Tag Archives: BOCC Dark Skies

The New Custer County: Change an Outdoor Light Fixture, Go To Jail

Commissioners Proposed “Dark Skies” Ordinance
Criminalizes Light

June 30, 2017 issue- Sangre de Cristo Sentinel

by George Gramlich,
News and Commentary

At a public meeting last week, the three Custer County Commissioners, Bob Kattnig, Jay Printz and Donna Hood, finally revealed their proposed “Dark Skies” or “light pollution” ordinance they have been talking about since the two new Commissioners (Printz and Hood) were sworn in this January. Note that there was barely a mention of it during the campaign last year.

The Commissioners’ proposal wants to amend the Custer County Zoning Regulation of 2016 to regulate outdoor lighting throughout the county (The Towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff have their own zoning laws.) They want to change the current non-enforceable, zoning law definition of “Light Pollution” to “Light Pollution defined as any adverse effect of the use of artificial outdoor lighting at night. See Section 8.2.G and Appendix D.3(p) for further information.”

The new Section 8.2.G reads like this:

“8.2.G: In order to minimize light pollution, all outdoor lighting shall be rated correlated color temperature of 3000 Kelvins or less, and any light source exceeding 500 initial lumens must be fully shielded. A “lumen” is measurement of the brightness of a particular light bulb or lamp. The following is a “lumens to watts” table:”

No need to print the whole table. (See Ordinance Proposal.) The first line is all you need to know. It says a light source of 600 lumens is equivalent to a 40-watt incandescent light (old school light bulb), a 10-watt florescent light and a 5 – 9 LED light. If my math is correct, any incandescent light bulb over 33.3 watts is subject to this ordinance.

Continue reading The New Custer County: Change an Outdoor Light Fixture, Go To Jail

March 7 BOCC Meeting

Dark Skies for All the Valley?

Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC) Meeting
March 7, 2017
—Westcliffe, CO
by Jackie Bubis
The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call. Introductions of the public in attendance followed.
The room overflowed with members of the public wishing to make their views known.
The first man to speak stated he was bringing to the Board some of the perceptions “out there” in the public, particularly against Commissioner Kattnig.  His main concern was for Roger Squire not even getting an interview for the road boss position.  Mr. Kattnig stated that everyone has complained about the roads and the Board needed to go in a new direction – one based on business principles. Mr. Kattnig also explained that the Board used a Colorado State entity, Workforce, to help review and rank the job applications for Road and Bridge supervisor position and that Mr. Squire’s application was considered, However, they only interviewed the top three applicants. Commissioner Printz stated that, had it been up to him, he’d have fired Mr. Squire for egregious violations but that Mr. Kattnig talked him out of it.
There was a brief discussion of when and how the commissioners could be together.  When asked if the commissioners did, in fact, drive to Denver together to meet with the CSU Chancellor, they admitted doing so, saying that Attorney Smith advised them it was okay.  Smith responded that he had advised them to not discuss business with each other or with a member of the public when together.
The ensuing discussion with regards to the termination of Robin Young was reported on last week’s front page story.
The meeting progressed according to the agenda once the public comments were complete.
Commissioner Items:
Commissioner Hood reported on the Wetmore building meeting.
Mr. Kattnig reported on the March third presentation by the Custer County Economic Development Corporation with regards to six potential sites for broadband towers.  He then made a comment to an unspecified person who has referred to this project as “socialism broadband” and that maybe we have “socialism road and bridge.”
He also reported that the Wetmore building is $50K over budget at this point.
Mr. Printz reported a meeting with the Early Childhood group, Recycling and the Water Commission.
Attorney Items:
Mr. Smith brought to the Board the talking points the Board requested on a Dark Skies ordinance that would affect from the top of the Sangres to the top of the Wet Mountains.  Enforcement of such an ordinance would be through the Planning and Zoning Office.
Charles Bogle, from the Custer County Economic Development Corporation approached the Board requesting their support in an upcoming grant for strategic planning.  There was no county money requested at this time and no action taken.
Proposals for the next phase of the Underfunded Courthouse project were received from Anderson Hallas, Ben White of Crested Butte and Steve Weidner of Pueblo.  Mrs. Hood was unable to reach Wells Squire regarding the expectations of the county surveyor.  Mr. Smith informed her that some of the work she had ordered to be done by County Surveyor Shy were outside the parameters of his job without compensation.  Mr. Weidner was present and the Board allowed him time to speak about the project.
Mike O’Rourke, Chief Probation Officer, addressed the Board regarding Gateway to Success using the annex building for DUI classes.  He spoke favorably of the proposal.  The Board passed a motion to allow the use of the annex building for these classes on Fridays. When the topic arose that Gateway to Success is a for-profit organization asking for rent-free use of a county facility, Mr. Kattnig said he felt it was appropriate to work with the courts to meet the obligation to provide treatment.
Staff Reports:
Beth Green from Public Health gave the monthly report.  The Board has extended the deadline for applications for the Public Health Nurse position due to poor response.  Mr. Printz expressed concern that the county isn’t offering enough money for the position.  Ms. Green responded that certainly they could make more elsewhere.
The Road and Bridge report, given by new Road Boss Gary Hyde, included a plan to raise wages across the board in his department.  The Board requested a fuller set of figures which would reflect benefits and workman’s compensation before they could make any decisions.  The raise would not exceed the R&B budget.  Also, Mr. Hyde requested permission to purchase a tilt-bed trailer for taking patching material where it’s needed.  He will get two more bids before a decision can be made.
Tim Swartz gave the Veteran’s Services report.  He had 67 visits in February and now has 341 veterans in his database.  The Board approved a proclamation be written for Anna Orgeron for all her work for vets in the area.  Anna will be moving back east later this Spring.  Swartz will work with some of his veterans to spruce up the landscaping around the VSO and put in a garden.
Laura Lockhart from Human Services brought her report to the Board.  She also requested that when work is done on the court house, her office could use a bit more room.  She had some suggestions for how that could be accomplished and the Board took her comments under advisement.
Office of Emergency Management Cindy Howard gave her monthly report.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:37 p.m.