Pueblo County is divided into nearly two dozen districts or zones for the purpose of land use regulation. Each of these zone districts identifies permitted land uses, both by-right and by-review, along with regulations governing minimum lot area, building sizes, building heights, setbacks of structures from property lines, parking requirements, and other development standards. Occasionally, it becomes necessary or desirable to change the zoning classification of a particular area to accommodate a different type of land use. A map amendment involves the process of changing the official zone classification for a particular area. Once a map amendment is approved by the Board of County Commissioners, the new zone area, or "rezoning", is added to the official map maintained by the Department of Planning and Development.
The planned unit development (PUD) district is an alternative to conventional land use regulations, combining use, density and site plan considerations into a single process. The PUD is intended to be a zoning map designation, applied to a parcel of land only after a site-specific and project-specific review of proposed land uses is conducted.
The Rural Land Use process was adopted by Pueblo County to provide an alternative method of land division that encourages the clustering of single-family residential dwellings to maintain rural character, preserve open space, reduce the extension of roads and utilities, and offer landowners a new approach for developing the land without going through the full subdivision process. It provides a means of developing rural property while at the same time protecting wildlife habitat or critical areas, maintaining agricultural lands suitable for farming or ranching operations, and preserve and conserve water resources. In order to go through the Rural Land Use Process, the Cluster Development criteria must be met.
the Planning Commission may find, based upon the determination of the Pueblo County Zoning Administrator or upon its own finding, that a requested use is similar to those uses listed as uses-by-right or -by-review in the zone district in which the parcel is located. A similar use determination by the Zoning Administrator or by the Pueblo County Planning Commission shall not be site specific and shall thereafter be binding upon Pueblo County in the interpretation and administration of this Title unless and until the same is amended in accordance with law and regulation. Pueblo County provides a list of uses permitted by zone district. However, not all types of uses are listed. For uses that are not listed in the code the county must determine if such unlisted uses are similar to other permitted uses in the district
In each zone district, land uses are divided into "uses-by-right," which are permitted without any review or approval, and "uses-by-review," which require review and approval by the Pueblo County Planning Commission prior to establishment of the use or activity. The concept of zoning relating to "special use" or "use-by-review" is that such uses are not inherently inconsistent with the "uses-by-right" of a zone district; however, a specific "special use" may not be appropriate at a specific location.
The Planning Commission is given the opportunity to consider the compatibility of the use with surrounding uses and impose reasonable conditions to ensure consistency with the character of the area and to minimize adverse impacts. Special Use Permits are granted by the Planning Commission rather than the Board of County Commissioners and appeal of the Planning Commission's action is to District Court. Special Use Permits run with the land and are not limited to the original applicant.
In each zone district, there are specific building standards relating to setback distances and height limitations for structures. Sometimes, these standards cannot be accommodated due to the particular physical surroundings, shape, or topographical condition of a property. In these situations, the Zoning Board of Appeals (Board of County Commissioners) has the authority to relax certain dimensional regulations within the zoning code, such as lot width/depth and setback distances, so that property owners can have reasonable use of their property.
All new construction or significant modification of existing structures or land uses involving multi-residential, commercial, or industrial activities must submit an off-street parking plan for review and approval by the Department of Planning and Development. Minimum parking standards apply to all categories of land use within each zone district. These standards are designed to lessen congestion by providing paved, off-street parking to residents, employees, customers, clients, patients, and other visitors.
All new construction or a significant modification of existing structures or land uses involving multi-residential, commercial, or industrial activities requiring outdoor lighting must submit an outdoor lighting plan for review and approval by the Department of Planning and Development. Staff reviews the outdoor lighting plan for conformance with the applicable provisions of the County Code.
The County Code requires property owners, or their representative, to submit a sign plan prior to erecting advertising devises on a property or building. Each zone district has standards relating to the type (e.g. freestanding, wall mounted, etc.), number, location and height of permitted signage. Staff reviews the sign plan for conformance with the applicable provisions of the County code.
A Certificate of Nonconformance is a recorded document that identifies a specific use, parcel, and/or structure which lawfully existed prior to the enactment of the Pueblo County code, or any subsequent amendments thereof (i.e., map amendments), but which does not conform to the requirements of the zone district in which it is located. Certificate of Nonconformance is the formal name of the recorded instrument recognizing uses or structures that are "grandfathered" under zoning.
Home Occupations allow the operation of a "small business," primarily an office or a service, as an accessory use in an individual's residence. The "business" is limited to performance standards that are identified in the Pueblo County Code. A home occupation is allowed upon completion of a Home Occupation Disclosure Form available through the Department.
Zoning Authorizations for Building Permit:
The Department of Planning and Development determines what zone district a property lies in. Applicants must submit a plot plan indicating lot width and depth; combined square footage of structures on the property, both established and proposed; and the distance structures are setback from the property line on sides, the front, and the rear. This Department verifies that the proposed use of the property, the structural setbacks, lot depth and width, all meet the zone district requirements.
Appeal of Zoning Administrator's Decision:
If an individual, firm, or corporation disagrees with a decision of the Zoning Administrator (Director of Planning) regarding an interpretation of the County code, such interpretation may be appealed. The appeal must be filed with the Zoning Board of Appeals (Board of County Commissioners) and requires a properly noticed public hearing during which evidence and testimony are taken. The Zoning Board of Appeals may find in favor of the appeal or deny the appeal based on the specific conditions of each case.