Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, August 16, to review a number of revisions to the city’s Municipal Code, hear a presentation about water usage on the Western Slope and meet new city employees.
Councilors Barbara Bynum, Dave Frank, Doug Glaspell, David Reed, and Anthony Russo met in City Council Chambers along with city staff. Mr. Reed attended remotely via the Zoom platform. Members of the public were also able to attend in person or via Zoom.
The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting.
Watch the meeting here.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW CITY EMPLOYEES
City Councilors had an opportunity to meet a group of new city employees tasked with a number of services around the community. Kody Bise was hired as a parks and special projects worker. Russ Chameroy joined the city as an engineering technician. Dawn Dovey was hired as an executive assistant to the City Manager's Office. Chuck Greenacre joined the city as the new Municipal Court judge. Elizabeth Powers will serve as a technician at the city's Animal Shelter.
WATER RESOURCES OUTLOOK
Colorado State Representative Marc Catlin and City Engineer Scott Murphy briefed councilors about the issue of water resources on the Western Slope.
Murphy and Catlin were joined by Mike Berry, general manager for the Tri-County Water Conservancy District, and David Bries, the utilities manager for the City of Montrose.
Murphy said about 40 million people rely on water from the Colorado River basin. Water from the Uncompahgre River in Montrose flows into the Gunnison River near Delta, which then flows into the Colorado River near Grand Junction.
Murphy said 90% of the water used in the Colorado mainstream is located upstream, yet 90% of the people who use the water are located downstream. So demand, according to Murphy, is at an all-time high with current use at 16 to 17.5 million acre-feet of water from the Colorado River Basin. Total allocation, or current storage capacity, is projected at 17.5 million acre-feet.
Murphy said with more and more people moving to Colorado, water demand on the Western Slope and Montrose will increase.
“Use keeps going up, up, up,” Murphy said.
Murphy said the demand for water on the system is rapidly approaching the level where the ability to save water at previous levels is no longer feasible.
Murphy said the Colorado River Basin would need ten years of “epic” snow and rainfall to replenish the water storage volume that has been lost. Murphy said the City of Montrose’s water resource allocation currently sits at 13,000 acre-feet per year, with current usage at 4,200 acre-feet per year.
“So we have some room to spare,” Murphy said of current usage in the City of
Montrose along with local growth projections.
Murphy said the city has received comments from the public about why the city does not impose water restrictions, explaining that the city’s water allocation is much higher than actual use and city administration didn’t want to impose restrictions on the community through executive action or law.
Murphy said the city is working to proactively manage the demand for water in the Uncompahgre Valley. The city has a Water Conservation Plan, available on its website, and will begin outreach activities in 2022.
This work also includes a comprehensive conservation analysis and conservation projects throughout the Uncompahgre Valley.
“We are on our next big growth surge, and we feel we need to do what’s right,” Murphy said.
Mike Berry said as growth continues, and land changes from agricultural use to residential use, the potential for the valley to lose water rights is a real possibility.
“When 40 acres of corn become 40 acres of houses, how can we convert that water and save it,” Berry said. “It’s very important to start this process now.”
Murphy said a culture change over the coming generations could be a good thing to help save as much water as possible throughout the Uncompahgre Valley.
State Representative Marc Catlin, who represents Montrose and the Uncompahgre Valley, said there are changes that are already beginning in younger generations to make the environment and water usage a priority.
“We are making progress,” Catlin said. “The time to start thinking about it is now.”
Catlin said each community needs to decide what is best for its residents to save water for future generations.
“There is a lot of water in this basin,” Catlin said of the Uncompahgre Valley. “It’s why it’s such a great place to live.”
MCCRACKEN ADDITION ANNEXATION
City Councilors were presented with an annexation application and the associated zoning of the McCracken Addition.
According to Senior City Planner Amy Sharp, the McCracken Addition is a proposed annexation of approximately 2.295 acres in size. The parcel is located east of the Uncompahgre River, west of U.S. Highway 50, south of Industrial Drive, and north of N. Grand Avenue. It is within the city’s Urban Growth Boundary, the City of Montrose Water Service Area, and the City of Montrose Sewer Service Area. Annexation of this property will allow for future development of the property and connections to city utilities. An annexation agreement will be required.
City staff is proposing a zoning of “B-3” General Commercial District for the McCracken Addition.
City Councilors will vote to formally approve or deny the addition at the September 7 regular City Council meeting.
PINON WAY RIGHT-OF-WAY VACATION ORDINANCE
City Councilors were briefed about the proposed ordinance to vacate a portion of Pinon Way.
