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Land Use

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Mission of the Land Use Department

The mission of the Saguache County Land Use Department is to plan comprehensively for the orderly growth and harmonious development of Saguache County. Growth management coordination, land use planning, E-911 address, street data base maintenance, and GIS land base mapping are all components of the County’s Planning program in support of this mission. The Saguache County Land Development Code and any amendments are authorized by the Colorado Revised Statutes and shall apply to the unincorporated territory in Saguache County, Colorado.

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Saguache County Seeks Junk Removal Businesses For Saguache County Residents

Saguache County is seeking individuals or businesses that would like to be added to our resource list to assist Saguache County citizens in need with junk removal on their property.

The list will be made available to citizens of Saguache County through the Saguache County Land Use office. If you would like to be added to the list or if you would like to obtain this list for junk removal, please call the Saguache County Land Use office at 719-655-2321 or by emailing landuse@saguachecounty-co.gov.

Contact Us: Land Use Department

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Staff:

Amber Wilson - Land Use Administrator
Virginia Adams - Land Use Deputy

Click here to contact us.

Address:

505 3rd Street
P.O. Box 326
Saguache, CO 81149

Phone: 719-655-2321
Fax: 719-655-2635

Land Use Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Addressing

Q. How do I get an address for my property?

A. We do not issue addresses to vacant land unless you have plans to improve your property by pulling a building permit. An access permit from any of the following: Saguache County Road and Bridge department, CDOT, Forest Service or BLM is also required when submitting a physical address application. 

Q. How much does an address cost?

A.  $100.00 and you receive a reflective, metal address sign to post on your property. 

Building Permits

Q. What are the setbacks for buildings?

A. Ten (10) feet from all property lines except where a public road easement or any other easement exists, and then a minimum of twenty-five (25) feet from the edge of the road easement or any other easement(s). 

Q. When do I need a building permit?

A. All structures, to include: every built structure, prebuilt structure, including storage containers, temporary structures, or anything similar, greenhouses, etc., no matter the size. A temporary structure is a structure on the property for more than two weeks. 

Q. When do I not need a building permit?

A. A building permit is not required for a fence, to replace a roof, roof mounted solar for a residence or a solar stand for residential use. 

Q. What is the minimum square footage for a residence in Saguache County?

A. Saguache County’s minimum square footage is 150-sqft for one person and will increase an additional 100-sqft per person in the household. 

Q. What is the snow load and wind speed?

A. Wind speed: 75 mph. Ground Snow Load: 30 psf. Up to 7880 feet elevation, 40psf over 7880 feet.

Q. What are the current building codes?

A. Saguache County does not have building codes, however, electrical, gas and plumbing permits are required per the State of Colorado. These permits are applied for by the property owner or applicant. We require these permits to be turned into the Land Use office once you receive your final approval.    Access Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies

Q. How much do permits cost?

A. 0 to 500 square foot- $60.00

     501 to 3,000 square foot – $0.11/square foot + $60.00 Administration fee

     3,001 to 6,000 square foot - $0.10/square foot + $60.00 Administration fee

     6,001 to 10,000 square foot - $0.09/square foot + $60.00 Administration fee

     Any construction permit that is built over 10,000 sq. ft. and above will be $0.08/square foot +   

    $60.00 Administration fee

Q. How long are building permits valid?

A. Building permits are valid for two (2) years from the date of approval. After two (2) years, a six-month extension will be required with the cost tacking on original fee for every extension that is needed. Should more time be needed after the six-month extension is given, the property owner will need to submit a new building permit which will start the two-year process again, and pictures will be required to show progress.

Q. Where can I find the regulations for building permits in the Land Development Code?

A. Article XIII (13) 

Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS)

Q. What are the septic requirements?

A. Saguache County follows Colorado State Regulation N. 43, 5 CCR 1002-43.    Access Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

Q. How do I get a septic permit?

A. In order to live and stay on your property you must have a County approved septic system. You will need to apply for a septic permit through the Land Use office. When submitting your permit, you must also submit all supporting documents i.e. soil test and engineered design. 

