Positive outlook for Valley shows need for review of Comp Plan and Land Development Code
Kristi Pollard, Executive Director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) gave a short presentation to Palisade’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening, recapping the past year of GJEP’s efforts on behalf of Grand Valley businesses.
Healthcare and outdoor gear manufacturing are the industries currently showing the most growth locally. The statewide JumpStart program has already enabled seven new businesses to get started in the valley, including Palisade’s Colorado Clear water bottling business.
Pollard ended her presentation with a short Grand Valley promotional video highlighting the area’s attractions and reasons for locating a business in western Colorado. She also mentioned that Governor Hickenlooper would be coming through the Grand Valley on a bike ride soon and that she would do her best to route him through Palisade.
Land Development Code issues
The meeting began with an hour-long work session between Trustees and members of the Planning Commission. The 3-Mile Annexation Plan was explained, as well as the town’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code (LDC). The Planning Commission has been tasked with updating the Comp Plan and the LDC, bringing them more into line with current goals and economic development strategies. Town Administrator Rich Sales admitted that the LDC was not particularly friendly to business or residential development in it’s current form. He also stressed that the town is on the verge of a development boom, and that it would be a good idea to begin the review of the Comp Plan and the LDC as soon as possible. It is possible that grant funds would be available to fund the reviews.
Trustees also approved a variance to the Land Development Code as requested by Richard and Carolyn McKinley, 101 W. Eighth Street, for a fence to be built along the edge of their property bordering Eighth Street that exceeds the 4 ft. height maximum. The variance would allow a 6 ft. brick and iron fence to help alleviate the noise and light pollution from the traffic along Eighth Street.
After consideration of the fact that the traffic and noise levels were quite different when the home was originally constructed in the early 1900s, Trustees unanimously approved the variance.
New Committee Member
Debbye Harmon was interviewed and approved as the newest member of the Park and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC). Harmon runs a non-profit training service to rescue shelter dogs as service animals for veterans suffering from PTSD. She is interested in promoting Palisade, and in helping residents to get out more. She is also interested in providing more activities for veterans, and for stay-at-home-moms.
Open burning was also discussed by the Board; including burning of weeds in roadside ditches as well as campfires in residents’ backyards. Types of allowable fire rings or pits were also discussed by Fire Chief Richard Rupp. Rupp informed Trustees that local regulations regarding such fires needed some re-working to be in compliance with the International Fire Code. Rupp would also like to have clarification on some of the terminology; ex. fire ring vs. fire pit vs. fireplace. He pointed out that the size of fires allowed depended on the type of containment.
Town Administrator Rich Sales agreed to instruct staff to prepare some draft verbage for rewording of the current ordinance to clarify what is allowable as well as what is not. Palisade High School bonfires and campfires in Riverbend Park during the Bluegrass Festival were also mentioned, needing protection in rewording of the ordinance.
Tennis – Pickleball ???
Concerns of tennis and pickleball players were also discussed. One of the town’s tennis courts has had pickleball lines added, and there have been some complaints from tennis players. With the growing interest in pickleball, and a very active group of players locally, it has become something of an issue for each side. An indoor pickleball court has been lined out on the floor of the old high school gym, but players are now requesting that the second outdoor tennis court have pickleball lines added to it as well. They cite the need for more courts in order to be able to hold clinics and tournaments for their growing number of players.
Palisade High School tennis players use the PeachBowl Park courts as do residents of Palisade, and until more funding can be found so more courts can be built, it appears that compromises are going to have to be made by both groups.
The next meeting of the Palisade Board of Trustees is scheduled for Tuesday, May 10, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. in the public meeting room of the Civic Center at 341 West 7th Street. Meetings are open to the public and an agenda is posted at Town Hall and on the Town’s website, www.townofpalisade.org, 24 hours before meetings.