Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Chaffee Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) began their January 3 meeting — the first of 2023 — with a proclamation celebrating the contributions of Commissioner Rusty Granzella. Granzella, who was elected in 2018, chose not to run for a second term in November 2022 and the January 3 meeting was his last as a commissioner.

Rusty Granzella served four years as a Chaffee County Commissioner, from 2018 through 2022. Courtesy photo.

BoCC Chair Greg Felt read the proclamation, enumerating the many community contributions made by Granzella. “I’ll just read it because there are so many things he has been involved in across this community,” said Felt. He began to read a long list, including “the Salida Airport Advisory board, The Chaffee County Fair Board, and the Southern Colorado Economic Development Corporation. He contributed on Chaffee Common Ground, on so many community efforts including Rotary, and youth sports.”

“Because of his involvement, he has added to the Chaffee County commitment to transparency and accountability for county government,” added Felt. “We proclaim he has served with distinctions and invite members of the community to express their gratitude for his service.”

Granzella laughingly abstained from the motion to approve the resolution.

Among major items approved in the meeting

  • Commissioners unanimously approved the amended Consent Agenda (pulling out item #10 regarding the 2023 meeting schedule and posting standards  for further attention).
  • Commissioners unanimously approved Resolution 2023-02, regarding Chaffee Ambulance Relicensing. Director Josh Hadley and Commissioner Keith Baker pointed out that the county was better-prepared than many other Colorado counties for the behavioral health transportation requirements that went into effect last Sunday, January 1. Hadley credited Chaffee County Attorney Daniel Tom for the extensive legal documentation required to meet the strict licensing standards.

Three land use applications received public hearings:

Image courtesy of the Chaffee County Clerk’s Office.

The Adams Agricultural Subdivision Exemption #4 at 11460 County Road 140, Salida. Applicant Karin Adams is requesting the agricultural subdivision exemption to subdivide a total of 74.34 acres into two lots. This subdivision would result in Lot “E” comprising 2.54 acres and Lot “B” comprising the remaining 71.80 acres. Individual wells and individual on-site wastewater treatment systems are proposed to serve the property.

“While this application has come before the BoCC as a subdivision exemption,” noted Principal Planner Greg Laudenslager, “because there are four lots, we believe this should be considered like a minor subdivision – and we recommend that any further subdivision of the larger lot will be required to follow the major subdivision process.”

The BoCC noted that while the application seems to meet the current land use code (LUC), with staff calling out concerns if there is further subdivision, that the traffic and water questions will need to be called out.

“Because if it is further subdivided this constitutes a development. Now there are five lots where there was one – they have been done year after year – but these previous subdivisions are being noted and if there is more, there will be water and traffic questions,” added Laudenslager.

The applicant, Karin Adams said that “I’m fine and understand that this presentation for the fourth exemption with the one provision issue that has been added. I cannot think of a better example than this one – one of the biggest complaints so many applicants have is [the Planning Commission] can approve a,b,c, and  … we present it … and there’s a brand new requirement.”

She reiterated that she doesn’t have any plans for the remainder lot but is doing estate planning, and wondered aloud if this was something that needs to be resolved that day.

“I haven’t figured that out,” responded Felt. “We will have to determine today if there is an issue with this and if it is a land use issue — we have to address it because it’s been brought up. We have to hear from you and the public.”

He went on to add that the staff’s concern over what are in effect “serial exemptions” is valid. “The words ‘previous subdivision can be reviewed’ — that language is IN the land use code. They are calling out that there have been previous subdivision exemptions – they called this out when the third one was done too.”

During public comment a neighbor representing a family trust spoke, who has a pending court suit over water rights with Adams. He says he owns 1.5 shares of a three-share water in the ditch that comes under CR 140 through her remainder lot and the other subdivided lots, and that Adams had shut off the ditch water last spring. He asked to delay or stop this agricultural subdivision until the lawsuit about ditch rights was resolved.

The BoCC and county legal determined that the county wasn’t a party to the lawsuit, and the subdivision was not dependent upon that decision but did get the neighbor’s legal representation information.

A member of the Chaffee County Heritage Advisory Board spoke, asking for earlier involvement in these land use reviews than is currently being done. “We are not getting notice of a lot of these subdivisions and projects..Our job is going out to see that these old cabins and buildings are not being scraped — and monitoring the scenic byway too. Could we get in on the process earlier?”

Deputy Attorney Miles Cottom said that the smaller agricultural subdivision and the heritage water subdivision don’t go to many referring agencies for input. But with the new land use code in development, there is an opportunity to review the review procedures for changes.

“Could we also look at which type of agencies get to review which type of application?” asked Commissioner Granzella.

Felt, upon getting information about exactly where the current ditch runs and noting that he thinks its a diversion off the Missouri Park Ditch, said that if the subdivision required that the ditch be relocated, it would have to have the ditch owner’s approval.

They discussed whether any of this was on the current plat, or needed to be on the plat. “You’re expanding the use by creating more lots on that access road,” said Felt. “As we look at this right now, it does look like a minor subdivision – an access road and four lots. I don’t think the applicant has done anything wrong using the agricultural subdivision exemption in the LUC as its written. But I’m concerned about what we end up with in terms of that access road.”

He reminded the BoCC and the public that the intent of the agricultural subdivision exemptions was to support agriculture for the benefit of the agricultural landowners while preserving groundwater. While Adam’s application is a big example, it meets the criteria. The BoCC approved removing the note from the plat and moved unanimously to prepare a resolution for Jan. 17.

The Shelman Heritage Water Subdivision Exemption request by Starr Miller and Jason Shelman would subdivide a total of 5.32 residential-zoned acres into two lots. The parcel located at 9770 CR 156, Salida would result in Lot 1 comprising 2.02 acres and Lot 2 comprising the remaining 3.31 acres. Individual wells and individual on-site wastewater treatment systems are proposed to serve the property.

It was approved unanimously, receiving no public comment.

The Brinkmann Heritage Water Subdivision Exemption request by Daniel and Rebecca Brinkmann would subdivide 25.89 acres located at 32220 CR 361, Buena Vista into two rural lots with the minimum being 7.89 acres. Wells and on-site wastewater treatment systems will serve the property.

The parcel was created on the plat of Vista Meadows recorded in 1973, then replated in 2005. Lot 1A is the heritage water lot and Lot B is the remainder lots – it has 2, 60 ft. road easements.

It was platted a couple of ways and the applicant turned in more than one version of the lot. Mike Henderson, representing the Brinkmann’s, said “they want to go with the second version – that uses the common road – if he sold one he’d need a maintenance agreement, but right now it would be with himself.”

“I agree you don’t need an agreement with yourself – but you don’t need to divide your property into two lots for yourself,” said Felt. “Either there ought to be a road agreement that does anticipate the possibility that the lot may be sold. Or we make a strong statement in the resolution… if it’s not restricted it could lead to conflict from those landowners who aren’t subdividing.”

Based on the staff’s work to find the correct version of the two submitted, the BoCC moved to approve, and prepare a resolution for their Jan. 17 meeting.

The commissioners, including Commissioner-elect PT Wood, moved into an executive session, from which no decisions were reached for further public session.