Reporter missed the mark

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Dear Editor,
Beecher Threatt missed an opportunity to educate The Plaindealer readers with her report on the Ouray County Planning Commission meeting held at the Land Use Building, Dec. 6. Those not in attendance missed the astute observations made by John Moss, Dudley Case and Jack Flowers regarding the direction the planning commission is taking our county, perhaps because it may have been perceived as being critical of Chair Ken Lipton; Vice-Chair, Sheelagh Williams; Karen Risch; and, Randy Parker. Curiously, Ms. Threatt had no problem casting Tim Currin and John Baskfield in a less than flattering light after both made excellent points about the onerous nature of these proposed changes to the visual impact regulations.
Unreported is that this never-ending attempt to rewrite visual impact regulations has gone much farther than how the Board of County Commissioners instructed the OCPC two-plus years ago. What I learned from this meeting is the OCPC has been on an unchecked mission to stop growth, construction and development in Ouray County. If adopted by the BOCC, the proposed visual impact regulations will allow the OCPC to mandate to all Ouray County property owners where they can build on their own property; what their house will look like; what size their house will be; what screening, blending, landscaping and mitigation will be required—all of which will result in overly burdensome and costly regulations. These will include unprecedented restrictions on the homeowner’s ability to build a residence or remodel an existing home.
After hearing what the commissioners discussed, Flowers said that if the community had any idea of how much time, energy and money, along with what an adverse affect these proposed visual impact changes will cost, Ouray County taxpayers would fill the room in protest. The process of revising the visual impact regulations has cost the county thousands and thousands of dollars in planning staff time, as well as requiring volunteers hundreds of hours of time in meetings. It is evident that by placing the drafting of changes to our current land use codes, specifically the visual impact sections, in the hands of public policy activists from the Ridgway-Ouray Community Council, their ideology of “no-growth” will be imposed on property owners in Ouray County if the OCPC proposal is adopted by the BOCC.
Susan Watson