Letter missed the mark

admin's picture

Dear Editor,
Ms Watson's letter in the Dec. 20 Plaindealer mostly got it wrong.
Beecher Threatt correctly reported Jack Flowers' comment. Flowers did assert it would cost more to build in Ouray County. Unfortunately, Flowers did not provide any factual basis for his assertion. Does paint cost more or less depending on color? Driveway length could impact cost. Would Watson be surprised to know that significantly more mitigation points would be awarded in the DRAFT for homes closer to the road than 1/4 mile, unlike the CURRENT Visual Impact Regulations? Watson stated that the DRAFT would mandate where property owners could build, what the house would look like and how big it would be. Perhaps Watson is unaware that the CURRENT VIR also awards negative points for size and height and positive points for screening, blending, landscaping and distance from visual impact corridors. At the Dec. 18 OCPC meeting, Land Use Department's data confirmed that all homes built in Ouray County within 1.5 miles of Visual Impact Corridors and visible from those corridors from January 2009 through December 2012 could be built as is under the current DRAFT. I can only speak for myself, not for any other OCPC member, and certainly not for the OCPC as an entity. I have no agenda to stop growth or make the cost of building in Ouray County higher. No final decision has been made nor will be until a public hearing is held and the public has an opportunity to provide comments and suggestions.
One fact that Watson asserted is true. The process of revising the Visual Impact Regulations has taken years. Here's why. It is important to get it right and fully address the BOCC's original directive, which has been reaffirmed over and over again, most recently on Sept. 25. If adopted by the BOCC after public hearings, this DRAFT would be the second revision of the Visual Impact Regulations since a conservative BOCC adopted visual impact regulations in 1986. It takes time to factually assess every county road, those currently included as Visual Impact Corridors and those that are not. It takes time to test ideas to make sure that new regulations are not more onerous but do address public concerns raised over the years by homes that have been problematic. It takes time to think about and discuss what the potential unintended consequences are. It takes time to carefully consider public input and incorporate it. It takes time to make sure that the language in the DRAFT is clear, more easily administered in the field and office and passes the strict standard for enforceability and legality held by our County Attorney.
If the OCPC is guilty of anything, it is the desire to produce a DRAFT which actually works—for property owners and for Land Use Staff—and does what the Ouray County Master Plan requires. That is, protection of the magnificent scenic views that bring tourists and residents alike and form the backbone of our economy.

Sheelagh Williams