Craig resident wants city to change building code |

Craig resident wants city to change building code

Collin Smith

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.”

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