Grand Lake could pause new builds in downtown district |

Grand Lake could pause new builds in downtown district

Grand Lake officials will discuss next week a plan to halt new construction in downtown Grand Lake.

Last week, Grand Lake trustees scheduled a joint workshop with the town’s planning commission to discuss a possible building moratorium for the downtown district. The joint workshop is set for 4:30 p.m. May 24. The scheduling item appeared on trustees’ agenda May 10.

Over the phone, Town Manager John Crone said that the town is approaching the proposed moratorium cautiously, and officials are strongly encouraging public feedback during next week’s discussions.

“We have some flaws in our code, I’ll be dead honest, and we’re working on that,” Crone said Friday. “To me, they’re not that big of a problem that we should — I am vehemently opposed to a building moratorium — but the planning commission has requested the board to consider this while the code is being updated.”

There was some discussion during last week’s scheduling that commissioners believe the building code could be updated in as little as one month. Not seeing that as a realistic timeline, Crone said he believes it will take at least three. New ordinances require one month after passage to take effect.

As the town trustee who also serves on the planning commission, Ernie Bjorkman said commissioners hesitated to use the word “moratorium” out of it fear would scare people. However, Bjorkman added that they also feel like the town needs a brief pause to catch up on its building code and better protect the town’s historic character and beautiful structures.

“Basically, the biggest concern we have is trying to protect our downtown area with an overlay kind of design edict,” Bjorkman explained. “A lot of the wording says, ‘Developers are encouraged to,’ (or) ‘Developers, we hope will,’ and what we’d like to do is put more teeth into that and say, ‘Developers will … ’”

The possible moratorium would only cover the downtown district, and Bjorkman told trustees commissioners want to pause new building plans for a month to keep owners from submitting plans before the town can strengthen the language.

Even though he’s expressed hesitation to enact a building moratorium, Crone told trustees it’s important to hear the planning commission out.

If trustees want to move quickly on commissioners’ recommendation, an emergency ordinance regarding a building moratorium could come as soon as the trustees’ regular meeting immediately following the May 24 workshop.

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