As a group concerned with preserving water quality, we occasionally see county and city planning and zoning issues that broadly affect the development of our community. Some are so unusual they demand people look at what is happening.
The Albany County Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approved amending the Albany County Comprehensive Plan to reclassify a parcel across Bluebird Lane from the former Tumbleweed gas station, taking the property from Priority Growth Area 4 to Priority Growth Area 1.
Appreciate what that means. According to the Comprehensive Plan: “Conservation and protection of agricultural operations, wildlife habitat, and sensitive lands is a high priority in PGA 4. Low-density residential uses are encouraged.” (page 33)
On the other hand, “The intent is for properties in PGA 1 to develop to City densities and standards, and annex or eventually annex to the City of Laramie.” (page 27)
P&Z approved this change even though everyone who spoke at the hearing - including the commissioners themselves - opposed annexation or anything leading to annexation. Yet, this is a stated goal of Priority Growth Area 1.
This change is driven by proposed re-zoning of the same property from small-lot residential to commercial. Readers may remember poles, railroad ties and machinery piled on this property, as the county failed to enforce the residential zoning. P&Z has approved the proposed re-zoning. The final decision will be made by the Albany County Commissioners at their next regular meeting this Tuesday, December 3, at 9:30 am in the commissioners’ room in the basement of the courthouse.
Changes to the long range plan have implications for our future. Already the new owners of Tumbleweed purchased the lot immediately to their west. Other plans to commercialize this area may be in the works. The rezoning is a step toward what can be a major change to this end of town.
Albany County Clean Water Advocates have never supported annexation. We believe the proposed re-zoning and Comprehensive Plan amendment unnecessarily opens a can of worms.
Albany County residents may express their opinions at the hearing or by emailing the county commissioners: firstname.lastname@example.org.