1. The district was formed in 2009
Lincoln County unveiled its new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) in August 2009. Included within that ordinance are guidelines regulating the East Lincoln Development District (ELDD), which was drawn to encompass the major highway corridors in the Denver area. The ELDD is the result of the public’s insistence that the county consider the diversified nature of Lincoln County while drafting the UDO. Many Denver residents urged the county to implement development regulations reflecting the character and desires of the community, considering the abundance of growth and development in eastern Lincoln County compared to the rural nature of the western end.
2. The ELDD regulates building and site development
In response to the public outcry, the county agreed that more detailed building and site development regulations were needed to effectively manage the plethora of development occurring along Denver’s most traveled corridors. The ELDD was developed to address this area of need, adding further development requirements to the standards already established in the UDO. In addition to the added development requirements, the ELDD also provides greater flexibility to new industrial, commercial, office and multi-family developments in eastern Lincoln County. Single-family homes are not subject to the requirements of the ELDD, which was a concern of the public during the drafting process.
3. Certain properties are grandfathered
Properties with buildings constructed before the ELDD was implemented are grandfathered, meaning that those structures aren’t subject to the standards required by the document, which include facade requirements, landscaping guidelines and sidewalk designations. This issue was brought to light in January 2018, when the owner of First Class Autos approached the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners with a request to relocate his business to an existing building located within the ELDD. The building was constructed prior to the development of the ELDD, but the commissioners wanted it brought up to ELDD standards. The owner of First Class Autos argued that upfitting grandfathered buildings isn’t within the budget of most small-business owners, meaning the buildings would likely sit empty for long periods of time. The request for relocation was ultimately denied for being inconsistent with the Lincoln County Land Use Plan.
4. Grandfathering changes have been proposed
Prompted by commissioners, the county planning staff has crafted an amendment to the ELDD that would allow the county to require the upfitting of a grandfathered building to ELDD standards when its use from a zoning perspective changes, if approved. For instance, if a building previously housed an office but is proposed to be turned into a self storage facility, the new owner would be required to bring the building into compliance with the ELDD standards under this proposed amendment. While no action has been taken at this time, all five commissioners seem to agree that the change would help rid the area of old buildings that have become eyesores. The language of the proposed amendment reads: “Nonconforming structures which are subject to a Change in Use must come into compliance with the Building Standards as defined in section 2.5 G.”