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Town of Paonia Comprehensive Plan 1996



Paonia, Colorado

Prepared for:








The Consultant Planning Team would like to thank everyone who was involved with preparation of the Paonia Comprehensive Plan.

The Volunteer Planning Committee provided an invaluable contribution of time and consideration to the fill range of planning issues addressed in the plan. The Committee met for several extremely productive working sessions to clarify specific components of the plan prior to its adoption and guide the work of the Consultant Team early and at the critical end. Lynda Baxter, Town Clerk, edited work products, and together with Fran Cranor, coordinated meeting times and locations. Connie Black with Lasting Impressions provided art work for the planning boards. Finally, several members of the Advisory Committee including Paul Millermon, Lisa Cook and Bill Brunner provided direction to the planning process and worked diligently to keep the community involved.

We would also like to thank the community at large. The Paonia Comprehensive Plan is the result of your efforts and your vision. We congratulate you on this accomplishment and wish you well with its implementation.

Planning Commission

Town of Paonia, Colorado

Resolution No.

A resolution adopting the Paonia Comprehensive Plan, 1996 edition and certifying the same of the board of trustees

Whereas, the Paonia Planning Commission (hereinafter “Commission”) is charged, pursuant to § 31-23-206, C.R.S. with the duty to make and adopt a master or comprehensive plan for the physical development of the Town, and

Whereas, the master or comprehensive plan may be adopted at once, or in stages corresponding to sections of the plan or other logical divisions of the Plan, and

Whereas, prior to the annexation any property within three miles of an existing boundary of the territorial limits of the Town, the Town must have in place a plan for that area pursuant to § 31-12-105(1)(e), C.R.S., and

Whereas, the adoption of a Comprehensive Plan is advisable and will serve the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of and visitors to the Town, and

Whereas, the Commission has caused to be prepared a Comprehensive Plan for the Town, including the area within three miles of the present municipal boundaries of the Town (hereinafter the “Comprehensive Plan”), and

Whereas, a public hearing was held on August 6, 1996 at 6:00 p.m., following public notice as required by law, to solicit additional public comments on the proposed Comprehensive Plan, and

Whereas, testimony and evidence was taken and considered by the Planning Commission at the public hearing, and

Whereas, the Planning Commission deems it in the best interest of the public health, safety, and welfare of the residents of and visitors to the Town, that the Comprehensive Plan element be adopted and certified to the Board of Trustees,

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Planning Commission of the Town of Paonia, Colorado:

1.          The Paonia Comprehensive Plan, a copy of which is attached hereto as Appendix A and fully incorporated herein by this reference, is hereby adopted, pursuant to

the authority of the Planning Commission to do so under C.R.S. § 31-23-201,

et. seq.

2.         That the Paonia Comprehensive Plan as adopted hereby, expressly includes maps and other matter, intended by the Commission to form the whole of the Paonia Comprehensive Plan, all of which materials are contained within the plan document itself.

3.         That the action of the Commission adopting the Paonia Comprehensive Plan shall be recorded on the Plan by the identifying signature of the Secretary to the Commission.

4.         A copy of this Resolution shall be attached to each copy of the Paonia Comprehensive Plan and shall serve as an attestation that each such copy is a true and correct copy of the Plan as adopted.

5.         That an attested copy of the Paonia Comprehensive Plan shall be and hereby is certified to the Planning Commission of the Town of Paonia, and the Board of County Commissioners of Delta County, pursuant to § 31-23-209, C.R.S.

Adopted and approved by the affirmative votes of not less than two-thirds of the entire membership of the Commission, this 6th day of August, 1996.

Planning Commission

Town of Paonia, Colorado




Secretary to the Commission

Approved by the Board of Trustees pursuant to § 31-23-208, and certified to

the Delta County Clerk and Recorder this 10th day of September,


                                                                       Board of Trustees

                                                                       By _____________________




Town Clerk


Section I: Introduction



The Town of Paonia comprises approximately 500 acres located in the Upper North Fork Valley of the Gunnison River. With a 1995 population of nearly 1,500 residents, Paonia is the largest town in the Valley. Neighboring communities include Hotchkiss, located 10 miles southwest, and the City of Delta, located 30 miles west. Grand Junction, the region’s closest major service center is 70 miles west of Paonia while Aspen is located 90 miles northeast over McClure Pass. A map illustrating the area’s location within the region is presented on the facing page.

In 1990, the population in Paonia totaled 1,403 people and today has grown to approximately 1,500 residents, including part-time or seasonal residents. Despite a modest rate of growth in the population base over the past five years, the community continues to face pressures which have inspired the need for a new comprehensive plan. Among the most pressing items facing the community are: the capacity of existing infrastructure; commercial “stripping” of State Highway 133; impacts from growth on the area’s visual quality and rural character; and, lack of controls on development both within town and on adjacent county parcels.

During the early part of 1995, the Town leaders made the decision to be proactive in their response to growth and the resultant impacts. Specifically, the decision was made to update the Town’s 1985 Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Regulations and ensure that the new plan accurately express the community vision for the area in the near and long-term. The Consultant Planning Team of Leland Consulting Group, PBS&J and Gorsuch Kirgis were retained to facilitate development of the plan and the process began in March 1996.


The 1996 Town of Paonia Comprehensive Plan which follows is organized into four main sections. The first section, entitled Introduction, includes a description of the Town’s location within the region and a brief profile of its resident base. In addition, it outlines the planning process used to facilitate its development and the purpose of the Paonia Comprehensive Plan. Finally, it explains how the local citizenry was involved to articulate the vision and goals which will guide future actions.

The second section of the plan document describes important characteristics of the community and the region. A synthesis of data on existing conditions is presented in conjunction with qualitative information gathered through the community workshop process and stakeholder interviews.


