The definition of “rural” is largely self-determined, as many different types of residents consider their lots and lifestyles as having one or more important rural character elements. The Douglas County 2030 Comprehensive Master Plan generally defines “rural” properties to be parcels of 35 acres in size or larger. However, there are multiple subdivisions scattered throughout the County that contain lots far smaller than 35 acres but, by virtue of their surrounding context and specific uses, are considered by residents to be part of the rural community and lifestyle.
The Rural Framework Committee, a Board of County Commissioners’ ad-hoc citizens’ committee formed to look at various rural development issues, identified a number of values and expectations that were seen as being critical for maintaining the rural quality of life enjoyed by the County’s residents. Important values for rural property owners to maintain through the use and development of their properties include:
- Enjoyment of the natural environment including: wildlife habitat and movement corridors, native vegetation, geologic and topographic features, natural grade and terrain, riparian areas, and air quality
- Conservation of the County’s scarce groundwater resources
- Proper land management to avoid over-grazing and weed infestation
- Limited exterior lighting to maintain the “dark skies” night-time environment
- Careful siting of new buildings relative to highly visible ridgelines
- Preserving important elements of the rural community’s “sense of place” including historic structures, working ranches, horse activities, and cultural events.
Please visit the Douglas County Comprehensive Master Plan which identifies specific goals, policies, and objectives for the rural portions of the County. Narratives and maps depict the distinct rural communities and subareas including: Sedalia, Louviers, Franktown, Cherry Valley, West Plum Creek, Indian Creek, Chatfield, Northeast, and the High Plains Plateau.
Links to the master plan maps for the County’s rural areas and communities are provided here: