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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Who does the county planner work for?

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Dear Editor:

On Oct. 17, there was a joint meeting of the Crawford Area Planning Committee (CAPC) and the Delta County Planning Commission (DCPC) to discuss an application for a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) -- in this case a 20,000 hen egg laying facility on Fruitland Mesa. There were about equal numbers of public comments for and against this application. There was one vote in each official group to table the final decision to wait for the upcoming revision of the regulations for specific developments. The two bodies voted to pass on a recommendation for acceptance of the CAFO application to the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC).

I had assumed the county planner (a contract employee of Delta County, I'm told) was, indeed, working for the benefit of the people of Delta County. I was disabused of this assumption when after the vote to recommend acceptance, the county planner and the applicant (sitting next to each other during the meeting) gleefully turned, smiled at each other and shook hands vigorously, as if congratulating themselves on a successful collaboration. A very similar scenario occurred a few years ago (with a different county planner) when the DCPC voted to pass on to the BoCC a recommendation for acceptance of a strip mine gravel operation application for west of Crawford. So who does the county planner work for? Is there any money changing hands in this apparent collaboration? And what else may be going on between the county planner(s) and applicant(s)?

Larry Ribnicki

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