The third section describes the principal components of the plan. The fourth section provides the policies which are necessary to meet the plan goals identified during the planning process. Given the community’s expressed interest in development of a plan which was implementable, the comprehensive plan is supplemented with a strategy for its implementation. This strategy has been presented to the Town’s leaders and provides a timeline for specific actions.

Community Profile

The Town of Paonia encompasses approximately 500 acres, while the three mile influence area represents an additional 60 square miles. In 1995 the resident population base was estimated to be approximately 1,500 while households in 1995 totaled approximately 603. The average household size was 2.37 persons per household and the median household income was approximately $18,705. A detailed Community Profile Fact Sheet is presented in the Appendix.


In March 1996 the Consultant Planning Team of Leland Consulting Group, Real Estate and Market Economists, PBS&J Associates, Inc., Community and Land Planners and Gorsuch Kirgis, Municipal and Land Use Attorneys, was retained by the town to assist with preparation of a comprehensive plan for the community and three-mile area surrounding Paonia. The planning process was initiated with the establishment of the Volunteer Planning Committee, a 29-member group of volunteers, approved by the Project Advisory Committee, and broadly representative of the diverse issues, interests and goals of the community.

The Consultant Planning Team and Volunteer Planning Committee came together in four workshops and public meetings between March and May to discuss issues such as community character, planning constraints, techniques for mitigating growth impacts and the collective vision for the next five to ten years. The Committee’s objective was preparation of a plan which addressed these issues, reflected the community’s vision for the area and which could be both adopted and implemented. The result of their efforts is the 1996 Town of Paonia Comprehensive Plan.

Planning Issues

Within the planning process, several community issues and concerns were identified through a variety of public outreach efforts including public meetings, stakeholder interviews and community contacts. Using these issues as a base from which to formulate alternative planning scenarios, various development strategies for planning and growth management in the area were designed by Committee members and presented for comment. Public comment and the results of a survey on policy issues further directed development of the comprehensive plan map which was presented and discussed during the fourth workshop. A summary of planning issues by major plan component are presented on the following page.


Town of Paonia

Comprehensive Plan Issues

Land Use

·    Annexation

·    County Enclaves Within Town Limits

·    Lot Maintenance

·    Lot Line Development; re: Fire Safety

·    Downtown Parking; Church

·    The “Y” Property

·    Estate and Equestrian Lot Zoning Needs to be Developed

·    No Clear Definitions for Zoning

·    Lack of County Land Use Control

·    Strip Development Near Highway

·    Respect Flood Plain for Development (Some Problems)

·    Land Use Incompatibility

Open Space and Recreation

·    Loosing Ball Fields 0 Elementary School

·    Lack Multi-Purpose Fields

·    Access to BLM and Other Government Land

·    Linear Park Opportunities

·    Trees in Residential Area

Infrastructure:           Transportation Corridors

·    In-Town Influence Area

·    Second and Third Street

·    Road Width

·    Coordination with County Transportation Plan

·    Pedestrian Transportation Routes


·    Lack of Senior Housing (Attached or Assisted)

·    Lack of Rental Housing

·    Regulations on Mobile Homes

·    Affordability

Community Services

·    Over Extended on Water (Availability)

·    Trash Collection/Service/Recycling

·    Ditch R.O.W.

·    Dump Closing Soon

·    Lack of School Facilities

·    Volunteer Fire Station - Consolidated Services Location


Community Vision Statement

A Vision Statement is an all encompassing and guiding articulation of a community’s vision for the future and a key component of the comprehensive plan document. During the first workshop, the Consultant Planning Team facilitated a discussion amongst members of the Volunteer Planning Committee regarding the necessary components of a vision statement for the plan. The following statement was prepared and refined with input from participants of the Committee. The intent of this statement is to serve as a guide for future actions.

Preserve and enhance the unique qualities of this small rural community. Through thoughtful and deliberate actions, maintain a balance between growth and the environment. Provide adequate services to accommodate a diverse community profile. Encourage clean and environmentally sensitive industries and businesses in an effort to diversify the local economy. Promote actions which encourage economic sustainability in an affordable environment.

Goals and Objectives

Together with the community vision statement, the goals and objectives are also critical components as they express, in brief, the guiding force behind the plan. Goals are a general statement of community values, while Objectives are a more specific way to accomplish the larger goal. Presented on the following page are the Town of Paonia Comprehensive Plan Goals as identified by the Volunteer Planning Committee. A policy statement addressing each of the goals is described in detail in Section IV of the plan.

Purpose of the Plan

The purpose of the Paonia Comprehensive Plan is to lay out a course of action for addressing the pressures of future growth and development in the area, while maintaining the existing “rural agricultural setting.” The plan is a policy document for Paonia’s and Delta County’s elected and appointed officials and staff to use in making recommendations and decisions on specific land use and development proposals. It is based on direction and input from the citizens of Paonia and other stakeholders within the influence area, as well as the Volunteer Planning Committee and it is intended to provide a sense of what is acceptable and desirable.

Citizen Involvement

Residents of the community beyond the Volunteer Planning Committee were involved in the planning process through a variety of methods. In addition to four public meetings, the Consultant Planning Team held individual interviews with several residents, stakeholders and representatives from area special interest groups. A planning process newsletter was issued following each meeting to keep residents who were not in attendance informed of the plan’s progress, and notices were published in the local newspaper, advertised on a local radio station and announced at the theatre.


