New Grandview push raises hackles
the city of Durango announced that it would not fast-track its analysis of the Southern Ute Indian
Tribe's proposed Grandview development to accommodate Mercy Medical Center's timeline. However,
last Monday, the city changed its tune and lined up a vote on annexation of 682 acres for Nov. 4.
Friends of Grandview, a recently formed watch-dog group, is outraged by the move. City Planner
Greg Hoch argues that the proposed 2,211-unit development will not get any shortcuts and will be
A central component of the tribe's Grandview development
is the donation of land to Mercy Medical Center, which plans to leave its undersized building in
downtown Durango and relocate to an expanded facility. However, the hospital faces a looming
construction deadline in order to receive funding. Consequently, last Monday, the city forwarded
what it thought would be a compromise.
"The annexation petitions will be forwarded to the
council, and the council will decide whether to allow the hospital to do excavation and grading,"
Hoch said that this doesn't mean that the tribe's
development will not be properly planned. He said zoning would still have to be applied to the
development. "The area plan is being continued to Dec. 4, and the tribe's and hospital's plans are
going to go to neighborhood information meetings to allow for a public understanding without the
process seeming rushed," Hoch said.
Wally White, spokesman for the Friends of Grandview, took
a different view of the decision to push the annexation, saying that the development of Grandview
is now a foregone conclusion. "This is a done deal," he said. "We weren't even allowed public
input on Monday and now this is on a supersonic track."
White also said that it appears that Hoch is advocating
for the hospital and the tribe and as a city staff member it presents some legal issues.
"We feel really strongly that there may be some legal
issues here, and we feel very strongly that Hoch has overstepped his bounds and is advocating on
the behalf of the hospital," he said. "I'd like to see him fired. I think he has no place doing
what he's doing and advocating for these projects."
White added, "People ought to be fired up about this. This
is circumventing public process."
The Durango City Council will consider the annexation
petition at what promises to be a hot Nov. 4 meeting. Discussion of Grandview will join an
anticipated vote on River Trails Ranch. Discussion of River Trails Ranch is currently set for 7:30
Division of Wildlife
Thursday, La Plata County filed suit against the Colorado Division of Wildlife and others over the
ownership of Dry Fork and Dry Gulch roads. The roads each comprise a portion of County Road 208,
which crosses the Perins Peak State Wildlife Area southwest of town.
According to Michael Goldman, La Plata County attorney, a
longstanding dispute has existed between La Plata County and the Colorado Division of Wildlife as
to the ownership of the roads. "We have tried for the past number of years to cooperatively
resolve the question of road ownership with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, but have been
unsuccessful in our efforts," he explained. "Use of these roads has been enjoyed by the public for
decades as county roads, and we have well-documented evidence of county ownership. Therefore, the
county feels it has a duty to preserve public access on these historically designated county
The lawsuit is particularly interesting in light of a
recent push to extend the Colorado Trail through the wildlife area and into downtown Durango. The
DOW rejected a proposed land swap with the Forest Service that would allow the extension of the
trail. Nancy Jacques, of the Coalition to Save Perins Peak, said that the coalition does not
believe Goldman's statement.
"The county wants access into Perins Peak State Wildlife
Area to serve a special interest," she said. "The county is using this expensive lawsuit maneuver
to, in the coalition's opinion, serve interests like Trails 2000, who have not been shy about
wanting the convenience and marketing value of extending the Colorado Trail into town."
The lawsuit asks the court to adjudge and declare La Plata
County the owner of Dry Fork and Dry Gulch roads.
of La Plata Electric Association's September election have been questioned, and the board will
decide how to proceed during its Nov. 19 meeting. However, LPEA spokesman David Waller said that
the electric cooperative stands behind the results.
Charges has been filed that only 5,186 votes were tallied
even though 5,236 were received, and that security for the election was lacking. The numbers could
be particularly vital in the case of incumbent Herb Brodsky who won re-election by only six votes
over Thorn Mayes. Waller countered that the ballots that were not counted were not filled out
"We really don't think the result would change with a
recount," Waller said. "We stand by it 100 percent. Everything that was supposed to be counted was
Waller said that state-of-the-art counting machines were
used to speed the election and get a more accurate count. Whether a machine recount or a hand
recount will happen will be determined Nov. 19.
Lake field trip offered
interested in viewing the areas at Little Molas Lake proposed for upgrades by the San Juan
National Forest are invited to attend a field trip to the area on Thursday, Nov. 6.
The purpose of the field trip is to help people better
understand the issues and proposals by viewing conditions on the ground.Although public input
will not be recorded during the field trip, there will be many opportunities to submit public
comments into the official record later in the public involvement process. Meetings will be held
in the next fewmonths to allow citizens to offer input on solving natural-resource and
recreational issues at the popular alpine lake.
The San Juan National Forest had made an earlier decision
to approve rehabilitation of areas damaged by unregulated camping at Little Molas Lake and to
construct a Forest Service fee campground and picnic area.However, public concerns late in the
planning process caused the Forest Service to withdraw its original decision so that public input
can be more thoroughly evaluated.
Participants should meet at the turn-off to Little Molas
Lake at its intersection with U.S. Highway 550 on Molas Pass on Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. For more
information, call 375-3308 or 884-1414.
pinch on unusual vehicles
The city of
Durango is taking a stand against the parking of unusual vehicles on city streets. The city is
reminding residents that recreational vehicles, campers, boats, trailers and other similar
vehicles must be stored off city streets.
"Historically, we've had a number of large vehicles on the
streets, and it really poses a safety concern throughout the year," said Greg Caton, assistant
city manager. "We also have a maintenance issue during the winter with snow removal and
Residents are encouraged to make arrangements for storage
at off-street locations. Caton said that right now the city is asking rather than telling.
"We didn't want to go out and just start enforcing this,"
Caton said. "It's more of an education effort at this point."
For additional information call 385-2981.
- compiled by