May Mayor’s Minute

Mayors Minute

Words by Laila Benitez / Communications, Government, Mayor's Minute

Hello neighbors,

Below are some Town Council meeting highlights from last month and some upcoming topics, but first please read a quick note about our water conservation measures. As always, I hope you can join us for tomorrow’s meeting or consider sharing your feedback with us about any of these matters.

  • Quick note: Due to extreme drought conditions throughout southwest Colorado, last month Town Council approved initiating water conservation measures beginning on May 1. As of April 9, San Miguel County 34% of average snowpack, and due to an unseasonably dry and warm spring the average snowpack was at 21% as of May 4. On May 10, our region was classified as “Exceptional Drought,” which is the highest level of drought classifications issued by the National Weather Service. To illustrate how extreme these conditions are, our neighboring county in Montrose was classified this month as a natural disaster area due to crop losses and damages caused by this drought. These extreme drought conditions impact not only us but our neighbors downstream in the Norwood area and beyond, who hold more senior water rights than ours.The last time our region was in a drought of this nature was in 2002. In 2002, a call was placed on the San Miguel River on June 21 and extended through October 31; however, the San Miguel River never dropped below 6.5 cubic feet per second at the Mahoney Street Bridge, which is a crucial threshold. However, this spring the in-stream river flows are running lower than they were in 2002, during the same period. When a call is placed on the San Miguel River it means junior water rights must cease diverting/using water in order to supply senior water rights in the Norwood area, which impacts the town’s ability to use its water supply fully. While the town has good water rights that are not junior to many other water users, there are water rights on the San Miguel River that are senior to the town’s rights.Per the town’s water rights and in-stream flow requirements, should the San Miguel River flow drop below 6.5 cubic feet per second at the Mahoney Street Bridge, further water restrictions will be necessary and required. The town’s current water restrictions are geared towards avoiding a call on the river from neighbors with senior water rights. Also, if the region experiences a significant increase in moisture the town may rescind its water conservation efforts. We appreciate your patience, as this is a very real issue the town is facing, and we will continue to keep you up-to-date as the situation evolves.

April 26 Agenda Topics

  • After months of direct negotiation between principal-designated representatives from Lot 161C-R, The Ridge HOA, The Ridge Club, some of The Ridge owners, and the town, Town Council approved a term sheet regarding settlement of the 161C-R and Ridge at Telluride ongoing litigation.
  • Town Council approved the use of action minutes as the official record of all Town Council meetings. Action minutes will be compromised of an objective record of motions, votes, and names of speakers during public comment and/or public hearings without a summary of some discussions, as was previously found in narrative minutes. The town will continue to record and retain all Town Council meetings via video and audio.
  • We approved the following Green Team Committee initiatives: calculation of an updated Town of Mountain Village Greenhouse Gas Inventory, development of a Compost Incentive Program, and launch of a Farm to Community Pilot Program.
  • The Town Hall and Village Center Subarea Committee provided their monthly update. The Village Center Subarea Committee is currently made up of two members each from the town, Telluride Mountain Village Owner’s Association (TMVOA), and Telluride Ski & Golf (TSG); the committee updated Council that they will be adding one lodging and one merchant member to their team, as well.
  • Town Council discussed Trails Master Plan, which is focused on reviewing trails in and around the existing town network, evaluating the feasibility of proposed trails identified in the Mountain Village Comprehensive Plan, and providing further recommendations for future trails based on the community’s vision and goals.

If you would like more specifics about any of these topics, you can review minutes from the meeting or watch the video at the town website.

May 17 Agenda Topics

  • We will receive an update on the Telluride Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Master Plan (TRWWTP) regarding the ongoing and future major upgrades to the plant located at Lawson Hill. The two primary goals of the plan are upgrading facilities to comply with new federal treatment and outflow standards and increasing capacity to manage current and future demand.
  • Over the years, Town Council has adopted a public comment policy through the Rules of Conduct of Public Meetings Policy but has not strictly followed nor publicized this public comment policy. This worksession will provide an opportunity for us all to discuss best practices in adopting and implementing an open, fair, and robust  public comment policy.
  • As part of our annual budgeting process, we will have a worksession to help establish and refine the budget goals for projects, programs, and infrastructure in 2019. The Finance Committee and town staff will use this direction as they draft the 2019 budget.
  • Town Council will hear on first reading a Community Development Code (CDC) amendment regarding Village Center roofing requirements. Due to the unavailability of the original burnt sienna concrete tiles, the proposed amendment would allow for more permitted materials in the Village Center.
  • Lastly, the Town Hall and Village Center Subarea Committee will be providing their monthly update and Marketing Telluride Inc (MTI) will present their quarterly report.

A full agenda has been posted on our website; we welcome your input and hope to see you at the meeting.

Reminder: Beginning June 5, I will be hosting monthly walks on the first Tuesday of every month. I’m looking forward to this opportunity for us to talk about current events and projects in our community. Stay tuned for more info.

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor