|A gnarled locust prepares
to bud in the
Smiley Building courtyard. /Photo by Todd Newcomer.
Extension of moratorium likely
La Plata County’s six-month moratorium on development
in the Grandview area expires early next week. However, the
review of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s proposal for
up to 2,500 new units in a New Urbanism configuration is not
likely to proceed in the near future. The City of Durango has
requested that the county consider extending the moratorium
by three months.
“The moratorium is up on April 21,” said Nancy
Lauro, county planner. “We’ve got a request from
the city to extend it.”
City Planner Greg Hoch said one of the reasons for the request
is that the city’s Grandview-South Fork Area Plan has
yet to be completed. The city expects a draft copy of the document
that will guide annexation and development of the area next
“That time frame took longer than we thought it would,
but it’s been very challenging,” Hoch said.
One of the reasons the moratorium was adopted late last October
was to investigate transferable development rights. In the midst
of the recent swell of development, La Plata County is searching
for an antidote to sprawl, and a working group has been studying
TDR’s for the last six months. “The TDR’s
aren’t quite ready although there’s been progress,”
Though the Tierra Group, the tribe’s real estate development
arm, could not be reached for comment, Hoch said the review
cannot proceed until the area plan is adopted.“They can’t
get annexed until the area plan is adopted anyway,” he
On April 21, the La Plata County Commissioners will consider
whether to extend the moratorium until July 21.
Fort Lewis restarts president search
Now that all three finalists have withdrawn from contention,
Fort Lewis College has little choice but to start over in its
search for a new president. Interim President Bob Dolphin’s
contract has been extended one year, the time the college’s
Board of Trustees expects is needed to complete a new search.
In the last search, the board reviewed 125 possible candidates
and narrowed it to three. Michael Levy, the last finalist, withdrew
early this month. Board of Trustees Chairman Peter Decker said
he is optimistic about a renewed search. “There are many
candidates attracted to Fort Lewis College,” he said.
Decker added that he was pleased that Dolphin agreed to extend
his contract, saying, “I am delighted that Dr. Dolphin
has agreed to continue as interim president, a position he has
so ably filled this past year,” he said.
Dolphin has served as Fort Lewis College president since July
1, 2002, when former president Kendall Blanchard resigned. Dolphin
had planned to retire at the end of the 2002-03 academic year
after the Board of Trustees had hired a new president.
Dolphin said despite challenges, Fort Lewis College will move
forward. “The campus is poised to move forward with its
continued quality growth,” he said. “We have strong
academic programs, excellent new facilities and technology,
and superb faculty and staff.”
Log Chutes prescribed burn complete
Fire crews have completed the Log Chutes prescribed burn, which
began Thursday, April 10. Crews burned a total of 608 acres
in four days. Burn boss Craig Goodell said the burn went very
well and he was pleased that the weather cooperated. Because
of changing conditions last year, crews were unable to complete
the burn then. About 2,000 acres were burned last year.
Because the Junction Creek area receives a lot of recreation
use, fire managers felt it was important to clean up or remove
the lighter surface fuels such as pine needles, pine cones,
oak leaves, and small dead branches, making the area safer should
a fire start. The burn will also help improve the health of
the ponderosa pines by reducing the competition from oakbrush.
No other prescribed burns are planned in the Durango area this
City Market pulls Manna’s food source
The Manna Soup Kitchen’s primary food supply was cut off
last week. Courtesy of a corporate decision from City Market’s
parent company, donations from the two local supermarkets have
ended. City Market had supplied between 80-90 percent of Manna’s
food, which feeds approximately 100 people per day.
Manna director Kim Workman said the decision has been devastating.
“It’s tough right now,” she said. “Between
80 and 90 percent of my food is gone.”
Workman said the community outpouring has been tremendous,
including dozens of phone calls and a $1,000 donation. However,
she added that a solution has not been found. “I’ve
got all kinds of people out there that are concerned and want
to help,” Workman said. “So far the answer is eluding
Workman noted that Manna will be looking to the community for
support now, and that the soup kitchen is open to any suggestions.
She also encouraged people to not boycott the local City Markets,
noting that the decision was made on high.
“It’s not the people at City Market,” Workman
said. “I’ve had people call me and say they’re
boycotting City Market. That’s not the answer.”
King Soopers, which owns the City Market chain, made the decision
based on setting a new personal standard for food-safety and
not donating food that it wouldn’t be comfortable selling.
The Manna Soup Kitchen can be reached by calling 385-5095.
Disaster preparedness meeting set
On Saturday, April 19, a community meeting will be held to address
what wildfire survivors can expect this spring and summer. The
meeting will be run by the La Plata Office of Emergency Management
and Lutheran Disaster Response, the organization contracted
by FEMA for community outreach. LDR is the first faith-based
organization to be funded by FEMA in Colorado history.
LDR started delivering disaster preparedness kits door-to-door
during the month of March, with the goal to reach all residents
in the high-risk areas for flooding and mudslides as outlined
by the office of emergency management. The group has also worked
through Lutheran Family Services of Colorado to bring appropriate
and needed help through small cash grants for persons affected
economically in some way by these disasters.
At the meeting, members of the public will be able to get the
most up-to-date information about the Missionary Ridge Fire
from the US Geological Survey, findings gleaned from photos
taken by the Civil Air Patrol and the OEM. OEM Director Butch
Knowlton will give an overview of last summer’s fires
and discuss the resultant high-risk areas and roads for flooding,
debris and mud slides. Knowlton will also give his perspective
on pine beetle infestation and the drought. LDR will provide
free Disaster Preparedness Kits.
The meeting will take place on Saturday, April 19, at 11 a.m.
at Christ the King Church, 495 Florida Road across from Chapman
Hill. Child care and light snacks will be provided. For more
information, call 247-4537.