Zoning District Open House (October 26 & 27)
On October 26 & 27, 2023, the City of Cortez hosted the "Spooktacular Land Use Code Update" Open House to discuss Zoning Districts. This page will provide details about the information shared at those open houses as well as general information about the Land Use Code (LUC) Update.
If you didn’t get to participate in the in-person open house events, you can share input as part of a virtual open house, which can be accessed here.
OPEN HOUSE MEETING SUMMARY
As part of the Cortez Land Use Code and Housing Policy Update, City Staff and consultants hosted Open Houses on October 26th and 27th to solicit input on key topics related to zone districts, uses, and related definitions. Over 20 community members participated by responding to questions related to residential zone districts, housing types and definitions, as well as commercial and industrial zone districts.
During the open house, respondents indicated that the proposed residential estate district and the manufactured home district descriptions could use improvements. Several participants questioned whether the residential estate district is needed given the size of Cortez and the need for more housing within the City. Generally, there was support for the proposed range of uses within each residential zone district with expressed interest and support in expanding opportunities for tiny and modular homes. There was also strong support for allowing more residential uses within the downtown, excluding the first floor of buildings along Main Street. Finally, participants suggested refinement of the proposed definitions for modular home, attached single-family home, tiny home, mobile home, and manufactured home dwelling.
When asked whether the City is providing enough flexibility to accommodate a variety of housing types, participants provided the following comments:
- Consider creation of tiny homes and other smaller homes integrated with open space areas somewhere either within or on edge of city limits.
- There should be some standard to assure compatibility of mixed uses within the Manufactured Home District.
- Consider housing density of apartments along Empire. The area is already very dense.
- Montezuma Avenue should remain residential.
- More density, more sidewalks, more bike lanes, more duplexes please.
Numerous participants expressed concerns related to industrial areas that abut residential neighborhoods. Comments included:
- No heavy industry close to parks and neighborhoods.
- No industrial bordering residential or natural areas.
- Absolutely need to maintain separation between residential and industrial.
- Noise and smell and other possible impacts should be considered (regarding industrial areas).
- Buffers should be considered between industrial and residential so the two can exist in harmony.
For those who didn’t get to participate in the in-person open house events, the City is offering folks the opportunity to share input as part of a virtual open housing, which can be accessed here.
Where are we in the Process of Updating the LUC?
We are currently engaged in Phase 3 of the process, which involves drafting the code all while engaging with a community advisory committee, the general public, and the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council.
Earlier in the year, staff and consultants conducted over 30 one-on-one and small group listening sessions, soliciting feedback from nearly 40 community members in addition to conversations with Planning and Zoning board members and City Council Members. This input helped us draft the Cortez Land Use Code Assessment Report, which summarizes feedback and provides recommendations that will help guide the remainder of the update process.
What have we learned so far?
The current Cortez LUC has some effective provisions and is generally well organized. There is, however, a significant opportunity to update and clarify language to modernize the code and ensure it meets the needs of the broader Cortez community. Some chapters will require significant updates or additions to realize the City’s planning goals and objectives thoroughly while other sections will remain largely untouched. Further reorganizing, rewriting, and illustrating existing and revised zoning requirements will make the document easier to read, and potentially create a higher quality of public discourse and design.
We’ve already learned a lot from our Community Advisory Committee. The open house events are helping us build on the work they’ve done thinking through how we can improve residential, commercial, and industrial zone districts and their associated uses.