Two commissioners say growth limits needed if Clifton stays in county

Two of the three Mesa County commissioners favor slowing development in Clifton if residents there decide not to form a city or reject annexation into Grand Junction.

The question of annexation or incorporation might not be put to the voters in that area until November 2009.

But that is not slowing the commission from approving developments in the area, such as the 67-home
Prominence Pointe Subdivision in the 600 block of 33 Road, approved last week; Copper Canyon, a 43-home Housing Resources of Western Colorado development to the south of there, approved late last year; and the 73-lot Bookcliff Shadows development at 3327 F 5/8 Road, approved in April. 

“We will probably be looking at limiting development or limiting services, probably a little of both,” Commissioner Craig Meis said when asked what the plan is if Clifton rejects the governance options being presented to them.

Commissioner Janet Rowland, who has taken the lead among the commissioners in working with Clifton residents, said urban densities for development in Clifton may have to be modified if residents opt for the status quo.

“It does make me nervous approving additional development there,” Rowland said. “I think what we will have to start looking at is going back to rural densities (if residents fail to choose annexation or incorporation).”

Commissioner Steve Acquafresca agrees in part with Meis and Rowland, but rejects the idea of steering growth away from Clifton.

“Limiting growth? I don’t think we can do that,” Acquafresca said. “Clifton is a good place for growth.”

The only other option that will continue to provide the level of services Clifton residents have is to form a public improvement district and tax residents for services such as law enforcement.

“As a county I think we do go the extra mile in Clifton, especially in terms of law enforcement,” he said.

“Public improvement districts might be like a plan C.”

The Clifton Governance Committee has rejected the idea of a public improvement district because it wouldn’t generate enough money to maintain service levels, Rowland said.

“I think the only thing that makes sense is incorporating the town of Clifton,” said Ron Rowley, a member of the Clifton Governance Committee.

He lives directly across 33 Road from the Prominence Pointe development.

“The housing is needed,” he said.

A neighbor of Rowley, Mike Antencio, is one of those people who said the county could benefit from the additional housing. He works for the energy industry, has three children and does not want to see growth halted.

“I like the way it is growing,” he said.

The area is growing at a cost, though, that is being borne by the rest of the taxpayers in Mesa County, Meis said.

“What has taken place over the last 20 to 30 years is not going to be sustainable into the future,” he said.

“We truly just do not have the revenues to offset the expenses associated with it.”


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