Town of Paonia

Comprehensive Plan Goals

Land Use and Development

·    Maintain Rural and Agricultural Setting of Community

·    Maintain Small Community Closeness

·    Preservation Character of Downtown

·    Monitor Growth and Encourage controls on Quality and Character

·    Preserve and Protect Open Spaces and River Corridor

·    Restrict Forces Which Could Impact Natural Beauty of Area


·    Provide Adequate Infrastructure Housing

·    Provide Affordable Housing Opportunities for Residents

·    Encourage the Development of Assisted Living and Senior Housing Products

Community Facilities and Services

·     Provide Services for the Youth and Elderly in the Community Economic


·    Facilitate Creation of Employment Opportunities for the Area’s Youth

·    Promote Diversity of Employment Opportunities

·     Encourage Employment Consistent With the Character of the Area

·    Expand and Diversify the Tax Base

·    Promote Retention and Expansion of Existing Industries (Coal)


Section II: Current Conditions




The Town of Paonia comprises approximately 500 acres within eastern Delta County, Colorado. The Town, located adjacent to the Gunnison River, is the largest town in the North Fork Valley. Neighboring communities include Hotchkiss, located 10 miles southwest, and the City of Delta, located 30 miles west. Grand Junction, the region’s closest major service center is 70 miles west of Paonia while Carbondale is located 52 miles northeast over McClure Pass.

Transportation routes serving the town include State Highway 133 situated along its northwest border, State Highway 187, which provides access to the central business district of the community and the “P” Road, also referred to as 4025 Road.

In addition to land within the town boundaries, the planning area considered for this policy document includes the three-mile influence area around its bounders. The influence area represents an additional 60 square miles, one-third of which is under private ownership.

The agricultural landscape of the North Fork Valley is also characteristic of the subject planning area. Farms, ranches and orchards, together with coal mining, tourism, and recreation, represent the Valley’s principle economic generators. Known as the “Fruit Capital of the North Fork,” Paonia sits at an elevation of 5,645 feet and has a 120-day growing season. Public land in the area and the region is used for recreation, including hiking, biking, fishing and skiing.

Community Character

A community’s character is most adeptly defined by the individuals who live and work there. A profile of residents is presented in tabular form in the Appendix. The discussion which follows describes in greater detail specific characteristics presented there.


The Town of Paonia grew by more than 1.2 percent between 1990 and 1995, slightly less than the 1.4 percent rate of growth reported by Delta County during the same period. The Town’s 1990 population base totaled 1,403 people, growing to nearly 1,500 people in 1995. The median age in the area is reportedly 39.6 years, several


years higher than the national average of 32.4 years. This is explained by the fact that 34.2 percent of the resident population is over 55 years, while 25.9 percent are under the age of 17 and 30.9 percent are between the ages of 18 and 44.

Slightly more than 38 percent of area residents have received an education beyond high school. 5.5 percent have received a graduate or professional degree and 7.6 percent a bachelor’s degree. 71.5 percent of students enrolled in the area attend elementary or high schools. 10.3 percent attend college.


The 1995 median household income in Paonia was $18,705 with 41.0 percent of households in the area reporting an income below $15,000. 23.9 percent of residents maintain a household income between $15,000 and $24,999 and 29.9 percent between $25,000 and $49,999 per year.

More than 57 percent of the area’s residents acquire income from wages and salaries, while 10.4 percent are on some form of public assistance. 13.1 percent receive non-farm self-employment income while 13.4 of residents are reportedly self-employed. Social Security and retirement income are received by 77.9 percent of the residents and 12.4 percent are below the poverty level.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 45.5 percent of residents are in the labor force, 59.1 percent of which are male compared to 40.9 percent female. Within the major employment categories, the Agriculture industry employs 3.3 percent of area residents, the Mining industry 23.3 percent, the Services industry 30.0 percent and the Retail Trade industry 16.2 percent. 70.6 percent of residents receive private wage and salary income, 16.0 percent receive government income and 13.4 self-employment income.

Because of the limited employment base, many residents drive to work locations outside the area. 61.4 percent drive alone to work, 20.3 percent carpool and 17.2 percent walk or work at home.

Land Use and Development

The Town of Paonia, situated in the rural valley of the North Fork of the Gunnison River, serves as a secondary trade center for communities in the Valley. The local economy is supported by the fruit industry, mining, agriculture and livestock, recreation and tourism. Major commercial needs are met in Delta and/or Grand Junction, located 30 and 70 miles west, respectively.

The town is laid out on a “grid” system of streets and avenues, providing a clear and understandable framework for existing commercial and office uses, single family residences, churches and industry which make up the land uses within the town boundaries. Public facilities, including the post office, library, middle school,


churches, theater, and Town Hall (where many of the community’s social functions occur) are located within the heart of the business district, providing a central focus for community interaction and identity.

A variety of modest residential properties surround the business and social core of the community. Homes are predominantly one and two-story single family dwellings situated on tree-lined streets on small lots. A mobile home park, located east of Highway 187 (which leads into town from Highway 133) and an apartment complex southwest and within two blocks of the central business district, provide the majority of multi-family housing opportunities within the town. A senior care facility is located in the eastern portion of the community on Meadow Brook Lane.

Interspersed throughout the town are non-residential land uses, including in-home businesses which have affected the residential character of existing neighborhoods. The intensity of land uses throughout the town is low to moderate, allowing for continued preservation of the community’s “rural” character.

Outside the town limits, within unincorporated Delta County, agricultural land uses prevail. Residential enclaves have been developed overlooking and/or adjoining the Town and River Valley, including Pitkin Mesa, Lamborn Mesa and Stewart Mesa. Pitkin Mesa, north of State Highway 133, consists of agriculturally-based homesteads, with some newer rural-residential estate lots. South of town lies Lamborn Mesa, where smaller rural-residential lots have been developed. Southwest of town, large lot and estate lots are being introduced in the areas known as Stewart Mesa and Bone Mesa. The former Foothills Subdivision has recently been considered for development approval southeast of town, along Dry Gulch. Areas east and west of the town remain, to a large extent, in farming and fruit growing properties, although some residential lots have been developed (such as the Burgess Subdivision off Matthew’s Lane and the Matthew’s Subdivision, along 4110 Drive, which extends east from Seventh Street.

