RIDGWAY – County Attorney Marti Whitmore warned the Ouray Board of County Commissioners at their regular meeting this week that several issues, including recreational marijuana, would need significant space on their agenda in the New Year.
“The passage of Amendment 64 in November is resulting in a flurry of legal speculation and analysis as the state waits for a response from the federal government regarding whether [the Department of Justice] will continue to vigorously enforce federal law, or will defer to the state constitution,” she said.
Meanwhile, “the county will need to address policy matters relating to licensing, zoning, and potential revision of existing definitions of agricultural products, roadside stands, and so on early in 2013.”
Commissioner Lynn Padgett reinforced the necessity to “dig in” on the subject. “I think we should be realistic about our workload from January to April. This is a constitutional amendment. We, our staff, the planning commission, our public all need to get educated on this. There is a July deadline, and we’ll be grappling with this, unfortunately, while the state is trying to deal with its own regulations.”
Padgett said that incoming Commissioner Don Batchelder had suggested to her that the BOCC “reserve two Wednesdays a month to work on this.”
“That might be a good idea,” said Commission Chair Mike Fedel. “I have no doubt, when we start scheduling meetings on 64, there will be more and more meetings.”
SOME HOPE FOR RESOLUTION OF GUNN TIRE MATTER
In a memo to the BOCC Tuesday (Dec. 4) County Attorney Marti Whitmore sounded a note of hope in the ongoing problem of the waste tires on the Laurence “Butch” Gunn property. Following the rejection of Gunn’s plan to “stabilize” the remaining 4,000 tires, by both the county’s contract engineer Bill Frownfelter, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Whitmore said she had proposed a return to the idea of using state grant funds to have the tires removed entirely. “I am waiting for confirmation from Eric Voogt (Gunn’s Denver attorney), but am hopeful that we may be submitting a tire fund grant request in January and that cleanup of the site will occur as soon as the site is accessible in the spring.”
ROAD AND BRIDGE GETS NEW TRUCK-MOUNTED WATER TANK
County Road and Bridge Supervisor Chris Miller asked the BOCC at its meeting this week to use the “exception clause” in the county’s purchasing policy to allow the acquisition of the most expensive truck-mounted water tank ($24,700) from among the three bids received. He said the tank from United Truck & Equipment, of Phoenix, cost almost $4,000 more than the lowest bid, but that it was the “best overall value considering factors as service, parts availability, past performance and tank availability.”
Miller detailed the sorry state of the county’s existing tanks, which typically put 2 million gallons of water on county roads each year. Repair time, the welding of leaks, has become debilitating.
Commissioner Lynn Padgett supported Miller’s plan. “We have so much [equipment] that is broken and/or breaking. We’re spending so much on repairs. We need to break out of the bad pattern we were in for 2012 and give these guys the tools they need to perform.”
“I’ve been advocating that since I’ve been involved,” said Commission Chair Mike Fedel. “I think this was an exceptional circumstance,” he said to Miller, “and I like your recommendation. Any down time on equipment is costing us money.” He then suggested Miller order the optional bumper push plates, at $500 each, “because that thing is going to get off into the mud.”
CHANGES TO LAND USE CODE WORDING
A handful of concerned citizens showed up Tuesday for three public hearings on changes to Ouray County’s Land Use Code. The discussions were technical, detailed, even obtuse at times, but the topics were important: Who is affected, and who should be notified when there is a request to change an existing PUD? Who should sit on the Board of Adjustments, which grants or denies variances, and the (newly renamed) Committee on Visual Appeals, which has only advisory powers? And what should the county do about Sections 11, 12, 13, and 14, regarding mineral resource regulations, geologic hazards, wildlife habitat, and solid waste disposal, all of which were either improperly adopted years ago, or are “unenforceable,” according to County Attorney Marti Whitmore. The sections all run afoul of the state’s 1041 Regulations statute.
“This is a no-brainer,” said Commission Chair Mike Fedel, on the third hearing to repeal the defunct sections. “We’ve been discussing this for months.”
“Will [the repealed sections] be rewritten?” asked citizen Donna Whiskeman.
Commissioner Lynn Padgett said the county is working with other counties on new geothermal regulations language, for one.
Whitmore reminded the board that they “have the ability to direct the planning commission, or not, to address rewriting” the 1041 regulations.