CONTROLLING HILLSIDE DEVELOPMENT
IN THE SHALL TOWNS OF
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Master's Degree in Urban and Regional Planning. University of Colorado at Denver.
Many fine people contributed to the ultimate preparation of this report. My special gratitude goes to Katie Fleming who sacrificed several evenings and a weekend to type this report. Appreciation is extended to Mark Murphy, who has continually encouraged my interest in community development, and provided 'the endless humor which helped me preserve my sanity through the course of this study. A loud "thank you" goes to Tom Gray, Boulder County Geologist, who was always more than willing to explain the complex, technical issues of hillside development to me his patience and desire to teach others the tools of his trade is truly remarkable. Last, but surely not of least assistance, was Bill Parker who took time out from his busy schedule to help me with some of the graphics contained in this report.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 "The Setting of Hillside Towns in the Front Range" 3
CHAPTER 2 "Front Range Growth Its Implications for Small, 8
- Profile of Small Front Range Towns 9
- Potential Problems of Hillside Development 11
CHAPTER 3 "Evaluating the Alternative Techniques" 15
- Description of the Evaluative Methodology 16
- Explanation of the Evaluation Model's Criteria 17
- Evaluation of Seven Techniques 24
- Results of the Evaluation Process 38
CHAPTER 4 "A Possible Approach to Hillside Regulation" 42
- Purpose and Policies 43
- Zoning Components 45
- Subdivision Regulation Components 47
- Administration and Evaluation of the Regulations 51
- Implementation 53
This study was initiated because of a deep, personal concern for the future of small towns in the Front Range of Colorado. Having lived in this area my entire life, I have seen several town overwhelmed by what some call "progress". This influx of growth often destroys the unique beauty of small towns, and its closely-knitted social relationships.
The very fact that small town hillside regulation is a subject of planning study signals that these communities have greatly changed since their early days. Most of the small, hillside towns in the Front Range were relatively automous mining or agricultural centers at one time. These'day saw small towns serving as a marketplace, collecting and distributing the goods of their surrounding hintherlands. After the Great Depression, large scale industry and agriculture came to our area in full force, and greatly changed these small towns. Prior to the intrusion of these forces, small towns were quite capable of dealing with most of their problems internally. If a builder constructed his project poorly, he suffered the reprimand of his neighbors. This strong peer pressure usually resulted in a fairly high degree of respect for cherished community values. However, with the intrusion of large scale industry and agriculture into our society, these small towns have gradually replaced many of these tight internal relationships with complex ties to the outside world. Small towns now depend heavily on the gargantuan economics of larger cities. Furthermore, small towns also seem to look more to outside political jurisdictions for help in dealing with their problems.
As Roland Warren has pointed out in his fine book, Th Community in America, our communities are now intricately linked with outside forces, resulting in large changes in norms, behavior patterns, and role expectations. This "great change" often results in the situation where a outside developer enters
a small town seeking profit, often with little concern for the values of the
community. Peer pressure is no longer effective, and regulations must be drafted to control his activities.
The overriding goal at the start of my study was to design a regulatory framework which is capable of being administered mostly through the internal resources of the community. To accomplish this goal, I decided to attempt a curious combination of technical problem solving and community development techniques. I have utilized a case study Lyons, Colorado, to pursue this goal. The experiences which I found in Lyons seem to be fairly reflective of those which could be expected in many of the small towns of the Front Range.
My work with hillside regulations in Lyons presented a beautiful opportunity for synthesizing the varying concepts which I have learned in my two years of planning study. While the variables in Lyons may differ from many towns, they are of sufficient complexity to test my problem solving abilities.
My study is structured in four major parts. Chapter 1 sets the stage for the Front Range's small hillside towns, describing their basic ecology, population, and so forth. The impact of impending Front Range growth pressures are discussed in Chapter 2. The alternatives for regulating hillside development are described and evaluated in Chapter 3 One possible approach for regulating hillside growth, as seen through the variables in Lyons, is offered in Chapter k. Finally, I have included a "Postscript" which expresses my thoughts on problem solving and community development after completing this study.
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COLORADOS FRONT RANGE
In order to accurately discuss the parameters of hillside development in the small towns of Colorado's Front Range, we must first come to a common understanding of what the concept "Front Range" means, and the implications of such a definition.
The words "Front Range" can carry several different meanings.
Some people will apply a strict geographic definition, while others will define the Front Range in terms of economic relationships. This study will define Colorado's Front Range as the same area which is included in the U S Census Bureau's Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA).
Utilizing this definition, the Front Range encompasses a broad strip of land running southward from the Wyoming border to slightly past Pueblo.
Fourteen counties (Larimer, Weld, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Clear Creek,
Denver, Douglas, Gilpin, Jefferson, El Paso, Teller, and Pueblo) are included in this areas as shown in Figure 1.
The physiographic conditions of the Front Range are almost a microcosm of the entire State of Colorado. To the east of the Mountains the land consists of relatively flat prairie grasslands. Much of this area has been converted to agricultural use with the introduction of modern irrigation techniques. The climate is semi arid with precipitation averaging below 20" per year.
Moving westward into the mountains, one encounters the dramatic characteristics of the Dakota and Lyons "hogbacks," The hogback region consists of
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sedimentary formations which were uplifted by geologic faults during the Mesozoic Era^ Vegetation in this area is quite sparse consisting of short grasses, scrub-brush, and some Ponderosa Pine. Soil layers in the hogback are very shallow and quite susceptible to erosion. The climate within this area is also semi-arid, and subject to high wind condtions at times. Several streams, creeks, and gullies cut a path through this region, and result in a whole host of special concerns for hillside development as will be described later.
As one moves further west into the mountains, the stunning conditions of the Montane and Alpine regions are seen. Vegetation becomes much denser (due to the greater amounts of precipitation received), relief conditions become more pronounced, and considerable amounts of hard, granitic rock are present. Once again, several streams, creeks, and gullies cut through the area, leaving in their wake alluvial soils, "debris fans", and other potential problems.
To better illustrate the physiographic conditions of small, hillside towns in the Front Range, a more detailed description of one particular town Lyons, should prove useful.
Lyons is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, approximately
15 miles northwest of Boulder (See Figure 2), and the problems posed by
its various environmental conditions are fairly indicative of those which
can be expected in many of the front range small towns.
Lyons was founded at the confluence of the North and South St. Vrain Creeks. The majority of the town lies within a natural "bowl", surrounded by sedimentary formations of sandstone on all sides. The land 'within this bowl is relatively flat, soils are well drained and non-swelling in character, and its bedrock geology is reasonable stable. Outside of potential flood
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problems, there are very few environmental constraints. However, as one moves outside of this bowl, several concerns are encountered. The sandstone hillsides of the Lyons hogback which surround Lyons have slopes ranging from 10-50% in grade. Soils on these hillsides are very shallow and susceptible to erosion. As is commonly found in hogback environments, vegetation is quite sparse, compounding the erosion problem. Bedrock geology conditions consist of a series of sedimentary deposits which have been exposed in many areas due to erosion and geologic uplifting. The com bination of all these factors results in several environmental constraints Erosion and excessive water runoff are a constant problem due to shallow soil, sparse vegetation and steep slopes. Landslides are another problem in areas of steep slopes with little vegetation. Rockfalls are a problem on extremely steep slopes (100% grade usually) where the bedrock has been exposed. Finally, these areas have some "debris fan" problems in which past flooding has deposited unstable soil and rock at the base of a gully.
FRONT RANGE GROWTH ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR SMALLf HILLSIDE TOWNS
There is little doubt that Colorado's Front Range is growing at a phenomenal rate. At the present time, over 75% of Colorado's total population is located within the Front Range. During the period of 1970-78, population increased by 18%. By the year 2000, it is expected that this region will grow another 29% to well over three million people.-
The reasons for this phenomenal growth rate seem to fall under three Ll
basic categories. First, employment opportunities have increased substantially due to: the recognition by many corporations that the Front Range is ideally situated for access to other regions of the country, its favorable climate, and proximity to the vast reserves of coal, oil, natural gas, oil shale, and other natural resources of our state. Secondly, the Front Range has unsurpassed recreational amenities which further encourages people to move into the area. Lastly, many persons see the Front Range as an extremely attractive alternative to the congested, polluted, and hurried lifestyle of such places as Southern California or the Eastern Seaboard.
