Construction stay may continue in Town’s watershed

Town Council considers extending moratorium

Crested Butte town attorney John Belkin asked the Town Council for a five-month extension to a temporary moratorium preventing development within the town’s watershed, as revisions to an outdated ordinance have not been completed.




The council agreed additional time was needed and voted unanimously to set Ordinance No. 2 Series 2008—an ordinance extending the temporary moratorium on all development in the town’s watershed—for a public hearing on Tuesday, January 22. The moratorium originally took effect in August.
The ordinance enacted a temporary moratorium on all development in the watershed feeding into the Town of Crested Butte. That region falls within an area designated by Gunnison County as an area of state interest and is subject to the county permitting process. However, because the area falls within the town’s watershed as well, the municipality has the authority to review developments that have the potential to pollute local waterways.
The ordinance states that the town’s existing watershed ordinance, adopted in 1978, is inadequate in regulating the protection of the environment and the public health, safety and general welfare of residents and visitors to town.
The moratorium restricts all development, defined as any activity that disturbs or modifies the condition of the surface or subsurface land or water in the town’s watershed.
Belkin said more time was needed to finish the work on the new watershed ordinance, but a draft should be presented to the council shortly.
“We have been making progress with our lawyers,” Belkin told the council.
Town manager Susan Parker and Belkin have been consulting outside counsel on revising the ordinance since last summer. Parker told the council several work sessions would be needed in March to work on the new ordinance.
Council member Leah Williams recommended the ordinance end on June 1 rather than in August as originally stated in the ordinance, to allow for a longer building season. The council agreed to allow the friendly amendment.
The moratorium is now expected to end on June 1 unless extended for a third time by the Town Council.
The moratorium affects areas such as Irwin Townsite and Kebler Pass Road but will not include permits in Crested Butte. Some Irwin residents have expressed concern the ordinance unduly prevents them from routine development.
Irwin resident Corey Bryndal, who is currently in the process of submitting a septic permit with the county, asked the Town Council to reconsider his letter to the Town that stated he would like to install the septic this summer. Parker said Bryndal should be able to complete his project after June 1, as a new watershed ordinance should be in place by that time.

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