Storm Mountain Area Zoning

(Originally posted to this website in late May, 2019)

The underlying residential nature of our community is being challenged.  Our peace and quiet and likely attendant property values are at risk.  The time to protect the residential nature of our community is now.  I urge you to speak out. 

Good government serves all constituencies, and good legislation does that in a fair and balanced way.  Whenever legislation grants a power or authority, as granting a license does, fair and balanced legislation also protects others against abuse of that power, and provides a mechanism for swift and effective redress of grievances. 

As currently proposed, Larimer County’s proposed Land Use Codes updates threaten the quiet residential nature of our community. 

  1. The updates relating to Short Term Rentals and Bed and Breakfast have provisions to protect guests, but have no provisions to protect people at neighboring properties from disturbing / nuisance activities at licensed properties, or from those who would use the regulations to ‘game the system’ to get around normal review of a business operation.
  2. The updates show that “Oil and gas drilling and production (R)” is currently allowed in all residential zoning classes (E, E-1, R, R-1, RE, RE-1).  Zone (O) also allows that activity.  (See pages 9-10 of the Amendments document, as well as current Land Use Code, linked below.)

Staff Report – Land-Use-Code-Amendments-for-Short-Term-Rentals-2019-PC-RPT.pdf

Larimer County Land Use Code: Zoning

Please contact all three County Commissioners and anyone else who may be able to influence them – including people who are not members of the email group – to ask:

  1. That “bad neighbor” protection is added to the regulations before they are implemented.
  2. That Oil and Gas Drilling and production be removed from all Residential zoning classes as an allowed use. 

I have drafted sample language to propose to the Commissioners below. 

Proposed Bad Neighbor Amendments

“The intent of Short Term Rental regulations is to allow property owners and renters to rent out some or all of the property’s primary residence to provide overnight accommodations to other people in exchange for value received, as would be typical of a motel or Bed and Breakfast. 

  1. “Ancillary or accessory use of a licensed STR/B&B property that could reasonably be seen to be a nuisance or similarly detrimental to the quiet enjoyment of life by people on nearby properties shall be expressly prohibited. These uses shall include but not be limited to:
    1. Firearms Discharge
    2. The operation of motor vehicles such as ATV’s, dirt bikes, motorcycles and other such vehicles, or other activities, that generate outdoor noise in excess of that produced by normal non-commercial street-legal cars and trucks.
  2. “The minimum rental term shall be one overnight stay, and the same accommodation shall not be rented more than once in any 24-hour period. (i.e. no hourly rentals)
  3. “Documented failure to abide by these limitations shall result in the immediate suspension of the STR / B&B license pending a review by the appropriate County agency.“

Oil and Gas Drilling

This activity is inherently incompatible with residential neighborhoods.  I understand that this issue intersects with Colorado state law.  To the greatest extent possible, County code should protect the quality of life in residential areas.  I urge the County to work with the state to prioritize residential quality of life over the right to extract mineral resources in residential areas. 

  1. It necessarily entails significant trucking traffic to move the product, impacting roads and noise levels.
  2. Drilling and operation generate unwanted noise.
  3. There is a risk of contamination of our ground water wells.
  4. That our area has not been a target for this activity is no protection – new technologies are always being developed, and when this activity is allowed, we are at risk.

Larimer County Commissioner Contact Information

John Kefalas – District I, Chair Pro Tem           (970) 498-7001

Steve Johnson – District II                            (970) 498-7002

Tom Donnelly – District III, Chairman           (970) 498-7003

Contact the commissioners! Speak out!

The Larimer County Commissioners will be hosting their bimonthly Open House in the Town of Estes Park on May 30th.  Join the commissioners at 6 p.m., May 30, 2019, at the Estes Valley Recreation Center, Chiquita meeting room [lower level], 660 Community Dr., Estes Park.

If you would like you can voice your concerns at the Board of County Commissioners hearing on June 10th at 6:30 PM in the hearing room at the County Court House building on 200 west Oak Street in Fort Collins.