Q. What is the installation process after I submit my permit?

A. Once you have submitted your permit, along with your soil test and engineered design, you may begin installation of your OWTS. Property owners may install the system themselves or hire a professional service, ( you can find a list of surveyors and engineers under the Land Use Documents section of the Land Use page on our website at www.saguachecounty.colorado.gov 

Q. How do I get my final septic inspection and my approved septic permit?

A. When the installation of the septic system is complete, but before it has been covered with dirt or in use, you will schedule a final inspection with our septic inspectors by calling the Land Use office and setting an appointment. When scheduling an inspection, we need at least a 48-Hour Notice. The septic inspector will insure you have followed your soil test and engineered design to comply with Colorado State Regulation 43. A final inspection report of denial or approval will then be given to the Land Use staff.  The applicant/property owner will be mailed a mileage fee (miles @ $0.67 per mile).  Once the mileage fee has been paid the Land Use staff will give your permit a septic number, and a copy of the permit will be given to you. The mileage fee will be assessed regardless of passing or failing the septic inspection.

Q. What happens if my septic system fails inspection?

A. If the septic system fails inspection you will need to make the proper corrections or repairs written on the inspection report, and then reschedule another septic inspection with the Land Use office.  Another mileage fee will be paid by the applicant.

Q. Are alternative septic systems allowed in Saguache County?

A. We do not allow alternative septic systems, such as composting or incinerating toilets, unless there is an approved OWTS installed first. Please refer to Colorado State Regulation 43.   Access Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

Q. How long is the septic permit valid?

A. Septic permits are valid for one (1) year from the date received in the Land Use office.

Q. How much do septic permits cost?

A. New installation permit - $250.00

     Repair or modification - $175.00

     Mileage fee – miles traveled @ $0.67 per mile

Other Questions 

Q. Can I camp on my property?

A. Under no circumstances may an RV, camper or tent be used as a permanent residence. If an individual is on the property in violation of these regulations, they will be turned over to the Code Enforcement officers, fined, and eventually be taken to court. We do allow temporary RV occupancy under one instance: An RV may only be occupied a maximum of sixty (60) days during the construction process of a new residence, and only with an active building permit and an approved septic system. You can find the regulation in Article XIII.4.3 of the Saguache County Land Development Code. 

Q. What to know about starting a business.

A. It is always best to contact the Land Use office to evaluate the type of business and location you are considering. There is one zoned district, some subdivisions with covenants, also a HOA (Homeowners Association), and a POA (Property Owners Association). Businesses are eligible for Conditional Use Review.  If the business is small and home-based, a Home Occupation is often allowable. 

Q. Where can I find the regulations on starting a business in the Land Development Code?

A. Article IV (4) for larger businesses and Article VI (6) for home based businesses.

Q. Am I allowed to grow marijuana at my home?

A. Per Colorado State law, individuals are allowed to grow six (6) plants per adult (21 years old or older), with a maximum of twelve (12) plants per property for recreational use.    Access Colorado Cannabis

For those interested in starting a retail cannabis business, please refer to Article IV (4) of the Saguache County Land Development Code. 

Buying or Improving Property

Q. What to know about buying or building in Saguache County.

A. Saguache County is not zoned but does require building permits.

County governments are not able to provide the same level of service as municipal governments. Mail service, cellular/internet service, school buses, trash service and even emergency services may be limited, slow or not available at all in certain parts of the county.  Connecting to the electrical grid can be very expensive and service is not available in all parts of the county. Road maintenance is not guaranteed and if the roads near your property are not county maintained, they may never be.

  • You and your neighbors are responsible for road maintenance of private roads including grading and snow removal.

Only properties in some of the incorporated areas of Saguache County have central water and sewer.

  • All rural, residential properties require an onsite wastewater treatment system (septic).
Q. How do I know if a parcel is buildable? 

A. Generally, a parcel is buildable if it is at least 1 acre, which is the minimum size required for an onsite wastewater treatment system by the Colorado Division of Public Health and Environment.

Q. Do you allow sustainable or alternative housing?

A. Alternative building methods i.e…earthships, straw bale, shipping containers, or rammed earth are allowed with the correct permitting through the Land Use office. 

Q. How do I verify access to a piece of property?

A. Colorado is a “Buyer Beware” state and access is not guaranteed. There can be problems with the legal aspects of access, especially if you gain access across property belonging to others. It is wise to obtain legal advice and understand the easements that may be necessary to access a piece of property.

Q. I have questions about water rights and wells.

A. Generally, if you own 35-acres or more you are allowed a domestic well which gives you the ability to irrigate up to an acre.  Anything smaller than 35-acres allows you an in-house use well which does not permit you to have any outside irrigation, not even patio plants. If you have an in-house only use well, you can sometimes buy augmentation water from the  San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District for an annual fee. All water questions and verification of water rights should be directed to the Colorado Division of Water Resources. They are a state agency which operates the local office in Alamosa, Colorado. 

  • Please contact them at (719) 589-6683
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