While it is difficult to predict exactly how much of this growth will take place in the small, hillside towns of the Front Range, several factors point to tremendous growth in the future. First, there seems to be a national trend for urban to rural migration? Secondly, many persons are moving to small towns because of their dissatisfaction with the polluted, congested, and crime ridden conditions of urbanized settings. Thirdly, many of the small towns, even though lacking a strong employment base, are within easy
commuting distance of employment centers such as Denver, Boulder, or Fort Collins.
As a general statement, past development in the small, hillside towns of the Front Range has occurred on relatively flat, constraint-free land. However, with the impending growth that will occur as a result of the above mentioned factors, many of these towns will be looking to their hillsides as a source of future expansion. In some cases, this decision is accelerated by the fact that federally owned land surrounds these towns, and limits their available choices for expansion.
Lyons is a good example of a small town which perforce must look at its hillsides as a potential source for growth. Until quite recently, Lyons
grew within the relatively flat bowl which was described earlier. Starting
in about I960 to approximately 1300 today. This growth came largely as a result of the introduction of several large employment centers in the region such as IBM or Beechcraft Corporation. As a result, the supply of vacant land on relatively flat terrain has diminished greatly. The vacant land now available to the Town is mainly located on fairly steep hillsides as shown in Figure 3.
PROFILE QF SMALL, EBQHLRAUfiB. SQ'MZ
The small towns of the Front Range vary widely in terms of their population, budgeting capacity, and governmental frameworks. Consequently, one must necessarily make generalizations to shed any light on these characteristics.
In terms of population, "small towns" is a very relative concept, and subject to wide interpretation. I have arbitrarily defined "small towns" as all those towns with less than a 5,000 population.
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The budgeting capacity of these towns varies, with a range of $100,000 -
$1,000,000. The mill levy assessment of property valuations is often quite
high compared to larger cities, and the bonded indebtness often represents
a sizeable percentage of the total budget.
The governmental framework of these small towns generally consists of only a town board which is responsible for reviewing all development proposals, or in some cases, a combination of a town board and planning commis-
sion where these responsibilities are shared.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS OF HILLSIDE DEVELOPMENT As one might expect, the prospect of hillside development poses some, unique problems for small towns.
First, hillside development increases the potential for a multitude of technical problems. While the extent of these problems is unique to
each town, a small hillside town is the Front Range potentially faces these
1. Avalanrbsa rapid downslope movement of snow, ice and associated debris, usually occuring on slopes of 3045 degree gradients. This is not a major problem for small towns of the Front Range, but should be studied at higher elevations where heavy snowfall is received.
2. Lands!idas downslope movement of soil and rock due to erosion, excavation, alteration of natural drainage patterns, and the vibrations of heavy vehicles. The presence of landslide problems must be studied in all small, hillside towns.
3. RnrU-fn! i s falling of large rock fragments under steep slope conditions caused by the "freeze thaw" cycle, precepitation, seismic activity, and the undercutting of cliffs by erosion or man's
activities. This problem must be investigated, in all areas which have exposed bedrock on slopes of 100% or greater.
if. Pehn's Fans triangular shaped landforms formed by the depositing of rock and soil material at the intersection of a tributary valley with a larger valley. This problem must be studied in all towns where a watercourse emerges from mountainous terrain into a valley.
5. Mudflow rapid movement of wet, fluid, fine grained material resulting from heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt. This problem occurs in drainage basins that head into barren, mountainous areas.
6. Unstahle Slopes slopes which are very susceptible to failure due to weathering, erosion, earthquakes, hydrologic conditions, and the introduction of human activity (excavation, heavy vehicular traffic, and alteration of surface drainage). This problem is a widespread one, and requires the expertise of a engineering geologist for identification.
7. Saisaic Activity the displacement of ground surface due to the natural movement of underlying tectonic "plates", nuclear denotations, injection of high pressure fluids into the gound surface, and impoundment of large bodies of water i.e. reservoirs. The presence of seismicity in Colorado s Front Hange is poorly understood due to a lack of historical data. Our information in this area will greatly improve upon completion of the Colorado Geological Survey's study of this subject which is now taking place.
8. RarH oafiti.vitv radiation emissions from rocks containing high levels of uranium thorium, and radium. This is a particular
problem in areas where mining for radioactive materials has taken
place, resulting in mine clumps, and tailings.
9. Ground Subsidence sinking of surface material as a result of groundwater removal, dissoultion of underground materials, natural consolidation, and underground mining. These problems are quite pervasive in the Front Bange and must be investigated in all cases.
10. SaaaasLza Soil aad Bock the expansion of clay-laden soil and rock upon exposure to precipitation. The large changes in soil moisture due to Colorado's seasonal changes make this a widespread problem. If a town does not have information on the location of its swelling soils and rock, consultation with a qualified soils engineer or engineering geologist is essential.
11. Son Eros-f on steep hillside areas are quite susceptible to erosion, especially if vegetation is sparse. Excessive erosion can result in the pollution of downstream watercourses, and landslides.11
12. Drainage and Runoff disturbing the natural drainage patterns
of hillsides usually increases runoff, leads to more soil erosion,
and may reduce the recharging of groundwater reserves.
The identification of these technical problems and knowledge of available mitigation techniques is usually beyond the financial and staff resources of a small town.
Secondly, hillside development results in increased expenditures for the installation of utilities, and the provision of public services like fire and police protection1^ Sewer, water and road facilities require special engineering which can be very costly. If these costs are spread evenly through the community, hillside residents are, in effect, receiving a public subsidy for their services at the expense of residents in more
Lastly, poorly regulated hillside development can result in damage to the cherished aesthetic values of the community. More often than not, the hillsides of a town make it a very unique and beautiful place to live. Covering these hillsides with poorly designed development can diminish that uniqueness and beauty. It is conceded that "aesthetics" is a very subjective concept, depending on what "color your glasses are". However, I suspect that it would not be too much of an overstatement to say that the residents of small, hillside towns are of a very independent character, and cherish the beauty of their hillsides very much.
As a case in point, the residents of Lyons were asked about the value of
their hillsides during the preparation of a Comprehensive Plan in 1976. A
very clear consensus of opinion was expressed that those areas were extremely
Invaluable, and should be designated "protected areas".
EVALUATING THE ALTERNATIVE TECHNIQUES
Hillsides have a long history of regulation compared to other sensitive areas. It is easy to understand why this is so if one looks at the history of hillside development in areas which have undergone extreme growth pressures.
The experience of Los Angeles County provides a good example of what can happen to a hillside area in the midst of high growth pressure if adequate regulations are not in' placed Before 1963 hillside development in L. A, County followed the technique of conventional flat land development. Hillsides were mercilessly bulldozed into submission, with little attention given to drainage, erosion, slope stability, and so forth. For a time it appeared that this approach did not present any major problems. However, with the passing of each new wet season, it became evident that there were serious drawbacks to such insensitive development. The first symptoms of this short-sightedness were minor problems with soil erosion and ground subsidence. Later, however, entire subdivisions ware known to unexpectedly slide down the hillside, resulting in huge damages for both the homeowner and the public sector. Finally recognizing these problems, the City and County of Los Angeles adopted some tough hillside regulations in 1963. The effectiveness of these regulations was fully put to the test in 1969 when L. A. County received its heaviest rainfall in over 85 years. Comparing damages on a cost-per-unit basis, building sites developed under the post 1963 regulations incurred an average damages of $16 while those sites developed before the 1963 regulations averaged more than $160 in damages. Quite clearly, the L. A. County
experience points to the advantages of adlopting sound hillside regulations.
