Buffer zone concerns

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) -- For more than 20 years, there have been buffer zones on either side of Grand Junction, separating it from Fruita and Palisade.

Those buffer zones are essentially an agreement between the cities, town and county that the land will remain unincorporated Mesa County land and that they won't rezone or add amenities like sewage.

It's all meant to ensure that the cities don't run together, unlike many Denver suburbs. The zones also make sure that city resources, like emergency services, don't get stretched too thin.

Now, as the county looks to allow the division of a lot in the buffer zone on Roma Avenue, which will allow for further development, some residents are feeling uneasy.

"This Valley is planning houses from one end to the other," Thomas Groves, who lives in that buffer zone between Fruita and Grand Junction, said.

Groves says Mesa County seems to be bending the rules to allow for the area to be developed, but not allow it to be developed by surrounding cities.

"The rules weren't supposed to change in the buffer zones," he said. "I’m all for everybody having a meeting where we all get together and change the rules if that’s what we want to do. But we don’t want to change it in one little area that sets precedents over both of our buffer zones."

A representative from the County refused to go on camera with us but said at a neighborhood meeting Monday night that they're not breaking the rules at all.

"There was like a miscounting of the density out there and determined that one more lot could be created and still fall within the one unit for five acres," Jeff Hofman, a senior planner with Mesa County, said.

Groves says even if that's true, the communication hasn't been there.

"They don't want to hear it," he said. "They want to do what they want to do and the heck with everybody else in the buffer zones."