County residents get involved with elected officials


Photos by Patrick Shea Special requests for mountain bike races and concerts require special Land Use Department attention in remote parts of Saguache County. Crestone-area residents filled the Saguache County Commissioners meeting room on August 16 to express their disapproval of a zoning change request that includes erecting a cell tower.

SAGUACHE COUNTY — Crestone-area residents packed the Saguache County Commissioners meeting room on Aug. 16 with concerns about a zoning change request that would involve erecting a cell tower.

Like Moffat residents who responded to a proposed name change for their town by boosting meeting attendance, the residents from Crestone engaged the commissioners. Next stop: the Planning Commission meeting at the Saguache Road and Bridge Building at 5 p.m. on Aug. 25.

Commissioner Tom McCracken opened the meeting by making a statement, “to correct misinformation that has been on social media concerning a letter the commissioners signed in support of a grant for a Crestone Community Center to be built in the Elk Park area. It would be a grant awarded by DOLA [Department of Local Affairs]. There was no mention of a cell tower in the request or in the letter of support for the grant. We had no idea this had anything to do with a cell tower. But, there’s misinformation on the internet saying we supported a cell tower. I’m just stating for the record that that is not the case.”

Commissioner Chairperson Lynne Thompson noted that the Planning Commission was not fully aware of the cell tower issue, and following Commissioner Tim Lovato’s recommendation, they agreed to return the application to the Planning Commission.

Recognizing that their early-meeting decision made the discussion scheduled for the afternoon unnecessary, the commissioners agreed to keep the meeting agenda intact to hear from residents who already planned to attend the Land Use discussion at 1:30. Land Use Administrator Amber Wilson announced the decision online midmorning.

When the crowd arrived after lunch, Commissioner Thompson said, “Based on all the emails, letters, and postcards we have received regarding the cell tower and the zoning change request, we feel that we have more information than the Planning Commission had when it came before the Planning Commission, so we’re going to send it back to the Planning Commission. They’re going to hear it on Aug. 25, and at that point that’s when you can all come in and give your point of view and opinions.”

Also scheduled for the Planning Commission meeting on Aug. 25, a Conditional Use Request from Little Bear Productions at 46700 County Road P will include events and camping adjacent to the Russell Lakes State Wildlife Area. Petitions reportedly in circulation indicate a crowd might be interested in attending the meeting on Aug. 25. Public comments are limited to three minutes per person, a standard in many board meetings.

After the crowd left, Wilson addressed other Land Use requests, including a request to use Saguache County roads for a bike race that starts and finishes in Gunnison County. Called the “Gunni Grinder 2022,” the 30-, 60-, and 120-mile routes drew almost 100 competitors last year. The commissioners approved the use of KK14 and 14PP.