At the request of a local business owner, the Delta City Council has decided to allow storage of explosives and hazardous fuels in the B-3 and I (industrial) zones of the city as a conditional use. Applicants must gain approval of the Delta Planning & Zoning Commission and the Delta City Council before conditional use will be granted.
The city will consider only "known materials" that have been identified, classified and regulated by a state or federal agency such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). According to the ordinance adopted last week on a 3-1 vote, "No materials shall be allowed where a regulatory agency is found to lack significant and regular oversight adequate to ensure compliance with respective regulations."
In addition, the storage area must be a suitable distance from existing or future habitable sites.
The issue was first considered Nov. 20 and moved forward after a 3-2 vote. Council members Robert Jurca and Ray Penick expressed reservations about the safety of the city's residents and cast the two "nay" votes. Other council members noted the "incredibly stringent" state and federal regulations which must be met. "With conditional approval, you can consider each application on a case-by-case basis," city manager Justin Clifton advised council members.
Staff and city attorney Mike Schottelkotte were directed to develop an ordinance for the council's consideration Dec. 4. In light of the split vote, and the fact that explosives are outside the expertise of staff and planning commission members, a work session was scheduled prior to the regular meeting. Two representatives of TK Mining Services were invited to explain how a change in conditional use would affect their business.
Dave Schaaf, CEO, said TK Mining has opened a division to handle surface blasting. If a large boulder fell onto the highway, for example, his firm could be brought in to get the road re-opened as quickly as possible. There are several different types of explosives that could be used for that purpose, he explained.
"The way those explosives are locked up in a magazine, and the way we deal with the ATF, I'd sleep beside them," he said.
For security purposes he declined to state exactly where the explosives would be stored, but under the city's procedures for conditional use, the site would be posted, a notice would be published in the DCI, and property owners within 100 feet of the location would be notified of a public hearing before the Delta Planning & Zoning Commission. After listening to input from the applicant and those property owners, the P&Z would forward a recommendation for approval or denial to city council. The public would have a second opportunity to comment before the council made its decision.
During the regular meeting following the work session, council decided the proposed ordinance needed some tweaking and the matter was tabled.
A revised ordinance was brought back to council Dec. 18. Although council members Mary Cooper and Bill Raley were comfortable with the language, Robert Jurca said the wording was still not narrow enough. He pointed out the neighboring communities of Grand Junction and Montrose do not allow explosives.
In search of a compromise, Raley suggested the wording be confined only to those materials which might be used by TK Mining.
"We're not trying to set a policy for one person," Cooper objected.
City attorney Mike Schottelkotte agreed. "You don't try to craft zoning legislation to suit one particular individual. You look at what you're trying to accomplish — ruling it out altogether, for example, or setting the parameters for conditional use."
Delta resident Ray Turner, who attended the meeting on another matter, found the topic of explosives relevant to his own business.
Turner told council he trains canines for law enforcement and currently has to take his dogs outside the state to be certified for explosives. If he was able to train his dogs within city limits, the city would benefit through the sales tax he could collect on the six dogs he averages every year.
For explosives training, he uses a small kit of ATF-regulated explosives. Quantities are so small the kit could be stored in a fire locker, but only with a change in the ordinance and the approval of city council, he said.
After some minor adjustments to the language, the ordinance was adopted on first reading. Jurca cast the only "nay" vote. Ray Penick, who had joined Jurca's concerns about citizen safety at an earlier meeting, was unable to attend the Dec. 18 council meeting.
The city's municipal code already permits aboveground fuel storage facilities for hazardous fuels in the B-3 and I zone districts. The council decision provides regulatory avenues for those who want to store explosive or other non-fuel hazardous materials, such as explosives, in the same areas of the city. Conditional use will be limited to the specified owner and the specific location, type and operation of all facilities approved for the conditional use. Any changes in ownership, location or type of operation will constitute revocation of the conditional use.blog comments powered by Disqus