The Palisade Planning Commission at its July 7 meeting public hearing recommended in favor of a request to zone a 10.6 acre parcel of land on the north border of Palisade as Agriculture Forestry Transitional District.  The parcel is also in the process of being annexed to the town.

At the meeting, the commission also opened, and continued, a discussion of an ordinance to set up rules and regulations to allow home owners to rent their homes as short term vacation rentals for less than 30 days.

The commission also resumed an earlier discussion of “possible options for developing a Land Development Code that is more functional and relevant for the Town of Palisade,” Ron Quarles, community development director, said in his staff report.

Peaches, marijuana

Brian and Rebekah Cox own and operate a peach orchard on the parcel of land under consideration for zoning and annexation.  They expect to continue growing peaches, but they are also considering leasing part of the parcel to Jesse and Dessa Loughman.

The Loughmans are the owners of Colorado Alternative Health Care, a medical marijuana dispensary in Palisade.  They would like to grow both medical and retail marijuana on a portion of the parcel.  However, that would depend on possible future actions by the town trustees to allow the cultivation of retail marijuana.

Development Director Quarles recommends approval of the zoning.  In his staff report, he notes that the owners of the parcel intend to maintain agricultural production on the property, and that the land is under a conservation easement granted to the Mesa Land Trust.

The commission’s recommendation to approve the zoning goes to the town trustees.

Vacation rentals

The planning commission asked for staff clarification of wording in a proposal to establish an ordinance to allow home owners to rent their homes to vacationers for less than 30 days.

In addition, commissioners raised concerns about burdensome regulations for the rentals.  Commissioners also saw benefits.  Commissioner Charlotte Wheeler said, “We’re also trying to promote Palisade as a tourist destination.”

Quarles in a memo to the commission said, “The Town of Palisade recognizes that there are benefits to allowing owners of residential units within the Town to rent their dwelling units for periods of less than 30 days.”

He continued, “Short term rental of dwelling units bring additional visitors to the Town, can allow owners to recoup housing costs, and provide revenues for the Town through the additional tax collections.”

Quarles pointed out, “However, due to the potential for adverse impacts, short term rentals must be regulated by the Town to protect the health, safety, and welfare of owners, neighbors, and visitors.”

His report says short term rental regulations do not include offering the use of one’s property where no fee is charged or collected.

Land development code

The commission agreed to narrow a list of 27 towns in Colorado that might serve as models for developing a revised Land Development Code in Palisade.  Commissioners will send suggestions to Quarles by July 15.

The towns on the list range in population from 1,000 to over 11,000.  Towns include Ouray, Hayden, Lyons, Hudson, Bayfield, Silt, Monte Vista, up in size to Rifle, Craig, and Alamosa.

Quarles said in a report to the commission, “Over the coming weeks we will develop a strategy and time-line for implementing a new Land Development Code and will see the input and guidance of the Commission during each phase of the process.”

Quarles also provided commissioners with a current town zoning map.

The 50 minute meeting was held at the Palisade Civic Center.  Regular meetings of the commission are the first Monday of the month and are open to the public, 6 p.m., at the civic center.