Dumping Nears Approval
The first reading of a new dumping ordinance designed to target those guilty of discarding reusable but unsuitable items at the Free Box received the unanimous approval of the Telluride Town Council on Tuesday, Feb. 17. The vote was 6-0, with Jill Masters absent.
While the Telluride Municipal Code already contains provisions concerning garbage, refuse, recyclables, and littering, until now reusable materials have neither been defined nor addressed.
If approved upon second reading, the ordinance will amend the Municipal Code to define reusable materials as “discarded household goods, not intrinsically defective, for reuse that may be surplus, worn or secondhand and do not require significant repair or reprocessing to be useful, but shall not include electronics, batteries, tires, mattresses, furniture, refrigerators, or large appliances.”
“It allows for items that the Free Box has always been about to remain,” Town Legal Assistant Cindy Chapin told council.
As originally drafted, the ordinance allowed Reusable Materials Containers to be provided only by the town at locations designated by the town manager, in effect giving the manager sole discretion as to the location of the Free Box.
Sensing dangerous political territory due to the ongoing battle between those in town who would like the Free Box to remain in its current location at the corner of Pine St. and Colorado Ave. in perpetuity and others who would see it moved or done away with entirely, Town Manager Frank Bell asked that the ordinance be revised to give that discretion to town council and the town manager, to which council agreed.
Fines would remain as they are currently: first offense within 12 successive months, $50; second offense, $100; third offense, criminal summons.
Because the town does not yet have an ordinance prohibiting dumping of the sort that has come to plague Pine Street, law enforcement could not go after Free Box offenders. Chief Marshal Jim Kolar confirmed to council that the new ordinance should help change that.
“I think this a step in the direction that addresses the complaints of neighbors in that area,” he said.
“I think the enforcement issue, should this pass, is one of being in a place to educate people about the changes – what is properly left there and what is not. I think that’s what it’s going to take to clean that location up,” he said.
Nevertheless, a bulletin board recently installed by Friends of the Free Box, a citizens group working to preserve the Telluride institution in its present location, has helped. Owners of large but useful items can now post a notice about them on the board and include contact details so that interested parties can contact the owner directly.
“The bulletin board already has made a big difference,” said Chapin.
In addition, a new website, www.t-cycle.org, serves the same purpose.
“Now we have multiple avenues for recycling large items,” said the group’s organizer Harold Wondsel.
CCAASE Budget Approved
The TellurideCommission for Community Assistance, Arts and Special Events received final approval from the Telluride Town Council on Feb. 17 on its recommendations to disperse $290,000 in grant money to organizations and special events. The vote was 5-1, with David Oyster in the opposition and Jill Masters absent.
CCAASE is charged with reviewing grant applications and making a recommendation to council for the allocation of funds. Typically its budget is set in November and council reviews and approves the recommendations in January.
While the January approval has typically been more of a formality because the grant applications are carefully vetted, this year financial pressures caused by the recession led council to remand the recommendations to the commission with orders to shave off $35,000 in funding.
Some grant recipients questioned the process by which the grants were originally allocated, while others wondered about the logic by which they were subsequently reduced, leading Oyster, who sits on CCAASE, to move that the recommendations be remanded again to the commission with direction to meet with stakeholders to establish what were essential and necessary services and reallocating the money accordingly.
Additionally, Oyster moved at first that none of the funds be released until council’s mid-year budget review, later adjusting that date to the month of April.
“I find it difficult to support this,” Mayor Stu Fraser said of Oyster’s motion. “Many of the organizations need the money sooner rather than later. I think from the point of view of non-profits 2009 is done and we have to get it resolved.”
“I think this is one of these things where we just have to cut our losses,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Andrea Benda. “All these people have budgets – if they have to wait we’re going to save some more money because they’ll be slashed right off the books and not exist anymore.”
“I just think that we need to revisit it for next year,” said council member Lulu Hunt.
Sensing no political support, Oyster withdrew his motion.
“Do we have the money to do this?” asked council member Bob Saunders.
“It’s always a matter of priorities,” Town Manager Frank Bell replied, forewarning council of additional budget cuts.
