SLV Ecosystem Council files civil suit
against U.S. Forest Service
Conservation groups, including the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, filed two lawsuits in the U.S. District Court Monday against the U.S. Forest Service over its newly revised land management plan for the Rio Grande National Forest.
In a news release, Western Environmental Law Center said the lawsuit filed by The Wilderness Society, the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, San Juan Citizens Alliance, WildEarth Guardians, and the Western Environmental Law Center challenges the forest plan’s failure to adequately protect habitat for species, including the Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly or to regulate recreational uses appropriately.
Alamosa Citizen reached out to the Rio Grande National Forest Service for comment but was unable to reach a spokesperson. The U.S. Forest Service updated its Rio Grande National Forest Land Management Plan in May 2020.
“This plan encourages a crisis-management response,” said Christine Canaly, director of the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council. “After years of public meeting participation, providing substantive comments and reviewing hundreds of letters from concerned citizens – who clearly support the management of healthy forests, ecosystem services, and protection of critical habitat – the Final Forest Plan instead renders a hands-off approach, abdicating responsibility for providing upfront baseline analysis. Standards and guidelines have been removed, leading to less comprehensive, more reactive decision making.”
The Citizen will continue to follow up on this story as it develops in the U.S. District Court of Colorado.
Center benefitting from Colorado
Department of Local Affairs grants
The Town of Center continues its downtown revitalization efforts and its North 90 Addition, with assistance from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and a national team of urban planners.
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs awarded Center $20,000 as a planning grant for its North 90 Addition, an effort to develop another 90 acres north of the town. In October the American Planning Association sent its Urban Design and Preservation Rapid Assistance Team to meet with Center Town Manager Brian Lujan and other community development and planning professionals from around the San Luis Valley. The group during the visit created a sample land use map for the North 90 Addition to accommodate Center’s need for residential, commercial, public, and industrial space. The planners also worked on a plan for how to further enhance Center’s existing downtown and how to connect to the new development north.
“Center will continue to be very active about determining its own future,” Lujan said in the town’s newsletter.
Center was also awarded $114,588 for storefront and energy improvements of five businesses in its downtown. Center was one of 13 communities selected out of 48 applicants from around the state to receive the Main Street Open for Business Grant from Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs. The program offered grant money to private businesses in the historic downtown district of a town to improve their appearance and/or energy efficiency. The improvements to the selected downtown businesses include new exterior paint, upgraded windows, new signage, energy efficient lighting, and improved roofing.
Gigi Dennis steps away from Alamosa,
moves on to Monte Vista
This is the last week for Gigi Dennis as Alamosa County Administrator, as she steps away to become Monte Vista city manager. She got a lot done in her six years with Alamosa County – new Alamosa County Justice Center, upgrades to the Alamosa County Detention Center, improvements to the Alamosa Regional Airport, including a new doppler radar in partnership with the Rio Grande Water Conservation District.
She starts in Monte Vista on Nov. 29, but her mind is already there. Monte Vista has a city sewer infrastructure replacement project in front of it, is figuring out how to wire its new multi-purpose Ski Hi Stampede complex to make it a destination events center, and like every other community in the San Luis Valley is working on their core main district. Dennis knows the expectations are high. She’ll take a few days off before she gets started.
Alamosa sets public hearing date
for short-term rental ordinance
The city of Alamosa will introduce an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals at the City Council meeting on Nov. 17 and hold a public hearing on the ordinance on Dec. 1. ICYMI, here’s The Citizen’s look at the issue, Alamosa addresses Airbnb market. Alamosa becomes the latest San Luis Valley community to find itself adding rules around short-term rentals. For questions or more information you can contact the Alamosa Planning and Development Department at 719-589-6631.
Reyes Garcia and Tania Garcia
continue Adams100 Speaker Series
The Adams100 Speaker Series continues Tuesday with Reyes Garcia and his daughter, Tania Garcia, presenting “Generations of Querencia: The Garcia Family’s Conejos County Story,” at 7 p.m. in Richardson Hall Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Reminder: Adams State requires masks in its indoor areas as part of its COVID-19 health and safety protocols.