What is “Rural”?

The definition of “rural” is largely self-determined, as many residents consider their lots and lifestyles as having one or more rural character elements. The County’s Comprehensive Master Plan defines “rural” properties as parcels of 35 acres in size or larger. However, multiple subdivisions scattered throughout the County with lots smaller than 35 acres, by virtue of their surrounding context and specific uses, are considered part of the rural community and lifestyle.

The Rural Framework Committee, a Board of County Commissioners’ ad-hoc citizens’ committee, formed to review and discuss various rural development issues. The committee identified a number of values and expectations seen as critical for maintaining the rural quality of life enjoyed by 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.
  • Water conservation.
  • Proper land management to avoid over-grazing and weed infestation.
  • Limited exterior lighting to preserve 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 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 Douglas County, the High Plateau, and the Pike National Forest and Foothills.

View the master plan maps for the County’s rural areas and communities: