A study conducted by Colorado State University professor David Theobald in early 2007 sought to provide “indicators” and “scenarios” for build out projections, but may have come up short, according to a team of volunteers and county land use staffers tasked with evaluating the study.
The study has been highly regarded by county officials as a valuable tool in land use planning, but some details need more attention, according to the group, which spent the better part of two hours last week discussing assumptions associated with each of its scenarios. The weaknesses identified in the study, of which there were few, are to be corrected with updated information.
The study did not take into account development on mining claims in the county, of which there are 14,000.
“Information and data dealing with mining claims will be added to the baseline data, and will be taken into account in the various scenarios,” a draft minutes of the meeting read. That data will include how existing roads may impact residential development on mining claims, and how many of those claims are actually buildable.
Another oversight of the original study was the exclusion of accessory dwelling units in build out scenarios for the towns.
“Accessory dwellings weren’t factored in, and more and more they’re being developed,” said study group member Karen Risch, representing the City of Ouray. “That needs to be looked at.”
The group determined accessory dwellings “could have a significant impact on total population… (and) should be included in the recommendations for additional scenarios.”
The study group will also look at another recent phenomenon – annexations. Ridgway is currently annexing land into its city limits and “there may be other new towns (Loghill Village/Fairway Pines)” that should be included as a scenario.
Sara Coulter, another study group member, said she would contact Theobald about completing additional scenarios and the related costs.
The group meets on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at the County Land Use Office in Ridgway at 111 Mall Road.