Open Space and Recreation

The Town of Paonia is situated at the base of the West Elk Mountains and adjacent to the North Fork of the Gunnison River. With its proximity to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Grand Mesa and the West Elk Wilderness area, Paonia residents have excellent opportunities to enjoy the area’s abundant natural, open space and recreational resources. Fishing, hiking, rafting, hunting opportunities are available within the Gunnison Natural Forest, as well as the thousands of acres of federal BLM lands. Day-trip skiing is available at the Powderhorn, Sunlight, Crested Butte, Aspen, and Telluride ski areas.

Local parks include City Park, located between Fourth and Fifth Streets and North Fork and Delta Avenues; and, Apple Valley Park, located south of Pan American Avenue, at the base of the Apple Valley Subdivision. Several smaller passive parks are located throughout the town. Recreation facilities are also available to the community at the Paonia Middle School, between Fourth and Fifth Streets and Grand and Box Elder Avenues, and the Paonia High School, west of State Highway


187, on the north side of the North Fork of the Gunnison River. A new ball park was recently built just west of town, off Matthew’s Lane.

Environment and Natural Resources

Paonia, located within eastern Delta County, is bound on the west by the Gunnison National Forest. The eastern boundary follows the line of the Mosquito Range which lowers considerably toward the south. The Gunnison River flows southwest in the valley along the western edge of downtown Paonia. Paonia’s elevation is 5,645 feet and average temperatures range from 24.2 degrees in January to 72.4 degrees in July.

Several wildlife species are present in and around Paonia. One of the areas most numerous species is the North American Elk, followed closely by the mule deer. Black bear frequent most of the areas within the forest, as well as mountain lions and bighorn sheep.

Some of the area’s most notable natural features include Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre

Plateau, West Elk Mountains and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National



Water and Sewer

Paonia’s water resources and systems include natural springs, raw and treated water transmission lines, treatment plants, treated water reservoir, and a distribution system. Facilities were upgraded in 1979 and 1980. The urban service area covers approximately 1000 acres of land, including an area primarily within the town limits and north to State Highway 133, and east of town along Minnesota Creek. The Town of Paonia currently serves 1300 residences, including properties within and outside the Town limits. Water consumption, based on an average of 6,700 gallons per housing unit, totals approximately 8,710,000 gallons per month. The actual capacity of either the water supply or treatment facilities is unknown, however, a study is currently being considered to determine more accurate conditions, capacities, and future requirements. It is widely thought that water and sewer facilities to serve the existing needs of the town and areas immediately surrounding it are severely constrained and that future growth will depend, in part, on the Town’s ability to address and solve these issues.


Two major roadways serve the town from State Highway 133, 4025 Road (also referred to as the “P” Road) west of town and becoming Third Street in town, and State Highway 187, which follows a southern direction from State Highway 133, becoming Grand Avenue, the primary corridor serving the central business district. Both of these roads are two lanes and in good condition. Access routes to the town from the south include Matthew’s Lane from the southwest, 4100 Road from the south and Dry Gulch from the southeast. Streets within the town are generally in


fair to good condition, with recent upgrades made in pavement and curb and gutter in selected high-use areas. Improved and unimproved alleys serve many of the residential areas, as well as the central business district.


Paonia reported an estimated 603 households in 1995. The average household size at that time was 2.37, down from 2.39 in 1990. This downward trend in household size is as much a reflection of national as local trends with the decline of the family and aging of the population.

In a survey completed in 1990 by the U.S. Census Bureau, 37.7 percent of residents

reported moving to the area before 1979. 24.6 percent came between 1985 and 1988

and 29.9 percent after 1989.

Among houses in the existing housing stock, 63.7 percent were constructed before 1959 and 9.5 percent since 1980. New housing has been developed on large lots on the periphery of town in the Apple Valley Subdivision, Burgess Subdivision and Matthew’s Subdivision. The Foothills Subdivision has recently been considered for development approval southeast of town.

Affordable housing opportunities are limited to an apartment complex located adjacent to downtown and a mobile home park located east of Highway 187. A senior care facility is currently located in the eastern portion of town and the community has expressed a desire for an assisted living project either adjacent to this development or in closer proximity to downtown.

Community Facilities and Services

The Town of Paonia is a secondary service center for communities in east Delta County. In addition to several commercial establishments, a health clinic and three schools are located in Paonia. The area is serviced by the Paonia Police Department, a volunteer Search & Rescue Team and 911 Emergency Service. The closest hospital is located 30 miles west in Delta. Meeting facilities are available at the Town Hall, High School and Middle School. Paonia has an abundance of churches, active civic organizations, a women’s club and senior organization.

Economic Development

Efforts to promote commerce and industry in Paonia are primarily directed by the Paonia Chamber of Commerce. Various development incentive programs available include: commercial financing, Region 10 and Energy Revolving Loan Funds, Enterprise Zone tax credits and other negotiable local incentives.




The Town of Paonia’s regulatory framework includes the formally adopted polices of the community and the various ordinances and resolutions which implement these policies. Prior to the adoption of this 1996 Comprehensive Plan, Paonia’s formally adopted policies regarding land use and development were contained within the 1983 Comprehensive Plan. Adoption of Paonia’s 1996 Comprehensive Plan will establish newly adopted policies upon which future land use decisions will be based.

The ordinances of the Town are compiled in the Town Code for the Town of Paonia. Several chapters of Paonia’s Town Code address land use and development while the Zoning Ordinance identifies select land use classifications for property. Paonia’s subdivision regulations contain basic procedures and requirements for the division and development of land.

As part of the comprehensive plan planning process, Gorsuch Kirgis will identify those existing regulatory documents which require revisions and those new documents which need drafting in order to implement the plan.



Section III: Components of the Plan



The Paonia Comprehensive Plan presented here was developed by the community during the period from March 1996 through May 1996. During the first of four workshops, the Volunteer Planning Committee initiated preparation of the plan’s vision statement and goals. These tools then served as the guiding force for development of the plan.

