‘Colorado Clear’ – that’s how the sparkling clean, cold mountain water from the Palisade watershed could be described as it is piped into our homes and businesses. Issuance of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for an interesting new business venture, Colorado Clean ASW LLC, was unanimously recommended by the Palisade Planning Commission on Monday evening, July 6, 2015, at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Tim Huff, owner/operator of Colorado Clear, explained his new business venture; bottling of pure, clean Palisade water into biodegradable packaging.
Huff proposes to use a portion of the existing Palisade Produces building located at 756 37 8/10 Road owned by David and Jamie Cox. He will be purchasing the water from the the Cox’s, who will be purchasing it from the Town of Palisade, and anticipates using about 5,300 gallons of water per month, typical of a household’s consumption, to bottle about 40,000 Amphora containers of pure, Palisade water. The label on the bottle describes the purity of the water from Palisade’s watershed.
As Huff explained, “Water bottling is regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) through the Manufactured Foods Program. Operators must register annually with the CDPHE and must be in specific compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations pertaining to water bottling, manufacturing of food and the handling of food products.” The CDPHE is also responsible for monitoring the water content and operations and may conduct field inspections.
Huff also stated that he has followed Mesa County Health Department and the Department of Health and Environment’s requirements for back flow prevention on the three bay sink used in his operation. He also stated that the Amphora filling system does not require backflow prevention as it is a simple, closed system with no drain. The indoor operation should not exceed a 60 decibel noise level, and the biodegradable containers will be manufactured offsite. One or two pick-ups and deliveries per week is anticipated by “standard delivery trucks such as those used by UPS or Fed-Ex.” No semi-trailer trucks will be used.
The bottled water will be marketed and sold through an independent distributor, so there will be no commercial traffic related to the marketing or retail sale of the product to add to neighborhood traffic.
Community Development Director Ron Quarles relayed the Findings of Fact, as well as official responses from local authorities that had been notified for comment, and recommended approval of the CUP with certain conditions and the planning commission members voted unanimously to approve. Trustees will hear the request at their next meeting, on Tuesday, July 14.
Also approved at Monday’s meeting was a short-term vacation rental property, the fifth application of its kind heard by the commission since the ordinance governing rental properties was adopted, now Section 3.3.14 of the Land Development Code.
Owner Scott Holzschuh spoke enthusiastically about his rental property, and about his hopes for other properties of a similar nature to encourage tourism and overnight stays in Palisade. As he pointed out, Holzschuh’s property, located at 136 E. Third Street, is close to downtown shops and restaurants, as well as to the Fruit & Wine Byway.
Since the property met all conditions required by Section 3.3.14, the site plan was approved unanimously by commission members. It will be presented to trustees for final approval at the July meeting.
Although four other properties have been approved as short-term vacation rental properties, only two, including Holzschuh’s, have also obtained business licenses so far. Short-term vacation rental properties contribute to the Palisade Lodging Fund, which is the main source of funding for marketing activities by Palisade’s Tourism Advisory Board.
Following the two Public Hearings, planning commission members reopened an ongoing discussion on wayfinding signage for Palisade. New designs were proposed by Elderado Signs of Palisade, and locations as well as the design ideas were discussed. There is a budget of approximately $9,000 including grant funds that must be used by the end of 2015. A few changes to the proposed designs were suggested; Community Development Director Ron Quarles agreed to contact the signmaker with the requests, and also to gather more information on some other signage options.
In addition to Quarles, the meeting was attended by planning commissioners Charlotte Wheeler, Ron Gearhart, Rick Gibson, Lafe Wood, Betsy McLaughlin and ex-officio trustee Robynn Sundermeier. Commissioner Ken Ruth was absent. The next meeting of the Palisade Planning Commission will be held on Monday, August 3, 2015, in the Civic Center meeting room at 347 West 7th Street in Palisade.
To be transparent, in addition to reporting on the meetings of the Planning Commission and the Board of Trustees, Betsy McLaughlin is also a member of the Planning Commission.