Ranchland Process

The Ranchland Process is for landowners who are considering subdividing their ranch into 35 acre lots. It provides an alternative to the standard subdivision process, whereby County staff significantly assist the landowner in the subdivision design and shepherd it through a shortened approval process. This allows the landowner to sell lots at higher prices than "raw" land prices. It also creates a subdivision design that incorporates the landowners knowledge of the land into a conservation minded design. This is a flexible and low risk option worth checking out!

For more information see the summary below, check out the full documentation (PDF), and/or contact the Ranchland Process coordinator: 

Mike Pelletier
GIS Manager, Gunnison County
(970) 641-7645
Email Mike Pelletier

Ranchland Process Summary

Main Goal

Conserve productive ranchland via a better alternative to 35+ acre development.

Main Incentives

  1. Collegial process between landowner and regulating entities to help create functional designs that avoid problems early in the process;
  2. County staff creates required documents up to the point where plan approval has permanent shelf life;
  3. Flexible design options and streamlined review process; and
  4. Can be used as a relatively secure and low cost way to ensure future development potential without having to develop.

Main Standards

  1. One lot per 35 acre density with no explicit lot size minimum other than must meet ISDS regulations;
  2. 85% of the project's land is permanently conserved & retains agricultural use; and
  3. Projects must meet all LUR design standards except for the locational standards.

Three Step Process

A. Concept Plan - This step serves to begin discussion and explore options.

  1. Landowner talks to County Ranchland Team Coordinator to discuss options;
  2. Coordinator creates inventory of information and development issues for property;
  3. Landowner and Ranchland Team discuss options;
  4. Memo of Understanding signed between Landowner and County ($500 application fee);
  5. Ranchland Team and Landowner create Concept Plan and seek informal neighbor input; and
  6. BoCC and public reviews Concept Plan at a public BoCC meeting.

B. Conservation Plan – This step conserves ability to sell lots in the future and conserves large ranching parcel. This is done at low cost to landowner via County staff participation and delaying technical work to next step.

  1. In cooperation with the Landowner, the Coordinator prepares Conservation Plan;
    • consists of a plat and a Conservation Plan Agreement;
    • the Conservation Plan Agreement will contain a limited Monitoring Plan that's purpose is to help ensure the land retains its agricultural characteristics; and
    • typically will not include costly technical documents unless deemed necessary based on site conditions, however, a survey is required.
  2. Coordinator and Landowner take proposal to BoCC and public for review.
  3. Conservation Plan has the following characteristics:
    • Lots are approved but cannot be sold individually, however, the entire property can be sold as a whole. Lots can be sold after approval at Development Plan step;
    • 85% of project area is permanently conserved and retains agricultural characteristics;
    • Plan has permanent shelf life and does not affect property taxes; and
    • Future changes, meeting the overall intent, to both lots and conserved land are possible if justified by the engineering/technical review at Development Plan step.

C. Development Plan - This step serves to finalize lots and allow for development.

  1. Development Plan technical documents submitted to County by developer for BoCC review:
    • Scope of review limited to technical/engineering issues (compatibility issues already addressed at Conservation Plan step); and
    • Equivalent to current Minor Impact submittal requirements, which are the same as current LPIP process.
  2. Phasing is possible to allow lots to be sold off slowly over time.
  3. Conservation mechanism transfers to qualified organization and becomes a conservation easement. The County may elect to hold the easement solely or jointly. The Landowner may be required to provide an endowment fund for administering the easement over time.
  4. Development Improvements Agreement is funded and development commences.