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During the Salida City Council’s regular meeting on Dec. 7, the council voted to appoint Justin Critelli as Mayor pro tem. Critelli accepted the role, which includes standing in for Mayor Dan Short to lead council meetings and represent the city when the mayor isn’t available.

Council then voted to approve the first reading of Resolution 2021-42 and set a public hearing. This resolution declares the 141 Annex Annexation is in substantial compliance with city ordinances and state statutes.

Council then held the first reading of Ordinance 2021-19, which approves the transfer and conveyance of property to the city of Salida and authorizes the execution of certain agreements that are expected to make it easier to plan the future development of the Vandaveer Ranch parcel. The City of Salida is the owner of roughly 97.5 contiguous acres within the Vandaveer Planned Development area, just south of the South Arkansas River, between CR 107 to the west and CR 104 to the east.

Many have viewed this property in hopes of using it for residential housing, natural open space areas, and active recreation spaces. Planning staff recognizes that there is an opportunity to enhance the potential developability and connectivity of the northeastern portion of the site via a land swap with one of the neighboring properties to the north (owned by Jodie and Barry Snyder and zoned RMU).

The Snyder property extends from Highway 50 in the north all the way across the South Arkansas River and in between City-owned parcels, close to a likely entrance area for future development of the City property (see area highlighted in the map below). Staff identified the southern tip of the Snyder property as space that could be used for a variety of purposes down the road, potentially including access and parking for a trail along the southern edge of the South Arkansas River.

Property that will undergo restoration as part of ordinance 2021-19. Image courtesy of the city of Salida.

In late 2020, staff approached the Snyders to discuss the possibility of exchanging an approximately .9-acre portion of their property for an equally sized slice of City-owned land immediately to their west, just north of the South Arkansas River. This piece of City-owned property is a 76-foot-wide strip of land that is largely inaccessible from the rest of the City property due to the location of the river and its wetland characteristics.

Following additional discussions and site visits, it was determined that there was mutual interest in the exchange. The Snyders say they intend to restore the riparian area of their property along the river’s edge to a more natural and ecologically healthy state, and the .9 acres to their west would be a beneficial addition to that project.

Meanwhile, the .9 acres at the southern tip of the Snyder property is currently inaccessible to them except through City property. It affords primarily dry and developable land that is already contiguous with City property and could be used to the community’s benefit.

Council then approved the first reading of Ordinance 2021-20 which reappoints and sets compensation for Cheryl Hardy-Moore as Municipal Court Judge. Judge Hardy-Moore has expressed interest in remaining in the position as Municipal Court Judge.

The fiscal impact of this Ordinance would be $20,400 annually (monthly compensation of $1,700). This amount has been budgeted for in the 2022 Annual Budget for the City of Salida. The public hearing was set for December 21, 2021.

To watch the full meeting, click here.

Featured image: Justin Critelli, current council member for Ward 2 and newly appointed Mayor pro tem. Image Courtesy of the City of Salida.