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Walsenburg council takes first step on 5th St. closure with conditions

WALSENBURG — The Walsenburg City Council Tuesday night voted twice on Ordinance 1085, that could, with eventual final passage, allow for the closure of West Fifth Street to accommodate construction of a new judicial building for the Third Judicial District. With six members present, council voted 4-2 to approve amendments to the ordinance, with councilmen Charlie Montoya and John Salazar voting no. The motion to approve the ordinance with the rewritten conditions passed 5-1 with Montoya voting no and council members Salazar, Craig Lessar, Greg Daniels, Clint Boehler and Mayor Jim Eccher voting in favor. The conditions included in the amended ordinance are: 1. The city of Walsenburg City Council hereby finds and declares that the portion of West 5th Street right of way more fully described in Exhibit A is not required as a right-of-way for the city of Walsenburg now or in the future and that alternative routes exist for traffic. 2. That portion of West 5th Street right of way to be vacated is more specifically described in Exhibit A that is incorporated in this ordinance as though fully set forth herein. 3. The Walsenburg City Council hereby vacates that portion of West 5th Street right of way set forth in Exhibit A. 4. The Walsenburg City Council approves the transfer of the portion of 5th Street as set forth in Exhibit A to Huerfano County and authorizes the mayor to sign a quit claim deed on behalf of the Walsenburg City Council affecting the transfer upon the effective date of this Ordinance. 5. Effective Date. This Ordinance shall become effective 30 days after the date upon which the last of the items listed below has been accomplished. a. Huerfano County has obtained a traffic study conducted by a qualified independent engineering firm and that the study: a.i. determines that a reasonable alternative route or routes exist to adequately accommodate traffic where that portion of West 5th Street described in Exhibit A is vacated, and a.i.A. the City of Walsenburg City Council concurs with this finding; a.ii. includes an intersection study for each intersection impacted by any proposed alternative route or routes supporting the engineering firm’s conclusion regarding the existence of a reasonable alternative route or routes for traffic. b. Huerfano County enters into a written agreement with the City of Walsenburg that at a minimum provides the following. b.i. The portion of 5th Street to be vacated will remain open and unimpeded to through traffic until such time as construction of the building commences. b.ii. The final plan for the proposed courthouse campus will provide for local traffic through the campus and that this meets the requirements of the Huerfano County Fire Protection District. b.iii. The city of Walsenburg, county of Huerfano and Colorado Department of Transportation will work together to develop, approve and install signage advising the public of changes in traffic routes and that all signage meets Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) standards. b.iv. The county of Huerfano is solely responsible for all costs of surveying, deed preparation and recording fees associated with the vacation of that portion of West 5th Street described in Exhibit A. b.v. Huerfano County agrees that the process to develop the final plan for the courthouse campus will involve the public and includes a plan for public involvement in the Agreement. c. The City of Walsenburg City Council determines that the conditions set forth in paragraphs 5(a) and 5(b) have been met by a motion approved by a majority vote during a regular meeting of the city council. The next steps in the process will be publication of the ordinance and a second reading of the ordinance within 10 days of publication. The ordinance however will not go into effect until 30-days after all the conditions outlined above are met. • In other business, the council is expected to move forward with issues they want to include in the November ballot; imposition of a city excise tax on commercial marijuana, grown locally, but sold outside of the city; a ballot issue asking voters to remove term limits for the city clerk, and a ballot issue seeking a new one percent sales tax that will go into the city’s general fund.