Because of the long history with hillside regulations, the techniques available are quite numerous, and often very sophisticated. Looking at these techniques, one is initially inclined to choose the technique which is the most sound in terms of technical considerations. However, our task is not so simple if we are to design a regulatory scheme which meets the unique needs of a small town. As mentioned in Chapter 1, small towns are very limited in the economic and staff resources which can be devoted to a subject such as hillside regulation. In order to sensitively evaluate the usefulness of various alternatives for regulating hillside development in small towns, I devised a methodology which combines professional study and citizen interaction.
DESCRIPTION OF THE EVALUATIVE- METHODOLOGY While the methodology which I am about to explain has only been utilized in one "real-life" setting Lyons, I believe that its basic structure can be applied to many other small towns.
My entire methodology is predicated on the assumption that the "professional planner" and the community are capable of working as a team in order to solve a given problem namely, how tc regulate hillside development. It seem to me that one of the basic faults in our past approaches to planning has been the assumption that the "professional planner" has all the answers to problems which confront the community. In my opinion, the ideas of the community's citizens are an invaluable resource which should not be overlooked. Throughout my study, I have been surprised at how "smart" people can be. Often times, citizen ideas caused to rethink various elements of my study, and alerted me to new possibilities.
As with all approaches to problem solution, my methodology begins
with the "identification of the problem". Here, the community and the professional planner search for a better understanding of the local parameters involved in hillside developnent. The physical problems (i.e. landslides, rockfalls, tec.) must be pinpointed, and the effectiveness of existing regulations are discusssed.
In Lyons, this initial step took place in two seperate meetings.
Through library research and conservations with area professionals, I pinpointed what I thought were the major hillside problems in Lyons. At our first meeting, these findings were presented to a group of citizens (what I called the "Steering Committee") through the use of butcher paper sketches and a slide presentation. The second meeting in the problem identification phase involved a discussion of the way in which these problems were presently regulated. Since Lyons currently uses zoning and subdivision regulations to regulate its hillsides, I pointed out some of the drawbacks of these techniques. Several excellent ideas were expressed by the citizens on these matters. Some of the major concerns expressed at this meeting were: what reports should be required of hillside developers? and how can we bring hillside development into compliance with the goals of our comprehensive plan?
After identifying the basic hillside problems of the community, my methodology moves into an evaluation stage. Here, the alternative technique for regulating hillside development are reviewed through the use of an "evaluation model". This evaluation model is composed of four major elements which always need to be considered when reviewing a technique for small town use (see Figure k).
EXPLANATION OF THE MODEL'S CRITERIA
The model represents a series of questions which are used to critically evaluate each technique. These questions are grouped under four subject
categories (technical effectiveness, implementation and legal paramenters, administration and evaluation, and political feasibility) as follows:
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This category deals with the ability of a particular technique to adequately regulate the special technical problems brought on by hillside development. The following questions are asked under '^technical effectiveness":
1. Does the technique control development in geologic/soil hazard areas (avalanches, landslides, rockfalls, debris fans, unstable slopes, seismic prone areas, radioactivity, ground subsidence, and expansive rock and soils)?
2. Are the crucial problems of soil erosion, v/ater runoff, and grading covered sufficiently?
3. Does the technique control building density?
if. Does the technique provide methods for protecting the aesthetic values of hillside areas (i.e. rock outcroppings, ridgelines, etc)?
5. Does the technique help minimize the costs of supplying public utilities and services to hillside areas, or are these costs borne by all the residents of the town?
B. IMPLEMENTATION AND LEGAL PARAMETERS
This section of the model takes a look at the various legal and financial questions which might be raised by adopting hillside regulations.
These questions are:
1. Will the adoption of this technique be viewed as a valid use of the police power if challenged in court?
2. Is new State enabling legislation required for this technique?
3. Would the adoption of the technique require extensive changes in the existing regulatory framework of the town?
k. Are expensive base studies required to successfully implement this new technique?
C. MP EVALUATION
This set of criteria attempts to pinpoint the types of expertise and day-to-day costs needed to administer and evaluate the technique. The questions which fall under this category are:
l, Are the procedural and substantive components of this technique capable of being understood by the average layman?
2. Does the technique require the assistance of outside professionals such as geologists and engineers? This question is extremely
crucial as the evaluation capability of most small towns is very limit
5, Will the administration and evaluation of this technique by costly
D. PQIMgAL FSASlMim
Lastly, the various techniques are evaluated against a set of criteria grouped under the heading "political feasibility," The items which must be considered under this category are:
1, Can extensive opposition be expected from the property owners affected by these regulations?
2, Is the technique compatible with the goals and opinions of the towns residents?
3, Can the costs which might be incurred through adoption of this technique be justified to the town's residents?
OPERATION OF THE EVALUATION MODEL
For this model to operate successfully, information must be supplied by both the professional planner and the community. It seems that the planner is best suited for supplying the information required in the first
two categories of the model Technical Effactiveness and legal Paraflgters. these are subjects which require some background in environmental science and planning law. The last two categories of the model Administration and Evaluation and Political. Feasibility are subject where citizens can really use their common sensical knowledge. Knowledge of the day-to-day administrative hangups and local political climate requires the opinions of those familiar with the community. It should be emphasized that the role of ''professionals" or "citizens" is not one cast in concrete. Opportunity needs to be given at each state of the evaluation process for a "give-and-take" exchange of ideas between the professional and the community's citizens. As an example, there were times when I was able to add to the citizen's understanding of a technique's administrative and political problems.
In looking at each of the alternative techniques, my assessment was conducted on two levels. First, each of the criterion contained in the model was applied in a generalized manner to determine its usefulness for the small towns of the Front Range. Using the results of this initial assessment, I prepared a description of each technique (displayed on butcher paper) which explained how it worked, and its advantages and disadvantages as I perceived them. These issues were thoroughly discussed with the citizens to enrich my initial assessment. There were times when my initial assessment was confirmed, times when I was completely off-base, and times when I realized the need for further research. Of upmost importance in this process is the need to present your research findings as objectively as possible, and always be open to new ideas.
The last step in my methodology involves taking the results of the evaluation process and putting them into a framework which is suitable for small town use. The conclusions embodied in this last step are once again
the result of a generalized assessment, and my knowledge of once particular community Lyons.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?
In searching for solutions to the problems of hillside development, I have evaluated seven different techniques which could conceivably be used in small towns. In the following pages, I will describe the basic concept behind each technique, explain how it might be used for hillside regulation, and evaluate it in light of the criteria contained in my evaluation model.
As I mentioned previously, this process depends on considerable library research, conversations with knowledgeable professionals, and equally important the opinions of public officials and citizens.
In attempting to pinpoint the alternatives which could reasonably be used for hillside regulation, I first compiled a list of the following nine techniques:
1. Impact Zoning
2. Transferable Development Rights
3. Fee Purchasing
5. Location of Infrastructure Facilities
6. Conventional Zoning
7. Subdivision Regulations
8. PUD Zoning
9. Performance Controls
Suspecting that some of these techniques might be completely untenable for small town use, I decided to conduct an "initial screening" to seperate the "out-of-the-ballpark" techniques from those "deserving of further study". The initial screening resulted in the elimination of two techniques impact
leal effectiveness, legal requirements, and administratee/evaluative elements. However, beacuse of the high cost involved in fully purchasing hillside properties, it appears that this tool is politically infeasible. An exception to this assessment might be merited for some towns in which vacant, hillside land was in very small quanities, and would not require a very large cost for acquisition.
Closely related to fee purchasing is the idea of "easements". In purchasing easements, towns obtain special rights in the land rather than full ownership. Easements may be positive, giving the towns's residents the right to use land for certain purposes (i.e. recreation), or they may be negative by restricting the landowner to certain uses of his property.
Applying easements to hillside protection would involve an attempt to purchase the "development rights" of selected hillside properties so that these areas would be preserved in open space for a given time. Such easements are usually
called "scenic easements'.', and have been used with some success in the Washing-
ton D. C. area and Monterey, California.
As with fee purchasing, easements are potentially very effective for minimizing the technical problems of hillside development.
