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The original item was published from 10/3/2023 12:20:02 PM to 10/5/2023 5:55:03 AM.

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Posted on: October 3, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Blog: CITY COUNCIL WORK SESSION: Monday, October 2, 2023

Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, October 2, to review a new sewer project, consider possible updates to the city’s noise ordinance, and review landscaping improvements to the Uncompahgre Riverway Trail. 

Mayor Barbara Bynum and councilors Dave Frank, Doug Glaspell, David Reed, and Ed Ulibarri met in the City Council Chambers at the Elks Civic Building along with city staff.

The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting. 

Watch the meeting here.


City Councilors were presented with a proposal to award a professional services contract to Del-Mont Consultants in the amount of $124,200 for completion of the Sanitary Sewer CIP 3 Project Phase 1 design.

City Engineer Scott Murphy said the City of Montrose Sanitary Sewer Master Plan calls for the completion of Capital Improvement Project (CIP) 3 by 2030 in order to meet long-range flow capacity needs for a trunk line running between East Main Street and North 7th Street and Uncompahgre Avenue. 

The overall design project is expected to include the following key tasks, split into two phases:

Phase 1

1. Perform a detailed survey of the existing trunk line alignment (pipe sizes and invert elevations)

2. Fine-tune and calibrate the sewer model for this reach

3. Project anticipated growth within the sewer basin

4. Use these data to verify the need and extent of sewer-line upgrades (i.e., identify anticipated choke points within the trunk network and when they are anticipated to be limited in capacity)

5. Evaluate alignment alternatives to be more direct and accessible, and to improve sewer slopes

Phase 2

1. Perform detailed sanitary sewer design for the selected alignment

The project is split into two phases given the unknown scope of Phase 2. 

Once Phase 1 is able to identify the extent of improvements needed and establish a preferred alignment, the detailed design could then be scoped and priced for Phase 2. 


City Councilors were presented with a proposal to approve $370,000 in reimbursement expenditures payable to Mountain Valley Contracting for the relocation of city water and sewer utilities around the Otter Pond Dam replacement project.

City Engineer Scott Murphy said Otter Pond, located off of Woodgate Road, is a private 14-acre pond and residential subdivision first developed around 1994. The pond was created by impounding the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) F-Drain through the construction of a dam embankment and outlet works at its northern end.

The pond, its embankment, and outlet works are private amenities owned and maintained by the Otter Pond Homeowner’s Association (HOA). A recent records search has indicated that the embankment was never formally permitted with the Bureau of Reclamation (as the F-Drain facility owner) or the Colorado Division of Water Resources (DWR), the regulator of water impoundments in the state. It is not known why this permitting was not performed by the developer or their engineers at the time.

In the late summer of 2022, city street crews started to receive calls about subsidence at the northern end of Otter Pond Circle and over-top of the pond’s outlet works. Upon further investigation, it was determined that the outlet works for Otter Pond were structurally compromised due to corrosion of the pipes. Entire portions of the outlet work pipes (twin 24-inch diameter corrugated metal pipes on steep grade) had failed, which was then allowing for erosion, significant soil loss, and the development of large underground soil caverns within the embankment. Once the caverns became large enough, they started to collapse, which then showed up as sinkholes and depressions at the road surface.

Following the discovery of the outlet works failure, the Otter Pond HOA reached out to the Colorado DWR, Dam Safety Branch. The regional dam safety engineer performed an emergency inspection of the embankment and immediately ordered the HOA to begin an emergency drawdown of the pond on the premise that progression of the embankment to failure was plausible if left in the current condition. The Otter Pond HOA then worked to set up a siphon over the embankment and partially drew down the pond. Since this initial inspection, the dam has remained under a formal fill-level restriction order imposed by the state engineer.

The division of dam safety then worked to determine the jurisdictional status and hazard classification of the pond and its embankment. Following several surveys and modeling of the flood hazard presented by a potential failure of the embankment, the DWR’s Dam Safety Branch determined that the embankment and reservoir do fall under the jurisdiction of the state and are classified as a significant hazard. Modeling indicated that a failure of the embankment would lead to flooding several feet deep between Otter Pond and the Uncompahgre River, including much of Woodgate Road and the community recreation center property. 

Classified as a significant hazard dam under the jurisdiction of the state, repair of the embankment and its outlet works would need to occur under the state’s purview and according to their dam safety rules and regulations. To that end, the Otter Pond HOA hired the Applegate Group, an engineering consultant specializing in dams, to complete the design of the repair. In the interest of protecting property downstream of the pond and ensuring the emergency situation was stabilized as quickly as possible, the city also committed $100,000 in ARPA funds to assist with emergency drawdown, design, and repair of the embankment.

Because the project is being performed as a single construction project contracted with the Otter Pond HOA, the utility relocation project expenditures would be processed as reimbursements either to the contractor directly or to the Otter Pond HOA if they were to initially pay for the utility relocation work.

For the $370,000 in utility relocation expenditures, $220,000 is associated with waterline relocations and $150,000 with sewer-line work.


City Councilors were presented with a proposal to approve $100,000 in reimbursement expenditures to construct landscaping improvements alongside the Uncompahgre Riverway Trail north of North 9th Street.

