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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Hotchkiss needs professional expertise

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Dear Editor:

The Town of Hotchkiss needs a land use planner and/or a town manager with planning experience. This is clear from how the town has treated two simple land splits including one proposed by the town itself. In the case of the latter one would think that the town would try to avoid accusations of self-dealing and gaming the system by invoking a free pass to avoid a more comprehensive review by using the awkward language in a 2015 "no impact" ordinance amending the subdivision regulations meant to simplify the public review process for things such as simple boundary adjustments that have little need of such drawn-out reviews.

In the case of the Bolton subdivision it was rushed through the process despite there obviously being impacts from creation of a new buildable lot that will use town services as well as clear questions as to the proposals meeting street frontage requirements, a "specification" of the town. The council approval ignored those concerns and did not present any "findings" as to why. As a former volunteer land use planner with the town for 14 years, I was deeply disappointed.

In the case of the town's proposal to divide eight acres off of their newly purchased Barrow Mesa property there is still time (the public hearing was delayed until the June council meeting) to reverse course, admit the lapse in judgement due to inexperience, and review the proposal properly as a minor subdivision requiring at least one variance for approval; an exception from the requirement that new lots need at least a 50-foot frontage on a dedicated public street. A quarter mile of narrow dirt driveway through the middle of town's property is obviously not such a street.

One would think that since the town will be asking the state for up to $1 million to build a new $1.6 million public works building on the larger lot of the subdivision that they would be more careful to show the state and taxpayers that procedures subdividing the property were followed in a proper and normative manner. In this age of national government openly ignoring the rule of law it would be nice if one small town could set an example of doing things the right way.

Thomas Wills

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