipalities have shown a reluctance to annex certain difficult, primarily residential areas. This reluctance has been based in part on a concern that annexation will not have a favorable benefit/cost impact on the effected municipality due to a combination of low revenue generation and substandard facilities. Municipalities also understandably have a reluctance to compel existing residents to annex, even if they have the legal capability. The result of some of these problems has been the piecemeal annexation of certain non-residential properties from within larger enclaves. The impact of this approach is to make the remaining enclave that much less desirable to ultimately annex.
Irregular municipal boundaries present a similar combination service provision and public safety concerns, especially around the City of Fountain. Additionally, certain unincorporated areas which are in proximity to municipalities, but which do not have full services and facilities tend to attract a disproportionate share of marginal, transitional or locally unwanted land uses.
Goal 6.6 Encourage cooperative intergovernmental land use planning and coordination among the County, its municipalities and other governmental entities.
Policy 6.6.1
Support the municipal annexation of enclaves and other developed urban density areas, unless these areas are currently being provided with both adequate and cost-effective facilities and services.
Policy 6.6.2
Encourage municipalities to undertake complete or at least phased annexations of enclaves and other largely surrounded areas in order to avoid the problems associated with piecemeal annexations. Alternately, the cost-effectiveness of annexing remaining enclaves should be considered within the context of the overall area.
Policy 6.6.3
Encourage municipalities to utilize annexation policies which have the effect of either avoiding or remedying the service and public safety problems associated with irregular city boundaries.
Policy 6.6.4
Encourage municipalities to use appropriate flexibility in applying development standards and allocating cost in conjunction with annexation of fully or partially developed areas.
Policy 6.6.5
Support the adoption of intergovernmental policies which address land use issues of mutual concern (including development timing, phasing, location and standards) in agreed-upon City/County Cooperative Planning Areas.
Policy 6.6.6
Consider the development of cooperative building, zoning and infrastructure standards in areas that interface with municipalities and military properties.


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