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Land Use Policy

THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN LAND USE — A DRAFT POLICY STATEMENT Principles of Governance It is the job of Government to govern. Governance must be consistent with and pursuant to the people’s grant of the right to govern. For a home rule city, that grant is in its duly adopted Home Rule Charter. The Charter is subject to the constraints, where applicable, of the federal constitution, certain federal laws, the Colorado Constitution and, in matters of statewide concern, state statutes. Limited Freedom to Use Your Land As a landowner, you ought to be free to use your land in any manner allowed by valid applicable law. The law that limits your freedom of land use is a system of planning and zoning. It is the formal mechanism that government uses to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Planning and zoning, however, may not be used to deprive you of the reasonable economic use and enjoyment of your land. In order to retain its validity, legitimacy and utility, this process must be credible, fair and consistent. Right to Rely on the Law When a system of planning and zoning is in place, you have the right to rely on that law in using your property, in making plans for the future, and in enjoying the same. Council’s Goals in Land Use Council ought to facilitate your right to develop and to use your property in a manner that is: a)      consistent with the Master Plan adopted by and for the citizens of Cherry Hills Village; b)      in harmony with the uses present in the neighborhood; c)      sensitive to the reasonable desires and legitimate expectations of the neighbors; d)      designed in a manner that appreciates and reflects these goals; and e)      reviewed, revised and approved pursuant to a credible, fair and consistent process enacted by the Council. Implementation of Goals To implement these goals, Council must accept the challenge of crafting an ordinance that will honor the Master Plan, respect an owner’s rights, and protect the valid interests of neighbors. Mere difficulty in doing this task is not an excuse to abandon this task. Churches and Schools Promote the General Welfare From the earliest days of our Republic, places of worship and learning have been acknowledged as uses that promote public morals and the general welfare. The Village Master Plan boasts of the fact that Cherry Hills Village also provides the metropolitan area with several excellent private schools. There are several churches located within Cherry Hills, which also house schools and pre-schools. The Village Code acknowledges the value of churches and schools by making them uses by right in essentially all residential districts in Cherry Hills (R-1 through R-5, except R-3A). Legitimate Control of Churches and Schools All land uses, institutional or residential, must comply with certain basic requirements as set forth in the planning and zoning code. These affect public health, safety and welfare. Historically in Cherry Hills, institutional uses have been subjected to certain heightened requirements because of their nature and perceived impact on public safety:
  • More people will make use of the facility (and, hence, the land) when it is institutional rather than residential.
  • Impervious surfaces are constructed at a greater ratio on institutional land than on residential land, with few exceptions.
  • Hours of activity may occasionally extend beyond those of residential neighbors.
Consequently, issues of traffic, parking, roadway, drainage and lighting have been specially addressed in the past. In order to implement Council’s Goals (above), carefully crafted control of these circumstances is warranted as a matter of policy. Therefore, the Village should ordain a credible, fair and consistent process reasonably controlling the use and expanded use of land by institutional users. While mindful of their special places in history and in the Village, this includes churches and schools.   — Doug Tisdale

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