Public hearing continues for town’s watershed ordinance

Town sees annexation application

Watershed ordinance moving ahead

The Crested Butte Town Council saw support for adopting the revised version of its protective watershed ordinance during its regular meeting on Monday, April 21. Approximately 20 members of the public appeared at the meeting, bearing placards and encouraging words for the passage of Ordinance No. 6, Series 2008.




The ordinance will allow the town to take advantage of a state statute that permits towns to prohibit and mitigate impacts to their water supply within a five-mile area. The town first adopted a protective watershed ordinance in 1978 and revised it in 1996. The town has been working on this version for the past year, during which time it adopted a temporary moratorium preventing development within the town’s watershed in August 2007. The ordinance essentially requires a permit for land use change activity within the town’s watershed, with varying degrees of overview depending on the project.
Town of Crested Butte attorney John Belkin has spent the last month tweaking the ordinance, with the help of area water experts.
During the public hearing, Irwin resident Ruta Hay came forward with questions about how the ordinance might affect residents. Specifically, she asked whether storage of household chemicals might conflict with the ordinance, the use of magnesium chloride on area roads, re-building on slopes, and what constituted a water body, noting that Irwin can be very marshy depending on the time of year. Belkin and town manager Susan Parker agreed to work with Hay to have her questions answered.
The Town Council heard from several people in support of the ordinance and received two petitions in support, one signed by residents and another signed by teachers and students at the private Crested Butte Academy.
The Town Council continued its public hearing on the ordinance to Monday, May 5.
Town receives Foothills annexation application
Crested Butte town planner John Hess informed the Crested Butte Town Council during its meeting on Monday, April 21 that it had officially received an application for a new annexation north of town limits.
The Foothills annexation is being proposed by Fairways GH Paradise, LLC, which is owned by Gunnison resident Cliff Goss, Kent Hill, and Dallas-area partners. It involves a 71-acre tract of land immediately north of Crested Butte, bordered on the west by State Highway 135, to the north by the Moon Ridge subdivision, and to the east by the recreation path. The company presented its initial plans to town residents during an open house on January 17. The plan called for approximately 400 units, with the development densest near town.
Hess said he had met with the developers about the application and requested more information before it proceeds. Once the application is complete, Hess said, it would be scheduled for a regular Town Council agenda for an initial presentation.
Small changes to sign code to be considered

An ordinance that will allow additional hanging signs in Crested Butte will go before the public, following a decision by the Crested Butte Town Council on Monday night. The Town Council agreed to set Ordinance No. 7, Series 2008 for public hearing on Monday, May 5.
Under the proposal, buildings with entrances that face different streets or buildings with separate entrances that serve businesses on different floors would be allowed to have two protruding signs.
Elk Avenue building owner Priscilla Banks brought the issue to the Town Council in February, asking it to consider allowing her to add another protruding sign over the second entrance of her 100-block structure. She said the current single sign, which hangs over her shop door, was confusing for customers who were looking for businesses that are accessed through the secondary door.
On Monday, Town Council member Leah Williams said she was reluctant to change the code, noting that it had contributed to the historic character of downtown. “I’m not sure if the sign code is broken,” she said.
However, Town Council member Skip Berkshire noted that there were few places where a new sign could be added under the carefully worded ordinance. “I look at this as a no-harm/no-foul modulation of the ordinance,” he said.
The ordinance will be up for public hearing and possible adoption at the May 5 Town Council meeting.
Horizontal zoning stands

Horizontal zoning will stand for now. Crested Butte resident Robb Fessenden had been seeking an exemption to the horizontal zoning ordinance for the zero block, which is located at the north end of Elk Avenue and is home to residences and the Secret Stash restaurant.
Fessenden first appeared before the Town Council on February 4 when the Town notified him that he was violating the horizontal zoning ordinance by renting his Elk Avenue building for office use.
The Town Council adopted horizontal zoning in August 2007. The zoning forbids office uses within 40 feet of Elk Avenue on the ground level of buildings in the B1 and B3 zones. The ordinance is aimed at creating a more appealing shopping district on Elk Avenue by providing space for sales-tax generating businesses.
During its meeting on April 7, the Town Council agreed to let the ordinance stand for now. To help encourage pedestrian traffic on the zero block of Elk Avenue, the council agreed to pursue improving services for the block such as better snow removal and amenities like flower boxes. In addition, the Town Council noted that the entire ordinance may be reviewed for its effectiveness this summer.

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