Discussion about leashing laws for Meeker’s parks

MEEKER | Meeker trustees’ first regular meeting of April included more discussions about Ute Park, specifically when it comes to allowing dogs. Meeker resident and landowner David Smith, who leases the park for his livestock, shared concerns with the board about potential conflicts between new calves and dogs in the park.

As part of a lease agreement with the town, Smith uses the property during calving season, which is currently in full swing. “Most people that know about cows would probably never take their dogs out there, I don’t take my dogs with me. I don’t take my dogs out when they’re calving, period,” said Smith. He also mentioned a few recent examples of people having unleashed dogs in the park, and requested the board install signage banning dogs from the park until calving season is over.

Smith also expressed concern over dogs chasing wildlife in the area, something that all residents should know is illegal and could result in action from the department of wildlife. According to state law, ranchers are allowed to kill dogs that chase or threaten their cattle, though Smith says he and others typically avoid going that far, instead working with animal control whenever possible.

Town Manager Lisa Cook pushed the board to make a decision about dogs in the park, which led to a broader discussion about dogs on leashes, having a designated place for people to “run” their dogs off-leash, and leash laws within the town itself.

Cook mentioned that according to the town’s lease agreement with Smith, park usage should be “limited” during the specified “calving-season” period, from Feb. 20 to May 15. “We’ve never done that in the past, but the lease or agreement does state that,” said Cook.

Many trustees were hesitant to outright ban dogs from the park, but agreed to the measure temporarily. Signage will be placed at the multiple park entrances with language stating ”Due to wildlife and calving operations, no dogs allowed from Feb. 20, through May 15.”

Cook also suggested that the board create more concrete rules for dogs in the park, including rules about leashes. The board will revisit the discussion on leashes and park rules at a future meeting.

The board also heard from Meeker business owner Vanessa Trout regarding a fermented malt beverage license application. Trout plans to open a new business in the same building as her current business (Blanco Cellars & The Little Cheese Shop).

“For the most part it’s just a place that people can go to get a fermented malt beverage, which includes beer, saké cider and cocktails made of malt beverage and small bites that include cheese from the cheese shop,” said Trout.

“The opportunity presented itself as there is an outdoor patio space in the back of the building,” she noted, adding the space will be open during the same hours as Blanco Cellars, and will stay open later on Thursday evenings.

The board set a public hearing for the application on April 18, at 7:15 p.m.

During other business the board:

  • Awarded bid of $31,000 for 2021 hot pour crack filling project to Rock Mountain Asphalt
  • Amended an ordinance to allow the town administrator to live within five miles of town limits, previously they were required to live in town.
  • Updated the town’s personnel policy to comply with healthy families workplaces act, which mandates paid sick leave for all employees including part time workers and requires employers to offer additional leave hours in the event of a public health emergency, among other requirements.
  • Gave an unofficial approval for the historical society to paint boot prints indicating the path of the 1896 bank robbery from the museum towards Market Street.

Mayor Kent Borchard said he spent the weekend in Grand Junction, and noticed many residents had large piles of trash on the sidewalk, spurring thoughts about renewing the town’s “spring cleanup day.” Trustees discussed education efforts to remind residents that Overton recycling can pick up certain items for a relatively low cost.

Town Manager Lisa Cook noted that the town received $1,955 from Pinnacle, their workman’s comp provider, and announced a reminder that the Land Use Code workshop will be next Tuesday, April 13, at 7 p.m. at the library.

By LUCAS TURNER | lucas@ht1885.com