Group tables feed store plans

Commission wants more details about proposed business

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Routt County Planning Commission members on Thursday tabled plans for a ranch and feed store in Phippsburg because they wanted more information about it.

Commissioners agreed that the proposed 4,000-square-foot store on Colorado Highway 131 was much-needed, but they worried about access from the road and a lack of details in the site plan.

Jules and Wendy Palyo are proposing Flat Tops Ranch Supply, a store that would provide fencing, paneling, horseshoe, veterinarian and feed supplies. The owners, who live outside of Oak Creek, hope to open the store next summer.

Jules Palyo noted that the store's architecture would help improve Phippsburg's main street and would replace an old trailer.

"What excited us about this (is that) we can give back to the community. Even more, we can see where it is needed," Palyo said.

To build the feed store, the owners would need a zoning change from medium-density residential to commercial. Some Planning Commission members questioned whether the zoning for the property should be changed because other commercial spots are vacant.

Others worried that the main access into the store -- off Pine Street -- would affect neighboring residences and be hard on the steep, dirt road. Palyo said the Colorado Department of Transportation would not allow an access off Colo. 131 if a secondary access, such as the one off Pine Street, existed.

Planning Com--missioners urg--ed Palyo to return to CDOT to ask officials there to allow a main entrance off Colo. 131.

Planning commissioners also asked whether the owners had looked at land already zoned commercial or industrial. Planning Commissioner Jay Gallagher said he hesitated to approve a plan that jumped from zone district to zone district.

"To me, it is spot zoning, and we frown on that," he said.

Other commissioners said land along the highway is natural for commercial zoning instead of traditionally residential areas.

"For that reason, the zoning is not out of the ballpark for me," Planning Commissioner Terry Hunt said.

Palyo and other Phippsburg residents said they had looked at purchasing commercially zoned land, but it was not available. The railroad company owns much of the industrial-zoned land, which makes it difficult to purchase.

"We spent a considerable amount of time looking for the right piece of property," Palyo said. "We spent time with the Planning Department to find commercial property out there. There just isn't any available."

The discussion about what land is available for commercial and industrial use also sparked some complaints from planning commissioners about Phippsburg's lack of community planning. They urged residents to get together and develop a long-term growth plan.

"I feel frustrated that we haven't seen the Phippsburg community come together to present a plan on how they want to grow and whether they should have a commercial strip along main street," Gallagher said.

Planning Commission Chair--man Don Alperti said he wanted to see more details in the store's site plan, such as plans for lighting and fencing, which was one of the reasons the commission tabled the plan.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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