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Last-minute changes added to Weld County comprehensive plan Print

by Bill Jackson
Greeley Tribune
November 25, 2008

Weld County Commissioners unanimously adopted the county’s new comprehensive plan Monday, but they added some last-minute amendments pertaining to mining operations within the county.

After hearing concerns from four people about planned uranium mining operations in the areas of Carr and Keota, in northern and northeastern Weld, the commissioners adopted one amendment on mining. It was one of about half a dozen amendments to the plan that were approved.

While Jim Woodward of rural northern Weld and others requested a moratorium on uranium mining be a part of the final comprehensive plan, commissioners adopted an amendment that calls for “the promotion of safety” of residents who live in close proximity to ore and mineral mining and processing facilities.

County Attorney Bruce Barber said commissioners already have the power to declare a moratorium on any mining permits issues, so that wording was not required in the plan.

Other amendments with the plan, 18 months in development, dealt with adjustments made by the county planning services staff and members of the technical advisory committee who worked with the planning staff in developing the new plan.

Brad Mueller with planning services said the intent of the plan is to provide a roadmap to the future of the county, to establish the planning process, broaden community values and to be used as a basis for community programs and planning studies. It is not, he said, a zoning code, a zoning district map and is not a subdivision of the county.

Pam Shaddock, a Greeley councilwoman and member of the technical advisory committee, urged the commissioners to build better communications with municipalities within the county and to develop a vision statement for the county. That statement, she said, should support agriculture, develop an efficient transportation system and keep municipal growth around existing municipalities.

“If you allow rural residential development of one acre, you are competing with urban development,” Shaddock said. Any subdividing of an 80-acre parcel of land, she added, should “require an additional level of review.”

On the opposite end was Bruce Nickerson, town planner for Frederick, said Frederick and other communities in southwest Weld approved of the plan.

“It was put together very well,” Nickerson said, adding it’s a plan that provides flexibility.

Artie Elmquist with the Southwest Weld Alliance for Preservation complimented the committee on putting together “a finely tuned” document, but he, too, echoed Shaddock in the need for creating a better vision for the county.

Commissioners did not agree with that assessment, however.

Chairman Bill Jerke said the county has a vision for county government but said the county is too diverse to develop a vision on where it should go. When municipalities annex land, they do that with a vision plan in mind, but that wouldn’t work the county, he said. Commissioners Doug Rademacher and Rob Masden agreed.

“It wouldn’t be fair to put some kind of ‘vision’ statement together, the county is just too big,” Masden said, while Rademacher said “we can’t do a one-size-fits-all vision statement for Weld County.”

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