Implementing an easement program would once again require some method of financing. If easements are purchased outright, financing usually comes from a sales tax fund or the issuance of bonds. Some communities have financed their easement programs by offering preferential tax assessment of .properties selected for protection. In either case, the expenditures required for
easement acquisition are usually high, often coming close to that required
for "fee simple" acquisition. Legally, easements are relatively free of problems. One legal problem which is sometimes encountered with easements is the failure to clearly state the rights which are to be relinquished by the
The administration and evaluation needs of an easement program are much the same as those encountered in fee purchasing. One administrative advantage which easements have over fee purchases is the fact that the maintenance of the land remains with its owner.
Politically, it seems that an easement program would meet the same opposition which is enountered with fee purchases. It is conceivable that public opposition could be somewhat minimized if it was explained that easements are less expensive than fee simple acquisitions, and nearly as effective.
Overall, easements compare quite favorably with fee simple acquisitions in terms of technical effectiveness, implementation and legal requirements, and political feasibility, administratively, easements seem to involve less cost than fee purchases. In comparing these two techniques, it should be noted that easements are only an interim measure which could be used until the town decides to purchase the land outright, or apply some type of regulatory scheme.
Location. qÂ£ Lafraatruature. Facilitiss-
Another method which could possibly be used for controlling hillside growth is the careful location of key infrastructure facilities. In recent years, planners have begun to recognize that roads, sewer, and water facilities are prime determinants for the location and timing of development. This recognition led the Council on Environmental Quality to state that "the funding of public facilities has the most direct and immediate impact on specific 27
Utilizing infrastructure facilities to influence the location of growth is only effective in areas which are lacking in public facilities, or where
existing systems are inadequate for future growth. Some communities (i.e. -Ramapo, New York) have combined this technique with long term capital programming to further coodinate public investments. For example, in Ramapo, developers must obtain a "special permit" before beginning construction which
is based on the proximity to key public facilities such as water, sewer, and
schools. If these facilities are missing, the developer must wait for their construction which comes somewhere within a 18 year time frame. If the developer wishes to begin construction before then, he must pay for these facilities himself.
V/hile infrastructure facilities could be used to temporarily influence the location and timing of hillside development, their technical effectiveness is very limited. To deal adequately with such technical problems as geologic hazards and soil erosion, this technique must be used in combination with other regulatory measures. However, there does seem to be one exception to this limited technical effectiveness in that the costs of supplying public services to hillside properties are better controlled with this technique.
By carefully locating key infrastructure facilities, hillside development can be phased to meet the financial capabilities of the town. For example, if development of a particular hillside area would require expensive pumping facilities, the extension of water mains to this area might be postponed until the town had a sufficient economic base to pay for such improvements.
The legal feasibility of this technique is somewhat uncertain. While the Ramapo approach as been upheld by the courts as a valid exercise of the
police power, numerous social and economic questions have since been raised.
The implementation requirements of a infrastructure based technique look sizely. A town would first of all have to fully understand the capacity of its existing system which might require expensive water and sewer engineering
studies. As an example, in Lyons there is very poor understanding of the town's water distribution system in terms of total capacities, pressures, and so forth. A detailed engineering study of this system (keeping in mind that only 1300 people live in Lyons) would cost over 350,000^ Once these studies were completed, a town would next have to prepare a long term capital budgeting program based on projected revenues and costs. This could also be quite costly.
The administrative and evaluative needs of such a technique are fairly minimal. If done properly, it is entirely conceivable that this technique could be made understandable to the average lay-people of a small town.
Once the necessary base studies for a capital facilities program were in place, the town would probably be able to administer the system with very little outside help, and at a fairly low cost.
Politically, the use of infrastructure facilities as an influence in hillside development might be difficult to justify. Small town people seem to be unusually independent, believing that a man should be able to develop his property "when he wants", and how he "wants". Lyons is an exception to this generalization with the majority of the people firmly recognizing the importance of land use planning. Also, the potentially high costs of this technique would probably add to its political infeasibility.
In the past, hillsides have been most commonly regulated with conventional zoning techniques. Normally, conventional zoning is combined with subdivision regulation (see the following section). Put simply, conventional zoning (sometimes called "Euclidean" zoning) devides the community into "districts", each containing regulations governing the density, uses height and bulk of buildings, lot sizes, and yard requirements."'*'
Utilizing conventional zoning for the control of hillside development would involve zoning the hillsides for uses which seem to have a low impact on their delicate ecological processes. Consequently, hillsides with gentle-to-moderate slopes (say, 10-20%) might be zoned for low density residential use, while steep slopes (20% or greater) would be zoned for used like recreation of conservation.
On the surface, it seems that conventional zoning is a good technique in
terms of technical effectiveness. In theory, the wise application of zoning
to hillside areas will identify what land is buildable. However, a critical
examination of conventional zoning finds that there are several shortcomings
in its treatment of the technical issues. First, those uses which are often permitted on hillsides are not necessarily compatible with the ecological processes of hillsides. For example, while low density residential uses have a low impact in terms of density, roads must still be cuttinto the hillsidet resulting in soil erosion and slope stability problems. The control of geologic hazards, erosion, grading^and drainage is not provided in most conventional zoning techniques. These problems can only be caught in the subdivision regulation stage, if at all. The second major shortcoming with conventional zoning is that its heavy emphasis on "specifications" is an obstacle to the innovative building techniques that.are often-necessary in hillside environments. 3y rigidly specifying lot sizes, yard requirements, and so forth, hillside development will usually take place according to flat-land building practices. Thirdly, conventional zoning provides little flexibilty in protecting the aesthetic values of hillsides. Protecting such aesthetic qualities as ridgelines and rock outcroppings is very difficult when rigid specification standards are set. Lastly, conventional zoning may an impediment to the economical delivery of public services to hillside areas. The
zoning and transferrable development rights. The reasons for these eliminations are as follows:
Put quite simply, impact zoning is a system for relating the capacities
of a community's natural and physical systems to the potential demands of 17
a development. Consequently, communities must thoroughly inventory their natural and physical resources to determine total and available capacities. Due to the tremendous informational requirements of impact zoning, access to computer facilities and highly trained professionals is a must. The realization that small towns are generaly incapable of affording such resources led me to immediately elimate impact zoning.
Transferrable Develmmert Rights
Transferrable Development Sights is a concept which attempts to com-
bine land use management with the operation of the private marketplace.
While the TDK concept is probably the most imaginative land use control
developed in recent times, it is extremely complex, and filled with legal
and economic uncertainties. Implementation of a sound TDR system requires very sophisticated ecological and market studies to determine how development rights will be allocated throughout the community. The cost and professional expertise of these studies seem to be beyond the resources of Colorado's small, Front Range towis. Furthermore, the exchanging of development rights upon which TDR is predicated is based on the assumption that owners of developable land will find it more profitable to develop at higher densities (and by doing so, purchase the excess development rights from property owners whose land is designated open space). This assumption is highly questionable in the context of a small town where perferences for low density development run quite strongly. Due to their complex, costly,
and uncertain nature, TDR's were eliminated from further consideration. EVALUATION. QF TH2 SEVEN TECHNIQUES Fee Purchasing
Quite obviously, towns have the greatest capability to manage hillside
development if these lands are held in public ownership. "Fee purchasing"
refers to the acquisition of full title to property for some public purpose
such as open space. Fee purchasing is required when all "reasonable and profitable" use of property has been removed by public action.
Fee purchasing is undoubtedly an effective method for controlling hillside development. By identifying those hillside properties which are of ecological or aesthetic value, such problems as geologic hazards, soil erosion, and aesthetic degradation can be effectively removed from the realm of public policy consideration. Consequently, from the standpoint of technical effectiveness, fee purchasing ranks highest among all of the techniques considered.
