This week Delta County commissioners heard a wide ranging assessment of the past year’s activities and a glimpse of the future from Grand Mesa Uncompahgre Gunnison (GMUG) Forest Supervisor Scott Armentrout.
The Powell Mesa Hen House dispute has renewed questions about zoning and the "right to farm" in Delta County. Adopted in 1996 by the state of Colorado and the county, the "Right to Farm and Ranch" policy lays out some parts of rural life that residents are expected to accept, including noise from tractors, manure, odor from animal confinement and the use of pesticides.
For some historical context on the policy, KVNF’s Marty Durlin spoke with former Delta County Commissioner Jim Ventrillo about the early days of the right-to-farm policy.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel on Saturday reported that the Delta County Farm Bureau will host a fundraiser for the Hostetler family, owners of a Hotchkiss hen house at the center of a years-long legal dispute over whether the facility is compatible with the surrounding Powell Mesa neighborhood.
After a closed-door session with county attorney Christine Knight, Delta County Commissioners on Monday announced they would appeal the decision by District Court Judge J. Steven Patrick that forced them to issue a cease and desist order to the Hostetler hen laying operation on Powell Mesa earlier this month.
Attorneys for Delta County and the operators of a Powell Mesa Hen House say the two-year-long battle over the facility’s fate isn’t over yet. That's despite a ruling that Western Slope Layers would have to cease and desist operations immediately, handed down by Judge J. Steven Patrick last week.
Judge J. Stevens Patrick ruled yesterday that operators of a Powell Mesa Hen House in Delta County must cease and desist operations immediately, bringing to an end (for now) a long and contentious lawsuit brought against the facility's operators and the Board of County Commissioners by a group of concerned residents.
In May, as the drought lingered for yet another year, Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive order to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, calling for a new Colorado Water Plan “that will support agriculture in rural Colorado and align state policy to the state’s water values.” Hickenlooper also paid tribute to Colorado’s historic water law, which claims first in time, first in right.
On Tuesday at a regular meeting, Delta County Commissioners commented on a pending wildlife ruling by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that would affect the imperiled Gunnison sage-grouse, asking that the commission use current habitat maps to define setbacks and not require a blanket four-mile distance. KVNF's Marty Durlin has more on the threats to the iconic bird.
The Gunnison sage-grouse is known for an elaborate mating display along with a ritual dance, or strut. And of course there’s the mating call, which sounds something like a sluggish dran.