by Carol Dunn
LA VETA-The Sierra Club, represented by Gopa Ross at Tuesday’s La Veta Town Board meeting, has recommended that a Watershed District Protection Plan be developed for this area in light of imminent oil and gas development. Ross said the area may be facing the boom phase of such development, cautioning that a bust always follows a boom. The Plan would protect water and air quality and needs to be backed by a geographic area study to determine potential effects of drilling and development on ground water and human health. Referring to the number of leases that exist, Ross said, “We don’t know what’s facing us.” The Sierra Club is encouraging area municipalities to enact water protection ordinances and commission baseline studies to determine the water movement patterns through local geologic formations. “Without baselines, you cannot prove any impact from drilling,” Ross said.
The Board recently received an urgent email from attorney Larry Berkowitz regarding the EQR court case with Grandote Golf and Country Club. There was an attempt to move into executive session, but that failed for lack of a second after Trustee Dale Davis suggested Mayor Pro-tem Larry Klinke works for Grandote. Noting that Klinke is listed as an employee on Grandote’s web site, Trustee Dawn Blanken said, “It has the appearance of impropriety. It appears there is a conflict of interest.” Klinke stated that he didn’t know his name was still on the web site. “I didn’t even think about it. I am not an employee. There is not a conflict,” he said. So the Board discussed the status of the EQR case in open session.
Reportedly the Grandote attorney is prepared to file to have the Court dismiss the case “without prejudice,” which would allow for the case to be refiled at a later date. Trustee Tracy Webb, said she could not vote on the matter without having the attorney answer three questions: How much time remains on the statute of limitations; why the Town would not be granted attorney’s fees upon dismissal; and why the Town should not agree to dismiss “with prejudice,” so the case could not be refiled. The Board agreed that, at the conclusion of Tuesday’s business, it would recess until Wednesday morning at 10:00 am, after the attorney had been contacted, and make a decision at that time. The Board agreed unanimously at that time to have the case dismissed without prejudice.
Dennis Brgoch, President of the La Veta Fishing Club, requested that the Town renew the Club’s fishing lease at the Town lakes for another three-year term. The Board extended the lease to October 31, 2014, with a lease payment of $10 per Club member. Brgoch said there are 100 permanent members. On a trial basis, the Club has issued passes for odd and even day fishing to an additional 40 people. “We may need to restock,” Brgoch said. “We won’t know until we try this.” There is public access to the lakes, but no public fishing. The Town’s leash law applies around the lakes.
Felix Ortiz, owner of Desert Expressions, suggested that Main Street business owners and their employees not park along Main Street in front of the stores. He said parking should be left open for tourists/customers.
The Board voted to have a pole light installed at Vein Skate Park at a cost of $10.79 per month. They also approved repairs by Smith Welding to the Town’s dump truck bed in the amount of $1800, plus or minus 10%.
The Board accepted a commercial redevelopment permit application for a deli and retail store at 107 W. Francisco from Lance Freeman and Cheryl Bailey. The public hearing will be June 21 at 6:45 pm.
The Town will have Colorado River Engineering investigate the Mill Lake property for potential water storage, which could solve return flow issues with the Mexican Ditch.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward