Watershed regs updated to ease construction permit process

“Gives the town mechanisms to protect its water….”

The Crested Butte Town Council held a special meeting on Monday, April 8 and quickly passed an amended Watershed Protection Ordinance. The changes will make some things easier for property owners in the watershed district and utilizes state 1041 authority to consider environmental impacts to the town’s watershed.


The watershed regulations were first drafted in 1977 and were eventually challenged in court by AMAX, the mining company that was at the time hoping to extract molybdenum from Mt. Emmons. But the Colorado Supreme Court ultimately upheld the regulations and gave the town of Crested Butte oversight of its water and permission to issue permits as part of approval to projects that could affect the town’s water.
Special counsel Barbara Green, along with town planner John Hess and town attorney John Belkin, helped craft the ordinance and its various changes. Among the changes approved April 8 is a simplification for property owners within the district who plan to do some construction. Instead of having to obtain a permit for every piece of construction no matter how big or how small, the town staff can make a finding of no significant impact and the property owner can avoid a permit process.
At the meeting, longtime Crested Butte resident, water expert and Coal Creek Watershed Coalition president Steve Glazer said he was all for the new amendments. “I’ve actually read the ordinance,” he told the council. “It doesn’t exactly keep me up at night but it is a good ordinance. I was here in 1977 when the watershed ordinance was first created. I was here when it was amended in 1995 and 2008. I have been following the issue. I think these new changes give the town needed mechanisms to protect its water. It provides you additional opportunities to shorten some of the requests that come from landowners in the district. Overall, it’s a good set of regulations. I am in full support of this amendment being adopted.”
Glazer was the only member of the public to speak. The council briefly discussed the issue and then unanimously passed the amended regulations.
The council then went into two closed-door executive sessions to seek legal advice from the town attorney on other matters.

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