Garfield County commission set to decide on CMC solar facility |

Garfield County commission set to decide on CMC solar facility

Plans to build 5.38-megawatt solar generating facility on the Colorado Mountain College campus at Spring Valley go before the Garfield Board of County Commissioners on Monday afternoon.

Plans call for a trio of solar arrays to be located on 22 acres of the larger 152-acre CMC site, accessed off of County Road 114. The nearest residential subdivisions are Elk Springs and Pinyon Mesa, situated to the northwest of the campus but not adjacent to the solar array site.

The project is being developed by Ameresco Solar in partnership with electric cooperative Holy Cross Energy to serve customers within the HCE service area. If approved, construction is expected to begin later this summer and take eight months to complete.

The county Planning Commission heard the plans last month and recommended approval. No members of the public commented, but several referral agencies did weigh in, including Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

CPW indicated that the development will likely have impacts on deer and elk populations, especially during winter months. Short of avoiding the site, however, the agency recommended an off-site mitigation project to offset the habitat impacts.

“CPW believes short of avoiding the project completely, adhering to minimization and mitigation measures should help offset impacts to elk and deer winter range and severe winter range,” the agency wrote in its comments.

A recommended condition of approval for the solar project is to fund a deer and elk habitat enhancement program to be in place prior to the start of construction.

The proposal is scheduled to be heard during the afternoon session of the BOCC meeting, beginning at 1 p.m. Monday.

State redistricting addressed

Also on the agenda to start the day at 8 a.m. will be a discussion by the county commissioners regarding the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission’s preliminary plans to redraw House District 57 and what would become Senate District 5 (now SD8).

The current proposal would remove the population centers in and around Rifle and Silt and a large swath south of Interstate 70 from HD57 and place it in HD55 with the rural parts of Mesa and northern Delta counties. That would effectively remove current state Rep. Perry Will, R-New Castle, from HD57, based on his Garfield Creek address.

The proposal also pulls Routt County, including Steamboat Springs, into HD57, and in the case of the new Senate district adds a portion of western Larimer County into the district now represented by state Sen. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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