The implementation and legal requirements of a fee purchasing approach do not appear to be too great. Probably the biggest obstacle to a fee purchasing program is finding a method for financing. Financing fee purchase acquisitions can be done through a earmarked sales tax (in which case the
issue would have to be submitted to the voters for approval), the issuance
of revenue bonds, or by seeking federal aid. Another minor obstacle which
might be encountered is the resistance of some property owners to fee
acquisition of their property. If negotiations with property owners fails to
result in an agreement for puchase, towns can resort to the use of "eminent
domain", and condemn the land for public purposes. The court system seems to
inclined to uphold condemnation proceedings if a clear public purpose can be 22
The administrative and evaluative requirements of a fee purchasing program seem to be fairly small. The purpose involved in such an approach could easily be conveyed to the town officials who are normally responsible for planning matters. Undoubtedly, some outside professional help would be needed to initially establish a fee purchasing program i.e. attorneys for drawing up contracts, assessors for determining the fair market value of hillside land, etc. However, once these tasks were accomplished, the need for outside professionals would be virtually eliminated. The cost of administering a fee purchase program would be limited to those necessary for the maintenance of purchased land. Assuming that these areas would be left in a natural state, this would probably amount to no cost whatsoever.
Probably the biggest hangup to the use of fee purchasing in a small town lies in the political opposition which could be expected. It seems that convincing the general populous that public funds should be used for hillside acquistion is as difficult as "pulling wisdom teeth". Normally these residents are most concerned with the adequate provision of basic services such as water, sewer, roads, etc. These are needs which are immediate and very close to the hearts of small townspeople. Purchasing hilside land for such long range goals as "ecological protection", or "orderly future growth," does not seem to be perceived as a key priority compared to the provision of basic services. Additionally, people are generally fed up with increased government spending which would make selling a fee acquistion program even more difficult. Curiously enough, these feelings often run strong even if there is a clear consensus of public opinion that hillside development should
be controlled. For example, in Lyons where public opinion is clearly in favor
of hillside protection, residents oppose the purchase of these areas.
Overall, fee purchasing looks very good from the standpoint of its tech-
costs of supplying utilities and other services to sprawling, law density areas are estimated to be 7"8% more than those incurred in supplying services to clustered developments."^
Viewed on the basis of legal and implementation criteria, conventional zoning stands at the head of the pack. Ever since the case of Euclid, zoning has been looked upon quite favorable by the court system. Normally, if zoning has some connection to the "public health, safety, and welfare," the courts vail give it presumptive validity. Arguing that the control of hillside development is in their interest, in that ecological and financial issues are at stake, would probably satisfy this requirement. Using conventional zoning would not require any new state enabling legislation as our state has already adopted the Standard Zoning Enabling Act of the federal government. The implementation of a conventional zoning ordinance for hillside applications would require professional planning assistance if a system was not already in place. Many communities such as Lyons already have a zoning ordinance, and would simply have to rezone hillside properties to less destructive uses. Naturally, any rezoning of hillside land would have to meet
several legal tests such as:
1. Is the change in keeping with the character of surrounding areas?
2. Does the rezoning conform to the Comprehensive Plan?
3. Were there mistakes-in the original zoning which justify rezoning?
4. Does the public "benefit" derived from' the rezoning, outweigh any
losses in property value suffered by the property owner?
5. Does the rezoning leave the property owner some "reasonable" use
of the land?
It should be noted that zoning techniques are normally prepared when a- comprehensive plan is done. Preparation of a comprehensive plan and zoning
ordinance require thorough inventories of the communitys natural, physical, economic, and social resources. Consequently, some cost would be involved in preparing zoning techniques, depending on the thoroughness of this inventory.
The administration and evaluation of hillside zoning regulations if fairly straightforward, but does require some outside legal and planning consultation at times. Many communities have utilized this technique and are fairly knowledgeable of the procedures involved. The cost required in administering conventional zoning is quite low, assuming that outside professionals are not consulted too often.
The political feasibility of conventional zoning depends on several considerations. Naturally, some political opposition can be expected from hillside property owners if their land is zoned in a way which reduces its development potential. However, if this zoning has followed the opinions of the town's residents (expressed in the Comprehensive Plan), this opposition can probably be overcome. The general outlook of the community toward hillside development will also determine if political opposition will form because of the costliness of this technique. If the community's residents are "planning conscious", and strongly believe in the control of hillside development, opposition to the costs involved may not be too great.
As mentioned above, subdivision regulations are usually used in tandem with conventional zoning techniques. Subdivision regulations govern the way in which lots and streets are laid out, the specifications which must be met for utilities, and hov; the costs for such improvements will be allocated^ Both private and public objectives are contained in subdivision regulation. In the private sense, subdivision regulations assure that buyer of a subdivided lot that his site is buildable in that adequate drainage is present, and
necessary services like water and sewer are sufficient. Publicly, subdivision regulations are a means of assuring that basic infrastructure facilities are designed well, adequate open space is provided, and that the costs of such things are not unfairly borne by the residents of the community.
Subdivision regulations are often used for hillside development, but usually in combination with other tools. These regulations can specify the special engineering requirements that infrastructure must meet, permissible grading allowed, and require that the developer pays for and installs key facilities. For a general idea of how subdivision regulations
can be applied to hillside development, a brief look at the regulations of
Santa Fe, New Mexico is in order. In the Santa Fe regulations, strict
guidelines are given on the amount of cutting and filling allowed, drainage
facilities, and the revegetation of exposed slopes. Also, these regulations
require that all development on slopes in excess of 10% must submit soils,
geology, and grading reports. These three reports are viewed as essential
by all hillside development experts.
From a technical perspective, subdivision regulations can be extremely effective. While they do not provide density control, they can provide excellent regulation of geologic hazards, erosion, grading, and drainage. Subdivision regulations can also help insure that the cost of supplying public services are borne by those benefiting. Normally, subdivision regulations do not protect aesthetic values unless these considerations are openly stated in a set of policies which may be attached to the regulations.
The implementation and legal parameters of subdivision regulations are somewhat similar to those found in conventional zoning. First, subdivision regulations are viewed as an exercise of the police power; consequently, their purposes must be connected to the "public health, saftey, and
welfare. Our state has enabling legislation for subdivision regulations which gives general guidelines on what elements must be contained, and specifies the jurisdiction which may come under the regulations. Implementing a set of subdivision regulations would require professional consultation if a community did not have existing regulations. If a community already has subdivision regulations in place, they could easily be adapted to hillside use by adding "cut and fill" provisions and a requirement for soil, geology, and grading reports. The studies which must go into preparation of subdivision regulations do not appear to be too costly if compared with zoning.
Administratively, subdivision regulations involve considerable work and professional assistance. While the basic intent behind subdivision regulations is understood by most laymen, planners and engineers must often be consulted to interpret the reams of information submitted by the developer. The recommendations of these professionals are often sought in order to evaluate the adequancy of a development proposal. As one might expect, extensive use of professional help can be quite expensive. Much of this cost can be transferred to the developer by setting water and sewer tap fees high enough, or by expressly stating that he must pay for the costs of special studies incurred in the subdivision process.
The potential political feasibility of subdivision regulations seem to be quite good. Most people will agree with the importance of well engineered subdivisions if the regulations are not too burdensome. Furthermore, it seems likely that any costs incurred could be justified by explaining the
public purpose involved
Planned. Unit Development (PUD) is a tool which combines the elements of conventional zoning and subdivision regulations into one process^0 PUD ordinances are designed to encourage cluster development, and diverse hous-ing types. Normally, PUD use is reserved for larger scale development -i.e. -five acres or larger.
The greater use of PUD's holds some potential for addressing the technical issues of hillside development. While PUD's set an overall manimum
density, the develop is allowed considerable flexibility in designing his
development. By relaxing the rigid standards of conventional zoning, it is possible to mold a development to tie unique features of its site more closely. If good guidelines are provided on geologic hazards and other potential hillside problems, the adminstering body can require studies which will help assure that these problems are addressed. The flexibility inherent in PUD also lends itself to the protection of aesthetic values. Furthermore, since PUD encourages clustered development there is some hope that the costs of supplying services to hillside areas will be reduced.
