Town OKs closure of block of 5th Street

MEEKER I The Meeker Town Board on Tuesday gave unanimous approval to an ordinance requested by Rio Blanco County to close Fifth Street from Main to Park streets to allow the courthouse and old elementary school to encompass the two-block area.
All town board members agreed to the ordinance except Katelin Cook, who was not present. No one in the audience spoke in opposition.
The topic of closing Fifth Street between Park and Main streets goes back to June 2013, when the town conveyed ownership of the “Main Street Building” to Rio Blanco County ownership.
The street between the Rio Blanco County Courthouse and the old elementary school would be vacated to enlarge the area to hold community events and outdoor venues.
Meeker Town Administrator Scott Meszaros said the process to close off the street by state statute only requires an ordinance be approved by the Town Board of Trustees.
“The Meeker Town Code does not specify or require a land-use code process to accomplish vacating the roadway,” he said, adding that the county now owns the parcels on both sides of the street.
Meszaros said town staff had requested that the county provide a vacation plat, a legal description of the parcel and that the process go through the “usual” town process of approving Land Use Code items, which include posting and noticing of the request.
Meszaros stated, “The decision for vacating the roadway should be based upon the application and discussions heard at the public hearing.” And that is why, he said, the town hearing is scheduled after the county has released its formal plans for the project publicly.
Rio Blanco County Planner Eric Jauquez said Tuesday night that roughly 14 parking places will be lost, changing the county’s statement at its justice center meetings last week, when they said 10 parking spaces would be gained.
“While we will lose a few parking places overall, we will be able to increase parking in the future, if needed,” Jauquez said.