At the April 24 meeting of the Grand County Planning Commission, the group considered a request for the rezone of a 1.35-acre rural residential property to the highway commercial zone. The property is part of a larger, 3.45-acre split zone parcel that is already partially zoned for highway commercial.
The residential section of the property contains a small adobe home that the applicant, the Robertson Trust (represented by Joyce Robertson), has proposed to use as an overnight rental. While the commission took no issue with the use of the home as an overnight rental, several members worried about the possibility that the 3.45-acre parcel could be developed into a hotel at a later date.
Commission Member Kevin Walker suggested that the property would be a good candidate for the overnight accommodation overlay zone, an idea the commission discussed at length.
“The only reason I’m suggesting that is that the property owners say their short-term goal is to have this be a [bed and breakfast],” said Walker. “I personally don’t see any problem with that. I haven’t heard anyone else express that that’s a big problem ... most of the concerns are about the long-term fate of this property, not what’s happening in the short term. In the short term it does more or less what they’re requesting but in the long term, we still maintain our leverage to try to get some housing there.”
Commission Member Emily Campbell agreed. “I think in this case we’d respect the commercial attribute of the front side of the property, respect the landowners’ current wishes to use it while also not turning it over to future uses that could be much more impactful for the neighborhood surrounding it. I see that as the best of all worlds,” Campbell said.
Campbell moved to table the proposal until the planning department had time to get a legal analysis of the idea of including the property in the overnight accommodation overlay zone. The council voted 5-1 in favor of tabling the proposal until the next meeting, with Christine Green opposed. Robert O’Brien was not present for the meeting.
Walker went on to explain why the commission was concerned over a small rezone request.
“Almost every meeting we have some kind of request to change a residential zone into highway commercial and even though individually they’re kind of small [and] it doesn’t seem like a big deal, cumulatively they’re large and so even before your proposal came here there was a lot of resistance among members of the planning commission to reducing another residential area,” Walker said. “So that’s why we’re making such a big deal out of what seems like an innocuous proposal.”