“In March I will be asking for an additional $1.5 million in budget cuts,” he said. “There are more budget cuts to come – I just want that on the table.”
Historic Structure No More
The Telluride Town Council resolved 6-0 (with Jill Masters absent) on Tuesday, Feb. 17, to amend the Telluride Historic and Architectural Survey by changing the designation of a house located within the historic district at 524 W. Galena Ave. from “supporting” to “non-contributing.”
The owner, represented by architect Luke Trujillo, challenged the designation in the belief that the building was incorrectly rated in a 1986 survey. The historic district strives preserve the integrity of structures built during the town’s “Period of Significance between 1878 and 1913.”
A 1922 Sanborn map locates a house closer to the front property line and with a different footprint than the existing building, and a historic photo of the property shows a partially obscured building with a different roof slope than today’s structure. Additionally, the building’s roof slope and materials are more consistent with a structure built in the 1940s.
“A number of records indicate that this is not the original building on that site,” said Telluride Historic Preservation Planner Michael Davenport.
Council voted on the resolution after continuing the matter from a January meeting to allow Davenport time to further research the structure and determine whether accurate, cost-effective methods to date it or its materials were available.
“It doesn’t seem like there is any cheap easy method for determining the age of the wood,” he told council, elaborating in a memo that a bark sample or full cross section of a log from which the lumber was milled would be necessary to obtain accurate results.
Davenport said that during a site visit he found “a number of odd characteristics that are things you don’t normally associate with our period of significance,” and that the construction was inferior to as that of structures built during the historic period.
“It looks more like something that was built just before or just after World War II,” he said.
In a separate 6-0 vote, council agreed to waive a requirement in the Land Use Code to allow the height of the Old Stone Building to be increased not more than 18 inches. The warehouse building dates to the early 1900s and is located in the Historic Commercial Zone District at 117 N. Willow where it is rated as “contributing” to the district.
The proposed height increase to the building will allow for: re-roofing and roof structure upgrades that will increase its snow load capacity; the relocation of its stairway to improve classroom space; and accommodation of an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant bathroom.
The work will not increase the floor area of the building and is being undertaken to try to maintain the integrity of the building and extend its lifespan.
The LUC ordinarily requires that for buildings with primary facades of 20 feet or less (the Old Stone Building’s measures just over 15 feet), additions such as these are stepped back a minimum of four horizontal feet for each one vertical foot of increase in height. However, council waived that requirement with its vote in order to maintain the historic form of the building.
French Ski Resort Courts Telluride
Taking a welcome break from contentious Land Use Code discussions and the dreary financial realities of a failing global economy, the Telluride Town Council gave local resident Susan Dalton the go ahead to explore the possibility of Telluride becoming a sister city of a small, medieval village, complete with cowbells and cobblestones, located in the French Alps.
In addition to being a traditional alpine village, Megève (pronounced meh-jev) is also a swanky ski resort located 43 miles from Geneva, Switzerland. Lately it has been courting Telluride – using no less than the U.S. Ambassador to France, Craig Stapleton, as its emissary – to foster a relationship between the mountain towns.
“While Megève is a little tourist town just like Telluride, there is a permanent population that lives there year round interested in maintaining quality of life,” said Dalton, who described it as a Swiss-like town “more charming than Chamonix.”
The town is interested in the exchange with Telluride, particularly drawn to the Telluride Institute and the idea of local hi-tech job creation, said Dalton. In addition, it has taken a strong stance on the environment, its tourist office being the second ski-related business in France to have been awarded the internationally recognized ISO 14001 certificate for implementing an environmental management system designed to minimize the organization’s environmental impact.
Telluride already has a strong connection to the town. Megève-born Émile Allais, an alpine skiing bronze medalist in the 1936 Olympics, helped design the Telluride Ski Area when it was owned by Joe Zoline, Dalton told council. Think Allais Alley.
Dalton is planning a trip to France in April and with council’s approval will visit Megève for a few days to gather more information.
“Having a relationship with a school in Megève would be really beneficial for our kids,” Telluride High School Principal Alex Carter told council, voicing his support for the idea.
“I can’t see it but being a plus plus for Telluride,” said Dalton.