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More Regarding ADUs

To The Editor:

The Association for Responsible Development (ARD) has several major concerns regarding the Planning Commission’s proposal for Accessory Dwelling Units, (ADUs). This proposal would be a major change the existing CODE and Zoning in the Estes Town and Valley. The proposed changes could allow for uncontrolled growth and alter the unique mountain character of the Estes Valley.

Currently, ADU’s allow for an attached guest quarters or detached buildings with sink, stove and toilet.

By changing the existing CODE and Zoning requirements, making it less stringent to add an ADU, there will be an increase of infill in existing residential neighborhoods. In addition, it is highly likely that many of these ADU will be used as rentals.

Owner occupied properties are usually not a problem, but absentee owners frequently turn these units into apartments, which sometimes have enforcement problems with both short term and long terms rentals. Currently there is no way to control or enforce problems such as: number of occupants, inadequate parking, increased noise and traffic.

A second major issue is that of the “Use by Right” status that this proposal for the ADUs permits. This will allow for a code change that permits an accessory dwelling unit to be built without having the owner/builder go through the proper Planning Commission process which is already in place. This code change would allow construction of ADUs without public review or comment.  Individual property owners and neighborhoods should have the opportunity to attend public meetings and voice their concerns.

ARD is in agreement that the current system of a case-by-case assessment based on merit and reviewed by the Planning Commission with public comment has been effective in the past in approving appropriate requests. There does not seem to be a need based on the number of requests or the desire on the part of residents to make such sweeping code and zoning changes at this time. Maintaining the integrity of current neighborhoods is essential to the character of the town and valley.

You are welcome to attend the next ARD meeting, February 13th at 8:30 a.m. at Good Samaritan. ARD encourages all Estes Town and Valley residents who are interested in the proposed changes by the Planning Commission regarding ADUs, to attend the next Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, February 23rd at 1:30 pm in the Town Hall.

Dave Albee
Association for Responsible Development

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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