Durango, CO: A donation of 49 acres adjacent to the Oxbow Preserve was supported by City Council at its regular meeting Tuesday, when councilors approved a resolution directing the city manager to close on the acquisition, which may extend the Animas River Trail.
The land is owned by Maddy and William Waters under a limited partnership called Romad Investments. The two parcels comprising 49.42 acres were appraised at $1.48 million in 2012 and are located north of and immediately adjacent to Oxbow Preserve. This property provides an opportunity to expand wildlife habitat preservation and Animas River watershed protection and public enjoyment, as well as potential expansion of the Animas River Trail. The city will pay outstanding property taxes and all due diligence expenses of approximately $16,000.
City staff will initiate a Phase 1 Environmental Assessment, expected to be completed in 2-3 weeks. After that, preparation of closing documents and process are anticipated to take an additional 4-6 weeks, for an anticipated completion date no later than June 1, 2023.
"It's been many years in the making," said Parks and Recreation Director Ture Nycum. This project will retain key open space in its natural condition and support growth and water resource management strategies that help maintain the aesthetic, recreational and environmental value of the Animas River Greenway.
The donation was the most eagerly anticipated item by councilors during the evening. Councilors meet the first and third Tuesdays of the month.
At the study session held earlier:
- Council decided against reviewing the evidence of Councilor Olivier Bosmans' alleged repeated violations of code of conduct, or to discuss the alleged violations and determine if a course of action was warranted. Instead, councilors agreed to bring up the issues in public with Bosmans, who did not attend the study session, in person.
- Compensation for council members at other similarly sized municipalities was reviewed. Councilors decided if a citizen-driven initiative was created that would potentially increase council compensation, they would debate the issue further at that time.
During the regular meeting that began at 5:30, councilors:
- Recognized the Police Department for its accreditation by the Colorado Association of Chiefs.
- Were given an update on the city's Destination Management Master Plan, a document being created to guide the city's sustainable marketing efforts for the next 10 years. The plan would align the marketing efforts with the city's Strategic Plan and community values. A public forum is scheduled for Feb. 28 at City Hall from 6-7 p.m. The final plan will be presented to council in late summer.
- Approved an ordinance authorizing a lease with Roots and Wings Aviation LLC, and a preliminary plan by the company to build a non-commercial aeronautical aircraft hangar within the airport’s North General aviation complex.
- Approved an ordinance authorizing a new lease term of 30 years for Thomas Phelps for the continued utilization of the hangar improvements at the airport for the storage of aircraft.
- Approved an ordinance that updated portions of Chapter 3 of the Code of Ordinances pertaining to alcoholic beverages. The city regulates the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages but recent changes in state law to allow for takeout and delivery of alcohol has precipitated the need for updates.
- Approved a staff-initiated request to amend 17 different sections of the Land Use and Development Code that cover topics ranging from duplex standards to how the public is notified of various projects. Most of the proposed amendments consist of minor changes that will help to improve the function of land use regulations by improving the clarity of the code, correcting minor inconsistencies, or updating requirements to reflect how staff has interpreted or applied standards. The proposed amendments will also create a new use within the code called “Food Truck Pod.” The next step is to draft an ordinance to implement the changes.
- Approved an easement requested by La Plata Electric Association across City-owned property for a new electrical service line at the Durango-La Plata County Airport. The city attorney will prepare an ordinance authorizing the granting of this easement for a first reading at a regularly scheduled Council meeting.
- In separate items, approved the subdivision of properties located at 2375 W. 2nd Ave. and 3001 W. 2nd Ave.
- Approved a resolution authorizing the acceptance of the Romad Investments property donation and directed the city manager to close on the acquisition. The donation is for 49.42 acres from Romad Investments, owners of the property located north of and immediately adjacent to Oxbow Preserve. This property provides opportunity to expand wildlife habitat preservation and Animas River watershed protection and public enjoyment, as well as potential expansion of the Animas River Trail.
City Council meetings may be attended in person at City Hall, 949 East 2nd Ave., or virtually. Meeting links for virtual meetings are at DurangoGov.org/Zoom. Meetings are televised live on YouTube, via Zoom and on the city's website (click on "Live Media"). An email link for public comment is located at DurangoGov.org/meetings at the top of the page as well as on the agenda itself under Public Participation. Comments must be submitted no later than noon on the Monday preceding the meeting. If comment by email is not possible, comments may also be placed in the drop box located in front of City Hall no later than noon on the Monday preceding the meeting. All written comments will be provided to the Council for review. Written comments may be read into the record and/or attached to the minutes of the meeting at the direction/discretion of Council. Email comments should be directed to: PublicComment@durangogov.org.
Public Information Officer - Spokesman
Phone: (970) 375-5090