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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Friday, August 29, 2014

Planner: Conveyance Plat a ‘Win-Win’

By Sandy Barnes
Berthoud Recorder

Town Planner Tim Katers said implementing a conveyance plat process would be a “win-win” move for all concerned, while speaking to the Planning and Zoning Commission at the Sept. 24 meeting.

The conveyance plat is an interim step where no development is anticipated in the immediate future, Katers explained. “With this option available, property owners do not need to pay the cost to engineer large parcels of property prior to finding an end user for the ground,” he stated. “It could be a great marketing tool and provide an incentive for property owners located in prime locations to allow development to occur on a portion, while preserving the rest of the property.”

In order to establish a conveyance plat, the Town Board would need to create a new ordinance that changes two sections of the Town code, Katers explained.

Planning board member Scott Banzhaf said economic developers he talked with believe that creating the process would make Berthoud more marketable. “Did we come across anything that is negative?” he asked.

Katers said that in talking with Longmont Planner Don Burchett and staff at other planning departments in Texas and Kentucky, where conveyance plats are commonplace, he found they are considered beneficial –– as long as a good concept is in place for the property.

“What happens with right-of-way dedication?” asked member Jim Doyle. There is none with the conveyance plat, Katers said. Instead, roadways are reserved.

The planning board members agreed to recommend moving forward with the conveyance plat, with the stipulation that there be a 60- to90-day period of time from the date of an application submittal and its acceptance.

If the conveyance plat is established, the planning and zoning commission would have the authority to review and approve those submitted under the minor subdivision process in the Town code.

Development Code Revisions
During the work session portion of the meeting, planning board members reviewed proposed changes to the Town development code regarding zoning.

Town Planner said the lists of permitted uses for commercial districts in the Town’s present code are small and limiting. He also said the Town code is poorly organized and difficult to use and in need of simplifying.

As a possible alternative, Katers presented a Smart Code equivalent for zoning, which organizes uses in a chart form. While noting he had been directed to use the state’s model land use code in revising the one for Berthoud, Katers said the Smart Code does have positive aspects. Member Ray Johnson commented that any influence of Smart Code would be beneficial for the Town.

“We need to come up with more relevant zoning,” said Banzhaf.

During a discussion of revising design standards in the existing code, Katers said they can be limiting for developers and difficult to enforce. Ideally, there would be five to seven basic elements of design standards, he said.

Katers asked the planning board members for input and suggestions regarding revisions in this area of the code along with ranking of their relative importance. He also suggested getting input from citizens during the process.

Other Items
Planning board members appointed David Skiles to serve as secretary for the commission and Scott Banzhaf to serve as vice chairman at the Sept. 24 meeting.

Rural representative John Goreski agreed to represent the board at the Citizens First meeting scheduled for Sept. 29.

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