Mountain Legends Extension Request; Annual Conditional Use Permit Review Proposal
Just last fall, and only a few months after recording their original development agreement, developers of Mountain Legends requested a 5-year extension to complete the infrastructure in their PUD. This extension request was given conditional preliminary approval by the county staff just days before the new county commissioners began their terms. The old administration did not have a policy for development agreement extensions, whereas the new administration has worked hard to develop a policy with criteria for evaluating development agreement extension requests. The new administration’s policy is that all extension requests must go through the proper procedures, and if the BOCC determines that the request meets their criteria for an extension, they may grant a one-time extension of 12 months.
None of the old or new administration members were aware of the extension request until an amended development agreement was just formally recorded last week, 8 months after it was given conditional, preliminary approval by the staff. The new agreement lacks authorization from the BOCC, and it is unclear what obligations were changed in the old and new development agreements.
Having just become aware of this newly recorded agreement, the BOCC directed the County Attorney to investigate whether the agreement was valid if it was not expressly authorized by the BOCC.
As increasing numbers of developments request extensions to fulfill their infrastructure obligations, the county has struggled to make sure that developers bond for sufficient funds to complete all of their obligations. That is why the BOCC is concerned with this 5-year extension; it will be particularly difficult to ensure that all of the developer’s obligations and infrastructure costs are covered over such a large period of time.
Over the years, the county has granted 143 CUPs for various commercial uses throughout the valley. The planning staff has determined that 109 of these permits are still active, and after a preliminary review of all of them, 33 (or exactly 1 in 3) may be in violation of the terms of their original permits.
As CUPs were granted over the years, the county imposed conditions on the permit holder to ensure that the commercial use of their property would not adversely impact the neighbors or pose a health/safety risk to the community. (For example, the county may require landscaping/berming around a gravel pit CUP to screen dust, noise, and unsightliness from the neighbors.) Thus, it is to the benefit of the whole community that these conditions are honored by the permit holder.
Mr. Vaile presented his plan for an annual inspection fee that would be required of all active CUPs. The money will fund the county’s time and resources spent keeping track and managing all of these 109 CUPs. We at VARD wholly support this proposal as a critical step to controlling the spread of commercial uses that are incompatible with their neighborhoods.