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County land use plan gets better reception this time

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Around 50-60 people gathered at the Platte County Administration Building in Platte City Thursday night to hear county officials and their planning consultants present the final draft of a land use plan for northern Platte County.

The plan, which was developed by the county with help from planning consultants HNTB and significant input from county residents at previous public meetings, is scheduled to be adopted by the county commission later this year.

At a public meeting in February, many residents had expressed dissatisfaction with a proposed minimum requirement of lots of at least 40 acres in the Rural Density Policy Area. That idea has been taken out of the final draft and replaced with a recommended density of one dwelling unit per 10 acres.

In other words, lots or tracts created in the Rural Density Policy Area must be at least 10 acres or more in size. An existing 20 acre trace could be subdivided into two lots of 10 acres.

Allowed uses in the Rural Density Area would include single family residential, farming operations and parks.

The plan allows for some flexibility in that lots can be created less than the recommended 10 acre size if the following conditions exist:

•The proposed lot will contain an existing single family dwelling.

•The proposed lot will have a size of at least 80,000 square feet (1.8)

•The remaining acreage after the lot is created is 10 acres or larger

•The proposed lot is not currently within a platted subdivision.

The Rural Density Policy Area is proposed to cover all but areas close to cities in northern Platte County. The idea is to preserve agriculture areas while still allowing the potential for growth.

"A lot of folks thought the earlier 40-acre restriction would deter growth in the northern part of the county," Betty Knight, presiding county commissioner, said.
The goal of the final plan is to protect farms from encroaching development, while only promoting urban style development immediately adjacent to towns and cities.

Another policy area will be known as Low Density. Its intention will be to encourage single family residential development and limited commercial development in areas that are along arterial roadways leading directly to I-29 or I-435. These areas will be adjacent to Suburban Density Policy Areas. Development in Low Density Areas should occur in a manner that allows future development that is consistent with the density allowed within the Suburban Density Policy.

One dwelling unit per one to five acres or one dwelling unit per 10 or more acres will be recommended in the Low Density Area. Allowed uses will include single family residential, agricultural-related commercial, farming operations, and parks.

Now that public meetings have been held to present the final draft, Knight said the land use plan committee will get back together within the next few weeks to make any revisions. After that, the plan goes to the county's planning commission, which will hold a work session, eventually approve a final plan and send it on to the county commission for final approval.

"We want to make sure everybody is on board with it before we approve it. We'd like to have the entire process wrapped up by the holidays," Knight said this week.

The plan will serve as the guide for economic growth and development of land in unincorporated Platte County and will become the primary method to plan for long-term development.

"It is essential for responsible growth," Knight said.

Officials have emphasized that the county is not going to rezone land just for the sake of meeting the plan. Policy areas are plans, not zoning, and are to be used as a guide for development.

Additional information about the land use plan project, including historical growth maps, can be found on the county's web site at