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Cortez City Council Divided Over Industrial Development Near Biking Area

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Satellite view of George Geer biking trails on north side of Cortez

A sharply divided Cortez City Council opted Tuesday not to comment to Montezuma County on a high-impact permit application involving a number of possible industrial uses adjacent to the city’s George Geer biking area.

Dave and Lana Waters are seeking the county permit in order to use a 35-acre tract in the county on the south side of Road L as a “multi-purpose industrial area.” Uses could include equipment storage and “short-term operations of processing plants” such as concrete-production or hot-mix asphalt plants. The property was rezoned for heavy industrial uses in 2015. Because the tract is in the city’s one-mile influence zone, city staff had suggested asking the county to consider making some stipulations regarding noise, dust, traffic access, and location of any asphalt plant. During an hour-long discussion, Diane Wren, the co-owner of Osprey Packs, headquartered in the nearby Cortez Industrial Park, expressed concern about the possible health impacts of fumes from any asphalt operation. But Councilman Tim Miller argued that it would put an undue burden on the applicants to restrict the property’s future uses. With Jill Carlson absent, the council split 3 to 3 on a motion to send a letter, with Miller, Orly Lucero, and Shawna McLaughlin voting against it. The tie meant the motion failed. The permit application is set to come before the county Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday night.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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