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At their regular meeting on April 4, the Salida City Council (SCC) held a public hearing and final readings on Ordinance 2023-06, establishing that the Groover property at 7285 County Road 160 could be annexed into the city.

An amendment was added, to the effect that the Groovers’ planned Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) would be “grandfathered in” under older city rules about ADU construction, and not be subject to the systems development fees mandated under Ordinance 2022-26, passed in January of this year.

Ordinance 2023-07 established the annexation at a zoning density rating of R-2, or medium density. Related to these actions were the consideration and approval of Resolution 2023-14 approving the findings of fact for the annexation, and Resolution 2023-15 approving the annexation with the discussed exceptions.

Site map showing location of the Groover annexation. Image courtesy of the City of Salida.

Senior Planner Kristi Jefferson explained the reasoning behind the grandfathering request: “In November [2022], when the Groovers came to us, we told them they could apply for a [systems fee] deferral if the house and ADU aren’t rented separately.

The Groovers are building the ADU to house their daughter, but the SCC passed the Ordinance in January, saying that they couldn’t defer. The Groovers are asking for the original agreement to be honored.”

“So the system development fee would pose a hardship for the applicants?” asked Mayor Pro-Tem Justin Critelli. “And if they ever rented to another party, they would have to pay the system development fee?” asked Council member Harald Kasper. Jefferson replied “Yes” to both questions.

After Mayor Dan Shore asked for suggested language for the amendment, he asked the applicants if they wished to make a statement. “I want to thank you for the process,” said Dewey Groover: “I thank you for letting us do this. I moved here in ‘81 and I knew this city was going to blow up and real estate was going to be at a premium…my daughter can’t afford to live here, a lot of people can’t afford to live here. Even a lot in Salida is close to $200,000. I would be very appreciative if council could give us that grandfather clause.”

“How do we keep track of ADUs staying in the family in terms of systems development fees?” Critelli asked. “If there’s a deed restriction on the title, that goes with the property,” Jefferson replied. After some further discussion, the SCC passed Ordinance 2023-06 as amended, as well as Ordinance 2023-07 and Resolutions 2023-14 and 15, unanimously.

The SCC then turned to consideration of Resolution 2023-16, approving a financing plan for the proposed new firehouse via Certificates of Participation. City Finance Director Aimee Tihonovich, making the presentation, explained that the Certificates of Participation would allow the city to finance the building of the fire station on a type of “lease-purchase” plan, and pay the lender and investors back each year, from city revenues budgeted for that purpose, without having to raise taxes or put a bond issue before the voters. The SCC then unanimously passed motions to approve Resolution 2023-16 and Resolution 2023-17, approving the ADA Transition Plan.

“Usually we have something in there [with Resolution 2023-17] about financial impacts,” City Treasurer Merrell Bergin noted during staff reports: “We need to include this so it’s highly visible in the budgeting process. There’s a $5 million price tag [on ADA compliance measures] spread over many years. It’s in the city’s interest to give it visibility (and take credit for progress). We should include ADA improvements as a line item in the budget.”

City Attorney Geoff Wilson urged the SCC to pay attention to State Senate Bill 23-213: “This could really change a lot of how we do land-use planning – among other things this makes ADUs a use by right in every zoning district.”

In other business, the SCC also recognized April as Arab-American Heritage Month; the week of April 15 to April 22 as Dark Skies Week; approved a “Lodging and Entertainment” liquor license application, after a public hearing for Jeff Bamburg of Rocky Mountain Mercantile at 110 E. First Street; and promised action on revisiting family pool pass policies after a complaint from Cailey McDermott during citizen comment.