Rezoning, annexation of North River Road properties discussed
Almost two dozen interested citizens attended the November 7 meeting of the Palisade Planning Commission; focusing mainly on two agenda items. A decision on rezoning of property at 405 Troyer, and a short discussion of the application for annexation of the Palisade BaseCamp RV Campground further east on North River Road bookended the approval of the tenth Short Term Vacation Rental property in the Town of Palisade, located at 154 W. Third Street.
The first Public Hearing concerned the rezoning from the current CB-Commercial Business designation to the LI-Light Industrial status of various industrial park properties located off to the south of North River Road at 405 Troyer, 106 Stump Court, and 3843 and 3837 Highway 6 and 24. The application was initiated by the property owner at 405 Troyer. Town staff notified all adjoining property owners, since they were also historically used for similar light industrial uses, to see if any other owners were interested in rezoning. Three other owners responded affirmatively, so the application now includes five parcels owned by four owners. Any adjoining landowners that did not respond or did not wish to rezone were not included in the application.
The main issue driving the rezoning request was the large dust collecting machinery that had been built by the owners of one of the businesses involved. The current CB-Commercial Business designation allows woodworking, cabinet and furniture making under a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), but only as long as all activity takes place entirely indoors.
Without being entirely enclosed, an option with an additional cost of about $25,000, the dust collector, built onto the north end of the property owned by Michael and Paulette Bourget, puts the property owner in a ‘non-compliant’ position with regard to the CB zoning.
The LI-Light Industrial designation would allow the operation of the business including the external dust collector as it currently stands. It should also be noted here that before purchasing the 405 Troyer property, the Bourgets had been assured that the CB zoning classification allowed their business, since the Comprehensive Plan as well as realtor information referred to the property as ‘industrial’. Unfortunately, that was an informal classification and did not reflect the legal zoning designation of the property.
As a part of the rezoning application process, all property owners in a 300 ft. radius of the applicant were notified of the rezoning request, inviting their comments. Several adjoining property owners were present at Monday’s meeting, most being residential neighbors to the east and west of the applicant. Their rezoning concerns were not over the current ‘dustup’ regarding the external collection machinery, but with possible future uses of the property that could be allowed with a change to the LI designation. They wanted to be sure that restrictions on industrial activities involving noise, odors, chemicals, lighting, etc. would be available in the future. Although the Land Development Code is in the process of being re-written, no guarantees could be given, although most of those concerns would already be addressed in the application for a business license or a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for any future businesses on the rezoned property.
Community Development Director Ron Quarles addressed the concerns of the neighboring property owners by explaining in detail the definitions and allowed uses of property in both the CB and LI zones as well as the difference between ‘light’ industry and ‘heavy’ industry, which is still not allowed in the LI zones.
Considering the historic as well as planned future uses of the properties in question, planning commissioners voted unanimously to recommend that Trustees approve the zoning change request. The zoning change ordinance was put on the agenda for the scheduled Trustee meeting the following evening, Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
The other item requiring a Public Hearing on Monday evening’s Planning Commission agenda was a petition for annexation. Owners of the Palisade Basecamp RV Resort on North River Road have requested annexation into the Town of Palisade, and also to zone the property as AFT-Agriculture, Forestry and Transitional, and to operate an RV Resort under a Conditional Use Permit.
All of these requests will be dealt with at future Public Hearings and meetings of the Planning Commission and the Board of Trustees. The only request under consideration Monday evening was to assure that the annexation petitions and maps submitted were complete and allowed under the Colorado Revised Statutes before being passed on to the Board of Trustees.
The annexation request, if approved by Trustees, would take place in two steps. The first step would be to annex the section of North River Road between the Palisade Basecamp RV Resort, located on the site of the Palisade Greenhouses, and the current town boundary about 2,600 ft. to the west. Annexation of the section of North River Road would establish contiguity with the Town boundary. The next step would be to annex the 18.3 acres of property for the RV resort.
After discussion with Community Development Director Ron Quarles, the planning commission voted 5-2 to pass the petition on to the Trustees for their deliberation. The dissent had to do with the fact that the annexation of the portion of North River Road involves requesting the Union Pacific Railroad, owners of that particular right of way, to sign off on it.
Planning commissioners were informed that although the Union Pacific was not generally known to agree to annexation requests, they also did not always dissent, seeming most often to simply not respond to the requests. Historically, many annexations have proceeded statewide without the express consent of the railroad, also without the express dissent. Quarles also stated that in the event of a signed disapproval by the railroad, the annexation request would be denied. Town Attorney Ed Sands has been advising on the petition as well, and does not see a reason at this time not to proceed with the annexation requests.
Application was also made to the Planning Commission for approval of a site plan for the tenth Short Term Vacation Rental property within the town limits. Of the nine other properties approved, seven are currently operating as rental properties.
The home at 154 E. Third Street is the latest property under consideration, with an application and management plan submitted by Jessica Shanahan, owner of the property. Maximum rental occupancy of the home according to the management plan would be limited to 6 overnight guests, with an additional 6 daytime guests allowed.
All adjoining property owners within 300 feet were notified, and there were no objections. Citizen Curt Lincoln, Fourth Street, requested that the planning commissioners begin to consider limiting the number of Short Term Vacation Rental properties allowed in town.
Planning Commissioners voted unanimously to approve Ms. Shanahan’s application.
There was a short discussion about outdoor commercial displays and other forms of outdoor advertising, with a request by commissioners for an agenda item at an upcoming meeting to discuss the subject in more detail.
The next meeting of the Planning Commission is scheduled for Monday, December 5, 2016, at 6 p.m. in the public meeting room of the Civic Center at 341 W. 7th Street in Palisade. Meetings are open to the public and an agenda can be obtained from at www.townofpalisade.org or at Town Hall at least 24 hours prior to a meeting.
In the interest of transparency, Betsy McLaughlin also serves as Chair of the Palisade Planning Commission.