The new law updates one approved by council last year to increase fines and mandate community service hours from anyone whose dog is found roaming around town unaccompanied, or who doesn’t pick up after their dog.
The hope is that the stricter penalties will act as a greater deterrent to dog owners who continue to violate the rules despite their recent prominence in the public discourse.
People found guilty of allowing their dogs to roam around town at large will be fined $100 and four hours of mandatory community service for the first offense, $300 and four service hours for a second offense, and a civil summons accompanied by a fine of up to $1,000 and eight service hours on a third occasion within 18 successive months.
Owners who decline to scoop their pets’ poop face fines of $250 and four hours of community service for a first offense, $500 and eight service hours for a second offense, and a civil summons accompanied by a fine of up to $1,000 and 16 service hours of community service on a third occasion within 18 successive months.
A 20 percent surcharge whose proceeds fund a dedicated dog program imposed by the 2009 ordinance will also remain intact – effectively adding a $50 fee to a first failure to remove offense, for example.
Not only is that fine too high, said Councilmember Thom Carnevale, who was joined by Councilmember Ann Brady in opposing the ordinance, but “community service on the first offense is almost indentured servitude,” he said.
“I think it is a draconian move,” he said of the approved ordinance.
Municipal Prosecutor Lois Major said the civilian dog trespass/defecation complaint forms available from the Telluride Marshal’s Department have been successful in bringing violators before the court, and she cautioned council that people may now hesitate to report offenders considering the new fines.
Chief Marshal Jim Kolar had concerns about how the community service component of the new fines would be enforced.
“Without the oversight of the courts, my concern is that will fall through the cracks,” he said, recommending that community service be a requirement only on the third offense for either violation.
“I feel Jim has a point, otherwise I think we’re imposing something that is not going to work,” said Brady.
“To ignore the prosecutor and the marshal is a misstep on the part of council,” said Carnevale.
Dog owners at the meeting had mixed feelings about the new fines.
“I think these fines are awful but that’s the point,” said Kim Richard in support of the ordinance.
“You’re casting a big net out, and there are people who are going to get caught in it,” who don’t deserve to be, said Chris Johnson, speaking against it.
Shawn Smith, whose widely publicized tactic of wrapping dog excrement found on his lawn in bacon, had little to say.
“I just have a series of pictures,” he told council, passing around a photo of the Elementary School playground sign that clearly states dogs are not allowed, accompanied by four more pictures of dog feces on the artificial turf there.
“If there’s not an issue with dog defecation around here then I’ll keep my mouth shut for the rest of the time I live here, which will be for the rest of my life,” he said.
Gold Run Affordable Housing Prices Set
With the Gold Run affordable housing project located at the east end of Telluride now 70 percent complete, council, acting both as itself and as the not-for-profit Block 23 Housing Corporation, on Tuesday approved pricing recommendations and maximum income thresholds on the 12 single-family homes and three duplex buildings located across the street from Wilkin Court and the Lone Tree Cemetery.
The development is the area’s first affordable housing project undertaken jointly by San Miguel County and the Town of Telluride, and each of the 18 units will be price-capped, owner-occupied and deed-restricted.
The San Miguel County Commissioners unanimously approved the same pricing and income limitation structure when it met last week.
The two one-bedroom units located in the complex are targeted for households earning 85 percent of the average median income for San Miguel County and are priced at $194,700 and $197,100.
Five two-bedroom units in the complex are targeted for households earning 105 percent of AMI and range from $268,600 to $279,200. The remaining 11 three-bedroom units target 120 percent AMI and range from $320,500 to $359,000.
Both one-bedroom units and three two-bedroom units are listed as Tier 1 properties, meaning their owners cannot earn more than 120 percent AMI to qualify to purchase them. The remaining two- and three-bedroom units are considered Tier 2, which carries a maximum income threshold of 150 percent AMI.
One of the two-bedroom units will be sold to the Telluride R-1 School District for use by their employees, and the remainder will be sold to qualified candidates through a lottery process that is scheduled to commence on Aug. 27.
Bear Creek Preserve Annexed, Zoned
Six parcels of open space totaling about 382 acres, located south of Town Park in Lower Bear Creek and collectively known as the Bear Creek Preserve, officially became part of the town on Tuesday when council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance to annex the property into its corporate and municipal boundaries.
In another vote, council also approved the second reading of an ordinance to amend the town’s zone district map to zone the parcels into the Open Space Conservation Easement Zone District created last year for purposes of preserving the Valley Floor as open space and protecting it from future development.
In a third and final action related to the matter council also unanimously approved a resolution to amend the 2006 Master Plan Land Use Map to incorporate the newly annexed parcels.
The land is protected from development and commercial use by a conservation easement held by the local San Miguel Conservation Foundation, and was part of unincorporated San Miguel County prior to the annexation.