As expressed in the vision statement and illustrated in the map, the comprehensive plan provides for moderate and controlled growth. The Town’s limited ability to provide adequate water and sewer services without significant investment, together with a strong desire by residents to maintain the area’s rural character and lifestyle significantly influenced the plan theme. Specific factors which influenced detailed components of the plan included: impacts on the area’s visual quality, potential for traffic congestion, commercial “stripping” of State Highway 133 (a scenic byway) and the threat of “suburban sprawl.”

The discussion which follows describes in detail the land use components of the plan (illustrated in the comprehensive plan map presented in the Appendix). the character of development in specific sectors of the planning area and finally a summary of potential impacts by the plan.

Land Use Components

Land Use Categories


The community considered planning and growth recommendations for residential, commercial, industrial, open space and recreation land uses within the Town limits and the three-mile influence area around its borders.

As illustrated in the comprehensive plan map, presented in the Appendix, future residential growth opportunities inside the Town’s boundaries are concentrated primarily in the eastern portion, adjacent to the existing Apple Valley development, with additional select in-fill areas closer to the central business district. Within the three-mile influence area, opportunities are provided on Pitkin Mesa, north of State Highway 133, and south and southwest in unincorporated Delta County. The


recommended density of development in each of these areas varies due to impacts resulting from their proximity to the urban service area boundaries and the community’s interest in controlling water and sewer extensions.

Commercial                             Commercial retail, office and industrial development has been identified for expansion in or near areas where these types of uses currently exist. In an effort to preserve the viability and character of the central business core, an area proximate to downtown has been identified for expansion. Future commercial property developed along State Highway 133 will be separated from existing commercial uses by expanses of open space in order to avoid “stripping” along this scenic byway and the design of future commercial properties will be controlled by design guidelines in order to ensure consistency with the community character.

“Y” Property


Open Space/Recreation

The “Y” property, at one time zoned C2 is envisioned as a commercial development, however, with a design element sensitive to the area’s significant beauty, rural setting and location along the State Highway 133 corridor.

Industrial and business activity in the area is primarily heavy in nature and concentrated in two specific locations -- the old Drive-In and at the silos. The plan identifies an expansion of these areas, as well as development of buffers around them in order to protect adjacent land uses and open space corridors.

Preservation of agricultural lands, access to public lands, preservation of the Gunnison River corridor and open space buffers are key components of the plan. These concepts are illustrated in the map and supported through policies presented in Section IV of the plan.


Character of Development

The following discussion highlights and further explains the community’s land use recommendations for Paonia and the three-mile area of influence. Please refer to the corresponding letter codes on the comprehensive plan map presented in the




Residential Land Uses

One of the more significant desires of the community is to maintain the rural character and lifestyle of Paonia and the Valley. A significant increase in residential development, particularly at densities over 1 unit/acre were not considered to be in the best interest of the Town at this time. Increased traffic, a depletion of agricultural land, and significant impacts on water and sewer, schools and other public facilities were seen as costs which the Town could not currently afford. The following descriptions provide a summary of the residential growth considered appropriate in select locations throughout the planning area:

Al:    Agricultural Areas

The desire to maintain agricultural land uses within the Valley and beyond served as the basis for recommendations by the community for where and to what extent non-agricultural land uses should occur. Given the quality of the existing agricultural lands, and the impact of that activity on the economy, the character of the community and lifestyle of its population, no future residential development beyond 1 unit/35 acres was considered appropriate in these areas.

A2:   Stewart and Bone Mesas

An area of over 5,000 acres, Stewart and Bone Mesas are envisioned for the least intensive of the residential land uses recommended for consideration within the three-mile area of influence. Although some smaller parcels and lots have been developed, it is the desire of the Paonia community that no future development occur on less than 20 acres. This intensity of development will ensure a continuation of the rural agricultural character and not significantly impact water and sewer services.

A3:   Lambom Mesa

Located southwest and south of the town limits, Lamborn Mesa includes over 3,000 acres of land. Envisioned as an area of residential estate properties, future growth would be limited to 1 unit/10 acres or greater. Although existing housing in the area includes development at significantly higher densities, the community will restrict future development to a rural agricultural use, thereby minimizing requirements for Town water and sewer service extensions.

A4:   Pitkin Mesa

An area of over 1,300 acres, Pitkin Mesa currently consists of farms, ranches and estate lots. The community considers the continued growth of similar residential property with densities of 1 unit/5 acres or greater as appropriate for this area. Proximity to town, smaller land parcels, and magnificent views south overlooking the town and the West Elk Mountain range make this area an attractive location for residential


growth. On-site water and septic systems will minimize service requirements for the town.

A5:   Minnesota Creek

The Minnesota Creek corridor, although adjacent to and nearby the urban service area boundary, is envisioned as an area for limited rural residential growth, with densities for future development limited to 1 unit/l0 acres; and, for rural and agricultural uses, limited to 1 unit/35 acres.

A6:   In-Town Expansion/Urban Service Area Development

In-fill development within the existing urban service area and Town boundaries are encouraged by the comprehensive plan. Densities within this area may vary, depending on the type of residential product proposed, however, higher densities consistent with the overall character of the town (densities in the range of 4-6 units/acre) are envisioned. Appropriate uses include, single family, 2-family dwellings, multi-family and other more affordable housing types.

Portions of the Apple Valley and Meadow Brook Subdivisions are within the A6 area. Densities of future developments should be consistent with that which is currently there. In some sectors, land form modification might be required to take areas out of the 100 and 500-year flood plain of the North Fork of the Gunnison River.

