Craig resident wants city to change building code

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Next meeting

The Craig Planning and Zoning Commission plans to meet next at 6 p.m. June 15 at Craig City Hall, 300 W. Fourth St.

At 34 years old, Lennie Gillam has seen enough of the federal government to know its movers and shakers are beyond his sphere of influence.

"When you're dealing with bigger levels of government, it's hard not to be cynical," he said. "Those guys, they were put into power by money, and they owe those people who contributed to their campaigns.

"This may be going too far to say, but they've essentially sold their souls to those people."

Gillam - who co-owns his own business and also spends his days working full time as the Moffat County maintenance supervisor - is more confident in local government's responsibility to its citizens.

He hopes other residents are, too. Banded together, they might be able to make a small change locally.

The request is small in scope - Gillam wants the city to change its building code to allow residents to build detached garages larger than 800 square feet - but Gillam thinks it's important.

It would "enhance the quality of life" for residents inside the city and address several issues, he said.

Bigger garages mean more money for local builders, and they would generate more sales tax revenue for the city.

Garages let people put their toys inside and help clear Craig's streets and driveways.

"I'm married, so I have to buy two of everything," said Gillam, who has two snowmobiles, two four-wheelers and a couple of motorcycles. "Some people may not have as much stuff as I do, but my wife doesn't like to rise on the backseat."

Property values also would go up, increasing property tax revenue, now a big concern for county officials who fear a dramatic decline in revenue because of the natural gas industry's slump.

"I know that when I build a nice, big, new garage, the (Moffat County) Assessor's Office is going to come and revalue my property," he said. "My taxes are going to up, because I'm making my home better."

Gillam said he understands some people don't want a big garage to block the view from their windows, but the positives outweigh the negatives in this case.

"We live in the city," he said. "People move to the country for the view."

Reactions to his idea from city officials have been encouraging, Gillam said.

He expected nothing less from local officials when he spoke Monday at the Craig Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

"They're public servants, just like I am here," Gillam said. "These guys have to see people everyday. I'm not saying they have to, but they choose to listen."

Chris Nichols, Planning and Zoning Commission vice chairman, said he and his colleagues heard the presentation, but Gillam has been the only person to come forward about bigger garages.

"We're still waiting for more input from the community about what they would like and what they want to see in their community," he said.

Gillam isn't upset by the commission's stance.

He agrees with it.

He hopes he can find other people willing to appear in person and speak their mind, including those who don't separate national and local politics, and those who fear "retribution" from the city.

Nichols does not want anyone to be afraid of speaking during a Planning and Zoning meeting.

"They're not just speaking to the building department," he said. "There's also five commission members who are community members, as well. City staff is there to enforce the ordinances we want them to."

And if the commissioners don't listen, there's ways to put them out of power, too, Gillam said.

"They all work for us," Gillam said. "They can't make changes if we don't tell them what we want. You can go down there and change things, but you have to have enough people who believe they can change it."

Comments

buck523 5 years, 4 months ago

Lennie, it sounds like you might need to move to the country. There might be a reason why you are the only person wanting these huge garages. Not everyone can afford to move to the country and they should not be denied "views" because of this. One of the comments I do not like in your article is your stance that if the commissioners don't listen to you, that "there's ways to put them out of power, too". Why don't you run for one of these seats next time it is open and see how it really works? Good luck.

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jeff corriveau 5 years, 4 months ago

To answer this question just go to the 700 block of Ranney St and look at the eyesore on the west side of the street. Something like that has no place in a residential neighborhood. I'm very happy that Lenny has all the toys to play with but bigger is not always better. KEEP the rule the way it is and keep neighborhoods "neighborly"

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cag81625 5 years, 4 months ago

So if the powers that be give in to your requests at the detriment of those who favor the ordinance as it is, have they sold out to you? Do you see how that works? Democracy would be pretty darned easy if we all thought and acted the same way, but us crazy ol' humans tend to step on each others toes, hence zoning laws. The more tightly people are packed together, the more rules are necessary to maintain a quality of life. You sound like a wide open space kind of a guy, so I'd prefer it if you moved your homeless toys to some acreage out on the outskirts and left us "city folk" to our contrary ways.

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xrsareus 5 years, 4 months ago

I would love to have a garage like the one on Ranney. It is built to code, matches the house and is a very well kept yard. It looks way better than some peoples places. Everything is kept out of view. Now look at the house at 8th and Ranney on the West and tell you would rather look at that mess!!! As long as a building is built to code. I don't think there should be anyone telling you what you can have. There is also a large garage between Taylor and Ranney on 8th and on 7th. I just wish I had one of them......

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lonelyone 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't know where Lenny lives, but if his lot allows it why couldn't he build the extra as long as it's "out" not up?? If he is expanding the square footage all on one level, then what view would he be blocking?? He'd maybe be keeping some neighbor from looking into another neighbor's back yard?? I know in some places, the size of your lot determines the size of your sturctures. You have to maintain your set backs and then your allowed to cover so much property by buildings......it's based on a percentage!

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