Town of Vail regulates backyard greenhouses
October 6, 2016
Board: Vail Town Council, Oct. 4 afternoon and evening meetings.
Present: Greg Moffet, Jenn Bruno, Kim Langmaid, Jen Mason, Dick Cleveland, Mayor Dave Chapin. Kevin Foley was present in the afternoon, but absent in the evening.
Issue: Regulating, and allowing, backyard greenhouses.
How they voted: 5-1 to approve, with Moffet in dissent.
Who they talked to: Town planner Jonathan Spence.
Spence told council members that the town has no regulations regarding backyard greenhouses or covered garden plots. Given the desire for residents to grow their own food, combined with several nuisance complaints, town officials drew up the new regulations.
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Those regulations define what materials can be used, and, after a recommendation from Cleveland, height is limited to four feet.
While the ordinance passed, Moffet objected, saying the new regulations can allow increased marijuana growing in town, a project that often brings offensive odors with it.
What's next: Building, planting and harvesting.
Issue: Wilderness support resolution from the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District.
Who they talked to: District board member Rick Sackbauer.
What they talked about: A district resolution of support for proposed wilderness legislation.
Why this matters: Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder County Democrat who represents Vail in the U.S. House of Representatives, has for the past few years been working on legislation that would create new wilderness in this part of the Rocky Mountains. The proposed wilderness includes the Spraddle Creek and No Name Creek watersheds, both of which supply water to the district.
District officials had been concerned that restrictions on access to wilderness areas could hamper the district's ability to maintain and protect equipment. Polis' bill now contains language that requires federal agencies to coordinate with state and local agencies responding to fires or floods. That coordination includes the use of aircraft or mechanized equipment.
What's next? Polis continues to push the bill, and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet is expected to introduce companion legislation.
Issue: Second and final approval of an ordinance restricting drone use in Vail.
How they voted: 5-1, with Cleveland opposed.
What this is: Calling drone use over public property a possible safety issue, the ordinance bans private drone flying over heavily used public areas including Ford Park, Vail Village and Lionshead Village, as well as Meadow Drive between the resort villages. Commercial drone use is still allowed by permit.
While banned over heavily-used public areas, drones are still allowed in other public areas including the town's dog parks.
Vail Town Attorney Matt Mire talked about privacy concerns, noting that drone flights over private property could lead to trespassing or harassment complaints against users.
But remember: It's illegal to discharge a firearm in the town of Vail.