According to Senior City Planner Amy Sharp, a neighboring property owner is requesting that the city vacate a portion of right-of-way along Pinon Way for future development of a 4-plex for workforce housing. The southerly half of this ROW would be vacated to the adjacent landowner. The northerly half would be retained by the city for future use.
City Councilors will vote to formally approve or deny the ordinance at the September 7 regular City Council meeting.
REVISIONS TO THE MUNICIPAL CODE TITLE 2, CHAPTER 2, SECTION 1 - PLANNING COMMISSION
City Councilors were presented with updates to the Municipal Code as it pertains to compensation for anyone serving on the city's Planning Commission.
According to Senior City Planner Amy Sharp, city staff has undertaken a review of the Municipal Code Title 2, Chapter 2, Section 1 (2-2-1) in order to update the compensation of Planning Commission members. This modification changes the Planning Commission members’ compensation from $40/month to $80/month and the Chairperson’s compensation from $60/month to $100/month.
The proposed change in the code reads as follows:
Section 2-2-1: Creation of Planning Commission
(B) Each Planning Commission member except the Chairperson shall receive compensation of $40.00- $80.00 per month. The Chairperson shall receive compensation of $60.00 to $100.00 per month. Additionally, members may be reimbursed for authorized expenses.
City Councilors will vote to formally approve or deny an ordinance to change the Municipal Code at a future City Council meeting.
REVISIONS TO THE MUNICIPAL CODE TITLE 4, CHAPTER 4 - FAMILY CHILDCARE HOMES AND CHILDCARE FACILITIES
City Councilors were presented with updates to the Municipal Code as it pertains to childcare homes and facilities.
According to Senior City Planner Amy Sharp, city staff has undertaken a review of the Municipal Code Title 4, Chapter 4, Section 1-18 in order to add a definition for family childcare homes, update the definition for childcare facilities, and define where these uses are allowed. This code amendment is in response to House Bill 21-1222, signed June 7, 2021, which expands opportunities to provide childcare services in homes. According to this House Bill, family childcare homes shall be treated as residential property use.
One proposed change in the code reads, "a family childcare home shall be a use by right in all residential districts, in accordance with state statutes and regulations."
City Councilors will vote to formally approve or deny an ordinance to change the Municipal Code to reflect the new legislation at a future meeting.
REVISIONS TO THE MUNICIPAL CODE SECTION 5-3 - POLICE ALARM SYSTEMS
City Councilors were presented with proposed updates to the Municipal Code as it pertains to police alarm systems.
City Attorney Stephen Alcorn said the current code language from 1988 states that the City Clerk needed to collect fingerprints and personal background information from people who install police alarm systems in homes and businesses.
The law was created to gauge the moral character of those installing such systems in Montrose.
Alcorn said city staff has concluded this practice needs to be discontinued. City Clerk Lisa DelPiccolo said the policy is difficult to enforce.
“I’m all for getting rid of laws that are hard to enforce,” City Councilor Barbara Bynum said.
City Councilors will vote to formally approve or deny an ordinance to change the Municipal Code at a future meeting.
SPECIAL EVENTS ALCOHOL PERMIT FOR DINNER ON MAIN STREET EVENT
City Councilors were presented with a Special Events Alcohol Permit for Dinner on Main Street.
According to City Clerk Lisa DelPiccolo, the Black Canyon Boys and Girls Club has applied for a Special Events Permit to sell and serve alcohol during the event on Saturday, September 25, 2021.
As part of this event, Main Street will be closed from Townsend to Cascade Avenue. According to the Municipal Code and Regulations Manual, City Council approval is required for Special Events Permits in conjunction with a street closure. The event and alcohol permit applications include a premises map showing the perimeter for the alcohol permit and a plan for control of the premises.
The premises were posted in compliance with state statute with no comments received. In the past, these requests have routinely been included on a consent agenda.
GENERAL CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION
Mayor Doug Glaspell said the city’s booth at the Farmers Market last Saturday was a success. Glaspell said he, along with city staff, enjoyed many warm conversations with market attendees.
All City Council meetings are recorded and made available online via the city’s website and cable channels 191 for Charter subscribers and 970 for Elevate subscribers. Replays of council meetings are also broadcast at 6 p.m. on the same channels on days that the council is not in session.
In addition, each regular meeting is archived on the City of Montrose’s YouTube channel.
Residents can watch all regular City Council meetings and work sessions live through the city’s website at CityOfMontrose.org/Video.
For more city news visit CityOfMontrose.org.