PUD is on strong legal grounds if a good connection to public purposes can be shown. Our state's enabling legislation for PUD was adopted in 1972, and consequently, the approach can be implemented through a simple amendent to the zoning ordinance. Normally, when a PUD ordinance is adopted, all land becomes elgible for development under its provisions. Sometimes, however, communities carefully map their intended PUD districts, making it a new "zone" in the zoning ordinance. The expense involved in adding PUD provisions to the town's existing regulations is usually limited to the legal expenses of drawing up the ordinance. Administratively,
PUD offers definite advantages over conventional zoning. The procedures which were once seperately contained in the zoning ordinance and sub-
division regulations are combined, and often streamlined. One drawback with PUD lies in their open ended character. Allowing the developer considerable flexibility in development design places a big burden on the administering bodies for the evaluation of submitted information. As a result, outside professionals are often needed, and this can be costly. As with subdivision regulations, much of this cost can be transferred to the developer through tap fees and contractual agreements.
Politically, PUD scores very high. Little opposition could be expected from affected property owners as they often see PUD as an attractive alternative to Euclidean Zoning. It also seems reasonable that the rest of the community could be sold on PUD's if their administrative, cost, and ecological advantages were explained.
Performance controls are another variation on zoning which are often
used in regulating sensitive environmental resources such as hillsides. As
a response to the many shortcomings of conventional zoning, performance con-
trols are primarily concerned with the results of development. Developers are allowed considerable discretion in designing their projects as long as they "perform" within certain limits. Often, uses are not specified ahead of time with the result that developers may build residential, commercial, or industrial projects as long as they conform to the performance standards of the community.
Performance controls are usually applied to hillside development by
establishing very sophisticated formulas on drainage, soil erosion, grading,
and the amount of land that may be covered by impervious surfaces. Setting
these formulas requires extensive background study so that the "carrying
capacity'.* of different types of land can be computed
Performance controls are undoubtly the best method for effectively dealing with the technical issues of hillside development. Focusing on the results of development, rather than on its ore-set design, gives a greater assurance that these issues will be sensitively treated. Of course, this is based on the assumption that highly trained personnel is available for administering these controls.
The legal validity of performance controls is sound, if their provisions
are based on scientific studies. These controls are normally added to a town's subdivision regulations, and would not require any new state enabling legislation. Quite obviously, some changes would be needed in adopting performance controls in the existing regulations of most communities. Also, as mentioned earlier, fairly thorough base studies would be needed for the incorporation of performance controls. These studies are usually quite expensive.
The administration and evaluation of performance controls would definitely be full of some problems. Becuase of the high degree of sophistication involved, it is unlikely that the average lay people who commonly administer local regulations would be able to fully understand their workings. Consequently, outside professionals are leaned upon quite heavily. Naturally, the assistance of geologists, soil engineers, and so forth is very expensive. It seems quite unlikely that most small towns could afford this cost unless this was transferred to the developer.
Politically, some opposition would be encountered by utilizing performance controls. Affected property owners would undoubltly raise up in arms over the prospect of increased government regulation. The reception of performance controls by the general public would depend on the importance of hillside protection to the community, and the degree to which citizens were involved in discussions leading up to preparation of such a scheme.
RESULTS OF THE EVALUATION PROCESS
It would be an understatement to say that my evaluation process ran into a real "can of worms". As shown in Figure 5, no single tool fully satisfied all of the evaluation models criteria. One possible solution to this dil-emia would have been to rank the techniques by assigning points to their performance on each criteria. After this ranking, I might have simply adopted the technique which received the highest number of points. This solution was shelved, however, when I realized that going with one technique would not completely fit the needs of a small town. Therefore, I decided to draw some general conclusions on each technique to determine if it had certain elements which might ultimately fit into an overall regulatory scheme. These conclusions are admittedly based on my perception of each criteria's importance.
In the following paragraphs^! shall briefly explain the overall evaluation that I gave each technique, and comment on which of its elements might be used for a comprehensive, regulatory scheme.
Much to my displeasure, fee purchasing had to be eliminated from inclusion in my final regulatory scheme. While this technique scored quite high in almost all of my criteria, its costliness is very objectionable to the residents of Lyons. This perception is based on the feedback which I
received from the members of my citizens group,.and a look at the opinions
expressed on this issue at a recent town wide meeting.
Easements, like fee purchasing techniques were eliminated because of the strong public opinion against such expenditures.
Location of infrastructure facilities met much the same fate as fee purchasing and easements. While I professionally favor the idea of influencing hillside growth through the programming of infrastructure, the expensive studies needed for this technique are beyond the financial capabilities
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Conventional zoning does seem to offer some elements for a good hillside regulatory scheme. Technically, it appears to be insufficient for controlling development in geologic hazard areas, and erosion, grading, and runoff problems. However, the basic procedural elements of conventional zoning are legally sound, administratively familiar, and fairly acceptable politically. Therefore, as vri.ll be noticed in the following chapter, I have attempted to incorporate some of the basic procedural elements of zoning into my recommended scheme.
My evaluation process also seems to point to the positive contribution of subdivision regulations to a overall regulatory scheme. This technique holds considerable potential for making sure that the developer bears the burden of installing needed infrastructure. Also, this technique provides the opportunity for requiring developers to submit soils, geology, and grading reports which are essential to well designed hillside development.
PUD zoning also seems to offer some potential for an overall scheme.
The flexibility of PUD is its greatest feature, and this is essential to a set of hillside regulations. However, I believe that a pure PUD approach is far too open-ended for small town use, resulting in little direction for local officials, and the need for constant outside assistance. Therefore, in utilizing certain PUD methods for my overall scheme, I will attempt to provides more definite guidelines on what information should be required, and how it will be evaluated.
Contrary to my initial thoughts, -performance controls did not fare well in my evaluation process. It should be noted that I began this study with the idea that performance controls were the answer for snail towns.
I still believe that this technique is the most effective method available for controlling hillside development if a community has the necessary staff
and financial resources. However, a .pure performance control approach is simply too sophisticated and costly for use in a small town.
In the chapter which follows, I will combine the useful elements of these techniques into a framework which seems to fit the needs and desires of one small town Lyons, Colorado.
4 PQSSI3L&.AEP.BQACH 10 HILLSILB xmiman
As mentioned in the previous chapter, no single regulatory technique fully satisfies the criteria needed for application in the small towns of Colorado's Front Range. Through examining the alternative techniques vis-a-vis the Lyons case study, it becomes evident that an eclectic approach isneeded.
The approach which I am about to suggest seems to be technically and legally sound, while also being sensitive to the limited resources of small towns.
I firmly believe that the basic elements of this approach could be transferable to many of the small towns in the Front Range. While the elements of this approach would probably vastly improve the regulation of hillside development for most small towns, I fully recognize that certain towns may be capable of adopting an even better system. My scheme is the combination of my professional judgements with the unique needs and goals of one town -Lyons. Some towns will undoubtedly differ from Lyons in terms of financial/ staff resources, and political climate. It should be noted that if a small town has sufficient capital and political support, some combination of fee purchasing, easements, and infrastructure programming should be utilized in tandem with my regulatory scheme. These techniques were found to be untenable for Lyon's unique situation, but this may not be the case for some towns.
A POSSIBLE APPROACH FOR LYONS
As summarized in the conclusions of the preceeding chapter, a regulatory scheme for use in a small town like Lyons can find some useful elements in conventional zoning, subdivision regulations, and the PUD concept.
In combining these elements, I first established an overall framework into which the various components could be fitted (See Figure 6). This framework could conceivably be drafted as a single ordinance, and would simultane-
ously amend the zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations of Lyons. The following sections explain the key elements of this framework.
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Any hillside regulatory scheme must state the purpose and guiding policies upon which all its regulatory elements are based.
The "purpose" of hillside regulations must clearly state the public objectives involved so that a connection can be made to the public health, safety, and welfare. One possible purpose statement that could be used for towns like Lyons is:
"The town of Lyons is located within a series of hillside that constitute a significant environmental, economic, and visual resource to the residents of the community. To protect these hillside resources, the Town finds that a more compatible relationship is needed between the natural environment and the ever-growing man-made environment. The purpose of these regulations is not to preclude development, but rather to insure that the impact of development on the natural topography, resources, and amenities of hillside areas is minimized. To accomplish these objectives, the Town hereby place all undeveloped hillside land with a "Hillside Protection Zone."
