Nearby residents and other community members fill the Alamosa County Planning Commission meeting room on Thursday.
By Owen Woods | firstname.lastname@example.org
AFTER a four-and-a-half-hour, high-strung public hearing for a proposed concert venue northeast of Alamosa, the Alamosa County Planning Commission voted 3-1 to deny the proposal based on “unenforceable conditions.” The planning commission will not recommend the Alamosa County Commissioners approve the venue proposal.
Thursday night’s special meeting saw a record crowd pack into the commissionerss chambers to hear comments or provide their own.
Of the 50 or so people who showed up, about 15 spoke. Only one person who spoke during public comment supported the concert venue.
The proposed site of the concert venue and campground is in unincorporated Alamosa County at the intersection of County Road 4 South and County Road 116 South. Neighbors and locals turned up to voice concerns, which ranged from dust from traffic, high noise levels, fluctuating property values, potential impacts on wildlife, and a disruption of quiet rural living.
The conditions that ultimately led the commission to their decision were noise levels, traffic, and wildlife. The decibel levels and how they will travel will require testing. Currently, according to the planning commission, there exists no sufficient guideline for appropriate decibel levels in the county code. Colorado law, however, limits certain residential and commercial noises to 50db after 10 p.m.
A traffic study will have to be done, too, to determine the kind of impact that inbound and outbound traffic will have on CR5S, CR 4S, and CR 116S.
Currently, these roads are graded every three to six weeks, according to the county. Alamosa County also has limited resources for road maintenance – much of the material has to come from out of the Valley.
One of the most expressed concerns was the dust a crowd of vehicles could kick up and how that dust could affect neighboring residents. With high winds and loose sand, breathing in particulate matter is a concern in the Valley, especially for those who have respiratory issues.
The potential impact on wildlife is also something that would have to be looked at much closer. Wildlife organizations from around the Valley also raised concerns. The San Luis Valley Wetlands Focus Area, Friends of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuges, and the local Bureau of Land Management office voiced their concerns. The venue sits in a corridor between the Blanca Wetlands, north of Alamosa, and the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, which is east of Alamosa. This corridor is important for waterfowl and ungulates that travel between the area as it provides adequate resources and habitat. How a venue would affect these animals would require further studies.
Even though the planning commission will not be recommending this proposal be approved by the commissioners, a meeting will still occur on March 8. During this meeting, the commissioners will take into consideration the planning commission’s opinion as well as take into account the concerns raised by the public.
FEBRUARY 21, 2023
Proposed concert venue and campsite development gets special hearing Thursday
A Crestone promoter is proposing to develop a new outdoor concert venue with campsites on property along Road 4 South in unincorporated Alamosa County. The location has Mount Blanca in the background and sits between the Blanca Wetlands and the Alamosa Refuge, which has drawn concern from local environmentalists.
The Alamosa County Planning Commission will take up the proposal by Justin and Michelle Davis during a special meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday. The couple plans to create a 16-week concert season, with the stage facing southeast, lawn seating and food and beverage vendors, according to the development plans submitted to Alamosa County.
“I’m getting a lot of interest, including from wildlife folks,” said Alamosa County Planning Director Richard Hubler.
The Davises have purchased 80 acres to create the concert venue for up to 300 guests and 15 campsites. In its review, Alamosa County notes that “any further expansion beyond the currently proposed 300 concert guests or 15 campsites will require additional water supply and OWTS (On-Site Wastewater) facilities.”
The Alamosa County Planning Department is recommending approval with conditions.
“The applicants have experience with the music industry and currently operate a mobile concert venue that will find a more permanent location as part of this project,” Alamosa County Planning staff noted in its analysis of the project. “The Applicant proposes to use the significant irrigation water to provide lawn seating, and plans to incorporate food and beverage vendors. Any necessary permitting for mobile food units will be handled under relevant state regulations and be inspected/permitted by SLV Regional Health. The Applicant has plans for a liquor license, which is a separate permitting process through the County Clerk and County Commission.”
If approved by the planning commission as anticipated, the proposed development would seek final approval from the Alamosa Board of County Commissioners.
In its review, Alamosa County planning staff note that the closest residential development is a 40-acre tract north of the proposed campground across Rd 4 S, while Mt. Blanca Valley Ranches Units 5 & 6 are about 1.5 miles north on Rd 116 and Mt. Blanca Valley Ranches Units 7 & 8 are about 2 miles east on Rd 4 S.
“The property currently has access from both S Rd 116 and Rd 4 S, and the Applicant is working with Road & Bridge to develop guest access from Rd 4 S and staff/emergency access from S Rd 116,” according to the planning staff analysis.
Alamosa County also notes that “approximately 1.25 miles away to the east and northeast is the conveyance channel for the Closed Basin Project and the southern boundary of the Blanca Wetlands.” It’s those assets that have local environmentalists concerned.
The Davises, who have applied for a Special Use Permit under their business Superior Hydronics Inc., have worked with the Colorado Division of Water Resources to create a water budget for use on the lawn and landscaping, according to Alamosa County.
“For the initial proposal under consideration now, the water supply for guests and staff will be two independent commercial exempt wells, one on each 40 acre half of the property,” according to Alamosa County.
The proposed concert venue and campsites is surrounded by a mix of large tracts of vacant and open lands with scattered single family residences, Alamosa County notes in its review.
In addition to the concert venue on the western half of the land, the applicants propose to develop a campground with 15 sites on the eastern portion of the property to have the same operating days and season. The campground will have an on-site host, central bathroom, and amenities to include trails and disc golf.
“The immediate area is generally undeveloped large acreage tracts. Public lands are nearby, and as noted in BLM comments unrestricted noise and light pollution could have detrimental effects on wildlife corridors. Some neighboring property owners oppose the development but Staff does not believe this proposal will be detrimental to their right to agricultural or residential use,” Alamosa County Planning stated in its review.
Read more on the project proposal HERE
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