by Beecher Threatt
On Tuesday the Board of County Commissioners revisited its list of land use priorities and heard how one shortcoming in the current code is affecting an applicant for a special use permit.
At their meeting two weeks ago commissioners reviewed a resolution listing land use code priorities for the Ouray County Planning Commission to address. This week, looking at a draft resolution from that conversation, Commission Chair Mike Fedel questioned why changes to Section 9, Visual Impact, was so low at number five on the list, as he thought they had agreed it would be near the top.
"We have got to get this (Section 9) done," Fedel said. "There is turmoil out in the field."
County Attorney Martha Whitmore commented that the first, second and fourth priorities in the draft resolution had already been addressed by the planning commission and are set for public hearing on Oct. 16. Those include issues discussed last meeting of changes to designations Board of Visual Appeals and Board of Zoning Adjustment, rescission of unnecessary sections and revision of requirements for final plat approval.
Planning commission alternate member Dudley Case, in attendance on Tuesday, told commissioners that the commission is continuing its work on Section 9, and he is meeting with other members to finalize the recommendations. Case emphasized that only two planning commission members are meeting at one time, to ensure compliance with the Colorado open meetings law.
The resolution remained as drafted and was approved.
Chad Baillie, a county resident on Highway 550 just north of Ouray, appeared before the BOCC for the continuation of a public hearing on his application for a special use permit to build a structure to house a cabinet shop. Neighbors on either side had objected to the permit, and research by the neighbors at the county assessor's office revealed that the Baillie property and a neighboring property are currently surveyed incorrectly. The continuance granted in May was to give Baillie time to sort out the lot line problem.
About 15 years ago, a property owner recorded a non-county approved lot line change to two parcels, most of which is Baillie's property now. The unapproved lot lines had been used until now by surveyors and title companies during transfers of the property.
Land use staff informed the BOCC that it could not issue a special use permit without correcting the error, which would require an exemption to make the property a legal nonconforming parcel, which would then necessitate a variance be approved because a house on the property would violate setback regulations. Baillie would have to file applications for exemption and variance, with fees totaling $1700. Whitmore explained that a special use permit could not be issued on an illegal, nonconforming parcel.
Baillie objected that the county had assessed and collected taxes on the unapproved parcels for years, and he should not be penalized for the county's acceptance of the recorded lot line change. Staff and commissioners disagreed, but commissioners voiced sympathy for Baillie's situation. They voted to continue the special use permit hearing to allow him time to file the applications.
County Planner Mark Castrodale said one of the land use priorities approved by the BOCC, regarding a process for making changes to illegal nonconforming parcels, would alleviate the problem, but he did not foresee the planning commission addressing the issue and holding a public hearing to change the land use code before the end of the year.
Also on Tuesday the county's interim IT manager, Jeff Bockes, reported to the Board of County Commissioners on progress in implementing recommendations from a recent technology assessment. Bockes said the county will be able to tap into the fiber optic line that Eagle-Net is currently laying in Ouray because it runs along 6th Avenue next to the courthouse, then crosses the street and heads up the alley to the school.
Recently Bockes and Will Clapsadl, county facilities manager, saw the Eagle-Net contractors driving by and Clapsadl flagged them down. The contractors were eager to discuss where the county will tap into the line. Bockes told commissioners they reached agreement on where the connection would be and where an access box would be located.
Commissioner Lynn Padgett said she was pleased to see fiber optic going in now, as it was originally thought that would not happen until 2013. Bockes said that if all goes well the 4-H Center can be hooked into the line being laid in Ridgway, and the land use building and public health building may also get connected.
Padgett asked if the county could hook in while the contractor still has holes open to the line. Bockes replied he will know in two to three days if that is possible.
The county's current Internet service provider, FastTrack, can remain the provider under an agreement with Eagle-Net, Bockes said. "I'd be inclined to keep them," he told commissioners.
Fedel said he was cautiously optimistic, and it "will be okay when we throw the switch."
Among the other technology assessment recommendations are disaster recovery planning and upgrading networking in county buildings to eliminate physical cabling. Fedel praised Bockes' plan, calling it "very thorough." Padgett noted the plan did not require exceeding the 2012 budget, just spending the money "in a more thoughtful and strategic way."
In other business on Tuesday, the BOCC:
-- received an update on striping of the newly-repaired portion of County Road 1. County Administrator Connie Hunt said Road and Bridge Supervisor Chris Miller is soliciting quotes for the project. Padgett questioned County Engineer Bill Frownfelter on why a double yellow line would be painted instead of a single line, saying she heard from constituents they would like the ability to pass cars. He replied that the uniform manual for traffic control considers the double line appropriate on roads with similar characteristics to that section, that the double line is cautionary only and that it indicates two-way traffic. Fedel and Commissioner Pat Willits concurred with Frownfelter.
-- approved letters of support for two organizations. The Wright Opera House is applying for a state historic preservation grant for facade, window, roof and foundation repair. Commissioners gave retroactive approval to a letter of support for Ouray Chamber Resort Association, which was recently successful in being named host for Rural Philanthropy Days next June.
-- directed staff to look into the cost of installing additional storm window inserts during the test period to determine their effectiveness in regulating the courthouse temperature. Padgett suggested that the savings in the budget from her decision not to accept health insurance benefits could be used for part of the purchase.
-- approved intergovernmental agreements with the City of Ouray and Town of Ridgway.