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Historic preservation process progresses

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA- At its March 16 meeting, the La Veta Town Board discussed the designation of “contributing” and “landmark” historic structures in Town.  The Board has been working on an ordinance, but on attorney advice will postpone enacting that ordinance until public hearings are held.  The hearings will give about 55 affected homeowners the opportunity to ask to be removed or added to the lists.  Properties within 100 feet of contributing and landmark structures would be “properties of interest” and treated so as not to harm the historical conditions of the listed structures.  The hearing will be held April 5 at 7:00 pm at the La Veta Community Center.

    The Tree Board’s Barb Kowalik reminded the Board that dog waste stations will be installed in Town Park.  Kowalik expressed concern about dog waste being deposited in gardens and around trees along Main Street.  The Board assured her that the Town’s nuisance ordinance, which includes both private and public land, covers indiscriminate pet waste deposition, but a written complaint must be filed.  A fine of up to $300 can be levied, most likely against chronic offenders.

    Although Huerfano County requested that La Veta contribute $500 to a special half-price trash event at the waste transfer station in Walsenburg between April 20-24, the Board decided instead to keep bringing in dumpsters in the spring, summer and fall for free trash collection at a total cost to the Town of $2,100.  Trustee Dale Davis said, “What we’re doing for the Town and community is good.  It’s used very well.  I think we need to stay with what we’re doing.”   

    Mayor Mickey Schmidt said the Town is very, very close to a stipulated agreement on the Mexican Ditch water case, which would bring 122 acre-feet of water into La Veta ownership.  “We should be . . .  happy,” he said.  “All objectors have signed on to La Veta’s consumptive use calculations.  The heavy lifting is done.”

The Board appointed M. Eileen Bankson to the Museum Board.  The Museum Board has three applicants interested in the museum director position.

    The Town has received two letters of interest for the judge position.  The deadline for letters is March 23.  The newly elected Town Board will interview potential judges and make the appointment after the election.

    The Board approved the renewal of the grazing lease on Town Lakes property with Ann Brgoch for $1,800 for the period of April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011. 

    Chip Kraynyk, Barb Kowalik and Judy Sims Barlow presented the Board members with copies of newly published “The La Veta Commons Report,” a report on community assets, including the “wealth of nature and culture that we inherit jointly and hold in trust for future generations.”  This is one of only three such publications in the country to date and was published using grant monies from On the Commons, formerly Tomales Bay Institute.  Quoting from the book, “Small towns surrounded by spectacular scenery are not rare in the Rocky Mountains, and almost all of these towns now have that all-too-familiar commercial mountain town look, characterized by a strip of chain motels and fast food restaurants.”  Kraynyk described the Commons as 240 square miles of mostly privately-held land surrounding La Veta.  The publication is free to the community and is available at the Public Library. 

    Mayor Pro-tem Dawn Blanken pointed out that it is sprinkled with website addresses for more information on its many topics.  The publication states, “It will be a challenge to protect our natural, social and cultural commons as we seek sustainable, balanced growth and energy development.”