Next, a set of policies would be provided. These policies would serve as the overall basis for evaluating building proposals. Some possible policies which could be utilized for Lyons regulatory scheme are:
1. Hillside development should utilize alternative approaches to conventional flat land building techniques.
2. Grading and cut/fill operation which detract from the natural character of the hillsides shall be minimized.
3. Natural topographic features such as drainage swales, streams, slopes, ridgelines, rock outcroppings and natural vegetation shall be retained
as much as possible.
k. Hillside development shall not place an undue financial burden on the existing or future residents of the Town.
5. Water runoff and soil erosion problems encountered in adjusting the land for development needs shall be minimized.
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The substantive and procedural elements of traditional zoning is fairly well known to local policy-makers in a small town like Lyons. However, as we saw in the previous chapter, these techniques have generally been insensitive to the needs of hillside development. In an attempt to improve the sensitivity of their zoning, some communities have developed what is called "slope/density" tools.^ Under these tools, the densities allowed on hillside properties depend on the steepness of slope which is present. Consequently, as slope increases, densities decrease. The densities which are allocated to various slope categories vary according to the local soil and geologic conditions present. Figure 7 shows three alternative approaches to the slope/ density concept. This concept seems to improve the effectiveness of traditional zoning applications by recognizing that the potential for environmental damage increases as slopes become steeper. In my scheme, I will utilise this concept to establish the maximum densities that will be permitted on various slopes. These densities would be specified in a new "hillside protection zone", which covers all hillside land in excess of 10% slopes.
Determining the densities which should be allocated to slope categories
in Lyons is a difficult task. As Tom Gray, the 3oulder County Geologist
has pointed out, the technologies are available for building at very high
densities on extremely steep slope conditions. Therefore, I started by
determining the slope level at which no building should occur. Most experts
familiar with the soil and geologic conditions of the Lyons hogback agree
that no building should occur on slopes in excess of 50%. Having determined the slope level for zero density, I next sought to find a maximum density for 10% slopes which is the starting point in my regulatory scheme. Looking at the current zoning of Lyon's hillsides, I found that "E" (2 units per acre) and "R-l" (6 units per acre) zones were the most common designations.
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Consequently, a maximum density of 2 units per acre was set for 10% slopes.
The densities for intermediate slope categories was determined by drawing a straight line curve between the densities given to the 10% slopes and 50% slopes (See Figure 8).
Rather than holding a developer to rigid specifications regarding lot signs, setbacks, and so forth, a PUD approach would be applied. The developer would be allowed to flexibly design his development, providing that the maximum density set forth in the slope/density provisions is not exceeded, and all the requirements of the subdivision regulations are met.
An important addition to the slope/density, PUD-based approach of this scheme's zoning is a variable scale for computing the open space requirements of hillside development. Once again, these requirements would fluctuate according to the steepness of slope as shown in Figure 9. After researching the way in which this scale is established in other communities around the country, my open space requirements actually seem to be on the conservative side.^
The uses which would be permitted under the hillside protection zone would-be those which are currently permitted single family homes, duplexes, multi-family dwellings, churches, schools, and public utility facilities.
As with any zoning technique, a variance procedure needs to be provided for unforseen situations in which compliance with these regulations would result in a unfair burden on the property owner.
Subdivision Regulation Conponeats
Three major components would be added to the subdivision regulations to beef up this process's treatment of the ecological and aesthetic problems of hillside development. These components would be placed in a special section within the subdivision regulations (possibly titled "Hillside Develop-
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The first component of this special section would be the guiding policies mentioned earlier in this chapter. These policies are designed to give general guidance to local policy makers in evaluating development proposals. Having this guidance is quite important in critically examining the information submitted under a PUD-related approach like mine. All too often, PUD-influenced techniques are far too open ended, resulting in great confusions for local officials.
The second major component of the subdivision regulation section would be a mandatory requirement for submitting soils and geology reports.
The soils ranort should provide information on the nature, distribution,
strength, and drainage characteristics of the site's soils. Recommendations
should be given as to the adequacy of the site for the proposed development,
along-with an identification of any corrective measures that are necessary.
This report should be prepared by a registered civil engineer who is experienced in the field of soil mechanics (as defined in Title 12, Article 25 (l) of the 1973 Colorado Revised Statutes).
The geology report should thoroughly investigate the surface and sub surface geology of the site to determine if any geologic hazards are present. This report should also make recommendations as to the adequacy of the site for development, and state any corrective measures which are necessary.^0 A qualified professional geologist (as defined in Title 34, Article 1 (201) of the 1973 Colorado Revised Statutes) should prepare this report.
The third major component to be incorporated into the subdivision regulations is the "Grading Regulations" of Chapter 70 of the Uniform Building Code. These regulations govern the specifications permitted for cutting, filling, compaction, terracing, and drainage. Lyons is currently operating
under the 196if UBC, and will need to adopt the 1979 copy of the UBC to incorporate these regulations. It should be noted that evaluating the compliance with these grading regulations requires a fair amount of expertise on the part of the local building official. This expertise is probably lacking in Lyons; one possible solution might be to work out a "time-share" agreement with the Boulder County Planning Office, in order to utilize the services of their geologist for plan-checks.
Administration and Evaluation of the Hillside Regulations
Incorporating these components into the existing administrative and evaluative framework of Lyons will require some changes and some costs, but this does not appear to present any major problems. The procedural requirements of my regulatory scheme are shown in Figure 10.
It will be noticed that my scheme contains a required evaluation of the soils, geology, and grading reports by a civil engineer working for the Town (See Step ^ of Figure 10). While I fully recognize that these reports are already required to be prepared by qualified professionals, it seems wise to have their thoroughness and accuracy checked by someone who is paid by the Town, and has their interests and goals in mind. This will undoubtedly involve some cost, depending on the size of the development under consideration. However, this is not a problem for Lyons, as their subdivision regulations contain a proviso which states that "the subdivider shall pay any additional costs (those which exceed the standard per-lot fees) incurred by the Town prior to the approval of the final plat including costs of special engineering reports or special studies."'^After some experience in administering this regulatory scheme, the Town could probably eliminate the hassle of this requirement by restructuring their water/sewer tap fees so as to cover these special studies. The restructuring of fees was not looked at in this study,
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and consequently I cannot even speculate on how these fees might be changed.
Impleneatatioa qÂ£ the Regulatory Scheras
As stated earlier, these changes to Lyon's Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations could be done through the adoption of a single ordinance.
The slope/density provisions of this ordinance will require a comprehensive rezoning of hillside properties. Significant opposition will probably result from some property owners, particularly those which suffer a large reduction in the development potential of their property. There seems to be a good chance that any legal challenges to the rezoning could be met successfully. Addressing the legal criteria utilized by the courts in reviewing rezonings (these were outlined in the section on Conventional Zoning, Chapter Three), Lyons could argue that much of the original zoning was mistaken in that high densities were placed on steep slopes. The rezonings could also be justified in terms of their compatibility with surrounding areas (as these areas are low density in character). Probably the strongest justification for rezoning would come through its close connection to the goals of the Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan designates steep slopes as "Protected Areas", and states that they should "only be considered for development under the most extreme pressures for land in the future". Rezoning hillside properties in accordance with this scheme would undoubtedly help assure that these lands are indeed
Much to my dissappointment, my goal of designing a regulatory scheme capable of being administered by only internal resources was not met. The technical complexity involved in hillside development forces communities into seeking the assistance of outside professionals. The realization brought a degree of remorse on my part. Beginning this study, my value system looked quite disfavorably upon the ever-increasing vertical relationships that are" coming into small tovms. This study has made me realise that such relationships are unavoidably necessary in our society. I still have a warm, nostalgic outlook toward those small towns which have yet to fully undergo the "great change",.
My community development approach to the problem of hillside development could have been vastly improved if my time-frame was longer. Because of the short time frame involved, and the tremendous amounts of technical information which had to be covered, I was forced to make conclusions which were uncomfortable to me as a community developer. If there had been more time, I would have attempted to more closely involve my citizen's group in the process of formulating my final approach. As it was, their input was primarily received at the evaluation stage.
