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Barrier prompts rule changes

Donna Gray

In an unusual turn of events, a move by a Carbondale subdivision to build a noise barrier along Highway 82 has prompted a new county zoning regulation and a new way for the county to relate to the Colorado Department of Transportation.Garfield County Commissioners enacted new zoning and a new policy for CDOT when the Ranch at Roaring Fork decided to build a noise barrier on its northern boundary with Highway 82 this year. Part of the wall will be built on CDOT right of way, so the ranch went to it for access. However, being a state agency, CDOT does not work with private property owners on noise barriers and directed the ranch to find a local government agency to act in its stead. The ranch then appealed to the county to act as intermediary. In a further twist to bureaucratic operations, the county found it did not have a zoning regulation on the books covering noise barriers on private land.First, the commissioners directed the planning department to craft a new zoning regulation to cover construction of noise barriers. Then it enacted a new policy that will allow it to act as a local agent to deal with CDOT. Noise barrier construction will be treated as a special use permit, with such attendant requirements as an environmental analysis, a site plan and map and noise and aesthetic analysis.In fact, the county will soon have another opportunity to act as local agent with CDOT. According to county senior planner Randy Russell, the Lower Valley Trails group has been recommended for a $1.2 million grant from Great Outdoors Colorado for a trail along Interstate 70 through South Canyon. Garfield County would have to act as administrator of the grant should it be awarded, Russell said. “It’s very timely we have this framework in place,” he said.The grant award will be decided in December, he said.


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