Oversight delays courthouse planning process


— The planning process for a Routt County Courthouse Complex totaling more than 100,000 square feet has been delayed two months.

A failure to notify seven surrounding property owners means county commissioners will have to resubmit their application to the city's Planning Commission. Voters will be asked this November to support a building referendum to fund the new courthouse.

The county received unanimous approval from the Planning Commission on June 13 for its development plans and was expecting to go before the City Council Tuesday night.

But that was postponed after a neighbor of the proposed building on the southwest corner of Sixth and Oak streets informed the Planning Department he had not been notified. He was one of seven property owners whose names had been on the mailing list but accidentally not put on the mailing labels, city planner Tim McHarg said.

That means the plans must go back to the Planning Commission on July 25 and will not go before the council again until Sept. 3. After receiving approval for the development plans, the county must then receive architectural approval from the council and Planning Commission.

"We were certainly hoping to have approval (Tuesday night), but it was requested that we were tabled," county Project Manager Tim Winter said. "The big issue for the county will be the elections in November for the bond on the project. We are planning to go ahead and get approval probably up until the election."

McHarg said occasionally applicants do unintentionally not notify surrounding property owners of development plans. When that happens, the planning approval can start over with due notice. And if the process is not redone and approval is given, neighbors can appeal the decision.

The neighbor who was not notified had stated concerns over the project as well as property owner Steve Lewis, who is located at Fourth and Oak streets and expressed concerns about the proposed parking.

The 51,900-square-foot judicial building would house the county and district courtrooms, jury deliberations suites, judge's chambers, clerk of court and District Attorney offices. A 52,000-square-foot, two-and-a-half-story parking garage is also planned for 127 parking spaces.

The state mandated that Routt County provide and maintain adequate facilities for the14th Judicial District. The county was told the current courthouse, which was built in 1923, does not meet state standards.

The existing court facility, which houses a county judge and two district court judges in two courtrooms, is 11,2000 square feet. The level of square footage the state requires for a county with three judges is 33,200 square feet.


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