Potentially sticky ordinance nixed at last minute
SILVERTHORNE – An ordinance that could have unleashed chaos in Silverthorne nearly slipped past the town council Wednesday, but a citizen and a council member brought flaws with the regulation to the group’s attention.
The outdoor storage ordinance, intended to keep business owners from constructing storage lots without associated buildings, was up for second reading and a public hearing during this week’s meeting – that’s the last step before an ordinance becomes part of a town’s regulations. What council members discovered at the 11th hour was that the language applied to residences as well.
The ordinance proposed not only that outdoor storage be associated with a building, but also that those items stored outside must be screened by a solid, 6-foot-high fence or wall.
“As I drive around my neighborhood, I count 15 homes that would be in violation,” said Paul Hage, a longtime Silverthorne resident. “I think if the citizens knew, you’d have a full house tonight.”
Councilmember Steve Swanson said he also noticed the problem, though it hadn’t jumped out at him on first reading.
“We wanted to prevent storage without businesses,” said Councilmember Dave Koop. “I think we’ve gone a little too far. If we enact this, it’s not enforceable.”
“I just hadn’t plain thought about the fact I wasn’t going to be able to park my boat in my driveway,” said Councilmember Peggy Long.
Senior planner Michael Johnson, who helped write the ordinance, said he was surprised to learn the council didn’t realize residential was included. Town officials, he said, have always had some concerns about storage – both residential and commercial – and he said staff members thought council wanted both issues addressed.
“They didn’t really have much of a problem when we did first reading,” he said.
Hage wasn’t the only resident who caught the potential problem. Johnson said he got three calls before Wednesday’s meeting from other concerned residents.
As a result, council members voted to continue the issue and tweak the language to eliminate the unintended consequences it included.
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