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Briefs Gunnison County Print
Written by Alissa Johnson   
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Funds pour in for cloud seeding
In spite of early concerns that funding for cloud seeding might dry up, Gunnison County entered into an operational agreement with North American Weather Consultants for the 2011-2012 winter season on November 15.


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With the total bill projected at $95,000, a 3.26 percent increase over last year, the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District came through with a $26,500 contribution.
The county will contribute $10,000 and Mt. Crested Butte budgeted $3,000. The Colorado Water Conservation Board will cover $47,500 in matching funds, and the remaining moneys will be collected from a variety of local contributors.

No winter parking at Slate River trailhead
There will once again be no overnight parking at the Slate River trailhead this winter, but the Board of County Commissioners made an exception for Pittsburgh property owners Tony and Randi Stroh. Unlike most Pittsburgh property owners, the Stohs access their property regularly throughout the winter. They will receive one pass for one car to park overnight in honor of their historical winter access.
“We’ve been going out 25 years and… basically for well over 20 years we were the only property owners who went up there in winter,” Tony Stroh said.
The pass was granted with the understanding that it was good for one car at a time, no oversize vehicles with trailers and overnight parking would not occur for extended periods of time.
Deed restrictions won’t be lifted for Larkspur
Last week, Larkspur subdivision property owners Brian Riepe and Suzann Parker asked the commissioners to consider buying their deed-restricted plot or releasing it from its deed restriction requirements. They purchased the lot in 2008 with the intent of moving from Gunnison to Crested Butte, but subsequent job changes prevented the move.
Riepe told the commissioners that he could not afford to build on the lot given rising construction costs, which is tied into the mortgage for his home in Gunnison. Selling it would give him more flexibility to refinance, but he indicated that buyers interested in his property bought comparable properties at a similar price with no deed restriction.
“Is vacant land for essential housing meeting the goals you want to achieve?” Riepe asked the commissioners.
But the commissioners confirmed that the Larkspur lots were put under deed restriction by the developer; they were not a county program or requirement.
“Being responsible to the public interest, I am struggling with what responsibility does the public have through the county government to correct an issue that is a problem outside of our control… We have approved subdivisions for development, and they’re left holding the bag on that and haven’t come to us to see what we can do to alleviate their situation,” Commissioner Hap Channell said.
“What, if any, would be the public benefit to lift the deed restriction on this property or the entire subdivision?” Commissioner Paula Swenson asked.
“There’s no public benefit from my perspective. I don’t like deed-restricted anyway, but you can expect other property owners to say, ‘Hey, why don’t you make mine free market also?’” said Commissioner Phil Chamberland.
“I’m not a big fan of releasing restrictions—that’s fraught with a queue forming outside the door,” said Channell.
“I can’t see lifting it for just one… We don’t know if the majority of people who have them still want them. If we lift it then those who bought in the free market are still at a loss, but those who bought deed-restricted are not at a loss, or at least break even, which is not fair,” said Swenson.
“The only solution I see is if staff came back to us and said we negotiated a purchase, and we think that is a viable investment for the public… I’m not putting a dollar figure on that but I could see considering it based on a staff recommendation that the amount is justifiable for us to pick up this piece of property in the current market,” Channell said.
When asked by Swenson if there was a need for more affordable housing lots in the near future, affordable housing director KT Gazunis said, “I would hope within the next 10 years, but not in the next three to five.”

Water board reorganizes

Crested Butte has acquired one more member for the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District. Judge J. Steven Patrick approved a petition for reorganization on November 15.
The District filed for reorganization after census data suggested that the Crested Butte Division should have an additional director. The decision moves the southern boundary of the district to Cement Creek Road so that it encompasses Crested Butte South.
The District will temporarily grow to 12 directors. The decision released by Judge Patrick states, “the number of directors residing in the City of Gunnison will remain at four until such time the incumbent director ceases their term.”

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