OURAY COUNTY: High Alpine regulations approved by BOCC

A large audience attends the first county public hearing on the proposed High Alpine residential development regulations. Although the number of attendees at ensuing continuations dwindled, many community members continued to be involved and in tune with the process until Section 24's approval on Oct. 19

Plaindealer photo by Dalton Carver

by Dalton Carver

The High Alpine residential development county public hearing process closed Wednesday afternoon to the sound of light applause from the attending public. After several public hearing continuations, the Board of County Commissioners voted to approve the proposed Section 24 at a special meeting at the 4-H Event Center Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 19).

Despite Commissioner Don Batchelder’s reluctance to move forward with the regulations due to the process becoming significantly different from what the Ouray County Planning Commission originally recommended, the board ultimately came to a consensus at the end of the process.

All three commissioners voted in the affirmative in a roll call vote.

The suggestion of extending the six-month moratorium prohibiting any residential development above 9,500 feet in elevation, which was brought up at the previous hearing continuation Oct. 17, was also shuttered with the vote.

“I do not have any ulterior motives as far as stalling, putting it off, waiting until after an election or whatever,” Batchelder said. “(This isn’t a) trench I’m willing to die in, but I want to go on the record to say this is substantially different than what a public hearing was held on.”

Commissioners Lynn Padgett and Ben Tisdel argued the process had not significantly strayed from the OCPC recommendation and it was ready to be put into effect.

“It feels that we’ve stayed true on accommodating to the majority of public comment,” said Padgett. “We’ve also worked together to try and hear each and incorporate each other’s desires into the draft.”

“I’m hesitant to hesitate,” said Tisdel. “I don’t see a need to extend the moratorium.”

The approval restricts residential development to one structure per 35 acres, which is the underlying zoning in the Alpine Zone. In addition, a structure is allowed a base square footage of 700 with the ability to reach 2,500 square feet by retiring parcels above 9,480 that are deemed buildable by county land use staff.

With the tonight’s approval, the regulations immediately go into effect. The affirmative vote comes at a late stage of the moratorium, which will expire at midnight tonight (Oct. 19).