Thank you to the Delta County Commissioners and Planning Department for the amount of time they spent on the public hearings, review of citizen comments and for their careful deliberations on the "change of use" and specific development application submitted by Paonia Holdings LLC. The process took seven long months, and the Board of County Commissioners reached a decision to deny the application on Dec. 4.
Community members from the whole North Fork Valley came together on a common issue to ask that the county deny this specific development not only because they considered it incompatible with the property uses nearby and with the West Elk Scenic Byway designation, but because it posed a risk to the irrigation used by much of the valley. It was a wonderful exercise in democracy at work -- involved in the effort were teachers, former coal miners, farmers, ditch riders, ranchers, presidents of two water companies, members of the board of the Farmers Ditch Association, long time winery owners, farm market and retail store owners, and residents whose families had been generations living and working in the North Fork Valley. I speak for many who would like to express appreciation for the effort made, in particular for the patience and time spent by Robbie Le Valley the county administrator, in answering questions, taking phone calls, and handling with respect her communications with everyone on both sides of the issue.