A couple looking at a blueprint in front of home construction.

Text amendments approved to support housing

County adopts workforce housing-friendly updates to land use and development code

April 19, 2023

Garfield County has adopted new land use and development code text amendments to help clarify the document and facilitate housing development in the area. The changes are designed to support both free market units and an adequate supply of housing mitigation units (deed-restricted) that are both affordable and available to residents.

Garfield County Community Development staff outlined the amendments in a public hearing before the Board of County Commissioners, highlighting changes to Articles 3, 4, 7, 8, and 15 of the county’s land use and development code.

Garfield County Community Development Director Sheryl Bower told the board that the amendments are designed to make navigating the land use code easier for people and businesses in Garfield County and provide more options for owners and businesses to develop workforce housing.

Changes include, as a use by right, increasing the maximum floor area of an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) from 1,000 square feet to 1,200. Businesses with a lot size of one acre or more are also allowed to add ADUs as a use by right in the commercial general, commercial limited, and industrial districts.

“If you have more than an acre, businesses can place additional ADUs on their property for the workforce and it can be approved via administrative review,” Bower added. “It’s four units per acre, so you would need another quarter-acre for each additional unit.”

Developers creating mitigation units are eligible for waivers on traffic impact fees and building permits, and for incentives, such as density bonuses, which would allow deed-restricted developments smaller than minimum lot size.

A section was also added to the code to outline a process for a development to meet deed-restricted housing requirements by building offsite or partnering with a nonprofit, such as Habitat for Humanity. Homeowners association (HOA) fees for deed-restricted housing were also clarified at 75 percent of regular HOA fees and deed-restricted housing units cannot be charged for other amenities, such as golf courses or fitness clubs.

“This was a lot of work for staff and is much appreciated,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “Everyone is concerned about housing, and this gives us some additional tools in our toolbox to address our housing issues.”