Opinion: Paula Fitzgerald: Longmont Land Development Code a Win-Win

Photo by Alexa Mazzarello on Unsplash

Since 2016 the City of Longmont has wrestled with and refined its vision for the community through the update of the Land Development Code. A significant new section of the code relates to Residential Compatibility. Past codes and Comprehensive plans have mentioned the notion of compatibility but they didn’t include specific requirements. This resulted in meaningless guidance which was unenforceable. With the adoption of the new Land Development Code on August 14, that is no longer the case.

The new Land Development code contains specific directives which embody the community’s vision for Longmont. It will allow our city to continue to build *out* and *in*-*fill* with high quality development that will keep our city vital. Of equal importance it protects residents who live next door to commercial uses. It’s a win-win outcome.

The new compatibility section of the code requires harmonious building scale next to residential homes. Privacy for those residential neighbors is to be maintained. It requires adequate parking so neighbors aren’t overly affected. Buffering of service areas and shielded lights are also required. And of course, compatible uses are specified.

Forging a balance between divergent interests is what makes agreement on documents such as this difficult. It has taken time to work out that balance. A city council member made a comment at one of the many meetings held on this issue about how doing a thing right is more important than getting it done quickly. The code update has not been done hastily, but with thorough consideration. A significant part of that process was allowing for ample public input. Longmont has a long and strong tradition of embracing authentic public process. A wide variety of stakeholders were listened to and decisions were made to balance their varying perspectives. City planning staff worked hard to answer questions and help the community engage. City council members took time to meet individuals to better understand the potential conflicts between commercial and residential uses. This took time and spoke volumes about their dedication to our community.

Longmont now has a Land Development Code that will be easier to implement. Developers will know exactly what’s required of them and residents now have better security in knowing that their treasured homes and lifestyles won’t be encroached upon.

Paula Fitzgerald
Historic East Side Neighborhood
Land Development Code Subcommittee

This is an opinion piece that was submitted to the Longmont Observer and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Longmont Observer. If you have an opinion piece you’d like published, please visit our ‘Submit an Opinion’ page.


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