Rico Planning Commission dives into soil sample issue

At the regular Rico Planning Commission meeting on Jan. 30, under new business regarding Amendments to the Rico Land Use Code to Accommodate the Rico Soils VCUP and Institutional Controls Programs, Town Attorney Susan Baker stated through recent dialogue with Atlantic Richfield and careful review of the proposed draft funding and settlement agreement, it has come to staff's attention that portions of the Town may need to be re-sampled per the sampling protocol established by the proposed Institutional Controls/Environmental Remediation Regulations Ordinance before the VCUP is finalized and the Ordinance formally adopted by this Town Board. This Town Board has reviewed the Ordinance at prior work sessions and should have the latest draft of the document. For new members, you may ask the Town Clerk Linda Yellowman for a copy.

As set forth in the Ordinance, there are specific sampling protocols to be used by a private lot owner during development of his/her property. Town staff believes that ARCO should sample all vacant lots in Town per this protocol prior to closing the VCUP in order to establish a uniform system for the Town and its citizens. This uniform sampling data could then be placed into the proposed GIS data base located at Town Hall for access by the public. Town staff is also concerned that Town properties in the River Corridor have little, if no, sampling data, which makes calculation of future remediation costs difficult. In addition, some of the large private lots in the Corridor, which are zoned for future residential and/or commercial development, have not been adequately sampled or "costed" for future remediation work. Other aspects of the VCUP negotiations continue with the hope of closing the project by late spring/early summer.

Adoption of the proposed Institutional Controls/Environmental Remediation Regulations Ordinance will require amendments to the Rico Land Use Code to ensure overall uniformity with the new regulation. Ms. Baker presented the drafts of proposed EROZ and RSOZ overlay zoning districts. Once the VCUP settlement agreement is finalized between the Town and ARCO, staff will apply for amendment to the RLUC to add these districts and will formally notice them for public hearing before the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees as required by law.

The proposed Institutional Controls/Environmental Remediation Regulations Ordinance applies to all lands situated within the Town of Rico's current municipal boundary. This area is defined by the attached map and is called the "Rico Soils Overlay Zone" or "RSOZ". The proposal is for this map to eventually be adopted into the Town's current zoning map along with the specific zoning regulations. This map requires all development activities within the overlay zone district to follow the procedures for sampling, remediation and/or removal of contaminated soils established by the ICs/ERRs Ordinance.

As set forth in the Ordinance. "Development Activity" means "(a) any change in use from Non-residential Use to Residential Use or (b) any man-made change in the use or character of land that involves or results in construction, grading, excavation, digging, demolition, drilling, planting, placing Non-Native Fill, landscaping or other similar activities that disturb or move soils. The Ordinance requires all lot owners within the zone district to obtain a soils excavation permit or, if the owner can establish there is no need for remediation or removal of existing soils, a "no further action" determination from the Town.

The 2013 dog tags are now available at the Rico Town Hall. Please come and register your dog (s). All dogs are required to be registered with the Town of Rico, contact Town Clerk Linda Yellowman at 970-967-2861 or stop by the Town Hall with a copy of your dog's rabies certificate.