Sopris Sun

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Town Briefs, 7/18/2013

Town selling surplus equipment and vehicles

Sopris Sun Staff Report

The town of Carbondale is selling off surplus equipment and vehicles on, according to recent town memos.

In other news from Carbondale town memos:

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Department has indicated it has seen an increase in alcohol-related problems associated with First Friday.

The town is moving forward with a “Welcome to Carbondale” sign permit with the Colorado Department of Transportation for a sign at the intersection of Highway 82 and 133. “ … there are regulations and standards we must follow,” states the memo.

The town received a complain from a homeowner that lives at Second and Garfield about bright streets lights in the neighborhood. Town staffers have contacted area residents. “The person that called (the town) sounded like she was going to make the street lights a political issue,” a memo stated.

The town will need to have one or more employees work during Mountain Fair weekend, and one or two people to clean downtown and empty trash cans on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The town parks crew, “especially Joshua Walberg and Russell Sissom,” have been working hard to keep the turf green through the hot, dry summer. “We are ready for the monsoons,” a memo states.

The town’s Gateway RV park at Highway 82 and 133 saw an occupancy rate of 58 percent for the week of July 1-7.

At the recreation center climbing wall, the town is in its fourth week of an eight-week program with the Extreme Sports Camp for adults, teens and youth with autism. The program uses the wall six hours per week.

The recreation department will be hosting an end-of-season tournament for 9-10-year old baseball players July 20-21.

The town’s Police Record System should be on its new fiber connection (Cedar Networks) in the next two week. This should allow faster and more reliable entry of records by the officers.

The Police Department had 276 calls for service during the week of July 8-12.

At the waste water treatment plant, the upper digesters have been processed and hauled away. A total of 230,000 gallons of sludge were processed out. Also, installation of the TideFlex was scheduled for the week of July 15-19.

A group of graduate students from the University of Michigan initiated communications with the town concerning the Roaring Fork Conservancy’s work on the Crystal River, and also planned to meet with staff to go over the town’s water system.

Garfield County adopts new land use code

Sopris Sun Staff Report

A newly polished land use code became regulation on July 15 and immediately went into effect in Garfield County, following a unanimous vote by the three-member Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

The Garfield County Land Use and Development Code supersedes the Unified Land Use Resolution of 2008, according to a press release. Garfield County Planning Manager Tamra Allen said in a May 7 memo that the two are different in that the new code is more than 200 pages shorter, and it has undergone a reduction of approximately 40 percent in code text.

“Applications that have already been received by the Garfield County Community Development Department will be processed under the previous land use code,” said a county spokeswoman.

The Garfield County Land Use and Development Code in general will require less review for applicants, and creates more user-friendly tables for review procedures and submittal requests. It offers the provision of a minor-subdivision process and there will no longer be a major or minor subdivision exemption process.

“It, in general, streamlines development standards,” the spokeswoman continued.

The code has undergone many changes, such as reducing affordable housing requirements in some new subdivisions, but the right-to-farm provisions have been maintained.

The new code is available online on the Garfield County website.

“The changes allow the code to be easier to read, more user-friendly, and reduce redundancy,” said Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “It refines definitions and standards and provides simplified tables that reduce the language in the code. When I ran for office, I campaigned on a promise to create jobs and that now is the time for government to reduce regulation and red tape for business, and we have done that.”

These code changes were originally initiated in 2011 in Phase One, when the BOCC directed county staff to consider revisions to the code that reflected the following objectives:

• Eliminate unnecessary regulatory barriers that may discourage economic development;

• Streamline development procedures;

• Make the overall code more efficient;

• Ensure the document is user-friendly.

Phase Two of the Code revision began in April 2012, when the BOCC appointed an Advisory Committee on Land Use to identify additional areas of concern and suggestions for changes that built upon the work in Phase One. The Targeted Code changes were subsequently reviewed by the Garfield County Planning Commission over the course of eight months. Both boards consisted of volunteer board members.

“We wish to offer a very large thank you to so many people, many of whom donated their time and gave a huge effort to producing a document that is not necessarily perfect, but is a great improvement to what we had,” said Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson. “We will refine, improve, and go forward from here with this new code, and we are pleased to have it in place.”

The Planning Commission met 12 times to evaluate the code, and spent an estimated 35 hours in discussions and review. The BOCC met six times to review the code documents before approving them July 15, 2013.

“We know how much time it took to commit to this project, and I also want to thank everyone involved,” said Garfield County Commission Chair John Martin. “We will do our very best in serving the public with our new code, and when we need to address it further, we will in the future.”

Energy upgrade rebates available

Sopris Sun Staff Report

Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER have additional money available for energy upgrades in homes or businesses. Home and business owners in Garfield County who get energy upgrades this summer have until Aug. 31 to apply for the rebates, according to a press release.

“Because of the short time frame for Garfield Clean Energy to be able to offer this rebate money, we’re going to allow homeowners who complete two or more projects to get up to $1,000 in rebates. Business owners can get up to $2,500 on qualifying projects that increase their energy efficiency,” said Erica Sparhawk of CLEER, the nonprofit that manages Garfield Clean Energy.

Upgrades such as insulation and air sealing, installation of energy-efficient furnaces, boilers and water heaters, equipment tune-ups, and heat-tape timers are eligible for rebates. “This summer is a great time for families and businesses to maximize their utility bill savings with these rebate offers,” she said.

“We encourage homeowners and businesses to call an energy coach right away to get expert advice on eligible upgrades, working with contractors, and maximizing rebates offered by Garfield Clean Energy and our area’s gas and electric utilities,” said Sparhawk.

To contact an energy coach, call CLEER at 970-704-9200.