At times, I suspect that the ideas of my citizen's group were somewhat unfairly shaped by the methods which I used to present the technical information. The complex variables involved in each regulatory technique were overwhelming to the citizens. Consequently, they leaned quite heavily on my judgments for guidance. If I were to utilize this methodology in another small town, I would try to slow the pace considerably. Each technique would be presented much more thoroughly, and I would attempt to strengthen the citizen's confidence in their ability to evaluate each one. I would also try to en-
courage their active participation in combining the useful elements of each technique into a framework which met their needs.
Throughout this project, I experienced the ever-present dilemna of community development trying to walk that fine line between "adovocacy" and "facilitation", It ultimately boils down to a subjective judgement on your part. At times you must be forceful and directive. Other times, you must sit back and listen to the ideas being expressed, and attempt to insure that each participant gets in his "two-bits".
Overall, my study has convinced me that small town, hillside regulations can be formulated sensitively by a better interchange between the professional and the town's residents. My methods would have been vastly improved if I could of had the benefit of this hindsight. The methods that were used, while not perfect, taught me a great deal that I will try to utilize in the
LeRoy, L.W. and R.I. Weimer, Geology of the 1-70 Road Cut, Jefferson County, Colorado, Colorado School of Mines Department of Geology, 1971, page 1.
This discussion is taken from: Lyons Comprehensive Plan 1976, Chapter 8 Natural Environment, pages 41-53.
Colorado Provisional Population Projections 1979-2000, Colorado State Division of Planning, 1979, pages 6-8.
This discussion is taken generally from The Colorado Front Range Corridor, Colorado State Planning Office, 1969, pages 7-9.
Council on Environmental Quality, Environmental Quality 1977, Government Printing Office, 1977, pages 303-304.
Lyons Comprehensive Plan, op.cit., page 32.
See 1978 Local Government Financial Compendium, Colorado Division of Planning, 1978 for complete information on the total budget, tax structure, etc. of each town.
See 1978 Directory, Municipal and County Officials in Colorado, Colorado Municipal League, pages 1-47.
For a complete description of the potential problems which may be encountered in hilly/mountainous areas, see: Guidelines and. Criteria for Identification and Land Use Controls of Geologic Hazard and Mineral Resource Areas, Colorado Geological Survey, 1977.
The known locations of these materials can be found in: Mineral and Water Resources of Colorado, 1968, pages 132-144,
American Society of Planning Officials, Performance Controls for Sensitive Lands: A Practical Guide for Administrators, Planning Advisory Service Report No.'s 307 and 308, 1975, page 67.
Lyons Comprehensive Plan, op.cit., page 115.
See: American Society of Planning Officials, op.cit., page 67 for a good overview of Los Angeles County's experience with hillside development.
Ibid., page 81.
For an excellent discussion of the requirements for implementing and operating an impact zoning system see: "Impact Zoning: Incentive Land Use Management," Environmental Comment, Janaury 1977, pages 13-16.
See: Urban Growth Management Systems, ASPO P.A.S. No.'s 309 and 310,
1974, pages 38-39, for a brief description of how TDR's work.
This summary of the various problems encountered in TDR application is taken from: Rose, Jerome G., "Psychological, Legal, and Administrative Problems in the Use of TDR's to Preserve Open Space," Transferrable Development Rights, ASPO P.A.S. No. 304, 1975, pages 17-19.
International City Manager's Association, Principles and Practice of Urban Planning, William I. Goodman, ed., 1968, page 199.
Urban Growth Management Systems, op.cit., page 36.
Ibid., page 36.
See Lyons Comprehensive Plan, op.cit. page 150, for the results of a Household Survey which polled area residents on this issue.
International City Manager's Association, op.cit., page 200.
Ibid., page 200.
Urban Growth Management Systems, op.cit. page 36.
Council on Environmental Quality, Fifth Annual Report, Government Printing Office, 1974, page 36.
For a brief overview of the Ramapo system see: Urban Land Institute, Management and Control of Growth, Volume 2, Washington, D.C., 1975, pages 5-11.
The social and economic impacts of Ramapo's plan are thoroughly examined in: Ibid., pages 78-97.
Based on conversations with members of the Lyons Town Board, April 30, 1978.
International City Manager's Association, op.cit., page 403.
American Society of Planning Officials, op.cit., pages 95-96.
Council of Environmental Quality, The Costs of Sprawl, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1974, page 8.
For a good summary of the most commonly used legal challenges to rezoning see: Hodges, Alan, "A Downzoning Survival Guide," Practicing Planner,
September 1977, pages 23-26.
International City Manager's Association, op.cit., page 445.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, Land Subdivision Regulations, 1975, pages 4-7.
Based on a conversation with Tom Gray, Boulder County Geologist, April 27, 1978 Urban Growth Management Systems, op.cit., page 39.
Linowes, Robert R., The Politics of Land Use, Praeger, 1973, page 147.
American Society of Planning Officials, op.cit., page 95.
Lane Kendig, "Performance Zoning: An Update on Euclid," Planning:
November 1977, page 19.
According to an interview with Gilbert McNeisn, Denver Attorney, April 16, 1978 Lyons Future Land Use Study, 1979, page A-44.
Based on discussion with Richard Lynton, Lyons Town Attorney, April 30, 1979. American Society of Planning Officials, op.cit., page 73.
Based on an interview with Tom Gray, Boulder County Geologist, April 2, 1979. Ibid., Tom Gray.
American Society of Planning Officials, op.cit,, page 75.
Ibid., page 83,
Ibid., page 84.
Lyons Subdivision Regulations, page 2.
Lyons Comprehensive Plan, page
American Society of Planning Officials, Performance Controls for Sensitive Lands: A Practical Guide for Administrators, Planning Advisory Service Report No.'s 307 and 308 (Chicago: ASPO), 1975.
American Society of Planning Officials, Transferrable Development Rights, Planning Advisory Service Report No. 304 (Chicago: ASPO), 1975.
American Society of Planning Officials, Urban Growth Management Systems, Planning Advisory Service Report No.'s 309 and 310 (Chicago: ASPO, 1974).
Babcock, Richard F., The Zoning Game (Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Press), 1966.
Bosselman, Fred, David Callies and John Banta, The Taking Issue: An Analysis of the Constitutional Limits to Land Use Control (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office), 1973.
Eckbo, Dean, Austin, and Williams, Open Space: The Choices Before California (San Francisco: Diablo Press), 1969.
Council on Environmental Quality, Environmental Quality the 5th Annual Report (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office), 1979.
Council on Environmental Quality, Environmental Quality 8th Annual Report (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office), 1977.
Goodman, William I., ed., Principles and Practice of Urban Planning (Washington D.C.: International City Manager's Association), 1968.
LeRoy, L.W. and R.I. Weimer, Geology of the Interstate 70 Road Cut, (Golden: Colorado School of Mines Geology Department), 1971.
Linowes, Robert R. and Don T. Allensworth, The Politics of Land:
Planning, Zoning, and the Private Developer (New York: Praeger Publishing), 1973.
Littrell, Donald W., The Theory and Practice of Community Development; A Guide for Administrators (Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Extension Service), 1977.
Long, Huey, Robert C. Anderson, and Jon Blubaugh, Approaches to Community Development, National University Extension Association, The American College Testing Program, 1973,
Rogers, W.P., Â£t^al_., Guidelines and Criteria for Identification and Land Use Controls of Geologic Hazard and Mineral Resource Areas (Denver: Colorado Geological Survey), 1974.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, Land Subdivision Regulations, 1975.
Scott, Randal W., Management and Control of Growth, 3 volumes (Washington, D.C.: The Urban Land Institute), 1975.
Shelton, David C., ed., Geologic Factors in Land Use Planning (Denver: The Colorado Geological Survey), 1977.
State Division of Local Government, 1976 Local Government Compendium, Denver, 1976.
Ulman, Dr. Wilbert J., Mountain Recreational Communities and Land Use (Denver: Colorado Land Use Commission), 1975.
Warren, Roland L., The Community in America, 2nd Edition (Chicago: Rand McNally Company), 1972.