A7:    Minnesota Creek

         The portions of the Minnesota Creek corridor defined as having an eastern boundary at the east side of the existing sewer right of way, a northern boundary of O50 lane to Paonia Avenue, a southern boundary of O50 Drive and back to the beginning is envisioned as residential with a future density limited to 2 unit/acres.  Escrow funds will be required per residence to address O50 Drive upgrade and recommendation will be made to Delta County to require escrow funds from new residences affecting the traffic on O50.

Commercial Land Uses

Recommendations for future commercial development are based on the objective to maintain and enhance the downtown commercial district and prevent “strip” development along State Highway 133. The following descriptions provide a summary of commercial development considered appropriate in select locations throughout the planning area:

B1:   Downtown

Expand and strengthen the downtown commercial district west from Grand Avenue to Main and portions of Niagra Streets and north of Third Street with a mixture of commercial and residential land uses. Continue the transition of residential property along Grand Avenue north to Fourth Street.

B2:   The “Y” Property:

Develop as a “Commercial Village,” a center for community retail, restaurants, office, convenience and other neighborhood level shops, developed within a “theme” setting (common architectural image, “entry” feature, lighting, signage, etc.), with common parking and centralized access. It is the desire of the community to include public recreational and cultural activities within the property, establishing a link to adjacent public land uses.

B3:    State Highway 133:

Limit expansion of the area near and around the Redwood Arms Motel, south of State Highway 133 and make all future commercial and/or industrial developments subject to annexation. Also, limit expansion of industrial property north of the highway proximate to the Paonia Industrial Park.

Office and Industrial Land Uses

The North Fork Valley of the Gunnison River, including the Town of Paonia has an economic base supported by agriculture, ranching, mining and tourism. Recognizing the necessity for economic diversification, yet the limitations imposed by the area’s distance from major centers of commerce and industry, the plan provides for limited expansion of office and industrial land uses. Although both land uses are considered acceptable and necessary, the community anticipates modest growth of these land use sectors over the near-term. The following descriptions provide a summary of office and industrial development considered appropriate in select locations throughout the planning area:

Cl:    Highway 1331”P” Road (The Drive-In Site)

The site of the former Drive-In Theater, currently operated as a gravel operation, is recommended for expansion and location of future office and/or industrial land use activity. This area includes land east to the ~‘P” Road and west to the Redwood Arms Motel and restaurant, as well as the area currently in use for self-storage, north of State Highway 133. Recommendations include expansion and creation of a buffer around the area, protecting the aesthetic quality of the roadway corridors and natural balance along the river corridor. A high visual quality for east/west traffic and traffic going into downtown Paonia is a priority. In addition, all future commercial and/or industrial developments in this location will be subject to annexation.

C2:   Highway 133/Pitkin Mesa (east)

Continue operation of the coal loading and storage activities and other industrial-related activities north and south of State Highway 133.

Open Space/Recreation Land Uses

Preservation of agricultural lands and wildlife preserves, maintenance and enhancement of the visual quality of the Valley, access to adjacent government lands, and enhanced recreational and open space development of the North Fork of the Gunnison River corridor are principal components of the open space elements of the plan. The following descriptions provide a summary of open space and recreation land uses considered appropriate in select locations throughout the planning area:

Dl:    River Trail System

Establish a continuous pedestrian trail system, developed in conjunction with the Delta County and Hotchkiss trail programs located throughout the North Fork of the Gunnison Valley. Extend the Town trails linking public facilities and opens space corridors to the river corridor.

D2:   Visual Preservation of Key Landforms

Preserve Cedar Hill as a town landmark and visual element at the south end of Grand Avenue. In addition, preserve Stucker, Wakefield, and Garvin Mesas as agricultural and open space resources. Finally, preserve and encourage continued use of agricultural land throughout the Valley.

D3:   Parks/Open Space

Expand the proposed ballpark off Matthew’s Lane. Develop river front parks and improve existing trail system along river, including an expanded area around the existing sewage treatment plant. Protect key drainage ways to minimize potential erosion and provide wildlife corridors and establish a plan for parks within new developments.

Impacts of Plan

The comprehensive plan, as described above, if fully implemented would add 3,500 (approximate) residents to the Town of Paonia and portions of the County located within the three-mile planning area. Water consumption could grow from over 8.7 million gallons per month to over 18.4 million gallons per month, and traffic could increase by more than 9,200 trips. Acquisition and expanded water resources and improvement and expansion of sewer facilities to serve in-town residents, as well as related unincorporated county developments, would be required. Transportation systems would be impacted, with additional roadways to the southwest and north to State Highway 133 possible. The community recognizes the need for infrastructure improvements to service both the existing, as well as future resident base, but wants to move forward with expansion plans in a fiscally and socially responsible way. Concurrent with development of this plan, a capital improvement study is being considered to understand the capacity of existing water and sewer service and the cost to improve it.

The table on the following page illustrates potential impacts to the community by the plan, quantifying the additional numbers of dwelling units, water consumption and traffic volumes resulting from additional development. Note: Although the purpose of the plan is to express the community vision for the future, the “life” of the plan should not exceed ten years in order to address current issues and changing conditions. However, this is not to say

that the plan as defined will be fully implemented during this five to ten year period. Market forces and the capacity of existing infrastructure will have the greatest impact on the rate of growth in a community. The important factors represented by the plan are the location of future development, the quality of development preferred by the community, suggested improvements to existing conditions and the expressed character.

Section iv: Goals and Policies




GOALS:    Maintain Rural and Agricultural

                        Setting of Community

Maintain Small Community Closeness

Preserve Character of Downtown

Monitor Growth and Encourage

Controls on Quality and Character

Preserve and Protect Open Spaces and River Corridor

Restrict Forces Which Could Impact Natural Beauty of Area

LU/D-1:     Develop and maintain zoning class­ifications which pro-vide for a range of uses that clearly specify the allowable uses of property within the Town’s boundaries.

LU/D-2:     Encourage the Town of Hotchkiss and Delta County to maintain the agricultural character and rural setting along State Highway 133 between Hotchkiss and Paonia.

