Routt County commissioners could waive fees on more greenhouses | SteamboatToday.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Routt County commissioners could waive fees on more greenhouses

What’s the difference between a barn and a greenhouse?

Routt County Board of Commissioners
App_RouttCountyCommissioners

If you go...

What: Board of County Commissioners work session on expanding agricultural status of greenhouses

When: 3:15 p.m., June 14

Where: Commissioners’ hearing room, third floor of the Routt County Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs.

— Acknowledging the increasing interest among their constituents in growing their own food, as well as expanding the growing season here, the Routt County Board of Commissioners could decide June 14 to treat greenhouses more similar to barns and direct chief building official Ben Grush to waive building permit fees on most greenhouses.

Current Routt County regulations do not require farmers and ranchers to obtain building permits and pay the associated fees when building a barn, as long as they use the barn to store farm implements and crops and to house livestock. Homeowners who build small greenhouses the size of garden sheds – no more than 120 square feet – are also absolved from permits and fees. But anything larger than that currently requires a building permit.

If you go…

What: Board of County Commissioners work session on expanding agricultural status of greenhouses



When: 3:15 p.m., June 14

Where: Commissioners’ hearing room, third floor of the Routt County Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs.



Commissioners are ready to agree that a greenhouse, used to grow food, is an agricultural structure. Still, the decision to extend the privilege of building a greenhouse without a building permit to larger greenhouses won’t be arrived at easily.

The question remains: “How much bigger?”

Commissioner Doug Monger suggested Monday that almost anyone would consider a 10,000-square-foot greenhouse to be too large for an exemption.

“I want to be as liberal as I can,” Monger said. “And we’ll still have a distinction between (private) greenhouse and commercial operations.”

But Monger and his colleagues are still seeking guidance on deciding, “How big?”

Commissioner Tim Corrigan ventured that it could be difficult during Tuesday’s hearing to come up with a justification for deciding where to put the cutoff point.

Colorado State University Extension Agent Karen Massey told Steamboat Today in April that local growers generally agree they don’t need year-round use of their greenhouses — they just want to extend the season beyond the Yampa Valley’s natural growing season of between 45 and 54 frost-free days.

Staff planner Alan Goldich confirmed what Massey said in a June 7 memo to the Board of Commissioners.

“Growing in our climate year-round is believed to be cost prohibitive and, from a Division of Water Resources standpoint, water decreed for an ag use can only be used during the historic use season, usually between March and November,” Goldich wrote.

Goldich also reported to the commissioners that Grush has come around to treating greenhouses more like barns. Grush, who initially took the stance that plants growing in a greenhouse are not a finished product and therefore could not fit the definition of farm products, has since changed his mind after considering that livestock and chickens (occupying a barn) are not finished products either, Goldich wrote.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User