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Cortez tables golf ordinance after neighbors protest

Rule would also create crime of false reporting
Sam Green/Cortez Journal<br><br>Cristoffer Rudosky watches his chip shot onto the 10th green during the 2016 Montezuma-Cortez High School Invitational at Conquistador Golf Course.

The Cortez City Council on Tuesday tabled an ordinance to restrict access to Conquistador Golf Course.

One of the last items on the council agenda was the first reading of an ordinance that would have allowed the Parks and Recreation Department to revoke golfing passes and penalize homeowners who took down fences bordering the golf course or golfers who entered the course without checking in at the pro shop.

An unrelated proposal would change the code to define the crime of false reporting to police.

After seven residents protested the golf ordinance during the public hearing, the council tabled both parts until more research could be done.

Palmquist and other members of the Golf Advisory Board began discussing access to the course in March, when they proposed installing a private access to the east side of the course. At the time, Palmquist said he wanted to reduce the number of fences being removed by residents who entered the course from their land.

The proposed ordinance would penalize anyone who cut or altered a fence bordering the course, and require all players to check in at course pro shop before starting a game.

But the property owners who attended Tuesday’s meeting said they had never been notified about the ordinance and felt it went too far. Joyce Humiston said Palmquist had given her permission to take down her fence so that people could retrieve their golf balls from her yard, and she was “alarmed” to see the proposal on the agenda. Another Golf Course Lane resident, Andrew Keesee, said he and others had offered their land as a potential new access the year before and hadn’t heard any complaints.

“I think we can sit down and come up with a solution ... instead of threatening to pull our pass,” he said.

Several speakers, most of whom lived on the east side of the course, asked for access on the course’s east side. They also requested to talk with Palmquist.

City Manager Shane Hale said the ordinance was meant to protect the city from liability and damage that could result from unauthorized entrances.

“Every year, we have different sections of the fence torn down,” he said. “We’re constantly battling with it, and it shouldn’t be a battle.”

But after hearing, Palmquist apologized for not contacting residents before the ordinance went to the council.

The second half of the proposed ordinance would have added a section to the city code defining the crime of false reporting according to Colorado state law. The current code does not list it as a crime, according to City Attorney Mike Green.

Several board members questioned why that change was included in the golf course ordinance. Green, who presented the ordinance, said he thought it would be efficient to approve the two changes at once.

The board voted unanimously, with Mayor Pro Tem Ty Keel being absent, to table both parts of the ordinance. Green said he’d introduce a separate ordinance on false reporting.

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