Rangely council agrees to reduce speed limit, waits on stop sign

RANGELY | Tuesday the Rangely Town Council again discussed the recommendation from Police Chief Vince Wilczek that the speed limit on Kennedy Drive, south of the intersection with College Loop Drive and La Mesa Circle, be reduced from 40 mph to 25 mph and that the current yield sign at the La Mesa exit be replaced with a stop sign. They unanimously agreed to reduce the speed limit on Kennedy but want to seek further input about the stop sign.

The recommendation first appeared before the council earlier this month and received support from most of the members. However, Councilman Andy Key requested that the decision be postponed to allow for public input.

Wilczek said signs would be installed to regulation size and height and that there is no reason to conduct a study. He also said there are currently a lot of violations of the stop sign in the CNCC entryway, which he plans to address.

Councilwoman Lisa Hatch asked how many complaints the PD currently receives about the intersection and asked about moving the location of a school bus stop at the top of Kennedy Drive. School board member Joyce Key said she would bring the issue up at the next school board meeting.

During public comment several people spoke about the changes. Konnie Billgren said that because there has not been any increase in accidents in the area she felt signage changes should be studied by a traffic engineer.

Joyce Key, who has lived on La Mesa for 25 years, said she hasn’t seen any problems with how the intersection is currently set up. “I hate to see us put more regulations… when there’s no evidence that there’s need for this regulation,” she said.

Brad Casto also spoke out against the change. Casto said that if we are really concerned about public safety we need two more stop signs by the museum and the church across the street. He said the speed limit change made sense.

Councilman Trey Robie stated that he sees traffic problems at the intersection often and supports the addition of the stop sign, as it would make people more likely to look before pulling out into the intersection.

The council also discussed the Colorado Fair Districts Initiative to reform the redistricting and reapportionment process in Colorado. The initiative would create a commission to study the redistricting process. Councilman Andy Key has been following the initiative and said that each congressional district receives one seat and therefore the entire western slope will have one seat guaranteed on the committee. Following judicial approval, commission candidates would go into a lottery draw system. Key was concerned that there are not currently gift rules for those commissioners similar to the rules that regulate elected officials. The council agreed to monitor the initiative until amended to address that concern. Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado has taken a similar stance.

The council agreed to engage an attorney to represent the town for adjudicating the conditional water rights for the sewage treatment plant, which must be done every six years. The town currently has 28.35 cubic feet per second in total water rights.  Absolute rights are required to be justified every ten years and will come up for review in 2020.

Town Manager Peter Brixius provided his regular update to the council where he discussed the police department’s Community Outreach Program which begins April 5. The six-week program is still accepting applications.

Brixius said he would attend an April 4 meeting with a representative of Colorado Oil and Gas Association about “a number of projects” that could take place in Rangely and benefit the community.