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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Orchard City trustees disagree on drought actions

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After making some adjustments to the agenda, the Orchard City Board of Trustees began its Dec. 5 work session by continuing the discussion on tiny home building regulations. "The hope is to ease some of the restrictions on building a normal home," said Mayor Ken Volgamore.

Essentially, the trustees will adopt parts of Appendix Q from the 2018 International Regulation Codes.

Tiny homes on wheels will be "strictly prohibited," with the appendix applying to homes of 400 square feet or less.

Trustee Doug Keller raised the issue of whether they should even allow tiny homes at all and recommended making it a voting item. "Those are two different areas," commented building inspector Bruce Stanley.

The general consensus was that since the community already technically allows them there at least need to be regulations in place. The first reading of the ordinance will be at the Dec. 12 meeting with implementation in January.

Following this the trustees discussed RVs. "I would have no problem with an RV park," said Mayor Volgamore.

"Is this something else we might want to put on the community survey?" asked trustee Jan Gage in response.

One issue they realized would be how to enforce the 90-day live-in rule that's currently in place for RVs on properties and if they should enforce it with an RV park.

They decided to wait until the survey results come back to further explore RVs.

Regarding the community survey, it's still in draft mode with the planning commission. This survey will analyze town direction. The last one sent out over a decade ago received good feedback, according to trustees.

Another ordinance on the agenda was the amendment to subdivision/land improvement regulations. Basically it's a "cleanup of previous subdivision rules," commented trustee Gynee Thomassen. "Very minor changes."

The first reading will be at the Dec. 12 meeting.

Next they discussed changing the point of responsibility for water leaks from the meter/house to the main line. Before being changed years ago the town's responsibility ended at the main line with the owner's responsibility being from the main to the meter. The main issue is that when a homeowner puts in a line from their meter to the tap it might not be up to town standards and leaks then become the town's responsibility.

One concern raised was the possibility of a homeowner deciding not to fix a line between the main and the meter. The town would still be losing water that wouldn't be recorded on the meter. Audit meters might be a solution, but that puts more responsibility on the town.

Polly Proctor, deputy clerk, brought up that many meters have been moved closer to the main to account for this issue.

They also discussed the possibility of moving the meters closer to the main when repairs are needed. This idea will be explored with the water committee.

The drought task force report was the most discussed item on the agenda. Viewpoints clashed on the recommended phases for drought actions.

Additionally, trustees disagreed on the recommendations for new taps and tap installations during droughts.

For example, trustee Dick Kirkpatrick highlighted that this year when they urged citizens to conserve water, they saw an increase in water use that month because citizens foresaw a spike in rates. Thus, he thinks preliminary phases might do more harm than good.

Trustee Keller disagreed, saying education is important, specifically when targeting high end users like those using 60,000 gallons regularly, even in a drought.

After discussing conflicting opinions, trustee Mel Cook pointed out that if the town focused on buying more water when able then in times of drought it wouldn't need to raise rates.

"That would take care of a lot of this," he said, referring to the concerns raised by staff with the drought recommendations.

To finish, they discussed water acquisitions at length before concluding the need to put this item on the next work session agenda. The trustees will bring recommendations for specific changes to the report.

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Surface Creek
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drought, Orchard City, Trustees
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