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Initial work plan in process for Jeffco Planning and Zoning

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By Deborah Swearingen

As 2018 comes to a close, the Jeffco Planning and Zoning department is working to prioritize projects for 2019.
In the first part of the new year, the planning department will compile and present a report from this year’s comprehensive plan meetings throughout the county. In addition to hosting community meetings in the various planning areas, Jeffco conducted a survey that garnered 1,500 responses and met with outside and internal agencies for feedback. Furthermore, the department plans to review its processes and regulations with the hope of providing more efficient services, and it will consider the ways in which changes in the patterns of growth or development are reflected in the county’s comprehensive master plan.
“A large part of the discussion today with the work program for 2019 is some proposed regulation changes. … Last fall, we had several meetings about the community plan … so part of that is we are going to turn out and analyze the results of that outreach and figure out what our next steps are for the community plan,” said Jeanie Rossillon, director of development and transportation with Jeffco.
Chris O’Keefe, director of planning and zoning, agreed, noting the overall goal of the work program is to create efficiency and provide better service to residents.
“They’re things that we’ve identified through the course of the year that are going to help us do a better job,” he said.
Potential regulation changes could include modifying special event processes, creating a different process for solar and wind farm commercial projects, adding a sensory impact submittal requirement to zoning cases and more. The department also is considering a number of other items, including the county’s firework permit process and policy, updates to its zoning complaint website and short-term rental regulations.
“It’s a big issue,” O’Keefe said of short-term rental regulations. “ … There really needs to be a lot of involvement (from the community.) … We believe there’s going to be a lot of back-and-forth on this.”
Each of the items proposed in the 2019 work plan is designated to a particular quarter. For example, Planning and Zoning intends to look at its master analysis plan report in the first quarter with regulation updates, short-term rental regulations and more scheduled later in the year. Though it was brought before the commissioners during a Nov. 20 staff briefing for informational purposes, the work plan is currently in a preliminary stage.