Council to Explore Alternatives To Magnesium Chloride
by Christopher Pike
Apr 15, 2008 | 1158 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<strong>SWORN IN</strong> – Taking the oath of office for the Town of Ridgway from Town Clerk Pam Kraft were (left to right) councilmembers Rick Weaver and John Clark; Mayor Pat Willits; and councilmembers Debra Hynes and Jonathan Rogers. Councilmember Paul Hebert is seated at the table. (Photo by Christopher Pike)
SWORN IN – Taking the oath of office for the Town of Ridgway from Town Clerk Pam Kraft were (left to right) councilmembers Rick Weaver and John Clark; Mayor Pat Willits; and councilmembers Debra Hynes and Jonathan Rogers. Councilmember Paul Hebert is seated at the table. (Photo by Christopher Pike)
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RIDGWAY – The Ridgway Town Council agreed to explore other options this year regarding the containment of dust on the town’s dirt streets and roads, which in the past have been treated with magnesium chloride.

Council was asked at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 10 by Ridgway resident “Planet” Janet Smith to find a safer alternative to magnesium chloride before making its first application, slated for May 16. Smith said the accumulation of the chemical in the soil will do damage to the town’s trees in the long term and asked council to “research and weigh in” on the subject.

“It is a choice between the trees or dust,” Smith said.

Councilmember Paul Hebert, sharing Smith’s concerns, said he hates the dust, which he believes could contain traces of mag chloride particles.

“I think it’s pretty worthless; then we’re breathing the mag chloride dust,” he said. “I used to be pretty ambivalent until it killed my tree.”

Council asked Assistant Town Planner Jen Coates to find out what other communities are doing to control dust on dirt roads.

“It’s been a tough issue. We’ve got to do some thinking about it soon,” Mayor Pat Willits added. TOWN TO OFFER TAX REBATE FOR SOLAR EQUIPMENT

Ridgway will soon be rebating 100 percent of sales tax (currently 3.6 percent) paid by town residents who purchase either a photo voltaic or solar thermal system to be installed in a home or business.

The only catch: “It must be sold here,” said Councilmember John Clark.

Council instructed staff to draft a rebate ordinance for presentation at their next meeting.

RESIDENTIAL DENSITY REQUIREMENT TO BE MODIFIED

Council took care of a bit of “housekeeping” in the form of an amendment to the Ridgway Municipal Code that will allow additional residential units more “density” in a proposed subdivision.

The extra units will be allowed so long as significant affordable housing, public open space, public recreational amenities, or off-site public infrastructure improvements are offered by a developer/applicant. Such deviation in density must “promote the public health, safety and welfare.”

ELECTRICALLY POWERED VEHICLES ORDINANCE AIRED

When is a golf cart more than a means of transportation from the tee box to the green? In a proposed ordinance before council, when it’s operated as a self-propelled, electrically powered, motor vehicle on the streets of Ridgway.

But before the ordinance can move forward, several legal details must be worked out. For one, the vehicles are prohibited on state highways by Colorado State Statutes, which have authority over any town ordinance. Should the ordinance be approved, there will be a requirement that any cart be equipped with headlights and taillights, according to Town Attorney John Kappa.

“Vehicles come in a whole spectrum of things they have,” said Kappa. “That’s why it’s so screwed up. It probably doesn’t require motor vehicle registration.”

Mayor Pat Willits asked that the legal details be clarified and that the matter be explored further.

IN OTHER COUNCIL BUSINESS…

The town council approved a condominium subdivision of the Silver San Juan Building, located at 630 and 640 Sherman Street (Colorado Highway 62), which is completing Phase I; approved a condominium subdivision of Lot 2B, Ridgway Village West, located at 540 and 550 Redcliff Circle, Units D and E; and approved the amendment of the official zoning map of the Town of Ridgway to designate the RiverSage Addition as an “R” Residential District, a change from the previous Future Development Zone. Councilmember Rick Weaver abstained from the vote due to a conflict of interest.

Town Clerk Pam Kraft also swore in Mayor Pat Willits and councilmembers John Clark, Debra Hynes, Jonathan Rogers, and Weaver, who joined already seated members Paul Hebert and Eric Johnson.

Clark was re-elected, while Hynes, Rogers and Weaver all won council seats during the municipal election held April 1. Willits ran unopposed. Rogers will be fulfilling the one year left of Sheryle Pettet’s term after her resignation – he’ll have to run for re-election next April with Hebert and Johnson if they so choose – while Clark, Hynes, Weaver and Willits will be serving two-year terms.

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