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Written by Alissa Johnson and Seth Mensing   
Wednesday, 03 October 2012
Thompson Divide to get further attention
Commissioner Phil Chamberland wants to understand whether gas is considered a mineral under Senator Michael Bennet’s draft bill to protect Thompson Divide, and whether the bill aims to protect the surface habitat or underground resources as well.
“Because directional drilling can go for miles, why lock up the resource?” he asked at a board meeting last month.
“Because of directional drilling does it lock up the resource?” Commissioner Hap Channell asked.
“I don’t know,” Chamberland said.
So while the commissioners had previously expressed their intent to write a letter in support of the draft legislation, they tabled the discussion for a future meeting so they could get some clarity about the bill and answers to Chamberland’s questions.

Disentangling Irwin

The county is poised to approve the vacation of a portion of 6th street and an alley in Irwin, making them part of a parcel owned by Chris Young.
“As you know, Irwin is a little tangled up,” said Public Works director Marlene Crosby. “The streets and alleys around him have been vacated, but not his property.”
The Young property already encompasses four lots that are interrupted by the alley and the street. The street and alley have already been vacated for both neighbors and will make Young’s lot one contiguous parcel instead of divided.
Approval is pending a lot cluster application and getting a permit in order for a new deck already under construction on the lot.

Reauthorization of Land Preservation Fund gets County support

The commissioners put their support behind the effort to reauthorize the Land Preservation Fund, which is going back on the ballot this November. The fund was first passed in 1997 and provides local funds for conservation projects.
In adopting the resolution supporting the reauthorization, commissioner Hap Channell didn’t try to reinvent the wheel, using a lot of language from the 1997 resolution to frame the support for the reauthorization.
“Most of language is taken from previous resolutions’ language that has been brought up to date,” he said. If passed by voters, the reauthorization would take the LPF into 2033.

Commissioners hear from concerned Pitkin residents about road closure
A group of concerned citizens from Pitkin came to the commissioners to ask for some help in reclaiming what they see as a vital road between the Quartz Creek Valley and Waunita Pass.
The Forest Service closed Powderhouse Road a couple of weeks ago by way of felling big trees and moving boulders into place with a bulldozer that made the road impassable, even on foot, Pitkin resident Bob Lickert told the commissioners.
“I think there are indeed other roads and trails that need to be addressed,” he said. “They have cut us off from fire protection and escape completely.”
With local activist David Justice representing the group at the meeting, the hope was to have the county investigate ownership of the road, which they contend is under county authority.
Commissioner Hap Channell assured the group they would look into the matter.
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