LU/D-3:     Carefully monitor and control land uses within the planning area in order to establish a balance of all uses suited to the character of the area.

LU/D-4:     Discourage the close proximity of incompatible land uses.

LU/D-5:     Continue agricultural use of land when ever possible.

LU/D-6:     Promote infill construction within the Town limits while considering density, zoning and compatibility of surrounding land uses.

LU/D-7:     Promote infill construction within the Town limits in order to capitalize on proximity to existing utilities.

LU/D-8:     Phase growth in the undeveloped portion of the plan area according to the Town’s ability to extend urban services.


LU/D-9:     Restrict commercial “strip” development along Highway 133 and establish design standards for all future commercial and industrial developments.

LU/D-10:   Improve the physical appearance of existing commercial land uses.

LU/D-11:   Maintain nodes of open space along Highway 133 in order to establish a clear separation between commercial developments and avoid “stripping” along the arterial.

LU/D-12:   Preserve, and when necessary, expand the downtown core.

LU/D-13:   Require that all new industrial developments be subject to annexation.

LU/D-14:   Encourage the preservation of historic structures and natural and cultural resources.



LU/D-15:   Concentrate and limit industrial development in areas which are served by regional transportation and which will not negatively impact the scale, quality, and/or character of the Town.

LU/D-16:   Improve the quality of industrial development and lessen the impact

on surrounding land uses.

LU/D-17:   Restrict industrial developments which present environmental hazards to adjacent residential, commercial or agricultural areas.

LU/D-18:   Expand industrial uses in existing locations and restrict their development in areas surrounded by residential land uses.

LU/D-19:   Require that all new industrial developments be subject to annexation.


LU/D-19:   Transition residential densities from higher within the Town limits to lower outside the Town limits.

LU/D-20:   Pursue a policy of annexation which will assemble land in the planning area in order to provide diversity in residential product types.

LU/D-21:   Higher density residential development (defined as including up to 4 dwelling units/acre) should be encouraged in, adjacent to and close to Town in order to minimize impacts on utilities and traffic, enhance downtown business opportunities, and retain the “pedestrian” atmosphere of the community.

Open Space and Recreation

LU/D-22:   Preserve adequate amounts of open space to provide buffers between land uses and maintain the rural and open character of the community.

LU/D-23:       Establish an open space set back requirement along all major arterials.

LU/D-24:       Preserve the agricultural heritage of the community and encourage the

continued use of agricultural lands.

LU/D-25:       Establish and implement programs for acquisition of land to preserve open space, and establish parks and recreation areas within the planning area.

LU/D-26:       Enhance opportunities for active recreation within the Town to provide safe, local and inexpensive recreational opportunities for children, the elderly and others.

LU/D-27:       Create an interconnected trail system linking major parts of the Town to recreational, educational and commercial destinations.

LU/D-28:       “Grow” Paonia from the inside out, decreasing the density of devel­opment in order to enhance the rural and agricultural setting of the community, and minimize costs of infrastructure.

LU/D-29:       Ensure that new development does not significantly impact views of the mesas.

LU/D-30:      Ensure that new develop­ment does not significantly impair wildlife resources.

LU/D-31:       Preserve and protect the river corridor from development and tourism impacts.

LU/D – 32:   Access to public lands (BLM) should be maintained.

LU/D – 33:   Where possible, plan open space corridors to creeks and mountain habitat to accommodate wildlife.

LU/D – 34     Encourage open space easements through grants and other incentives.

LU/D – 35  Minnesota Creek Corridor

                  Where possible, encourage addition of bike/walk paths along the creek and through developments.


Infrastructure                                                       Housing

GOALS: Provide Adequate Levels of Infrastructure

I-1:         Phase growth in the undeveloped portion of the plan area according to the Town’s ability to extend urban services.

I-2:         Quantify the remaining capacity of existing water and sewer services and associated costs to expand.

I-3:         Require development “pay its way” and mitigate potentially adverse impacts on the community.

I-4:         Provide adequate public parking for both customers and employees of downtown businesses and churches.

I-5:         Enhance pedestrian circulation opportunities.

I-6:         Construct a Town-wide interconnected trail system to provide recreational opportunities and reduce demand for transportation by motor vehicle.

I-7:         Ensure that transportation is accessible to handicapped and elderly individuals.

I-8:         Areas identified for business and industrial development outside of Town should minimize visual impact and traffic congestion along Highway 133, and on traffic routes into and through Town.

I-9:         Other transportation routes, east of Town, and west (including an additional crossing over the North Fork of the Gunnison) should be explored when a population and/or traffic threshold exists (to be determined).

I:10        Minnesota Creek Corridor

                Plans should be made to upgrade O50 Drive up the Minnesota Corridor to accommodate any increase in density allowed.  Development should be assessed to upgrade the road.  The road should be upgraded to meet town specifications required by the Average Daily Trips.

GOALS: Provide Affordable Housing Opportunities for Residents

Encourage the Development of Assisted Living and Senior Housing Products

H-1:     Provide greater opportunities for affordable housing within the Town limits.

H-2:     Encourage the development and use of techniques which help to lower the cost of housing construction and meet community development needs.

H-3:     Review the impact of Town regu­lations on housing affordability.

H-4:     “Affordable” housing, including housing for seniors and “adult care” facilities should be encouraged for areas within Town and close to services to facilitate daily need of the residents.

H-5:     Density bonuses should be awarded as encouragement for providing “affordable” housing within the Town limits (including apartments, duplexes, triplexes, senior and adult care housing, and other attached housing types.)

H-6:     Allow assisted living and senior housing developments in all residential zones.

H-7:     Encourage the development of a variety of residential products and or densities thereby expanding the opportunity of choice in housing product types while minimizing public investment in capital expenditures for infrastructure.



