Commission: No barriers with city | CraigDailyPress.com

Commission: No barriers with city

Collin Smith

In other action

At its Tuesday meeting, the Moffat County Commission:

• Signed an energy impact grant request for $652,500 from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for new heavy equipment purchases. The county will provide a $300,000 match.

• Signed an energy impact grant request for $80,647 from DOLA for The Memorial Hospital’s ambulance services. The money will go toward a new ambulance and two electronic-lift cots. The county will provide an equal match.

• Entered into an executive session to discuss the status of NC Telecom’s bankruptcy filing with County Attorney Kathleen Taylor. NC Telecom maintains the county’s computer server.

— There is no unworkable rift between city and council officials on planning and zoning issues, Moffat County Commission members said.

Craig City Councilor Gene Bilodeau appeared at the Commission meeting Tuesday to follow up on his promise to try to mend any fracture that may exist between the city and county.

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Bilodeau said several local residents have asked him why the city and county seem unwilling to work together.

“I can’t help but feel I’m not the only person that’s having these talks with citizens,” Bilodeau said. “Wrong or right, that perception is out there.”

The ongoing issue, Bilodeau said, seems to be planning and development policy in the urban development zone around Craig, which extends about three miles from the city’s borders.

It seems there has been no progress on the issue since the city sent a proposed contract agreement to the county in 2007, which spelled out combined planning and zoning policies, Bilodeau said.

The agreement would give city officials authority to make comments on developments close to Craig. It also required developments be annexed into the city if they met certain criteria, such as using city utility services.

Commissioner Tom Mathers said he and other commission members looked at the city’s proposal as “one-sided.”

“We felt like we were stepped on a little there,” he said, which is why county officials have not gotten back to the city council with a response.

However, Mathers added, the commission hired the same person who drafted the city’s proposal to draft a counter-proposal.

The city will have the county’s agreement by the end of August, Mathers said, adding he expects they should have it within 10 days.

Commissioner Tom Gray and Jeff Comstock, county Natural Resources Department director, said a new agreement shouldn’t be necessary.

Comstock, who owns land close to the city’s western boundary, said forming a bureaucratic committee makes a problem where there isn’t one.

“I think I’ve finally lived long enough to witness bureaucracy at its finest,” he said. “We don’t need a full committee to get together. All these issues are already addressed in the County Master Plan, which was signed by both the city and the county.”

However, the Master Plan is not a set of binding resolutions, City Manager Jim Ferree said.

It’s a set of recommendations, he said, such as provisions that recommend the kind of uniform planning and development processes outlined in the city’s original contract agreement.

“That’s the purpose for the (contract agreement),” Ferree said. “It did a number of things that were recommended in the Master Plan. These are action items that still need to take place.”

Regardless of what happens with an agreement, Gray said the county is committed to making sure the city will not have to annex developments with poor infrastructure.

If there is any development in the county that wants to connect to city utilities, such as water and sewer, then the county will ask the developer to coordinate their infrastructure makeup with the city, Gray said.

However, when it comes to other regulations in the city Land Use Code, such as architecture and landscaping requirements, the county maintains a hands-off philosophy.

That philosophy includes allowing a property owner that may own 40 acres next to the city to subdivide his land into 5-acre ranchettes.

“How do you take someone that owns their property and tell them what they can and can’t do with it?” Mathers said.

Ferree said he is encouraged to hear the county wants to help the city maintain positive growth.

“It sounds like we’re moving forward, and that’s great,” he said.

However, Ferree could not comment on whether the city council or city staff would ask for other city codes – such as landscaping – to also be implemented on properties in the county.

Ferree added city officials are not upset with anything the current commissioners have approved. The developments that needed money to bring them up to code were approved a long time ago, and the city council then probably shares as much responsibility for those developments as the former commission.

“I think it just outpaced the city and the county’s ability to manage at that time,” he said.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

In other action

At its Tuesday meeting, the Moffat County Commission:

• Signed an energy impact grant request for $652,500 from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for new heavy equipment purchases. The county will provide a $300,000 match.

• Signed an energy impact grant request for $80,647 from DOLA for The Memorial Hospital’s ambulance services. The money will go toward a new ambulance and two electronic-lift cots. The county will provide an equal match.

• Entered into an executive session to discuss the status of NC Telecom’s bankruptcy filing with County Attorney Kathleen Taylor. NC Telecom maintains the county’s computer server.

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