County OKs contractor’s yard on Morrisania Mesa near Battlement Mesa |

County OKs contractor’s yard on Morrisania Mesa near Battlement Mesa

Phillip YatesGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PARACHUTE, Colorado – Garfield County commissioners on Monday approved a special use permit for an area family to have a contractor’s yard on their property for their water-hauling business on Morrisania Mesa. That was a move many neighbors opposed.The commissioners’ approval of the permit came after a lengthy session where many people spoke out for and against the proposal.Commissioners later signed off on the permit on a 2-to-1 vote. Commissioner John Martin and Larry McCown voted in support of the permit, while Commissioner Trési Houpt voted against it.Hank and Kamron Kracht sought approval of a permit for a contractor’s yard, which the county defines as “land used to store machinery, equipment and supplies for an individual business that provides services through the use of machinery, equipment or supplies.” The permit the Krachts sought also looked to improve an existing building to house their business’ shop and to provide two bays to park and work on their trucks, according to a county report. The couple had been using the property for their business without a special use permit, but are now in compliance after the commissioners’ vote, Martin said. That permit will go away if the couple ever sells their property, he said.The Krachts own a 9.88 acre parcel on Morrisania Mesa, which is about four miles east of Parachute and is on the south side of the Colorado River, in an area zoned for residential and agricultural use, according to a county building and planning staff report.The couple has operated a water-hauling business on the property for the last two years. That business consists of four, 80-barrel water trucks that assist oil and gas operations in the area with dust control, the report said.Garfield County building and planning staff recommended approval of the special use permit.Several area residents wrote letters to the commissioners, asking them not to a approve the Krachts’ proposal.”I would hate to see the property value diminished because of the impact if this industrial-type use is permitted,” wrote Mary Anderson, who lives on Morrisania Mesa. “Many residents would like to see the area stay agricultural in nature. It’s where we live, have our animals, raise hay. Please keep Morrisania Mesa a country setting.”David McConaughy, an area attorney who spoke on behalf of some neighborhoods in the area, echoed those thoughts. He said the commissioners should deny the special use permit because an approval would largely alter the character of the area.”This is turning this into an industrial zone, and I think that is what some neighbors want to avoid,” McConaughy said.But many other people supported the Krachts’ proposal. Carl Napier, who owns property near Krachts, said he didn’t have any problems with the family’s business. “(Their) property is clean, you don’t see (their) trucks,” said Napier, adding the family tries as much they can to reduce the business’ possible impacts on neighbors.Nate Schaeffer, a resident of Morrisania Ranch area for 25 years who recently built a house there, said he has have never seen a problem with the Krachts’ business. “Their trucks drive slow, they water the road,” Schaeffer said. “I don’t see a problem with what they are doing.”Houpt said the proposed use the Krachts sought was not within the character of the land as it stood within the county’s comprehensive plan.”I think you all have done a wonderful job of keeping your business clean, but it would go against what our comprehensive plan gives us for me to support this particular application,” Houpt said.Martin said making a vote was difficult because the Krachts’ proposal was an issue dividing an neighborhood, and that a solution would not satisfy everyone. McCown also said he didn’t want to see the issue of the Krachts’ business devolve into neighbor-against-neighbor situation.”But I can’t see that this is a tremendous imposition on anyone,” McCown said.

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