The study group has met eight times since last fall to evaluate residential housing build-out projections presented to the commissioners in mid-2007 in a report from David Theobald of Colorado State University. The study’s findings were based on current zoning densities and intended to serve as a tool for long-range land use planning.
Since the study was completed, however, new information from the Ouray County Assessor’s Office indicates that a significant number of mining claims, ranging from .1 to 10.33 acres in size, will remain on the tax rolls as potential residential home sites.
“These 1,194 claims are in addition to the build-out numbers in the Theobald study,” said study group member Karen Risch. “[The study] dealt only with the county’s more easily accessed ranch and farmland, high mesas, city, and town.”
That finding has prompted the study group to ask Theobald for additional calculations. “That’s been my concern all along – that the county is ignoring its mountainous portions that are buildable,” said Risch.
“Theobald has shown interest in this but has not yet committed,” noted Chairman Ken Lipton in a draft synopsis of the group’s findings (the study group will summarize its findings on mining claims for the county commissioners).
Lipton further noted that the county land use department has evidence that some sites are being developed without permits.
Howe Appointed to County Planning Commission
Ouray attorney Mark Howe was appointed to the Ouray County Planning Commission by the county commissioners at their May 5 meeting. Howe, an attorney with the Tisdel Law Firm, P.C., in Ouray, will fill the vacancy created by Lynn Padgett.
Howe has been a Ouray County resident and landowner since 1999. In his letter to the commissioners on April 18, he pledged to serve as a “steward of the County Master Plan and the Land Use Code as an advocate of that cooperation between the many recreational, agricultural, residential, commercial, and governmental interests in the community.”
The commissioners commended Cary Denison, who also sought the position, and Howe for their exceptional qualifications and interviews with the board. “Both candidates are highly qualified,” said Commissioner Heidi Albritton, who welcomed Denison to apply again in the future. Ridgway resident Bruce Fulton also applied for the position but withdrew his request for consideration before the interview session.
County to Drop Qwest as Internet Service Provider
County Information Technology Manager Michael Elden obtained approval from the county commissioners to switch to Ouraynet as the county’s Internet service provider, at a savings of an estimated $25,000 per year. Eldon said that the level of service offered by Ouraynet was not available at the time the county entered into the contract with Qwest.