The Null Alternative
One of the reasons for studying existing conditions and trends is to try to understand the future that might occur under those current conditions - that is, assuming that no new Plan is adopted, there are no major changes in State or local development regulations and there are no major improvements in area infrastructure. There is often the tendency to assume that no Plan will equate to no change, but this is almost never the case. There are generally existing conditions and trends in that are already in place which create the opportunity for change. In the Red Feather Lakes area, the following possible future conditions for change are noted:
Population growth and residential development
- The growth trend over the past 30 years is for an increasing percentage of existing residences to be used for full-time occupancy, as opposed to recreational and seasonal use. This trend would result in continued full-time population growth even without additional building.
- New residences will continue to be built on existing undeveloped subdivision lots. In recent years, many lot consolidations (combining adjacent lots) have occurred in the older subdivisions, often combining four or five lots to create the desired building site. This situation makes it very difficult to estimate the number of lots available for new development; however, there are more than 100 undeveloped lots in the two newest subdivisions, which are assumed to be buildable without adjustment. New construction on existing lots is currently averaging about eight new residences per year.
- New residential lots of 35 acres or greater could be created without County review under current State subdivision law. Lots of this size could obtain domestic well permits and could use on-site septic systems for waste disposal. More than 4300 acres or 60% of the plan area is classified in "agricultural" use. Most of this area could be divided into 35 acre lots, creating more than 100 new residential building lots.
- The County's Rural Land Use Process could be used to potentially create twice that many new residential lots. The maximum allowed density under that process is 2 units/35 acres. Wells and on-site sewage systems could also serve this density of new development.
- Development of new residential subdivisions at the current zoning density of 10 acres/lot could occur, provided the development plan included provision for domestic water through an augmentation plan. Fox Acres Country Club and High Country Estates are examples of this type of development. Unlike those two examples, however, current County regulations would not support rezoning to higher density without an adopted plan calling for that change.
- Growth in full-time population, new residential develop and growth and new building in adjacent areas (primarily Crystal Lakes), will create additional demand for consumer goods and services in the Red Feather Lakes plan area.
- Existing zoning allows a number of recreational and accommodation uses which could be approved through the Special Review process. There is potential for additional uses such as youth camps and religious retreats, both in the Plan Area and the surrounding area. These types of uses also create demand for commercial development to provide consumer goods and services.
- Expansion and new development of non-residential uses is limited by the lack of both water and sewer facilities, and to a lesser extent by existing road conditions.