H-8:     Buffer residential housing areas from heavy street traffic, particularly truck traffic.

H-9:     Reserve buffer strips between all commercial and/or industrial and residential areas and any other incomp­atible uses. The means for implementing buffers should be investigated and the nature of buffers defined.

H-l0:    Encourage the development of residential environments which are sensitive to noise, traffic and established public facilities, and which will complement the area’s terrain, vegetation and other natural resources.

H-11:   Facilitate and encourage new housing development consistent with the specific needs and goals of the community.

H-12:   Encourage home improvement,

neighborhood and Town identity.

H-13:   Reduce the amount of sub-standard housing through the elimination of blight-causing influences.


GOALS:    Provide Services for the Youth and Elderly in the Community

CF/S-1:      Encourage the development of recreation opportunities for the youth in the community.

CF/S-2:      “Affordable” housing, including housing for seniors and “adult care” facilities should be encouraged for areas within Town and close to services to facilitate daily need of the residents.

CF/S-3:  Density bonuses should be awarded as encouragement for providing “affordable” housing within the Town limits (including apartments, duplexes, triplexes, senior and adult care housing, and other attached housing types.)

CF/S-4:      Allow assisted living and senior housing developments in all

residential zones.

CFIS-5:     Prepare a facilities plan for Town services (police, fire and emergency medical) and analyze opportunities for consolidation and cost efficiency.


GOALS:    Facilitate Creation of Employment Opportunities for the Area’s Youth

Promote Diversity of Employment Opportunities

Encourage Employment Opportunities Consistent With the Character of the Area

Expand and Diversify Tax Base

ED-1:         Promote retention and expansion of existing industries within the Town of Paonia and planning area. The Chamber of Commerce will lead these efforts.

ED-2:         Maintain active contact within the Town of Paonia business community to identify potential concerns and opportunities for future development, such as street conditions, access, area appearance and Town regulations.

ED-3:         Encourage new business opportunities by creating a visually attractive Town.

ED-4:        Identify and encourage the recruitment of linkage industries compatible with and supportive of businesses presently located in Delta County, including agriculture and livestock operations.


ED-5:     Encourage land uses within the
planning area which maintain,
stimulate and increase the economic
viability of downtown businesses.

ED-6:     Work in cooperation with Delta County and Hotchkiss to recruit and control the character and visual impact of appropriate industry, particularly along major traffic arteries outside the Town.


GOALS:    Establish Synergistic Relationship With                           :

                        Other Governments

R-1:        Maintain an effective development review process which provides for a complete and thorough review of new development, as well as opportunities for public notice and comment.

R-2:   Maintain a current and effective regulatory framework to implement sound planning principles and goals and objectives of the Paonia Comprehensive Plan.

R-3:   Establish a program to annex all commercial and industrial properties currently within the Urban Service Area; and annex all new commercial and industrial developments within the Urban Service Area.

R-4:        Continue to find ways to streamline the development and building permit process.

R-5:        Encourage home occupations within all residential zoning districts provided that the home occupations do not detrimentally impact adjacent properties or neighborhoods.

R-6:        Address regional land use issues affecting Delta County and munici­palities within Delta County through open discussions and, where appropriate, through intergovern­mental agreements.

R-7: Negotiate an Intergovernmental Land Use Agreement (IGA) between Delta County, Hotchkiss and the Town of Paonia which will address or further the goals, policies and objectives of this Paonia Comprehensive Plan.

R-8:     Develop building code regulations which incorporate methods for conserving energy and which encourage rehabilitation of older structures.

R-9:     Provide minimum standards to safeguard life, limb, health, property and public welfare by regulating and controlling the use and occupancy, location and maintenance of all residential buildings and structures within the Town of Paonia.

R-10:   Ensure that all persons have access to dwelling units which meet acceptable standards of safety and handicapped accessibility.













·     Lori Axelson

·    Connie Black

·    Geri Carey

·    John Caven

·    Doris Danielsen

·    Barbie Dickenson

·    Paul Douglas

·    Karen Fogg

·    Brent Grant

·    Don Hinson

·    Eric Jessen

·    Bob Johnson

·    Ester Kinser

·    James A. Laney

·    Bob Lario

·     Judy Livingston

·    Bill Mann

·    Patricia Marshall

·    Don May

·    Buster Miklich

·    Carol Miklich

·    Paul Millermon

·    Richard Rezak

·    Teresa Sales

·    Cindy Somers

·    Eleni Stelter

·    Bill Tennison

·    Deborah Weis

·    Millicent Young



·    Dick Gentzler

·    Linda Gallob

·    John Norris

·    Bob Johnson

·    Rick Stelter

·    Dona Valencich

·     Paul Millermon

·    Paul Douglas

·    Lisa Cook

·    Bill Brunner

·    Karen Peterson

·    Lynda Baxter

             TOWN COUNCIL

·    Dick Gentzler
·    Linda Gallob
·    Ron Rowell
·    Bob Johnson

·    Ken Byers

·    David Dobbs

·    Don Chapman

             PLANNING & ZONING

·    Paul Millermon

·    Paul Douglas

·    Claudia King

·    Martin Grier

·    Robert Johnson

·    Steve Zillinger

·    Sue Caven

·    Marc Schevene

·    Rick Stelter


August 13, 1996

Be all Known that the Town of Paonia has adopted a guideline of Prudent Avoidance of EMF’s.

Prudent avoidance shall mean the striking of a reasonable balance between the potential health effects of exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMF’s) and the cost and impacts of mitigation of such exposure, by taking steps to reduce the exposure at reasonable or modest cost in the planning, siting, construction and operation of Paonia’s electricity system, including distribution, residential and commercial facilities. Steps to minimize electricity usage by encouraging the conservation of electricity in the selection of electrical equipment and the avoidance of excessive and unreasonab1e uses of electricity are an integral part of ‘prudent avoidance.