"Minor" subdivisions of land

Aozotorp at aol.com Aozotorp at aol.com
Thu Aug 16 12:09:04 EDT 2001

In a message dated 8/14/01 7:09:01 AM Mountain Daylight Time, 
fullcircle at jps.net writes:

<< Hello folks,
 Our local Ag Commission along with our local Land Trust are trying to 
 develop some sort of points system to act as a gudieline to the 
 Planning Commission when the PC considers "minor" subdivisions of 
 agriculturally-zoned parcels.   One of the insideous ways we're 
 losing our ag lands is that someone will take, for instance an 
 80-acre parcel and ask for a variance to split it into 4 20-acre 
 parcels.  Several years later, the owners of one of the 20-acre 
 parcels will ask for a variance to split it into 2 10-acre parcels. 
 Because these are "minor zoning variances" there's a "nail and mail" 
 notification.  i.e. contiguous property owners get mailed a hearing 
 notice (ususally conveniently scheduled for mid-morning of a week 
 day) and an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet gets nailed to a fence post on the 
 parcel for 30 days prior to the hearing,  effectively limiting public 
 Obviously, in spite of the general plan language to support 
 agriculture , the aggregate of these minor variances are severely 
 limiting the economics of agricultural  parcels remaining.
 Has anyone worked on this problem in your area?  What did you come up with?

Here is a good article on Sprawl and zoing in Ag areas in Colo!



Two weeks ago, John Meyer came across a man with a clipboard outside Toddy's, 
grocery store in a busy strip mall on the edge of downtown Berthoud. The man
was collecting signatures of registered voters. 

Petitions are nothing new in Berthoud; lately, the town seems awash in them.
Last year, a group of volunteers walked door-to-door and gathered enough
signatures to place a proposal on the ballot for a growth cap that would limit
new housing permits to 98 a year, or 5 percent of the existing total. In
November the initiative passed by a solid margin, even as nearby towns and the
state as a whole rejected a slew of other grassroots growth-control measures. 

But this past spring, to the consternation of many Berthoud citizens who voted
for the growth cap, a developer funded another petition drive seeking an
exemption from the cap for a massive 4,200-acre parcel of land flanking I-25.
Despite surging population growth in the last decade, Berthoud remains a 
bedroom community, an enclave of less than 5,000 people surrounded by the
rolling farmland of northern Colorado. The developer had no trouble gathering
the necessary 157 signatures to place the issue before the town board. 

The petition Meyer was handed outside Toddy's was yet another assault on the
growth cap. This one proposed to overturn the cap altogether, wipe it off the
books. It had been submitted to the town clerk for approval three days earlier
by Lou Gassner, a local mortgage broker who is also president of the Berthoud
Chamber of Commerce. Now it was already on the street. 

An ardent supporter of the growth cap and a former member of the town's
planning commission, Meyer didn't sign the petition. Instead, he struck up a
conversation with the signature collector and watched him in action, acquiring
a grim education in the politics of growth in the process. 

The man wasn't a Berthoud resident. He worked for a company based in Colorado
Springs that runs petition drives for a fee. He knew little about the pluses
and minuses of a growth cap and seemed to have scarce interest in the matter
beyond his paycheck. In fact, he told Meyer, last fall he had collected
signatures for Amendment 24, the statewide growth-control initiative that went
down in flames at the polls. His pitch this time around was simple: "Are you a
registered voter in Berthoud? Then I need your signature right here." 

Many people signed without reading the entire document. Those who asked
questions got vague answers. Some, Meyer believed, actually favored the growth
cap but were under the impression that the issue must be put to a vote each

(cont on pages 2,3,4 and 5)

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