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Montezuma Planning and Zoning Commission Clarifies Building Requirements for Dolores River Valley

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Residential setback requirements in the Dolores River Valley should remain as they are.

That was the consensus of the Montezuma County Planning and Zoning Commission, which took up the topic in a work session Thursday night. Planning Director LeeAnn Milligan explained that the land-use code includes a 100-foot setback for most residential structures in the valley, but people have been seeking variances from the county commissioners. Setbacks along rivers are intended to prevent structures from being washed away in floods and becoming debris, but homeowners like to build near the water. The planning commissioners said a 100-foot setback was not unreasonable but variances should be available if people’s homes and decks are properly engineered. They also urged the county to crack down harder on people who knowingly violate the land-use code by building structures in violation of regulations.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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