General Information

Welcome to our County! 

Getting Started in Rio Grande County
Where to live in Rio Grande County?
Now that you are here, where do you settle in?

Will you choose a city, subdivision close to a city, or property on which to build your dream home to get away from it all? In making your decision, please keep in mind that Rio Grande County has adopted a “Right to Farm” ordinance.

Farmers & ranchers will most definitely have different and varying work hours and also equipment that you might find to be noisy and disturbing. Most farmers and ranchers have been here in the "Valley" for a number of years and take pride in their farming and ranching businesses and operations.  Dust, odor, farm animals, and all matters that go along with the operation of their business might be new to you. Take some extra time to view the surrounding neighborhood.  See what other homes surround your area of interest.  

Colorado has an open range law. If you do not want cattle, sheep, or other livestock on your property, it is your responsibility to fence them out. It is not the responsibility of the farmer or rancher to keep the livestock off your property. A copy of the “Right to Farm” ordinance is available in the Land Use Administration Office.

All of Rio Grande County is zoned.  Please contact  the Land Use Administration Office prior to purchasing  property and inquire about the zoning of the property you may be thinking of purchasing. We are eager to assist you in attaining the knowledge you require in order to make a purchase you will be satisfied with "after your purchase".

Rio Grande County does not have a “leash law” for domestic pets.  Any pets are the responsibility of the owner.

Rio Grande County does not have funding for  mosquito control.  Check with the towns for information regarding pest services.

Rio Grande County's Weed Control Office is located in Monte Vista, Colorado at 0164 W 3 N. Darrel Plane can be reached at (719) 852-4804 or (719) 580-0089.
Zoning & Permits
Rio Grande County requires permits for any building.

All buildings must conform to the Rio Grande County  building code.  Sewage disposal in the county will more than likely be handled by an individual sewage disposal system, i.e. septic tank and leach field.  Any new septic system requires a permit and inspection as well as any repairs done to an existing system.

If a central water system is not available to your property, you will need to seek alternate sources, i.e. drilling of a well, which can be expensive. There are different types of well permits available.  To obtain a water well permit contact The Division of Water Resources located in Alamosa, Colorado by calling (719) 589-6683.

If a canal or irrigation ditch runs across your property, please do not assume that you will have access to this water. The ditch company will have access to your property to maintain the ditch or waterway.  Contact the Rio Grande Water Users Association at(719) 852-0454; or Rio Grande Canal Water Users Association (719) 852-3556 with any questions.
Mail Delivery

Please post your address clearly so it may be seen by those looking for your home.  This is especially important for any emergency vehicles, law enforcement personnel, as well as friends and family. If you are not sure which post office will be delivering your mail, a list of area post offices along with their telephone numbers is provided below. 

Monte Vista; 81144

Federal Building
(719) 852-3431 

Del Norte; 81132

 590 Columbia    
(719) 657-3155 

South Fork; 81154

0130 W. Frontage Rd
(719) 873-5611     

Who takes care of the road?
Not all roads within the county are county maintained roads. Some roads are public roads; some roads are privately maintained; other roads have been put on the county system to maintain.  Access to a county road requires a permit which can be purchased at the Land Use Office.  There is a $50.00 application fee for the permit which will also require approval and signature of the county road and bridge supervisor, Patrick Sullivan.  Contact the Monte Vista Road & Bridge Shop at (719-852-4781) if you should have any questions regarding your access.
What do we do with trash?
Rio Grande County does have a "blight ordinance" that is enforced by the Land Use Office.  Rio Grande County assumes "no" responsibility for your trash "pick up". Property owners are responsible for either taking trash to the landfill or hiring an independent trash pickup company to pick up garbage on a regular schedule.  The San Luis Valley Regional Landfill is located between Monte Vista and Del Norte on the south side of U.S. Highway 160. They can be reached at  (719) 852-3810.

If you have now purchased your property and feel you would like to get started building that dream home or are ready to have your modular set on your property, make sure you check with the Land Use Office for zoning and also with the Rio Grande County Building Department "before" you begin to build.  If your recently purchased property  requires fencing and/or out-buildings you may have planned, this also requires that you check with the proper Rio Grande County office.  This will avoid construction delays and any misunderstandings of code requirements.
If you own a river front lot, we encourage you to again use COMMON SENSE. It is very tempting to build as close to the river as possible.  You need to think about the consequences before you build.  Building close to the bank, putting decks out over the river, or even cutting willows or any trees along the bank could have a very negative effect on the flow and course of the river on your property.   You may also want to check with your independent insurance agent regarding flood insurance and their coverage in the event of rising water and any potential water damage to your structures.  It is the responsibility of the property owner to obtain all permits involved for the construction of a new home.

Permits Needed:

1. Zoning (building permits) Permits

2. Septic System Permits

3. State Plumbing and Electrical Permits

4. Well Permits

5. State Access Permits (if needed to access property off of a State Highway) (Additionally, you may want to  check to make sure your property has a legal access.)

6.  Covenants and Homeowners Association Requirements (if you are building in an approved subdivision).

Remember: it is much easier to do it right the first time!
The above list represents only a small number of things that property owners within Rio Grande County may need to know.  Please ask if you are uncertain.  It is the goal of this county to make the transition to this life as easy as possible.   You will find that zoning and building codes protect us all.