Since last summer, the Orchard City trustees have been negotiating with the Colorado Water Conservation Board over new floodplain regulations that affect the town.
The CWCB provided an ordinance that it said the town was obliged to adopt, or else Orchard City residents would not be able to buy flood insurance and would be cut off from FEMA assistance in the event of a disaster. Trustees thought those were heavy hammers of enforcement to place on the town board and citizens, especially when parts of the ordinance appeared to place burdens on agricultural irrigation. The town stood its ground and got changes it wanted in the decreed ordinance.
Those changes protect agricultural irrigators from what otherwise would have amounted to direct state and federal control over their day-to-day activities, according to town officials.
The resulting ordinance was heard by the town board on first reading June 8. It is scheduled to come up for final adoption at the board's July 13 meeting. While the ordinance requires that new construction, including homes, in floodplain areas obtain a permit and meet engineering standards, the permitting and engineering do not apply to normal maintenance and repair of ditches and irrigation structures in floodplain areas.
According to town officials, maintenance activities are excluded from the permitting and engineering requirements for new construction in floodplain areas. That is an exclusion that was not at all clear in the original text of the ordinance suggested by CWCB.
Normal maintenance activities that are excluded from the permitting requirement are defined as follows: Any activity undertaken to repair or prevent the deterioration, impairment, or failure of any stream, a previously constructed improvement, or structure including, without limitation, the removal of sediment and debris, installation of erosion and sediment control devises, and the replacement of structural components. Maintenance does not include substantial modifications, substantial improvements, total replacement of existing facilities, or total reconstruction of a facility.
The proposed ordinance is available for review at the Orchard City Town Hall and is being considered for second reading and possible adoption at the town board's July 13 meeting.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.