A decision on the setback variances for a Spartan Heights subdivision, was recommended for approval at the Poncha Springs Planning and Zoning Commission (P & Z) meeting on July 8, was tabled at the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees July 22.
Habitat for Humanity is developing Lots 9 and 10 in the Spartan Heights development in conjunction with the Salida School District, which owns the land. The organization requested a variance for the front setbacks for the single-family houses they planned to put on the two lots. The proposed units are 24-feet wide on a 45.7-foot lot, leaving 21.7 feet for setbacks. Land use code in Poncha Springs requires a minimum of 12 feet for the front setback. Habitat for Humanity had requested, and P & Z had approved, a variance allowing for the front setback off Spartan Alley to be reduced to 9.7 feet.
Trustee Tom Moore, after noting that the developers were not present to make the case for the variance request, took exception to the notion of reducing the setbacks. “I have a real problem with that,” said Moore. “We all are supportive of the school, but there’s no reason to continue to erode our setbacks.”
“The (proposed housing) unit is 24-feet wide and that’s what’s driving the request for the setback,” said Trustee Dean Edwards. “[The developers] need to come in and speak to the justification for that model of unit.”
“I didn’t see a problem with it (the variance request) because of the layout – facing Spartan Alley,” said P & Z Vice Chairman Dave Ward, speaking from the floor. “They really wanted the 24-foot building – I think that giving people additional living space is well worth the setback variance.”
As an alternative to the front setback variance, Ward suggested a lot-size adjustment, with the possibility of adjusting the alley width from 30 feet to 26 feet.
Mayor Ben Scanga then asked for a motion after closing the public hearing. Trustee Darryl Wilson, saying, “I would like to talk to (the developers) before voting,” who made the motion to table the decision until the next regular board meeting. Dean Edwards seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Town manager Brian Berger said that he would communicate that decision to the developers.
In other business, the trustees approved a lease agreement for the Old School House with the Chaffee County Childcare Initiative to run a daycare program. They also conducted a review for signage for Anytime Fitness, the chain that is opening a new outlet at 9985 Highway 50.
Trustees also held public hearings on liquor licenses for the Chaffee County Fair Foundation, the Chaffee County Democrats, and Lagree’s Market and Hardware, located at 10100 W Hwy 50. The first two were for special events licenses to be held at the Fairgrounds and Chipeta Park, respectively.
Scanga spoke for the Chaffee County Fair Foundation, explaining that the reason it was established as a separate nonprofit, is that the town and county cannot accept discounted or donated liquor for sale, and a nonprofit can. “The goal,” said Scanga, “is to have the fair foundation take over all operations at fairgrounds and raise funds for the fair.” Motions to approve all three licenses passed unanimously.
The board also reviewed and approved Ordinance 2019-1, establishing a painted curb policy for no parking zones around fire hydrants within town limits. They also discussed a project list for capital improvements and long-term planning, and accepted Public Works manager Bret Collyer’s resignation letter, with thanks for his service to the community.