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The Poncha Springs Planning and Zoning Committee’s May 14 meeting ended with an impromptu visit to the Veterans Memorial site at the Poncha Springs Visitors Center as part of the committee’s consideration of a conceptual plan to remodel the center.

Discussion of the conceptual plan’s features at the meeting proper included a review of the phases of the project, laid out by town administrator Brian Berger. The plan will consist of a Phase I and Phase II, with the Veterans Memorial remodel and repositioning as part of a “pre-Phase I” implementation. New flagpoles have been ordered for the memorial, and there will be seven in all at the site: the tallest for an American flag, then five for the various service branches, then one for the Colorado state flag.

The existing memorial will be moved and re-oriented so that it is more easily visible from the road. Berger suggested that repaving the current entrance from U.S. Hwy. 285, along with improved signage and “grand entrance”-style gateposts at that entrance, may also be considered as part of the “pre-Phase I” improvements.

Before adjourning for the site visit, the committee deliberated on features of the project’s other phases, particularly long-term and short-term parking and the site of the RV dump. Committee member Dave Ward asked what “long-term parking” meant in the context of the visitors center – did it include camping?

Berger replied that it meant a rest area for truckers, passenger car parking for hikers and possibly bus transit parking, rather than a camping facility. Short-term parking for a proposed dog park as well as the visitors center would be located on the U.S. Hwy. 50 side of the site.

Mayor Ben Scanga and Mayor Pro Tem Adrian Quintana addressed the issue of moving the RV dump from its current location. Quintana said he liked the proposed design but had concerns about the one-way traffic circles. Scanga suggested that moving the RV dump west of the RV short-term parking would allow RVs to come out of the dump and into the parking area, rather than the other way around.

Quintana said the timing of the construction is a concern, noting that since Salida had closed its RV dump, closing the Poncha Springs dump for any considerable length of time would inconvenience travelers. Berger responded that construction could be timed so that the dump would be closed for only a couple of days; and on the matter of project financing, dump station fees could be applied to the construction costs for the duration of the project.

Scanga made a motion to table the remaining agenda item regarding a garage construction setback variance for a residence in the Monarch’s Crossing development until the next regular meeting on June 12. No representatives of the project were present at the meeting to explain it. Kirk Donovan seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.

The next meeting of the Planning and Zoning Committee will be a joint public hearing with the Board of Trustees at 6:30 p.m. May 29 at the Poncha Springs Town Hall to consider a minor subdivision of a 4.9 acre lot owned by Harder-Diesslin Development Group. For more information, contact Berger at 719-539-6882.

Planning for the first phase of the Poncha Springs Visitor Center is underway. The first segment to be completed will be the Veterans Memorial area.