On December 21, 2022, the San Miguel County District Court reversed the May 2022 decision by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to rezone a 39-acre portion of the Diamond Ridge property to the newly created high-density Community Housing (CH) zone. This reverts the property to its original low-density Forestry-Agricuture (F) zone.

This means that the proposed "The Ridge" affordable housing development on Deep Creek Mesa, planning to consist of 150-780 units on 39 acres, will no longer be possible under the F zoning that allows for 1 dwelling per 35 acres.

The court deemed the rezoning to be unlawful for two reasons:

  1. San Miguel County Commissioner Hilary Cooper was found to be biased due to extensive ex parte communications over the course of nearly 2 years leading up to the hearing, including an unsuccessful attempt to bypass public comment on the rezoning altogether. According to the court order, "The record shows that Commissioner Cooper abused her discretion by not recusing herself from the final rezoning decision and that her participation in the rezoning meeting violated the Plaintiff's right to due process."
  2. The rezoning to high-density housing on Deep Creek Mesa did not comply with the regional Master Plan and amounted to unlawful "spot zoning."

The Town of Telluride and San Miguel County's joint $7.2M land purchase of the 105-acre Diamond Ridge property was made possible with the help of a $5M grant from Colorado's Division of Housing, which was conditional upon the rezoning to the CH district (in addition to other stipulations, like the commitment to build at least 150 units, 50% of which must be priced below 120% AMI targets). Now that the conditions will not be met, it is currently uncertain if that grant must be repaid to the state.

The County will have the opportunity to appeal the ruling if they so choose.

To refresh your memory about "The Ridge," review my video from May 2022 (prior to the BOCC's rezoning decision):

Posted by Anna Wilson on


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