At a special meeting Thursday the Durango City council approved a citizen-initiated ordinance to amend the city’s land use codes to allow for public hearings when protective services, like police and fire, try to develop in the Central Business District.
Specifically, the ordinance changes protective services looking to locate in the Central Business District from an allowed use to a conditional use.
The citizen initiative began as a response to the sale of the Durango School district 9-R Administration Building to the Durango Fire Protection District in hopes to develop the building as the fire district’s downtown fire station.
Council purposely scheduled its special meeting on this ordinance after Monday’s Planning Commission meeting so the commission could discuss the ordinance and provide council with guidance in its decision. The Planning Commission was supportive of the intent of the ordinance but found the language to be flawed.
Although Council voted to adopt the ordinance, a caveat was added that staff will rewrite the ordinance in a way that maintains the amendments intent, but fixes flaws found by the planning commission.
“This is democracy at work,” said Mayor Barbara Noseworthy. “I appreciate the work that went into this, but I’d also like to say that should I support this it will be on the condition that we immediately go about fixing the shortcomings that the Planning Commission described in this ballot language and fixing it in a bigger way."
This ordinance was brought to council by the community group Citizens Voice, which received over 1,000 signatures petitioning for this ordinance.
“I’m supporting that we adopt this ordinance. I’m hearing from enough of the community for me to suggest that this is a citizen driven initiative, and I want to listen to the citizens.” said Mayor Pro Tem Melissa Youssef. “I believe that is the best thing we have going for our community is that our citizens drive action. That’s why I love it.”