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Riparian setbacks ordinance passes with more discussion

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The Glenwood Springs City Council passed the riparian setback ordinance earlier this month after one more attempt to change the allowable disturbance percentage.

On Councilor Charlie Willman’s fifth motion Sept. 17, the ordinance passed on second reading 4-2, with councilors Steve Davis and Tony Hershey opposed. Councilor Shelley Kaup was on vacation and not in attendance. 

Further changes to the wording were also introduced at the meeting, following a pattern from previous readings of the ordinance.

Davis wanted the word “material” added in a section to match similar wording in another section, which generated no disagreement.

Mayor Jonathan Godes revisited a conversation he had had before the ordinance’s first reading with a river property owner threatening to bulldoze his land to grandfather that disturbance in before the ordinance goes into effect. 

Because of that, Godes wanted to have a “disincentive” for anyone considering similar action. He proposed adding language prohibiting any clearing on riparian properties effective either Sept. 1 or Sept. 17, the date of the meeting, until the ordinance takes effect on Sept. 27.

The Sept. 1 date concerned Hershey, who asked if that would lead to someone being punished retroactively for doing something that was legal at the time.

City attorney Karl Hanlon said it would freeze in time the date which the ordinance will be based on and would apply only from Sept. 17 forward.

Councilor Paula Stepp said she preferred the Sept. 17 date and not dealing retroactively with the landowner who supposedly cleared his property.

Willman then made his first motion, to approve the ordinance on second reading with the Davis and Godes changes and a change to 30% allowable disturbance of vegetation.

The motion did not immediately get a second, prompting Willman to make a new motion. 

Willman’s second motion was to approve the ordinance on second reading with the Davis and Godes changes, leaving allowable disturbance at 20%. 

Davis said he had wanted to second the original motion but fell victim to the inefficiencies of remote meetings. But he also preferred to break the pieces of the motion into separate votes, an idea echoed by Councilor Rick Voorhees.

Hanlon recommended that Willman make motions to amend the ordinance rather than pass it with amendments.

Willman then made his third motion, to change allowable disturbance from 20% to 30%. Davis seconded the motion. It failed on a split vote, with Godes, Voorhees and Stepp opposed.

Willman’s fourth motion was to add the Davis and Godes language changes to the ordinance. Godes seconded. That motion passed 5-1 with Hershey opposed.

Charlie Willman’s fifth motion was to approve the ordinance on second reading with the amended language. Voorhees seconded, and the ordinance passed.

cwertheim@postindependent.com


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