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La Veta opposes Cell Tower

by Carol Dunn

LA VETA- At the La Veta Town Board meeting Tuesday, trustees voted unanimously to oppose the erection of a 180-foot cell tower visible from downtown.  The letter to Huerfano County Planning and Zoning will list the reasons for opposition as: adverse impact on the visual corridor, conflicts with the County’s land use guide, and obsolete technology.  Trustee Jim Fowler summed up the feelings of many when he said, “Scenic beauty is one of the few things La Veta has to sell.”  Trustee Don Keairns pointed out that there is another side to this and that people have mentioned to him their support for the tower. 

    The Board unanimously agreed to issue a statement of “agreement in principle” with an intergovernmental agreement regarding future operation of county-wide emergency dispatch services.  The IGA locks in a fee of $25 per call in 2009 for the entities involved if funding for dispatch services is not otherwise established.  It also specifies that Huerfano County would take over administration of dispatch services, rather than the City of Walsenburg, which currently has the Chief of Police supervising the operations.  Under the IGA, the dispatch center would be staffed by County employees and supervised by a Communications Director.  The Board also passed a resolution of support for a November ballot initiative which would raise the sales tax by one percent to fund emergency dispatch services.  “If we want to upgrade dispatch services and do a better job for the community,” Trustee Dale Davis said, “then we need to support port the County Commissioners in this.”  Added Trustee Fowler, “We’re going to pay for it anyway.  At least the sales tax would also be paid by visitors.” 

    Mark Brunner, La Veta Fire District Board president, presented a request that the Town donate to the Fire District a 150-foot by 185-foot parcel of vacant land directly north of the Community Center, bordered by Birch and Moore streets.  The parcel would be used for a new fire station, and the Town’s maintenance department could take over the old fire station.  Brunner called it a “win-win situation for La Veta and the Fire District.”  He explained that the current firehouse is too small to add any equipment or conduct training, adding, “We’re really tight where we are.”  The new building would cover about three-quarters of the parcel, with ingress and egress on the east and west ends.  Mayor Mickey Schmidt suggested the next step would be to have the vacant parcel surveyed and legally described. 

    The Board clarified the conditional approval that has been granted to the Grandote subdivision.  Reading from the Town code, Mayor Schmidt explained that construction is not allowed on lots without direct access to public streets.  Because the pending lawsuit by the Homeowners’ Association against the Town seeks to define whether the streets in the subdivision are indeed public, the Town Board cannot make a decision on construction in the subdivision until the lawsuit is settled.

    On a creative suggestion by Trustee Dawn Blanken, the Board decided to only charge Bob and Lisa Northup at the base rate, rather than the tiered rate, for over 400,000 gallons of water leaked during the winter months of 2007-2008 when meters were not being read by Town personnel.  This reduced the Northup water bill from over $2,000 to about $1,200.

    The First National Bank in Trinidad was granted a setback variance so its ATM kiosk can be enhanced.  Virginia Cusimano explained that a pitched roof will be added to complement the adjoining information booth.

    George Hughes presented a plan by extraterritorial water users to replace a problematic fifty-year-old water line from the Cucharas River west to the Goemmer property.  According to Hughes, about 1,961,000 gallons of water have been lost to leaks in the past four years.  The water line runs through the old Taylor Ranch, just west of Town on Highway 12, and there are six owners/water users involved.  Hughes said they may replace the two-inch line with a stronger three-inch pipe if the price is agreeable.  The water users were requesting the Town Board’s blessing, and the Board expressed its appreciation that the line will be replaced.  Trustee Dale Davis added, “We blessed it.”

    To discuss correspondence from the Town’s attorney regarding the pending lawsuit, the Board went into executive session.