New city ordinance stops fire damage liability

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In other action

• Introduced an ordinance to handle the issue of privately-owned fire hydrants.

• Set a public hearing date for a rezoning issue to allow Walgreens to build at Victory Way and Green St.

• Heard a request to purchase new sanders for new city dump trucks.

• Transferred liquor license held by Eastside Liquor at 539 Victory Way to Jimmy D's Inc. to new party.

— The City Council - six weeks after discovering some housing divisions, apartment complexes and businesses in Craig have privately-owned fire hydrants - introduced an ordinance requiring those hydrants be maintained and operable in accordance with the city's fire code.

The issue was brought to the attention of the council and City Manager Jim Ferree when the Homeowner's Association for Country Club Heights on the east side of town requested the city take over two hydrants on its property. Both are considered unreliable, and one is covered in a hood to keep firefighters from using it.

The city estimates there are 53 private hydrants in Craig.

The ordinance states that the city is to bring in outside consultants to conduct further evaluations of all the private hydrants.

Current plans are to send notices of what steps need to be taken in the case of each private hydrant. Steps can range from a color-coding system for the Fire Department to easily identify working city hydrants, to removal of a non-working private hydrant that is within a working distance to a city hydrant.

Councilor Bill Johnston, who also serves as Craig Fire/Rescue deputy chief, suggested the language of the ordinance needed to place liability for fire damage with the private hydrant owners if a working city hydrant is too far away to use.

Ferree suggested the city take responsibility for checking hydrant operability, and would require owners to bring their own hydrants to code. Owners who remain in noncompliance would have a lean placed against their property.

"It would be in their own best interest, and a tenant's interest, to make sure everything is working," Ferree said.

He estimated it would cost $1,500 to $1,700 for parts to fully replace a hydrant and underground pipes, and labor would be extra.

The City Council needs to meet twice more to discuss the ordinance before it can pass into law.

In other news, a public hearing date was set for 6 p.m. Aug. 20 for the Craig Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss rezoning a space in the Green Tree Business Park on Victory Way. If rezoning is approved, it would clear the way for Walgreens to build a store on the southwest corner of Victory and Green Street.

The city council will hear the proposal at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 28.

Randy Call, Road and Bridge and Refuse director for Craig, requested the city buy two sanders for two new city dump trucks from Kois Brothers, the only Colorado distributor based out of Denver.

The total cost for the sanders is $16,690, lower than the initial projection in the 2007 budget of about $24,500. The sanders are expected to arrive in six to 12 weeks, before the winter season.

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