County will support the effort
With some added restrictions, the Crested Butte Town Council agreed it is willing to extend water and sewer service outside its town boundaries.
The council passed such an ordinance at the Tuesday, September 7 meeting. A residence receiving such service can be no larger than 5,000 square feet and the land on which it sits must have been included in the original “201” study that outlined such a Crested Butte service area. That essentially limits the potential to 44 lots.
Crested Butte public works director Rodney Due said the town has plenty of capacity to extend the service, and argued it was a way to help protect the nearby environment by tapping into central water and sewer processing plants instead of building a plethora of ISDSs (individual sewage disposal systems).
Town building and zoning director Bob Gillie explained the original intent behind the 201 plan.
“We were under pressure from the state with water quality issues,” he said. “The state originally wanted a huge plant down by Crested Butte South. The plants up here got together and divvied up the upper valley to have more control. So Mt. Crested Butte took an area. Crested Butte, Crested Butte South and East River all split up the service areas based on its sewer plants.
“It was a realization that there would be some development in the county, and it would be better to have this arrangement rather than a bunch of ISDSs,” he continued.
Councilperson Reed Betz said he supported the plan but wanted to make sure it worked. “Those that tap into the town system beyond the municipal boundaries will pay extra money in tap fees and monthly service charges. I don’t want to discourage people from signing on,” Betz said.
“The public feedback we’ve had so far indicates those charges won’t be onerous,” said mayor Leah Williams.
“Tying in is more convenient, better for the environment and increases the value of the property, so there are other incentives,” said Due. He indicated the owners of the new home being built just north of Crested Butte want to tie in and were just waiting on the council passing the new ordinance.
Attorney David Leinsdorf, representing the owners of McCormack Ranch property just east of town, said, “We appreciate Rodney’s effort to focus the issue on water quality without trying to extend other town policies as part of this,” he said. “If you pass this as proposed I think you’ll be receiving seven different applications from out there.”
Crested Butte resident and local water expert Steve Glazer said he was in support of the ordinance and it would indeed help protect the local environment. He said the county would take a harder stand to development near towns to tie in with central water and sewer service if the town welcomed the effort. “They can turn down an ISDS application now,” he said.
Town manager Susan Parker agreed. “The county has indicated they are supportive of this effort and they’d now go in the direction to more fully support the Crested Butte effort,” she said.
The council unanimously approved the ordinance.