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CCT meeting fosters communication

HUERFANO — As the name implies, the County, City, Town meeting on Tuesday allowed for common ground issues to be discussed among Huerfano County’s three primary governmental entities- Huerfano County, the City of Walsenburg, and the Town of La Veta. The bulk of session was devoted to the 2007 Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) creating the Huerfano Regional Building Authority or RBA. Representatives and staff from all three entities were on hand as the group discussed how best to deal with building permits, inspections, and a review board should disputes arise between a contractor and the building’s owner. Meeting Chair La Veta Mayor Doug Brgoch, opened the session asking for the CCT to review the 2007 IGA. He felt it needed to be clarified as to how long the IGA would be in effect and what kind of renewal process would be needed. It was agreed that the IGA should be reviewed and renewed every five years, on April first. County Administrator John Galusha will draw up the needed wording for this. The need for the

RBA to have a formal board of review was the next topic. Although thus far all concerns have been resolved satisfactorily, it was agreed that the IGA should include language from the Unified Building Code to guide the review process. The reviews are basically a technical review used when a disagreement occurs between the contractor and the building inspector. Currently a dispute must be reviewed within a 10 day period. This led to a broader discussion of other topics such as contractor insurance, contractor license fees, streamlining processes making it easier for all involved, and the idea of the RBA eventually becoming a stand-alone entity. It was generally agreed that the RBA should ultimately be a separate organization but that idea was premature at this time. The group agreed to the creation of an adhoc committee to review this idea, with Brgoch stating, “We would all be well served to grow the authority of the RBA.” Huerfano Commissioner Max Vezzani agreed noting, “We (the RBA) got rid of some pretty bad contractors, but we need to be better and more efficient.” The discussion shifted to marijuana related concerns, especially as they relate to demand put on county resources such as building permits. Walsenburg Mayor Jim Eccher stated that local contractors are quite busy with demands related to the marijuana industry as it comes to Huerfano County saying, “If I want work done on my house I have to do it myself, because contractors are tapped out. I’m against it, but it’s coming.” Both Walsenburg city and Huerfano county staff stated that a wide variety of requests are being put forth. Everything from greenhouses, pharmaceutical production of marijuana related medicines, to industrial grow/oil operations are being sought in Huerfano County. Brgoch noted that with El Paso County opting out of grow operations, businesses are looking south to Pueblo, Huerfano and Las Animas counties. Galusha pointed out the State Marijuana Enforcement Agent would be meeting with officials at the courthouse this Friday, February 27, at 10 am to discuss everything from product testing to manufacturing processes. The CCT will next meet on May 12th at 6 pm with Walsenburg City Council hosting the session.