Week in review
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Garfield County commissioners on Monday approved changes that would streamline county regulations for temporary housing at area well pads.
The rules the commissioners approved would allow energy companies to establish state-inspected small temporary housing facilities for up to eight workers at area well pads without needing to obtain special use permits. The county calls that process “use-by-right.”
Companies putting up those small housing facilities would not have to receive a building permit from the county, either. However, companies would have to notify the sheriff’s office and area fire protection districts of occupancy of the small temporary housing units, and comply with about 20 performance standards mandated by the county. Those have to be signed off on by a licensed engineer.
The housing units would also have to have state-certified stickers saying they meet specific state standards, like electrical, plumbing and fire suppression codes. The small housing facilities would have to be put on a state-certified well pad, said Commissioner John Martin. An energy company establishing a small housing facility would also have to have a surface-use agreement with the landowner.
BATTLEMENT MESA, Colorado ” The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has conditionally approved 11 permits to drill wells a little more than one mile away from Project Rulison blast site.
Dave Neslin, acting director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), wrote a letter to Gunnison attorney Luke Danielson to notify him of the decision to approve the permits. Danielson is representing area residents who are opposed to drilling within three miles of the blast site.
Danielson had filed an objection over the permits in February. However, the COGCC sent a letter to Danielson, stating the residents did not have standing to request a hearing in connection with the permits.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is looking to purchase an armored vehicle for high-risk, dangerous situations such as pulling an injured person out of a line of fire.
Sheriff Lou Vallario and Undersheriff Colt Cornelius spoke before the Garfield County commissioners on Monday to explain their planned purchase of a new Lenco Industries BearCat, which is the only law enforcement rescue vehicle that offers .50-caliber protection to its occupants.
The sheriff’s office wants to purchase the $236,000 vehicle for its Garfield County All Hazards Response Team, which is currently comprises 17 members.
Uses can include serving high-risk arrest warrants and facing various threat scenarios such as open gunfire.
GARFIELD COUNTY, Colorado” Three burglaries occurring sometime between Monday evening around 5 p.m. and Monday morning have the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office reminding business owners countywide to secure their stores well.
A press release, sent after business hours Tuesday from the Sheriff’s Office, says the suspects involved are hitting the businesses at night, but some surveillance video shows the suspects “casing out the business just minutes before the burglary.”
The suspects make entry into the business by smashing glass windows or doors, and it appears the suspects have already identified the targeted items of value, the press release states.
The Sheriff’s Office press release lacked any information about the specifics of the crimes. Nothing was included on where the crimes occurred, what businesses were hit, what was taken, the amount and extent of damage or how many suspects they were seeking.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Garfield County commissioners on Monday voted not to join a local advocacy group’s complaint to the state about four recent spills from well pads northwest of Parachute.
However, the county has asked for sampling data from the four spills from storage pits in Garden Gulch, which flows into Parachute Creek, an irrigation source for area ranchers and the town of Parachute.
When that information comes back to the county, the commissioners could reconsider submitting a formal complaint to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the agency investigating the spills, said Commissioner John Martin.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency took samples and have the analysis that the county needs, Martin said.
“We are awaiting those results,” Martin said. “As soon as we get them, we will share them. We will be very diligent in getting those results back.”
Commissioner Larry McCown and Martin voted against joining the complaint. Commissioner Tresi Houpt recused herself from taking a position on the matter because of her role as a COGCC commissioner.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” District Attorney Martin Beeson has appealed a judge’s ruling that threw out some evidence relating to one of Frank Alameno’s child pornography cases.
Ninth Judicial District Judge Denise Lynch’s March 28 ruling suppressed evidence regarding pornography in the garage of Alameno’s home and evidence surrounding 2.1 grams of methamphetamines allegedly found in Alameno’s bathroom medicine cabinet.
Beeson said Thursday that none of the charges would necessarily be dismissed, but the ruling could affect drug charges against Alameno and misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals and obscenity.
“We think that the order of suppression is inaccurate,” Beeson said. “It’s not legally justified.”
Defense attorney Lawson Wills had sought to suppress all evidence obtained from Alameno’s home with two September 2006 search warrants. He argued that investigators provided insufficient probable cause in affidavits supporting the search warrants. The two attorneys argued over numerous legalities in court documents.
CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Debbie Stafford received a call last Saturday from an Aspen-based attorney asking if she would be interested in selling a parcel of land.
Stafford had purchased this parcel near Carbondale in the late 1970s.
Stafford’s response was a blunt “No.”
The parcel of land in question is known as the Te Ke Ki Condominium Estates. Stafford, a Colorado Representative from District 40 (Arapahoe and Elbert counties), said the land was subdivided and sold to individuals lot by lot. The land has been used for the past 22 years by the Considine family, owners of the neighboring Big 4 Ranch, for agricultural use, according to Big 4 Ranch attorney Herb Klein of Aspen-based Klein, Cote and Edwards.
Klein referred to the land as an “Ancient subdivision.”
“These things exist in various places,” Klein said. “Some local governments deal with these but they don’t meet any of the current zoning and planning rules and regulations. (Te Ke Ki) development would never be approved today.”
The land, with approximately 360 lots of around 5,000 square feet each, was platted for two separate filings in 1969 and 1970 under the Garfield County subdivision regulations at that time, according to Klein. Klein said the land, which is just east of Carbondale off County Road 100 and is bordered on three sides by the Big 4 Ranch property, has never been developed and currently has no infrastructure in place, including no water or sewer.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Developers for Sunlight Mountain Resort could be waiting until May 3, before Garfield County Planning and Zoning makes a decision on the status of the submitted application for the planned unit development (PUD) for the resort.
At Monday’s county commissioners meeting, Garfield County Building and Planning director Fred Jarman requested the 30-day extension and additional help reviewing the Sunlight PUD, due to the complexity of the application.
“There is a lot to review,” Jarman said. “I’m looking for an outside consultant to help with the review process because the Four Mile basin is a complicated area to deal with when it comes to water rights. We want the flexibility to hire an expert to look at those specifics.”
Developers submitted the new PUD on March 4, with some revisions to the original PUD submitted in September of 2007 after county staff sent a letter outlining 21 points of clarification rendering the submission “technically incomplete” in October.
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A report released this month by the Center for Colorado River Studies says that in order to sustainably manage the river in the face of climate change, officials need alternative management paradigms and a different way of thinking compared with the status quo. Estimates about how much water the Upper Colorado River Basin states will use in the future are a problem that needs rethinking, according to the white paper.