Watson letter leaves wrong impact
I am responding to a letter to the editor written by Susan Watson, published in the Dec. 20 edition of this newspaper, which concerned the Ouray County Planning Commission (OCPC).
I believe Ms. Watson misconstrued my remarks at the Dec. 6 OCPC meeting. I was concerned that when I was running test cases using the current draft of the Section 9 point system that the five maximum points being allowed before a house would fail the point system was too low and should be increased to at least six points or more. I had run a number of test cases, which showed that houses with square footages from about 2,000 to 4,000 square feet were failing the point system. And this may have resulted in property owners having to use more apparent massing and/or landscaping in the construction process in order for the houses to pass the point system. Therefore, I was interested in both Sheelagh Williams and Tim Currin running point system tests with actual homes, which had passed the current point system and had been built in Ouray County. Their tests ultimately showed that the maximum number of points should be increased from five to six in order for these houses to pass under the current draft of the regulation.
None of my remarks were intended as an implied criticism of other members of the commission, nor was I implying that the planning commission was taking the county in a direction that I thought was wrong,
Furthermore, Ms. Watson seems to be under the impression that the OCPC has a mission to stop growth, construction and development in Ouray County. From my personal perspective as an attendee at numerous OCPC meetings over the last three years and as the newest member of the OCPC, the OCPC has absolutely no intention of trying to stop growth, construction or development in Ouray County. It is simply trying to minimize visual impacts from construction within a mile and half of certain roads in the county.
Ms. Watson also seems to be under the impression that the current draft of the visual impact regulations will mandate where property owners can build on their property; what their house will look like;
what size their house will be; what screening, blending, landscaping and mitigation will be required; and thus be an overly burdensome and costly regulation. In my opinion, this is simply incorrect. The OCPC has been trying to revise the point system, so that structures being built can pass the point system without unduly burdening the property owners with extra costs.
Ms. Watson is also under the impression that the rewrite of the visual impact regulation goes much further than the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) intended the rewrite to go. In my opinion, the OCPC has been diligently trying to follow all of the BOCC’s directives to the OCPC contained in the BOCC’s Resolution No. 2010-045, including the 12 items contained in Exhibit A to that resolution, which the BOCC asked the OCPC to review. Namely, adding additional roads to the visual impact regulation; the point system; setbacks from roads; skyline breakage; setbacks from a ridgeline or escarpment; submittal requirements; the appeal process; structures v. buildings; historically accurate buildings; definitions; remodels, additions and reconstruction; and, the Companion Guide to Visual Impact Regulations.
Unincorporated Ouray County