Attaching permits to septic system inspection requirements
[ By Katherine Nettles ]
It may be summer, but Gunnison County officials are already planning for winter again when it comes to Kebler Pass permit parking. Gunnison County public works director Marlene Crosby recently discussed with commissioners how to handle the contentious parking permits for next year once the road is snowed in and Irwin is accessed primarily by snowmobile. All agreed to limit the number of permits to two per residence in the Irwin area again like they did last winter, but will issue both at once this year. They also decided to require that permits be issued in compliance with septic system inspections this time around.
The permits will remain $125 per permit, and the county will begin issuing them on October 15. As for the new septic system requirement, Crosby explained that the Coal Creek Watershed is a concern, and more visitors are staying on their properties longer.
Gunnison County community and economic development director Cathie Pagano explained how that septic system aspect would work. Since 1996, all septic systems within the Crested Butte Watershed OWTS District are required to be inspected by a certified OWTS inspector on an annual basis by September 15 of each year. Any maintenance identified by the inspector must be performed within 60 days of the inspection, and written proof of the inspection is to be submitted to community development no later than October 15 of each year.
“Our department will notify public works of those parcels that are compliant with the above regulations,” according to Pagano. A permit would not be issued to residences that are not compliant.
County officials then discussed how to handle the increasing demand for parking permits at the trailhead, where there are approximately 48 spaces. They decided that they would maintain the same number of permits as last year at 56, knowing that not every permit holder can fit there at the same time.
County attorney Matthew Hoyt said the overnight parking permit system is a privilege afforded by special arrangements with the U.S. Forest Service and not a property owner’s right. Crosby said people need to keep the parking situation in mind when they choose to live at Irwin.
“One thing I refer folks back to is the code of the West,” said commissioner chairperson Jonathan Houck. “Especially as we see some demographic changes within the county, folks need to arrive with a reasonable sense of what they can expect of a rural community…it is partly us managing expectations for the public and also the public managing some of their own expectations for themselves.”