Colorado’s Fremont County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday denied a request for a modification that would have allowed 20 moreat Phantom Canyon .
The board decided to delay the decision at the January 11 meeting to discuss and create formal, written findings for consideration, a report said.
Chair Debbie Bell said one of the reasons for the denial was when the co-owner of the, Mitchell Slatin, spoke to the board in January to discuss concerns about compliance with the original special review use.
At the January meeting, theranch’s representative, Dr. Angela Bellantoni, said the plan was first unanimously approved on March 10, 2020. However, in April 2021, the former Director of Planning Sean Garrett advised the owners to stop all work until they had an approved plan. This meant they would not be able to apply for a building permit needed for the bathhouse—which they were granted until March 2022 to finish.
“The applicant offered various excuses and justifications for non-compliance with all conditions of the SRU, including accusations that county staff prevented the applicant from complying with the permit requirements and correcting violations,” Bell read from the list of findings. “The board is unpersuaded that officials from Planning and Zoning told the applicant to stop efforts to come into compliance with SRU 20-001.”
The board wasn’t convinced that the applicant could have adhered to the guidelines of Planning and Zoning, given the numerous instances of non-compliance with the directions of Code Enforcement and other county officials as well as permit conditions.
The board also determined applicants have either the lack of ability or drive to manage and run Phantom Canyoneffectively. The property has not complied since the March 10, 2020 date of approval. The current state of the park doesn’t match the description of the applicant and their representations presented during an approval and review procedure for SRU 20-001.
In addition to the board’s conditions, the applicant was also required to follow the applicable regulations of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment forand Recreation Areas which include requirements regarding sewage disposal, water, and other operational concerns.
“The board has no confidence that applicant will properly manage and operate thePark in the future,” the findings state. “Expansion of the park to accommodate more would increase the degree of nonconformance, making matters worse and increasing the enforcement burden on county staff.”
The board’s decision will not alter the capacity of the applicant to carry on operation under its original SRU. It also neither prevents nor requires any future actions by the county or applicant to ensure that the operation of thepark is compliant with state and county requirements.