Town code seeks growth corridor

Plan calls for commercial development, Western feel

Red areas indicate the proposed district that would be impacted by zoning changes. Among other things, the code would keep new houses, churches or day cares from the district. Enlargephoto

Town of Mancos

Red areas indicate the proposed district that would be impacted by zoning changes. Among other things, the code would keep new houses, churches or day cares from the district.

The Mancos Town Board will consider changes to town code at its Wednesday that would set aside land along Highway 160 for commercial development and restrict building homes among other land uses.

To maintain the town's character while encouraging development, the trustees will also discuss creating a design review board that would make sure new buildings follow new design guidelines.

The land use code changes are written to open up the corridor to allow for buildings including theaters and performing arts spaces, garden centers and nurseries, auto repair garages and mixed-use buildings that would include apartments.

The changes to the land use code would no longer allow structures for certain uses to be built in the highway business district including single-family homes, building to house civic fraternal or social organizations, churches, day care facilities, group homes, nursing homes, schools, bed and breakfasts and market gardens.

Existing buildings that fit into these categories would be grandfathered in.

The building code would impact the area around the Highway 160 mostly from North Spruce to Ervien Drive and a short stretch of Highway 184.

The land use code was revised by the town trustees and members of the Planning and Zoning Commission who also wrote design guidelines that would help maintain the western look.

Town Administrator Andrea Phillips said certain building uses were selected to be eliminated to encourage economic development in that area.

"Their thinking was that those uses were not consistent with the type of commercial uses that the precious space on the corridor should be comprised of," Philips said.

In the past 12 months, there has been one request to make an addition or alteration to a building and one new construction request, Phillips said.

The request from Family Dollar developers to build a store near the highway played a part in sparking discussions on the building design and in turn the need to manage commercial growth, said Phillips. Although, she said the guidelines needed review anyway.

The new guidelines would allow a Family Dollar store or other chain store to build in town as long as the new building fits a western character set out in the guidelines which address signs, lighting and siding on buildings.

"The Mancos community desires to avoid the image of Everytown, USA and the corporate driven design solutions that so prevalent throughout this country," the new design review guidelines state.

The new design review board would review building applications in the highway business district and the members of the Planning and Zoning Commission would make up the review board until other people can be appointed.

However the two boards would have distinct responsibilities with planning and zoning focusing on land uses, zoning and setbacks rather than design features of the buildings.

"We heard from the community that growth should be managed, and this is a way to do that," Phillips said.

On Wednesday, April 23, at 7 p.m. at town hall there will be public hearings on the two ordinances.