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BoCC fills vacancy on Airport Advisory Commission

The Airport Advisory Commission is again operating with a full board following the appointment of David Lopez by the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners Tuesday afternoon.

Lopez’s appointment filled the vacancy created by James “Buz” Gillentine’s departure in January. The resignation came to light at the March 18 AAC regular meeting.

Lopez was one of four applicants who applied for the position.

“They were all competent. We came to the conclusion that Mr. Lopez had those attributes that we’re looking for at this time,” said AAC Chairman Ralph Goulds at the meeting.

“Mr. Lopez is a long-standing member of our community and, of course, he brings a very good skill set and good knowledge and depth of quite a few areas,” said Bill McKown, airport manager, in presenting the appointment request to the BoCC.

McKown further stated that Lopez’s experience includes being a successful aerospace planning engineer, as well as having experience on the operating side. In addition, McKown noted that Lopez has a “very good, keen sense of strategic planning and executing long-range objectives,” qualities that can help with the airport’s capital improvement plan in the coming years.

Lopez will fill the rest of Gillentine’s term, which will expire in December 2011.

The next regular AAC meeting is scheduled for June 17.

In other airport matters visited at the meeting, the BoCC approved awarding the contract for the north ramp repaving project to a local company, Strohecker Asphalt.

All four bids received for the project exceeded the estimate, forcing the county to scale back the amount of paving on the ramp.

Instead of the entire ramp being repaved, McKown said about 80 percent will be resurfaced, amounting to a reduction of $40,845 in cost. In an agenda review session on April 13, McKown said the change will include three rows of tiedowns instead of four.

Commissioner John Ranson asked if the order could again be changed if the county and airport were to find additional funds to complete the entire project, to which McKown responded that the contract includes any negotiated change orders.

The project is being funded with a Colorado Department of Transportation aeronautical grant, which, paired with a $69,882 county match, totals about $349,000.

McKown said he hopes the project will begin in June, and estimated that it would be completed in 30-45 days.

Also at the meeting:

• The BoCC approved a conditional use permit for the Tierra Piedra Gravel Pit located at U.S. 151 and Fosset Gulch Road.

According to Senior Planner Cindy Schultz and a representative for the project, the pit will be used privately for projects on Fosset Gulch Road, and will likely be operational six days a week from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., late spring to early fall.

A number of conditions were put in place for the gravel pit, including a wildlife mitigation plan and measures. Schultz said the conditions fall into three basic groups — preapproval (before the permit was taken before the BoCC), preconstruction and ongoing. In determining the conditions, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe was also consulted.

• Public Works Director Ken Feyen reported back to the commissioners concerning a Timber Ridge Ranch Homeowners Association request for help in maintaining subdivision roads.

In the March 2 BoCC meeting, Timber Ridge Ranch HOA president Barbara Parada and secretary Mike Ward presented a report to the commissioners requesting that the county help in one of a number of possible ways with the maintenance of roads due to Bristlecone Drive’s status as a public road connecting South Pagosa Boulevard and Trujillo Road.

In the report, Feyen said he looked at the roads in terms of snow removal and crack sealing, researched costs and met with the HOA, offering advice on maintenance.

To help with secondary snow removal on the subdivision’s roads would cost the county between $1,360 and $2,700 per event, with an average of eight to 10 snow events per year, Feyen reported.

As for crack sealing, Feyen said it is a considerable effort and that the county does not currently crack seal roads and would have to contract out due to lack of equipment and resources.

Feyen further reported that traffic counts in the area revealed that, while overall weekend traffic was less than on weekdays, counts of thru traffic on Bristlecone at both times were roughly the same percentage, meaning trucks were not as big an issue as previously thought.

The commissioners and County Administrator Greg Schulte seemed to initially dismiss the idea of providing assistance, with Schulte saying it was a policy decision that would send the county “into uncharted territory,” Bob Moomaw declaring it would be like “opening a can of worms” and Clifford Lucero noting it would set a precedent and that the county had to watch its funds.

Parada said she thought there had been misinformation provided to the commissioners and said the HOA was not looking for help on all of the subdivision roads (in a previous report, the HOA provided varying scenarios), but was asking the county to provide a percentage of the maintenance costs due to Bristlecone being a public thru street.

In addition, Ward noted that Timber Ridge residents pay the same taxes as other county residents.

In the end, the commissioners and Feyen vowed to look into road maintenance in other subdivisions (some of which have roads maintained by metro districts and collect HUTF funds) to look at possible solutions.

Ranson told the Timber Ridge representatives the county was already paying for taking in roads it can’t afford, and that he wants to see a more concrete proposal and more information from Timber Ridge.

randi@pagosasun.com