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New subdivision is approved in Mancos

Also: Election canceled; real property bill opposed
The final plat for the new Grand Avenue subdivision was approved at the Mancos Town Board meeting Feb. 12.

The Mancos Town Board had a full agenda at its regular meeting Feb. 12, covering planning news, fee schedules and state legislation.

A new subdivision will soon appear along Grand Avenue, and a new alternate member for the Planning and Zoning Commission will soon be on the scene.

Trustees also opted to adjust certain fees listed in the municipal code and voted to oppose a pending bill that would mandate the town report to the state all its properties.

Grand Avenue subdivision

After months of public hearings, the Mancos Town Board unanimously approved the final plat for a new subdivision along Grand Avenue.

The five-lot subdivision is set to take over the space formerly occupied by the Enchanted Mesa Motel at 862 Grand Ave. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved a preliminary plat for the subdivision in September, but the project garnered some debate at board meetings since then, mostly because of the unusual configuration of the lots and because of a delay in receiving access permits from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

For the subdivision’s layout, Lots 1, 3, 4, and 5 are all situated vertically north-south and front Grand Avenue, with an area of around 9,000 square feet per lot. But Lot 2, situated at the northwest corner of the property at the intersection of Monte Street and Bauer Avenue, is only 7,600 square feet and would front Monte Street – the only residence with an address on that street.

Staff and community members had expressed some concerns that the new subdivision didn’t conform to the surrounding neighborhood, suggesting the developers could perhaps redesign the subdivision with four lots instead. But Tim Hunter, owner’s representative for the project, said that would be difficult financially.

In subsequent months, a delay in Colorado Department of Transportation access permits also presented some obstacles in getting the plat finally approved.

But now that permits have been received, the project can move forward. Along with the CDOT access permits, the board also was given the final construction plans for the subdivision infrastructure and an irrevocable letter of credit for $56,368.57, equivalent to 110% of the cost of the subdivision’s public improvements and related infrastructure of water, sewer, electricity, natural gas, and sidewalks and curb, Town Administrator Heather Alvarez said.

While the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation in September had stipulated that a 25-foot setback on the north side of Lot 2 be required, the Town Board chose not to set the condition.

Municipal election cancellation

The board unanimously voted to cancel the upcoming municipal election, since there were the same number of candidates as vacancies on the seven-member Board of Trustees.

The election was set for April 7, with four Town Board seats up for election. But only four people submitted petitions by the deadline, and town code permits the election’s cancellation “if there are not more candidates than offices to be filled at the close of business on the 64th day before the election and if we did not receive any affidavits of intent for write-in candidates,” Alvarez wrote in a staff report.

Three of the four board members set to be reelected are incumbents: Mayor Ellen “Queenie” Barz and trustees Ed Hallam and Cindy Simpson. The one newcomer to the board is Janice Bryan, a registered nurse who has lived in Southwest Colorado for over 10 years and in Mancos for the past four.

Barz is set to retain her position as mayor. In Mancos, the mayor is elected as a separate office, while the mayor pro tem is chosen by the board after the election.

The trustees are scheduled to be sworn in at the Town Board’s April 8 meeting.

Planning commission alternate

Carol Stout was unanimously appointed as an alternate member of the Mancos Planning and Zoning Commission.

She will replace John Cox, who resigned from the post because of work scheduling conflicts. Her term will last through April 2021.

Stout is a retired nurse who has lived and worked on ranches throughout her life and previously worked with her husband on installing cathodic protection, or corrosion control, on gas lines. In her application for the position, she said she wants to make a contribution to the growing community of Mancos.

“I feel my life and work experience would be of value in providing service on the Planning and Zoning committee,” she wrote. “I have lived in a variety of places from huge cities to small towns. I have seen poor planning create disasters and good planning create thriving communities.”

Alvarez said alternate commissioners attend all meetings and participate in discussions but vote only if a quorum is needed.

There is one more alternate vacancy on the Planning and Zoning Commission, since Tiffany Hurst submitted her resignation from the position earlier this year. Applications for board and commissioner posts are available at the town’s website.

New fees

The board unanimously approved a resolution changing certain fees imposed by town code.

The changes include increasing bench warrant fees for municipal court from $100 to $250, increasing court costs for municipal court from $22 to $25, increasing sex offender registration fees from $20 to $30 per hour (calculated in 30-minute intervals), and reducing VIN inspection fees from $20 to free of charge.

The changes also include adjusting liquor licensing and medical and retail marijuana licensing fees to match the Department of Revenue Fee Schedule.

The resolution also imposes a business license late fee of $50 for licenses renewed after Jan. 31 every year.

Real property bill

Trustees unanimously voted to stand by staff’s recommendation and oppose the introduced Public Real Property Index bill, which would require state agencies to submit a list of all their usable real property to the Colorado Office of the State Architect. In addition, agencies would be required to report to the state all their property sales and purchases.

If passed, the bill would constitute an “unfunded mandate,” the Town Board and staff said in a letter directed to state Rep. Marc Catlin, who sits on the local government committee that will hear the bill.

“This would add a burden to an already overworked staff with respect to compiling and reporting information that is available for free on the Montezuma County assessor’s website,” the letter reads.

The letter also critiques the bill’s requirement that would mandate Mancos to report every property sale or purchase.

“Purchasing requirements and open meetings laws in existing statute already cover these items,” the letter continues. “It would cause a duplicate or triplicate increase in workload.”