Special use permits for open storage and impound lots

photo by Kim Cameron | The Planning and Zoning Board will revisit Red Mountain Storage's open storage request again in September.
photo by Kim Cameron | The Planning and Zoning Board will revisit Red Mountain Storage's open storage request again in September.

Planning and Zoning board approved special use permits for three properties in Kremmling while Red Mountain Storage is still under review.

Badlands Inc’s property consisted of three lots. One lot was designated for impound storage while the others would be used for open storage. Town Manager Stoltman felt the use of the lots was allowable and complied with the criteria for use by special review. It was approved unanimously by board members present, Scott Spade, Jeff Miller, Grover Pryor and Rannette Bakke with the contingency of a berm.

Planning and Zoning board member, Jeff Miller recommended a two-foot berm along Highway 9 on the top portion of the property. “I like natural berms so that we don’t see anything. As business owners we need to do the best we can do to enhance our properties so it looks good to the community and looks good to the visitor.” Miller is the owner of the Red Mountain RV Park and the Muddy Creek Cabins.

Dawna Heller, a representative for Badlands, countered that the property had a natural quarry berm with a drop-off and noted that the industrially zoned property has always been used for open storage. She also stated that the property owners along 9th Street did not want their views of the Gore Canyon blocked by a berm.

Mark Mathis, of Muddy Creek Partners, LLC, echoed the sentiments of Planning and Zoning board felt property owners should help mitigate and shield visuals to help beautify the community. He proposed open storage on five acres near the Confluence Energy plant which is industrially zoned.

The open storage would be in the back corner of the property and is not visible from Highway 9.

“There is no residential and our closest neighbor is the gravel pit. We have plans of berm and landscape in the front.”

Chairman Spade suggested that the proposed open storage area’s limits be visually to determine the confines of the area.

In its final decision, the planning and zoning board allowed the use for special review for the Muddy Creek Partners, LLC property contingent on a simple fence under six feet being built around the open storage within the next year.

The next property considered as an impound lot under special review was located in town on Central Avenue and 4th Street and faced more public comment from neighbors.

Michael Osario, owner of East and West Towing, explained he stored vehicles on the lot after towing them from wrecks, etc. He did not store his towing trucks there. In the future, he hopes to build an eight-foot fence with barbed wire around the lot to help keep people out. Logistically, he can store 10 vehicles, but they must go out every 30 days.

The planning and zoning board showed concern about vehicles stored outside of the fence.
Larry Gross, representing the Heritage Park Museum in Kremmling, commented, “We have no problems if there are no cars allowed outside of the fence.”

Osario assured the board that the vehicles parked outside of the fence would be picked up by their owners within 24 hours, and it would not be permanent. He rents space from Raphael Dominguez and stores vehicles towed to the lot behind a fence.

Kremmling residents, Lydia and Bob Dell, expressed concern about having another impound and salvage lot in the center of Kremmling and hoped the property would be well-maintained. Bob stated, “I really appreciate what Mr. Osario is trying to do, and we appreciate the Dominguez family. They are a real asset to our community.” He continued, “We are frustrated in regard to having to impound lots, salvage yards and junkyards within a block of downtown Kremmling. I think we should shoot towards making that a better place and making our community a better place by putting these impound lots farther away from downtown. We need businesses, and they need to thrive. But we need to do a better job of putting them in a better place.”

Planning and Zoning Chairman Spade clarified that the other lot being referred to was an illegal use, the owners are aware of the challenges, and working on it.

Mathis, sympathetic to the situation, offered Osaria space at the Confluence Energy pellet plant which was just approved for open storage. The impromptu suggestion would have required Osario to do another public hearing for an impound at a different location and start over.

Kremmling native and former planning and zoning board member, Chris Sammons reminded the board the property was zoned commercial business. “We don’t have a business issue, we have a zoning issue… as long as that area of town is zoned commercial business, there is absolutely no reason why this commission can deny the use of that property as use by special review or use by right. If the neighbors are offended by this, it needs to be rezoned.”

The planning and zoning board approved the special request for the lot with the stipulation that the fence be maintained properly, vehicles were not parked more than 24 hours outside of the fence, and grass be mowed.

Red Mountain Storage is zoned central business and is surrounded by commercial property. Kajsa Anderson, manager of the storage units, presented options for screenings to the board and asked for feedback from the planning and zoning board. The use of containers, fencing, vegetation and berms as a barrier were discussed. She discussed future development of the property and the need for space for snow removal. Also under consideration was the Town’s signage on the southwest corner and visibility as vehicles approached the intersection.

Anderson stated they did not have water on the lot to maintain vegetation and felt the berms would have to be removed. She suggested containers along Highway 40 and fencing along County Road 22. They have other properties in Tabernash that have effectively used containers to border their property.

With these in mind, the discussion was tabled until the next meeting in September.

by Kim Cameron | The corner of 4th Street and Central Avenue is zoned commercial business.
by Kim Cameron | The corner of 4th Street and Central Avenue is zoned commercial business.