Moffat County Commissioner Feb. 3 meeting recap |

Moffat County Commissioner Feb. 3 meeting recap

Janelle O'Dea
The new Moffat County Board of Commissioners, from left to right: Chuck Grobe, District 2, Frank Moe, District 3 and John Kinkaid, District 1.
Janelle O’Dea

— At the Tuesday morning Moffat County Commissioner’s meeting, Colorado’s growth in the aerospace industry and technology programs for Craig’s Colorado Northwestern Community College campus were main topics during general discussion.

Three Craig and Moffat County officials attended a Club 20 meeting in Denver last week; Jeff Comstock, director of Moffat County Natural Resources Department; Ray Beck, Craig City Council member and John Kinkaid, Moffat County Commissioner.

Club 20 arranged a tour of aerospace industry facilities and Beck came away with ideas to bring technology developing on the Front Range to the Western Slope. He said a 3-D printer could greatly benefit the college and he’s planning to have a meeting with CNCC administrators and Debra Wilcox, owner of a 3-D printing business.

Kinkaid and Beck also said discussions about the Greater sage grouse were had at the capitol.

Comstock presented a letter drafted by Moffat County’s Land Use Board about the State Land Board Stewardship Trust current review process. In the process, the State Land Board will remove or add parcels to the Stewardship Trust. The trust comprises 300,000 acres of land specified for extra oversight and protection.

Some local officials are concerned about some of the acreage proposed for inclusion in the trust. Nearly 40,000 acres proposed for inclusion are in Moffat County, many of which are Greater sage grouse habitat. The letter alleges some of the land parcels proposed for inclusion are small and wouldn’t make a significant dent in the Greater sage grouse conservation efforts.

“We are very concerned that management of fractional parcels, within the Trust, of larger blocks of land will result in de facto management of the larger tract and thus inadvertently manage lands that are not placed in the Trust, as if they were,” the letter said.

Commissioners agreed to sign the letter 3-0.

Janell Oberlander, new vice president of CNCC, attended the meeting to formally introduce herself to the Moffat County Commissioners. Oberlander said her family is still in the transition process and they should all be together in Craig by the end of March.

“I really believe education is a major criteria for economic growth and development,” Oberlander said, and many in the room nodded in agreement.

“You’re in such a key position and the college is such a key element in our community,” Kinkaid said.

Linda DeRose of Moffat County’s Road and Bridge Department presented a senior snow removal request and she recommended the commissioners not approve it for logistical reasons. Grobe said if the resident wanted to correct the issues, she could come back and make the request again.

The commissioners denied the request 3-0.

Geoff Blakeslee, Yampa River project director for The Nature Conservancy, asked commissioners for support on a conservation easement. Blakeslee said the family who owns the ranch wants to conserve 27,000 acres north of Maybell because they want to ensure a solid agricultural ranch operation for their family in the future.

Blakeslee asked for commissioner support because as a part of the easement the family and The Nature Conservancy are working together to secure a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. Requirements of the grant include having support from local officials.

Comstock said commissioners typically do not support or oppose conservation easements but just support the rights of the landowner to do what they like with their land. Comstock said he would also verify that the county does not own mineral rights under the land.

Blakeslee agreed, at Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe’s request for more time to review the easement, to return to next week’s meeting with a drafted letter for the commissioners to review.

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or or follow her on Twitter @jayohday.

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