City Engineer Scott Murphy said concurrent with the initial development of the Montrose Urban Renewal Authority (MURA), the City of Montrose constructed a northern extension of the Uncompahgre Riverway Trail (known as the GOCO Connect Trail Project) from Main Street north to Colorado Outdoors. Within the MURA/Colorado Outdoors area, the trail was constructed on a 40+ acre tract of land dedicated to the City. This land includes the river itself, sensitive riparian areas, and the area needed for the trail.

As the MURA was being planned and designed, it was envisioned that the Uncompahgre Riverway Trail would eventually include trailside improvements between the trail and the river (on city property). These improvements were planned to make the trail corridor more aesthetically pleasing and to provide spaces for the public to spend time enjoying the river. However, at the time the trail was constructed there weren’t any developments alongside the trail that would justify improving the riverfront area (e.g., it didn’t make sense to create areas for the public to use if there wasn’t a nearby draw to a restaurant or similar adjacent business). Furthermore, postponing trailside improvements would help ensure that they would match the look and feel of landscaping on the private developments behind the trail. Ultimately, the long-range vision would be to construct improvements on the public portions of the trail concurrent with each adjacent development that, when finished, would make for a complete riverwalk experience.

The first major development to occur immediately alongside accessible portions of the Uncompahgre River within Colorado Outdoors is the Shelter Distillery project. This project is under construction immediately north of North 9th Street and abuts the trail. As part of the Shelter Project, they will be creating a patio area on their lot to be used for food service, lawn games, and concert events. With these improvements and the public draw it will create, it is now worthwhile to create a complementary space on the public portion of the trail.

The Uncompahgre Riverway Trail landscaping improvements are targeted for completion before the Shelter Distillery opens. For continuity and efficiency, it is proposed to use the distillery’s landscaping contractor for the construction of the public trailside landscaping improvements and to reimburse them for the work performed. Although the majority of the project would take place in 2024, the site landscaping contractor has indicated they will likely have openings in the late fall of 2023 and would like to get started in order to ensure that project deadlines are met.


City Councilors were presented with a draft ordinance updating the city's Municipal Code language regarding unreasonable noise. 

City Attorney Matt Magliaro said the draft ordinance updates Title 6, Chapter 1 Section 21. (6-1-21.(D)) (Unreasonable noise.) of the Official Code of the City of Montrose. 

The unreasonable noise update reads:

If sound broadcast from speakers or emitted from any equipment from a motor vehicle is audible within other motor vehicles on the road with the windows up, or audible within an occupied structure with the doors and windows closed, it shall be prima facie evidence that such sound is unreasonable noise for the purposes of Subsection (A) of this Section. It is immaterial for the purposes of this provision whether the equipment emitting the sound was originally installed on the vehicle, installed subsequently, modified subsequently, or is emitting sound due to damage or defect.

The ordinance reads, “the City Council hereby finds, determines and declares that this Ordinance is necessary and proper to provide for the safety, preserve the health, promote the prosperity, and improve the order, comfort and convenience of the City of Montrose and the inhabitants thereof.”

The council will formally vote on the ordinance at a future meeting. 


City Councilors were presented with proposed changes to the city’s campaign finance rules as they pertain to the city’s municipal elections. 

City Attorney Ben Morris presented the changes that include campaign financing and the rules governing local candidates and municipal elections. The council would need to approve the changes via a city ordinance. 

“The Complaint procedure set forth herein shall apply to violations and alleged violations of the aforementioned laws and regulations, including those set forth within the Official Code of the City of Montrose, as they pertain to City of Montrose municipal elections,” a draft of the Municipal Code reads. 

The rules pertaining to the public disclosure of campaign finance-related activities state that “all candidates, committees, and any other person or entity required by law to report campaign finance-related activities shall file public disclosure statements, on forms provided by and acceptable to the City Clerk.”

Mayor Barbara Bynum said the rule changes are a result of recent state legislation that caps funds used in municipal elections. Bynum said since the City of Montrose is a home-rule municipality, it is free to make its own rules. 

The rules state that local candidates must file campaign finance disclosures with the City Clerk, rather than the Secretary of State. In short, the City of Montrose is free to set its own rules governing municipal elections, which also include the mandatory disclosure of campaign finance information. 


City Councilors were presented with a number of 2024 council meeting dates that have conflicts. 

For Monday holidays that conflict with City Council work sessions, the protocol has been to schedule the work session at 10 a.m. on the Tuesday of the regular meeting.

The holiday conflicts for work sessions in 2024 are listed below:

January 1 - New Year’s Day

January 15 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 19 - Presidents Day

September 2 - Labor Day

October 14 - Indigenous Peoples Day

City Councilors agreed to continue with the current protocol, therefore these work sessions will be rescheduled for January 2, January 16, February 20, September 3, and October 15, respectively.

Regular Meeting Conflicts

Election Day for the 2024 Municipal Election falls on Tuesday, April 2, which coincides with a regular City Council meeting. Councilors agreed to move the April 2 meeting to April 1, 2024. 

The Colorado Municipal League (CML) Annual Conference is scheduled for June 18-21 and conflicts with the regular meeting scheduled on June 18. Councilors agreed to move the June 17 work session and the June 18 regular meeting to June 24 and 25 respectively. 


Councilors tasked city staff to put together a presentation at a future work session looking at the city’s lodging tax, what the current collection rate is, what the funds are used for, and what potential future rate changes would look like. 


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 and on-demand through the city’s Public Meetings Portal


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