City council passes vehicle weight restrictions for city streets

by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG —  The Walsenburg City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 1113 Tuesday night which restricts any vehicle or combination of vehicles over 20,000 pounds from city streets in an attempt to stop semi tractor/ trailer combinations from taking short cuts through the city.
The ordinance passed on second reading with an amendment that cut one line from segment one of the document.  The ordinance allows for a fine of up to $300 per each offense.  Councilman Greg Daniels said most semi tractor/trailer combinations weigh 40,000 pounds unloaded and 80,000 pounds with a full trailer, and the ordinance should stop those trucks from turning off of Seventh Street onto Albert St. and taking a short cut to either Main Street or East Fifth which becomes CO Hwy. 10.  The ordinance calls for the city to sign each street, alley, or right of way constituting a truck route, that is not also designated as a state highway or truck route.  The ordinance also calls for signs to be placed at locations calculated to give operators of vehicles regulated by the ordinance notice of the weight limits.
The only other item on the city council’s regular agenda was Resolution 18-R-03, which, if passed, would have adopted the city’s Strategic Plan developed by the Planning and Zoning committee.  The problem was, the full text of the plan was not available for council members to review.  Council voted unanimously to postpone review and possible action on the resolution to their next meeting on Tuesday, March 20.
In other business:
City council members voted unanimously to create letters of support for the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival, and for O’Reilly Auto Parts, concerning their plan to open a store on Seventh Street and authorize Mayor Jim Eccher to sign.
Council also voted to support Best and Brightest Intern David Wise to apply for a DOLA Grant for administrative development of a historic commercial district in downtown Walsenburg.  Mark Ellis, city finance director said there is $5,000 available in the general fund’s contracted services line item that could be applied to the matching funds requirement in the grant.  Another $5,000 might need to be found in the 2019 budget, if DOLA allows that action.  Wise is expected to make the application this week, as the grant deadline is March 20.
Items discussed:
Walsenburg Administrator James Toth said the Intergovernmental Agreement with prospective water storage users in City Lake Dam is close to being completed.  With dry conditions in the region, there has been some discussion of putting off emptying City Lake and pushing construction into October.  The city has missed the CWCB (Colorado Water Conservancy Board) deadline for having the agreement signed and will request an extension.  While the loan the city obtained for the project will cover the construction/expansion costs, without the extension being approved at the state level, the $800,000 grant could be in jeopardy.
Councilman Daniels said he has been approached by a number of people interested in establishing marijuana dispensaries in Walsenburg, potentially in the Northlands area.  He said he is concerned about the distance between dispensaries limitations in the current city ordinance and will likely have an amendment to the ordinance to present to council at the next session.