The topic for a 5:30 p.m. June 7 joint work session of the Chaffee County commissioners and the planning commission will be a discussion regarding Chaffee County outfitting facilities and definitions. The session is scheduled for the commissioners’ meeting room at 104 Crestone Ave., Salida.
In their May 8 meeting, Chaffee County commissioners unanimously voted to deny an amendment to the definition of “outfitting facilities” in the Chaffee County Land Use Code, proposed by local resident Dave Moore. The motion to deny included a formal request for a joint work session with the Chaffee County Planning Commission to discuss the county’s interpretation of outfitting facilities and lack of a definition for “outfitter.”
During its April 24 public hearing, the planning commission unanimously denied the requested amendment and, because of spirited public comments and lack of clarity surrounding the topic, made a formal request to devote a work session to the topic “in light of broader impacts on the community.”
The discussion packet includes excerpts from District Court Magistrate Amanda Hunter’s Feb. 9 ruling regarding outfitting definitions pertaining to local resident Alison Brown (see the entire ruling here: https://arkvalleyvoice.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/18-May-9-Injunction-web.pdf). The ruling points out the court did not view as part of its analysis a determination of whether the Board of Adjustment had abused its discretion in determining that Dr. Brown was operating an outfitting facility and includes two references noting that no argument regarding the constitutionality of the zoning regulation has been raised by the defendant.
Planning Commissioner Marjo Curgus researched other Colorado hunt clubs and reviewed land use codes from Gunnison, Grand, Moffatt, Rio Blanco and Larimer counties, as well as Butte County, Mont.; Lexington, Ky.; and Florida and Washington. Her objective was to assess their approach to managing uses related to commercial operations, hunting and recreation-based uses.
Curgus’ research revealed that the oldest hunt club in Colorado, the Arapahoe Hunt, whose kennels began at Cherry Creek Country Club, is covered by two conditional land uses, stable and kennel, on a single property but no other use categories. Formed in 1907 and dormant during World War I, the hunt club was reactivated in 1929 in what is now Highlands Ranch. It is now located at a gun and hunting club in Kiowa County.
The Arapahoe Hunt was the first hunt in the U.S. to hunt coyotes exclusively, and the club points out that foxes and coyotes seldom coexist peacefully. According to Arapahoe Hunt literature, “the coyote is one of the very few animals that has extended its range in the face of civilization.”
Brown said her American foxhounds are bred to move predators such as coyotes away from livestock grazing areas, but none are killed.
Curgus’ research found that “no Colorado counties (nor any other state) include a single definition that specifically identifies a person as an outfitter nor a land use of an outfitter operation or outfitter related facilities. Nearly all provide definitions for specific types of recreation uses and facilities related to both commercial/non-commercial recreation-based uses including stables, kennels, private riding stables, recreation uses, fish/hunt clubs, etc.”