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Mancos planners talk ADUs, Alpacka Rafts

Alpacka seeks permit to move to downtown Mancos
Alpacka Rafts co-owner Sheri Tingey holds up a deflated Alpacka Raft. The company might move to the old hardware store building in downtown Mancos.

Mancos Planning and Zoning board members endorsed special-use permits for Alpacka Rafts and a Doggie Day Care, as well as regulations for accessory dwelling units, at their meeting Nov. 16.

Board members, town trustees and staff members have been working for several months on regulations for ADUs, which refer to secondary houses or dwellings on a property. Currently, ADUs are in violation of the town’s land-use code, and clearing up regulations on them could open the door for more housing units in town, Administrator Andrea Phillips said.

“We have a real need for housing,” she said.

The board’s recommendations will go to the town Board of Trustees, which will have the final say on planning and zoning matters.

There are at least 20 ADUs already in town, Phillips said. Several residents have constructed them because they need extra living space for an elderly relative who is moving back to Mancos to be with the family, she said. Others rent out their secondary unit or maintain it as a guest house.

If trustees pass the ordinance, ADUs would be allowed in all residential districts on lots that are at least 7,500 square feet. The minimum ADU size would be 350 square feet, and the maximum size would be no more than 800 square feet or two-thirds the size of the primary residence. The primary structure and the ADU would only be allowed to cover 40 percent of the entire lot.

People with ADUs on their property also would be required to pay a water and sewer bill for the ADU, which would be at least the minimum bill of $73 per month.

That stipulation was met with protest from resident Celeste Aurorean. She said she had always had an ADU on her property since she moved in 14 years ago, and had not been required to pay a separate bill during that time.

Resident Tim Hunter agreed with Aurorean, though he said the ordinance would not affect him financially. City staff could use water meters to charge owners for usage at an ADU, he said.

“It’s onerous to charge the fee when you have a meter there,” he said.

Board member Gina Roberts said the decision to charge the minimum fee was viewed as a compromise. Board member Perry D. Lewis said trustees might pass it back to the zoning board.

“Everyone is trying to find a happy medium,” Lewis said.

Alpacka Rafts plans downtown move

Also at the meeting, board members endorsed a special-use permit for Alpacka Rafts. The company plans to move into the old hardware store building at 192 S. Main St. in downtown Mancos.

If approved by trustees, the special use permit would allow the company to operate a niche manufacturing facility of more than 2,000 square feet. A special permit is required for such a facility in the commercial district, which normally is reserved for smaller shops and businesses.

The board also recommended a change to the land use code that would allow larger manufacturing facilities in the commercial district.

Board members asked if the company planned a storefront or showroom in the future.

“I think it would be an important factor,” member Leslie Feast said. “It would be great to have in town.”

Co-owner Thor Tingey said it was part of the long term plan for the new facility.

Doggie Day Care gets OK

Board members also recommended a special-use permit for a new dog kennel and day care facility at 233 Park St.

The facility will have indoor and outdoor space for dogs. People will be able to drop them off before heading to work for the day. One nearby restaurant owner expressed concerns about odor and noise that might drift from the facility, but owners said they would work to mitigate those.

Board members unanimously endorsed the facility.

“I think this is a business the town has needed for a long time,” Roberts said.