New Hot Sulphur Springs water law doesn’t sit well with landowner |

New Hot Sulphur Springs water law doesn’t sit well with landowner

Tonya Bina
Grand County, Colorado
Hot Sulphur Springs Mayor Hershal Deputy swears in Bob McVay (left), Hot Sulphur's newest trustee, appointed on Thursday. McVay, part-time maintenance supervisor with the Grand County Library District, moved to Hot Sulphur permanently in 2004 and has owned property there since the 1970s. The Colorado native has lived in Florida and Maine has served on several charities and nonprofit boards. "I like small-town people; I like small towns," he said. Addressing both McVay and another candidate for the trustee seat after the board interviewed them, Deputy asked, "You both know you don't get paid for this, right?"

A law adopted to protect Hot Sulphur Springs’ water supplies sent resident Yvonne Knox to Town Hall to point out its unforeseen consequences.

Hot Sulphur’s new Water Supply Protection District ordinance may prevent Knox, owner of 120 acres outside town, and other property owners from applying nitrogen fertilizer on their land, she said, causing a predicament for those who already contracted someone to apply it this coming summer.

“It just didn’t sit well with us,” she said about hearing about the new law through the grapevine. She criticized the town for slipping in a law without directly contacting residents it could affect, similar to Hot Sulphur’s criticism of the county and its transfer station.

“We never heard about it until we got a copy of it after it was passed,” she said. “It’s hypocritical ” you turned around and did exactly what you accused someone else of doing.”

Admitting that the law was a “knee-jerk” reaction to Grand County’s proposal to locate a trash transfer station just outside town, Hot Sulphur Mayor Hershal Deputy said the town board’s primary intent was to protect the Colorado River upstream from the town’s water intake.

The mayor did not deny that the town could have done a better job notifying impacted residents.

The ordinance establishes certain zones, such as that which surrounds the town’s inflow pipe, another within the immediate watershed of the town, and a third within a five-mile distance above the well field supplying the public water system.

The law prohibits certain activities that can damage the water supply. It also allows the town to require a permit for certain land uses.

Deputy told citizens at Thursday’s board meeting that the law was the right measure for the right reasons, but is a law that may need to be reviewed more closely due to its “unintended consequences.”

The law was fashioned after one approved in Fraser several years ago, a town without as much agricultural land surrounding it compared to Hot Sulphur, Deputy said.

Town weighs strategy

With news that Kremmling is inviting county commissioners to put a transfer station just outside of that town, Hot Sulphur Springs citizens at Thursday’s town board meeting responded with an enthusiastic: “Let them have it.”

Even so, officials pondered what their next move is in terms of seeking a public forum to pound out details of the building and operation were it still built just outside Hot Sulphur Springs.

The town discussed its options, which included inviting the county to seek a flagpole annexation of the transfer-station land into the town, writing a letter that establishes a “no way, no how” town stance that the transfer station be built where proposed, appeal the county zoning decision that the transfer station is an allowable use-by-right in the business zone, do nothing, or craft a letter that states town officials would like a public hearing to have say on how the station looks and is operated.

New water-rate structure

The town of Hot Sulphur Springs passed a resolution Feb. 5 that establishes the way its residents are charged for water. From now on, property owners are charged on the basis of singe-family equivalents; in other words, the set rates are in accordance to an equivalency of a single family home, mobile home, apartment, condo unit, town home or multi-family structure any of which do not have more than one kitchen, three bedrooms, and three bathrooms per unit. The single-family equivalency is based on 3⁄4-inch service lines and is on top of base rates set for water and sewer service.

” To reach Tonya Bina, e-mail or 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.

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