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Tiny homes could be big deal for Walsenburg

WALSENBURG — The Walsenburg City Council Tuesday night approved five new ordinances on first reading, including a zoning ordinance that will allow development of a tiny homes neighborhood contained within the football field located behind the Spanish Peaks Public Library. Ordinance 1070 would allow a zoning change from AO-agriculture open space to R2-medium and high density residential. With all nine members attending, council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance and Resolution 2015-R-17, that sets a public hearing at 5:30 pm Tuesday, August 4 on the zoning change. Rod Stambaugh, CEO of Sprout Tiny Homes of La Junta, attended the meeting and briefed the council on the plans for the tiny homes project. “This would be the first tiny homes community-subdivision in the nation,” Stambaugh said. He told council the company plans to build up to 28 tiny homes on foundations in the abandoned football field, making the area a tiny homes showcase for the whole nation. When asked why he chose Walsenburg, Stambaugh said, “ You guys were the ones who changed the ordinance and were tiny homes friendly.” The ordinance change referred to was passed earlier in the year and removed size

restrictions on residential dwellings in the city. Councilwomen Silvana Lind asked if Stambaugh had any plans to move manufacturing operations to Walsenburg. He said there was a chance the company would build the structures locally and employ as many locals as possible. Stambaugh said all of the buildings, from a clubhouse to the homes themselves would be ‘on the grid’ and hooked up to city water/ sewer and other utilities. He said the homes are energy efficient and very environmentally friendly, not only having a small footprint, but constructed entirely of toxic free chemical materials, from flooring to paint to counter tops. Council also passed Ordinance 1071 which will allow the city to put a term limitation question for the city clerk’s position before voters in November., and passed Ordinance 1072 to allow residents to keep chickens (hens only), and rabbits in the city. An amendment by councilman Clint Boehler added rabbits to the ordinance. A variety of conditions apply to the ordinance and it, like all other ordinances approved on first reading, appear in total in the World Journal legals section. Passed Ordinance 1073, regulates clean indoor air in the city. The ordinance will disallow marijuana or tobacco smoking clubs in the city and mandate that outdoor smokers must be positioned at least 15 feet away from a business entryway. Passed Ordinance 1074 that will allow for water/wastewater tap waivers for commercial businesses that invest at least $1,000,000 in water/wastewater infrastructure and reasonably anticipate the employment of a minimum of 100 people within three years of opening the business. Walsenburg Administrator David Johnston said this was an important ordinance to help attract business to the community. He said the Love’s truck stop project proposed for the south end of the city is progressing, with closing on the property coming soon. He anticipates that group, and another group, will be before the city within months seeking annexation. The second group is looking at an annexation request in an area south of the Star Ranch and west of the City Ranch. No action was taken on the proposed annexation of City Ranch property this week. It is expected the first resolution regarding that action may come at a special session next week.