County Board

The Las Animas Board of Commissioners during the regular meeting on Tuesday, August 6.  Seated (L-R) are County Commissioners Tony Haas, Luis Lopez, II and Felix Lopez.

Las Animas County Building Inspector, Kerry Taube, presented a quarterly report on building permitting in the county at the Tuesday regular meeting of the Las Animas County Board of Commissioners.

For the second quarter of 2019, Taube reported that his office had issued a total of 51 permits, 12 for homes, at a total valuation of $5,065,042, resulting in permitting revenue of $28,373. For comparison, the second quarter totals for 2018 were 10 total permits, seven of those were homes, at a total valuation of $1,535,900; resulting in permitting fees totaling $15,981.  

“There has been an up tick here,” said Taube when asked by County Commissioner Luis Lopez II, if he had seen an increase in new homes being built in the county. “At the end of the second quarter in 2018, I had a report of seven homes. At the end of this quarter we have 12, so there has been a certain amount of uptick at the building department. People are starting homes and we’re seeing them in the office.”

Yet, as far as commercial building permits, Taube said he had yet to see much at the county level.

Taube pointed out some of the bigger recent projects that had high valuations.

“A year ago, in April, my total valuation was $277,000. In April of this year my value is $2,340,000. We had a wind farm project start in the north end of the county that was $1.5 million so that really jumped that valuation that month. Then the month that really jumps out at us is May. In 2018 my total valuation was $845,000. Well, in May of 2019 we had Stonewall Fire Department start a building up here and the value is $1.5 million. We didn’t charge them a permit fee, but it really jumped the value. So, in May of 2019 we had $1,979,542 compared to $840,000 a year ago. It’s all relative and we’ve had a lot of things happen in the county this year and in the building department, so I wanted to bring that up in my report today.

Resolution supporting energy, mining and agriculture

In response to concerns from local business entities, the board of commissioners drafted and approved a resolution declaring its support of the energy, mining and agriculture industries.

The resolution states, “Las Animas County supports domestic energy, mining and agriculture and all of the corresponding benefits to our local economy… the county supports reasonable legislation and regulation… unfunded state and federal mandates have a detrimental impact on local economies and local government budgets… the county supports local jobs and industries that depend on energy, mining and agriculture… the county opposes unfunded mandates that have a detrimental impact on local economies and government budgets…”

County Road 73.3

During the public comment period of the meeting, William Motorano Jr. brought up his and neighbors concerns in respect to the safety of Las Animas County Road 73.3 at a spot in the road where it corners near his home.  

Said Motorano, “I personally consider it a safety issue. We went about this a couple of years ago and we went about it the wrong way and I apologize for that. Then, we tried to get it abated. Now we want to know if we can get it moved with your help. It is a safety issue and it is a blind corner. Even if it can be extended over a few feet.”

Commissioner Luis Lopez II commented that he is a neighbor of Motorano’s and that the blind corner on 73.3 has been a concern of residents in that area for some time. He pointed out that there were children regularly playing and biking near that corner.

“It’s been up for discussion many years,” said Commissioner Luis Lopez II. “It is a tight corner. I don’t know about the property lines there, but I think we can move forward thinking about this and the safety of the road and follow procedures and talk to neighbors and possibly straighten that road and make the corner not so tight.”

The board of commissioners directed County Administrator Phil Dorenkamp to proceed with looking into the issue.

Colorado Botanical Distribution LLC

Commissioners approved a special use permit following a public hearing for Colorado Botanical Distribution LLC. The company proposes to extract Cannabidiol (CBD) from hemp at 201 W. Indiana Ave. in Trinidad, the former location of Terra Firma Recycling and prior to that, Dochter Lumber and Sawmill.

(The Chronicle-News will report more fully on this public hearing in a separate story.)

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