OURAY – With no seats being contested, Tuesday’s Ouray County primary election received relatively little attention from voters. According to a press release from Ouray County Clerk Michelle Nauer, only 54 registered voters attended the polls (another 645 voted by mail). Those 699 votes constituted 23 percent of the county’s 2,938 active voters (out of 3,725 people eligible to vote in the county).
In the Republican primary, District 3 candidate for county commissioner Heidi Albritton received 404 votes and District 1 commissioner candidate Bob Wolford received 397. Albritton will run unopposed in November. Candidate Lynn Padgett received 231 votes in the Democratic primary. Wolford and Padgett will vie for the District 3 seat in November.
Communications Tower Hearing Set For August 25
An application for a proposed 93-foot communications tower that would be located on the edge of the Log Hill Mesa escarpment is scheduled for public hearing before the Ouray County Board of Commissioners on August 25 at 2 p.m. at the Ouray County 4-H Events Center.
The scheduled hearing follows a public hearing before the Ridgway Area Joint Planning Board in July; the board recommended, in a 5-2 vote, to approve the application. Several residents and homeowners groups who live near the site on Tower Road opposed the application, citing visual impact and potential long-term health effects from radiation emissions from the cell phone and emergency communications apparatus that would be installed at the site.
Proponents of the tower, including the county's first responders and law enforcement agencies, maintain that the tower will eliminate several radio and cell phone “dead zones,” and provide vital communication access on the mesa and throughout the county.
The commissioners appointed Allen Cockle of Ridgway and current County Planning Commissioner Bob Luttrell of Log Hill Mesa to fill two vacancies on the Ouray County Road Committee. The county commissioners are seeking a third person for the remaining vacancy. The commissioners will modify some of the tasks of the committee to put more focus on policy and budgetary issues.
Social Services Director Alan Gerstle told commissioners that the county food pantry may be back in operation soon. He said the pastor at Ouray’s Calvary Assembly of God Church intends to resume providing space for canned goods and that distribution will resume “with a lot of cooperation from the other churches. Gerstle also reported more pressure on his department from the unemployed. “We're seeing a slowdown of construction in San Miguel County, and we're seeing these workers here who need help, resulting in an increased case load.”
The county will move forward with a revamping of the county's permit process, based on a concern for consistency, said Commissioner Heidi Albritton. At present, the commissioners see a need to “tighten up the entire administrative process,” said Commissioner Keith Meinert, “so that it's completely clear to the applicant what is required of him and so that staff knows exactly what the criteria is going to be for their review.”
Applications for site development permits, septic permits, building permits, and manufactured home permits, as well as fire safety ratings for new residential structures and minimum plan guidelines, will be reviewed at a “marathon workshop,” Meinert said.