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An important agenda item for the Tuesday, Dec. 18 Chaffee County Commissioner’s meeting is held-over from the Dec. 11 meeting; a proposal to issue a short term rental compliance and monitoring agreement to be put in place for the entire county. The meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. in Buena Vista at the Buena Vista School System conference room at 113 N. Court. The agreement with vendor LodgingRevs, if approved, would be the basis to a county-wide approach to managing short term rental oversight. It was selected following a request for proposal process in which the county received two submittals.

Short term rentals have become an issue across Colorado, as more property owners have opted to make their second homes and rental properties available to tourists, rather than long-term renters. Chaffee County is attempting to monitor the activity while the percentage of short term rentals in the county is relatively small, compared to other mountain counties.

The vendor would spend year one focusing on developing an inventory of short term rentals for this county. The county plans to see it roll out across the county into Salida, Buena Vista and Poncha Springs, with the focus being to assure compliance on issues like lodging tax sales tax, personal property tax, and safety.

Another agenda item held over from their Dec. 11 public hearing session; a review of the preliminary and final plat for the Cozart Estates Major Subdivision.

The project, planned for 14300 U.S. 50 west of Poncha Springs along the Weldon Creek watershed, is a subdivision of 50.8 acres into eight lots, with a significant open space lot. The topography of the Weldon Creek project, is rugged, with some slopes of 30 percent. The site would be served by water wells, and an onsite waste water system. The project sketch plan passed Planning Commission in May, 2018 and the Commissioners in June, 2018. The agenda item is to get the applicant’s approval to continue the session to January 9, following a site visit on Dec. 17.

If commissioner’s were to vote for project approval in their Dec. 18 session, it would be out-of-sync with the Planning Commission, which has tabled their consideration of the preliminary/final plat until January 9. Tabling was chosen to allow time to receive two engineering reports; a revised drainage report addressing off-site flows and a slope stability report. In delaying a decision, planning commissioners noted that the county does not have a technical guidance document for storm water (which could become a factor in steep slope projects). The applicant had anticipated that the commissioners would also table the meeting to await the studies the Planning Commission.

During the Dec. 11 public hearing, Chair Dave Potts expressed a a significant amount of frustration, particularly about the time passing in the approval process and the request for additional engineering reports.

“They are going to be passing things up to the board of commissioners that all of a sudden we’re going to have to be engineers?” said Potts. “That is not our wheelhouse.”

“There is a necessity for the engineering study to be done,” said Commissioner Keith Baker. “It’s not with us to determine what is the standard – they should do that for us.

“Are we asking the applicant to spend double the engineering costs?” said Potts.

“Mountain Engineering proposed in their report to do a slope stability report,” said Planner Christy Barton. “Duane (Cozart) has agreed to do some additional engineering and one of these lots will be his home.”

“I understand what you are saying Dave, but these issues were called out by Mountain Engineering and the Planning Commission,” said Commissioner Greg Felt. “In this case we are on course for a better project than we were going to have.”

“As we do our comp plan update, there are places where our code is silent on things and this could be an area where additional studies are needed,” said Baker. “As building space gets more precious, people are going to be building in places where slopes are a bigger concern.”

“Planning is working on a process for the (new) county engineer to eyeball the proposals so that engineering and land use code are working together,” said County Attorney Jenny Davis. “That analysis would be done by the in-house engineer … to determine whether more is needed.”

Other agenda items include:

Commissioners will hear a proposed ordinance extending the current (temporary) ban on retail marijuana establishments to Dec. 31 2019. The ordinance acknowledges that the county does not have adequate current regulations related to the number of marijuana establishments, nor does it have process in place to deal with public concerns regarding odor and concerns over enforcement.

Commissioners will also hear the results of a community research report and recommendations for finalizing of a governance document for the 1A Ballot Issue passed by Chaffee County voters in November.

The board of commissioners will hear several boundary line adjustments and plat corrections for minor subdivisions, as well as a requested one year extension for an addendum to subdivision improvements agreement for the Lakeside Estates Preserve subdivision. It will consider two 30-day extensions for plat amendment filings: one for Lot three of the Gold Medal Estates Plat Amendment, and another for the Fontana Plat Amendment.