UP BEAR CREEK | Turning Back the Clock on Dolores River Protections?

05/02/14 | By | More

RIVER AT RISK … A small group of property owners, led by a prominent realtor, are trying to scuttle river regulations put in place to protect the floodplains and water quality of the Dolores River. And they have the ear of the Montezuma County Commissioners … While the Dolores River Valley Plan was adopted by Montezuma County in December of 2003, the new county board has decided that its system of transferable development rights and 100 foot setbacks needs to be overhauled. The construction of an illegal gazebo within the river setback was the catalyst for the board’s seeking changes to its land use code’s river plan. The board directed the planning commission to revise the plan last fall, but the Planning Commission came back with a counter proposal to keep the plan in place but tweak some of its requirements. The county board rejected that proposed re-do … The original plan was the work of a diverse group of stakeholders that took over two years to complete, and was dominated by landowners and public officials, not environmentalists, according to river valley landowner Pat Kantor, in the Four Corners Free Press, which has reported on this issue extensively. It included a system of transferable development rights  – which limits development along the river to one unit per 10 acres unless a landowner buys development rights from another landowner. Elsewhere in the county, landowners can develop three-acre parcels, which were deemed too impactive for the river valley in the plan. To date, no TDRs have been sold, which is one of the criticisms leveled at the plan. But Kantor laid the blame for lack of TDR transfers on the Downturn and suggested the TDR system would serve the community well as the economy turned around and large properties along the river started changing hands … Former Dolores Mayor Marianne Mate (2002-06) and a member of the river plan’s working group, noted in the Free Press, “I respect private property, but when private property impacts public safety, I think you have to look at the greater good.” Any structures built within the floodplain are going to come floating down the river in a flood, she said, causing damage and creating hazards. “When you do something up the river and you put a structure on the river, you are impacting the people that live below you and you are impacting more than just your own family,” Mate added … Planning Commission Chair Dennis Atwater continues to defend the current river plan as fulfilling its purpose and not slowing growth or creating harm to river valley residents, and insists it should stay in force exactly as it is. However, Montezuma County commissioners disagree. They want to create smaller acreage and get rid of the 100 foot setbacks … The Planning Commission is currently holding worksessions to see if they can find a compromise that the Montezuma County Commissioners will agree to … The tussle in Montezuma County reinforces the wisdom of San Miguel County’s wetland regulations that only allow building in wetlands of any kind, riparian or not, if there is no other possible building site on a property and only then with mitigations. And building within floodplains is unacceptable for the danger it creates to other structures downstream and the burden it puts on federally subsidized floodplain insurance – where taxpayers are forced to pay for flood damages to structures that shouldn’t have been built in a floodplain to begin with.

SAINTHOOD? … As if the Roman Catholic Church hadn’t made a horrific mess of the sexual abuse scandal in which numerous clergy, from bishops on down to priests, sexually exploited children and then tried to cover it up, it appears that the canonization of Pope John Paul II (Karol Jozéf Wojtyla) this past weekend has ignored mounting evidence that this “saint” had a hand in the abuse scandal’s continuation for the last several decades, according to a story by Fr. Thomas P. Doyle in the National Catholic Reporter . Fr. Doyle, who was a former official at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., and is currently a canon lawyer, addictions therapist and longtime supporter of justice for clergy sex abuse victims, writes “The past 30 years have led me to the opinion that his sainthood is a profound insult to the countless victims of sexual assault by Catholic clergy the world over. It is an insult to the decent, well-intentioned men and women who were persecuted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during his reign, and it is an insult to the memory of Pope John XXIII, who has the misfortune being a canonization classmate” … According to Doyle, Pope John Paul II knew of the extent of the abuse scandal in the early ‘80s and chose not to deal them – even worse, he sheltered and elevated many involved directly in the abuses and the cover-up. What kind of saint is that? His canonization is yet another scandal from an international religious institution that needs a lot more reform than feel-good statements from the current Pope.


Criticism #2


Rubber eraser

in the shape of the seated Buddha


He removes errors

in my work


as he does so –

he disappears


-Jack Mueller

from Amor Fati (Lithic Press, 2013)

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Category: Commentary, Opinion, Up Bear Creek

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