Proposed Code Amendments

Affordable Housing Land Development Code Amendment (LDC22-003)

The proposed Land Development Code (LDC) amendments are part of a County initiated effort to enable Arapahoe County to better qualify for Colorado Department of Local Affairs affordable housing grant funding.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) offers state assistance, including grants, to local governments with the goal of promoting affordable housing. This program derives from HB21-1271, which outlined sixteen affordable housing strategies that communities could implement in order to qualify for grants. If a community has implemented at least three of the sixteen strategies in place, they are eligible for funding under the program.

Staff believes Arapahoe County meets the minimum standard of three strategies to qualify for grants; however, in a competitive grant environment, meeting more of the recommended strategies could improve the County’s chances to secure grant funding. Our code could also be more explicit about its support for affordable housing.

If approved, the new regulations will:

  1. Add language supporting affordable housing in the LDC with language found in the Comprehensive Plan.
  2. Add language supporting a range of housing types and clarifying the lack of minimum unit size restrictions unless otherwise stated.
  3. Remove language pertaining to distribution and concentration of small lots in a limited area. 
  4. Add language clarifying the lack of minimum unit size restrictions unless otherwise stated.
  5. Remove language pertaining to required parking in mobile home communities as this should be regulated in the other sections of the LDC.
  6. Add “and attainable” where the term “affordable” is used.
  7. Add “affordable and attainable” to the Planned Unit Development approval criteria.
  8. Add definitions for Affordable Housing and Attainable housing to the LDC.

Documents and Contact Information

The public is invited to view the draft document and provide written comment to Senior Planner Bill Skinner prior to Oct. 10, 2022.

Next Steps

The Planning Commission is scheduled to review the draft regulations at a public hearing on Oct. 18, 2022. The Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to review the draft regulations and make decision at a public hearing on Nov. 22, 2022. Agendas for both of these public hearings can be found here closer to the meeting dates.

Medical/Retail Marijuana (LDC22-004)

The County is proposing a change to its medical and retail marijuana regulations. Currently, the County’s regulations allow four existing medical and/or recreational marijuana retail stores to operate in their original locations. The proposed regulations would allow those four stores to relocate to other locations in unincorporated Arapahoe County with a Use by Special Review process for the new location. The proposed regulations do not increase the total allowable number of stores—only four commercial marijuana store locations are allowed in unincorporated Arapahoe County. If a store relocates, the original location would be closed.  

The proposed regulations include the following provisions:

  • Allows a total of four commercial marijuana stores within unincorporated Arapahoe County
  • Continue to prohibit other marijuana uses, including but not limited to marijuana grow/cultivation facilities, marijuana testing, marijuana clubs/onsite consumption, and marijuana product manufacturing.
  • Allows an existing commercial marijuana store to relocate to another location in unincorporated Arapahoe County with the following rules:
    • Approval of an alternate store location does not increase the total number of commercial marijuana stores within unincorporated Arapahoe County (four total)
    • The alternate location must be zoned for commercial or industrial uses: zoned B-3, B-4, B-5, I-1, I-2, or a Planned Unit Development area allowing retail/industrial uses. 
    • Receive Use by Special Review approval (and meet Use by Special Review approval standards), which requires a public hearing at the Board of County Commissioners
    • Be in compliance with all State and County requirements for commercial marijuana uses and facilities such as setbacks from other uses or other distance limitations (for example, Colorado law requires 1,000 feet of separation from schools, residential child care, and alcohol/drug treatment facilities)
    • The alternative location must be located west of the north-south alignment of Watkins Road
    • The alternate location’s store must not exceed 5,000 square feet in size
    • The commercial marijuana store must use effective measures to mitigate the perceptible odor of marijuana 
    • The owner shall obtain all required State and County permits for the new location and shall follow applicable laws/regulations including but not limited to the Colorado Constitution, the Colorado Marijuana Code, the Arapahoe County Land Development Code, and the Arapahoe County Marijuana Licensing Policy
  • Updates the Use by Special Review criteria to reference the commercial marijuana store approval process
  • Updates/clarifies some of the marijuana-related definitions

Questions or comments about the proposed regulations, can be sent to - jreynolds@arapahoegov.com - through Sept. 30. 

The public hearing before the Planning Commission is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Arapahoe Room, 6954 S. Lima St., in Centennial. Those who are unable to attend can participate in the public hearing by calling 855-436-3656. The hearing before the Board of County Commissioners will be held later this Fall. 

Billboards (LDC19-002)

The County is pursuing an update to the Land Development Code (LDC) to include updated regulations on Billboards. The current regulations do not clearly provide definitions or outline the process by which applications are reviewed and approved. Arapahoe County is proposing an amendment to the LDC which would include new language and requirements that amend the provision for billboards and other off-premise signs in Unincorporated Arapahoe County, including the conversion of any existing billboard or other off-premise sign to an Electronic Message Center (EMC). 

If approved, the new regulations will:

  • Prohibit new billboards
  • Prohibit establishing billboards through a PUD process
  • Prohibit conversion of existing billboards to EMCs
  • Continue to recognize existing billboards as nonconforming, subject to nonconforming provisions of the code (allows maintenance of the existing sign and structure)
  • Clarify that freestanding signs under 48 square feet are not billboards
  • Prohibit freestanding signs as the primary use of any property
  • Reduce the dwell time for EMCs from five minutes to one minute
  • Add definitions for interior sign, electronic message center, permanent freestanding sign, and structure, sign
  • Revise definitions for sign, billboards, flashing signs and temporary signs

Documents and Contact Information

Draft regulations were sent out for external referral on November 20, 2020. The public is invited to view the draft documents below and provide written comment to Kat Hammer, Planner II, prior to December 21, 2020.

Draft Regulations
(Marked-up version)

Next Steps

The Planning Commission is scheduled to review the draft regulations at a public hearing on December 1, 2020.  The Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to review the draft regulations and make decision at a public hearing on January 5, 2021.  Agendas for both of these public hearings can be found here closer to the meeting dates: