Airport zoning, rail spurs discussed
By Pat Sunderland
Published Thursday, July 19, 2018 9:12 am
At a work session Tuesday, July 10, Delta City Council members agreed staff should pursue a pre-annexation agreement with the county before water and sewer are extended to Blake Field in North Delta. Whether or not that pre-annexation agreement is exercised is up to the city, attorney David McConaughey advised, but it will serve as a tool for outlining expectations for both entities. Installation costs and system maintenance are two items that could be covered in the pre-annexation agreement.
This step is required of all parties requesting city utilities, although county officials have said Blake Field tenants do not wish to be annexed into the city. They also don't want to pay out-of-town tap fees and water and sewer rates.
A major sticking point to annexation seems to be landscaping and other site development requirements. City manager David Torgler suggested the city could create an "airport overlay," essentially a new zoning district that could mitigate concerns about site development.
Community development director Glen Black pointed out that the airport in Delta is not as visible as the airport in Montrose. "We could consider what works for Delta," he said.
Black was directed to start the airport zoning process with the city's planning commission while Torgler and Betsy Suerth, the city's public works and utilities director, move forward with engineering/design of infrastructure improvements in partnership with county officials.
At the work session, council members also addressed the need for road improvements to the airport. Council members agreed that road improvements should ideally be incorporated into the infrastructure project, particularly if there's any possibility additional development could occur in the area in the future.
Staff also asked for direction on rail spurs, another topic that came up during a joint city-county meeting on June 26.
The city has identified one potential site to be shared with county officials. Some council members questioned the need for rail spurs. Stacey Voigt, director of Delta County Economic Development, said rail spurs are vital for some of the clients DCED is working with. She cited challenges to trucking, including electronic logs and a nationwide shortage of truck drivers. She said rail transport is a viable alternative.
As the work session wound down, Suerth and council member Gerald Roberts briefly touched on a new Project 7 water treatment plant that could affect water rates for the city's customers. Roberts said there is currently no backup if the water treatment plant went offline; the new treatment plant would rectify that situation. He and Suerth promised to keep council updated.