Can We Bring Common Sense to Ouray County?


The Ouray County Planning Commission is supposed to be simply cleaning up grammatical mistakes and incorrect or outdated references in the Land Use Code – but with regard to Section 8, dealing with Signs, the members have swallowed line, hook and sinker a draft which may have been invented by the staff, or perhaps written by staff after someone whispered in staff’s ear. In any case, the revision is major, substantive, and idiotic.

For example, roadside signs would be limited to 4 feet or 6 feet in height. In a roadside ditch, that may leave the top 6 inches showing for passing traffic in summer – and none in winter when the snow plows put up a barrier. Many businesses use a two faced elevated sign as well as a sign over the door and various product names in the windows – each considered a separate “sign.”  Businesses are restricted to two sign faces. In other words, if you have a two-sided roadside sign, you can’t have a sign over the door? No advertisements in the windows? Signs have to be so small you can’t have more than a couple of words on them. Rancher has hay to sell? Too bad he can’t have a readable sign on his own property. Ranch extends for several miles along a road? Still only allowed three signs total.

Need a larger sign? Go through the permit process, pay fees and tie up county staff time despite the cut back to a four-day work week.

Colona isn’t an incorporated community like Ouray city and Ridgway town, so no, there are no exceptions. Campgrounds along the road? Hot springs? Perhaps a Bed and Breakfast? Even an animal shelter? Mine tour? Museum? Firewood for sale? No dice – no signs readable from a passing car.  Why do realtor signs have to be 300’ apart even if they can’t both be seen at the same time? Where is the logic? Why does the P&Z refuse to discuss the issues its proposal raises?

Do the P&Z members from Ridgway and Ouray city care? Apparently not. Recommend draconian stupid rules to the BOCC, pretend you have discussed and considered them carefully, and it is up to the BOCC to bring sense to the table. So why have a P&Z that just rubber stamps a ridiculously stupid proposal? To give the BOCC commissioners “political cover” so they can say it was the recommendation of the P&Z after public input?  But the public input was totally ignored, not even discussed. They whispered the draft was “what the BOCC wants; can’t change it.”

Can’t we bring some common sense to the county?  Doesn’t anyone have some understanding that both businesses and customers need signs? Why is the county bureaucracy working so hard to put Colona out of business?

 – Richard Wojciechowski, Unincorporated Log Hill

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Category: Letters to the Editor

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