It was a year of meetings, workshops, anonymous postcard campaigns, charges and counter charges. Led by a cadre of realtors, many in the county were angry and frustrated with the proposed changes. Many others were frustrated that the much-studied code update, and the commissioners’ efforts toward that end, were being unfairly smeared.
The November resolution calls on the planning commission to analyze 12 items set forth by the BOCC, from evaluating the current point system for developers to revisiting setbacks and remodels and the treatment of historically accurate buildings. The most contentious issue all along has been the idea that visual impact regulations be expanded more broadly across the county (the issue of “fairness”) and that more county roads be designated visual impact corridors.
While the hand-off to the planning commission may represent progress in updating that section of the code, it is really only the beginning of the process. Once the planning commission completes its work, including public hearings, any recommended revisions must go back to the commissioners for more public hearings, before there is final approval.
The visual impact brouhaha so divided Ouray County residents, it may have been the factor that cost Commissioner Keith Meinert his bid for a second term, as Mike Fedel edged Meinert, by 34 votes, in the November election.