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Current state law gives landowners the right to subdivide their land into 35 acre parcels without any county land use review. The Rural Land Use Process is a development process which offers landowners a new approach for developing the land without going through full subdivision review.
The RLUP does not change the zoning for these lands, nor does it take away the ability to do 35-acre developments. Instead, the process gives incentives to encourage alternative development and help retain the rural and agricultural lands of Larimer County. This process is intended to be voluntary, user friendly, and flexible.
Rather than rules, the process uses guidelines which allow the flexibility to tailor requirements to each unique piece of land. Land features that are of value to Larimer County residents are identified and efforts made to preserve them. Compared to other development processes, the Rural Land Use Process is less restrictive, faster, and more predictable in the outcome.
This process allows you to benefit from your land financially by dividing it into smaller parcels and keeping the larger parcel for your continued use, if so desired.
Some of the benefits are:
The easement removes the development rights but the landowner still holds the title to the property, the right to restrict public access, and the right to sell, give, or transfer ownership of the property.
The landowner and Director visit the property to better understand the land and its attributes and to assess whether the Rural Land Use Process can be realistically applied. Discussions about all aspects of developing the land (number, size and layout of sites, roads, access, utilities, water supply requirements, wastewater, proposed open space, protected areas, environmental impacts, possible incentives, types of fees, etc.) take place at this time.
A memorandum of understanding is prepared based on the discussions and negotiations between the landowner and the Director. The memorandum describes the project and nature of the plan. If the landowner wishes to proceed with the process, the memorandum is signed, a preliminary plan is developed, and a file is started.
The Director prepares a notice and provides copies of the plan for initial review, comments, and suggestions by affected agencies and persons, including but not limited to utilities, fire district, ditch companies, County engineering and health departments, and neighboring property owners, to name a few.
A neighborhood meeting is scheduled to review the plan in detail. Meetings are informal and attempt to:
Once the preliminary plan meets the stated purposes and objectives of the landowner and Larimer County, the plan will be forwarded to the Rural Land Use Advisory Board for recommendation. It will then be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners and placed on the Commissioners' agenda for the next regularly scheduled land-use hearing. The Director will follow procedures for public notice of this hearing.
At the conclusion of this hearing, the Board of County Commissioners may approve, disapprove, or approve with conditions the rural land plan. If the County Commissioners seek to impose additional conditions not previously discussed with and agreed upon by the landowner, the Board shall allow the landowner and members of the public an opportunity to comment about the proposed conditions. Any such additional conditions shall be reasonable and achievable.
The Board of County Commissioners shall issue a written findings and resolution stating its decision and the reasons for its decision.
If the Board of County Commissioners approved the preliminary rural land plan, the landowner will have 365 calendar days to submit the Final Plat, a Final Development Agreement, and other required documents (i.e., covenants, easement agreements, etc.) prepared in accordance with the preliminary approval.
When all documents are reviewed and in compliance with the preliminary approval, they will be presented to the County Commissioners for administrative review and signature and recorded with the County Clerk and Recorder. On-site improvements may begin after all documents are approved and recorded.
The administrative process limits the number of total buildable lots, does not require a neighborhood meeting and limits the referral agencies that review the project. Because of these limitations, the time it takes to get to a hearing before the Board of County Commissioners is shortened compared to the normal process.
Please see Section 5.8.5.D of the Larimer County Land Use Code for further details and explanations of the limitations.