Not just a Steamboat issue

City, county to discuss controversial watershed policy

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City and county officials will address a controversial proposed water policy at a joint meeting Tuesday.

The Steamboat Springs City Council and the Board of Routt County Commissioners will meet from noon to 2 p.m. in the Routt County Courthouse Annex on Sixth Street to discuss several collaborative issues. The agenda includes possible alignments of the New Victory Highway west of Steamboat Springs; a draft plan outlining needs for health and human services in Routt County; and a proposed watershed protection ordinance intended to keep pollutants out of Steamboat's water but, in doing so, would increase regulations on future agriculture-related and construction activities in rural areas outside of city limits that impact Steamboat's water supply.

The ordinance originally appeared on a council agenda in December, but after significant opposition from rural landowners and ranchers, the council agreed to "step back" and take a more thorough look at the ordinance.

At a meeting Jan. 16, the council resolved to form a committee that will gather public input about potential impacts of watershed protection.

City Council President Susan Dellinger said the committee will likely include City Manager Alan Lanning, Routt County Cooperative Extension Office Director C.J. Mucklow, Kim Vogel of the United States Forest Service, City Attorney Tony Lettunich, and members of the ranching community.

Lanning has invited residents who wish to provide input or serve on the committee to call his office at 871-8228.

Dellinger said at Tuesday's meeting, council members will hear concerns from the county commissioners, who opposed a watershed protection ordinance in a Jan. 9 letter to the council.

"I think what we want to do is let them explain what their concerns are, just like any other public process," Dellinger said. "And we want to talk about who they might want on the committee."

The City Council also convenes independently Tuesday night, for a meeting that includes an extension of the city's lease of the Depot building to the Steamboat Springs Council of the Arts and Humanities, up to 2011; the purchase of real estate in Craig, for a regional-bus storage facility; and a discussion about options for improving recreational services in Steamboat.

Dellinger said the council has invited members of Citizens for a Recreation Center, a public committee that is working to put funding for a public recreation center on the 2007 city ballot, to Tuesday night's meeting.

"Our goal is to have an extended conversation about recreation services," Dellinger said.

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