Uncompahgre River: Montrose River Corridor Work Group reaches consensus on recommendations for the riparian environmnent

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Katie O’Hare):

Thursday — after five, two-hour meetings spanning over the past few months – the work group presented their recommendations to Montrose City Council during its work session. “It was a balance between property rights and protecting the river,” said group member Shawn Lund, a local boater and teacher. The group was able to reach a major agreement, being that a river buffer was needed in Montrose to preserve the river and riparian environment, protect water quality and wildlife habitat, preserve the view shed and to provide clarity and guidance to future development, said group member Ben Tisdel, local developer and member of Friends of the River Uncompahgre (FORU)…

The group agreed that there should be an overall buffer of 100 feet from the average yearly high water mark (HWM), and within that 100-foot buffer, there’s to be two different zones, a “no-go zone” and “slow-go zone.” (Disagreements arose on the width of the no-go zone.) The no-go zone would be 40 feet from the HWM. Within this area, there would be no buildings, linear trials or disturbance of native riparian vegetation allowed. However, short-distance, soft surface trails and usual, customary uses, such as a boat ramp, would be allowed. The slow-go zone would be the area between 40 feet and 100 feet. To develop within this zone, a person would need to obtain city permission, such as a special use permit. The method would be decided by city staff, Tisdel said, and could be processed through the planning commission similar to other permits. Any development within the slow-go zone must enhance the river corridor, such as a business that faces the river with a patio. Those that to not enhance the river corridor, such as a warehouse, would need to be screened. The group recommended that there be stricter “performance standard” as one gets closer to the 40-foot zone and that city staff work out such details, like requiring a building to sit as far back on the lot as possible. Residential single-family homes are exempt from the screening requirement.

More Uncompahgre River watershed coverage here and here.

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