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BoCC amends regulations and codes

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners approved amendments to the county Land Use Regulations and the Building and Safety Code Tuesday afternoon, with all the amendments conceived to streamline processes within the county and better reflect the conditions in Archuleta County.

Two of the amendments were for sections of the county Land Use Regulations.

The first amends Section 9 of the regulations, which deals with oil and gas. The amendment creates a minor facility permit specifically for pipelines, with requirements specific to pipeline work.

Previously, oil and gas permits fell under the umbrellas of major or minor oil and gas facility permits, with no specific requirements for pipelines.

County Planning Manager Cindy Schultz said the amendment provides guidance both for applicants and the county in dealing with pipeline projects and was recommended unanimously by the planning commission on Feb 22.

It was noted during agenda review for the meeting that the agreement with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe will continue to supercede the county’s regulations for work on tribal land within Archuleta County.

The second of the amendments to the Land Use Regulations amends Section 4 and deals with vacating rights of way.

Schultz said the county is allowed through state statute to vacate rights of way, but no process for doing so is included in the regulations.

In agenda review, Schultz said the county’s Road and Bridge Standards simply refers to the statute.

The amendment was unanimously recommended by the planning commission on Feb. 22.

At the Tuesday meeting, the BoCC also approved amendments to the Archuleta County Amended Building and Safety Code, dealing with open staircases, handrails and post-base connections.

The amendments were the result of Building Official John Sjoblom working with a builders’ committee to help the code better reflect building conditions in Archuleta County, Sjoblom indicated at the meeting and during agenda review on the topic.

During agenda review, Sjoblom said the amendment for open staircases located outside structures was to require a gap between stairs of no greater than 4 inches — a distance that is safe for walking and narrow enough that babies and toddlers would not get stuck in staircases.

Dealing with handrails, previous code stated that handrails on open staircases could only be interrupted by newel posts. The amendment adds that the staircases can be interrupted by walls, posts or newel posts.

The third of the amendments in Tuesday’s resolution deals with post-base connections involving untreated posts, such as on deck construction.

Sjoblom said there is not generally a problem with rot with untreated posts in Archuleta County, but that the connections needed to be made of steel and embedded in concrete.

The commissioners had no questions about any of the amendments during Tuesday’s meeting, passing them unanimously.

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