Council Gains More Background on Tiny Home Specs


Municipal Offices in Lamar

Mark Westoff, co- founder of Sangre de Cristo Tiny Homes, met with the Lamar City Council for a work session Monday, August 8th, to discuss regulations concerning establishing tiny homes ordinances in the city.  The council has discussed some ramifications of having the small-sized homes, approximately 400 square feet, within the city limits during its past two meetings.

The state legislature recently passed HB22-1242 which takes effect next July for the regulation of the manufacture, sale and installation of these housing units in Colorado.  Westoff, originally from Lamar, provided some background on size and space considerations given various building codes, highlighting IRC 2018 Appendix Q which defines a tiny house as a dwelling that is 400 sq feet or less.  He explained that in comparison, the current minimum dwelling size in Lamar is 1,000 sq ft and contractors must follow certain codes under those protocols.  He said Appendix Q removes some of the more constrictive codes and problems associated with building a house under 600 square feet and will provide a more specific set of rulings on tiny house construction.

Given current square footage limitations, Westoff said he would be unable to build a house that went over that 400 square foot limit and asked the city to consider this factor if and when they make a ruling on moving forward with this housing concept for Lamar.

Morgan Alba, Community Development Director, told the council the owners of the building at 120 South Main Street have complied with earlier requirements needed to have their request for construction funds approved.  Dustin Langston and Jacob Chamberlain applied for $18,520 or 20% of the estimate for renovation funds for their Ready to Rent project.  The Lamar Redevelopment Authority approved the application.  The LRA also approved the City of Lamar match for the DoLA grant that will be used to replace flowerpots along Main Street that have been vandalized recently.  The cost of the project is $11,187 and the Urban Redevelopment Authority will contribute $6,187 to the replacements.  The council later approved a memorandum of understanding to receive $5,000 from SECOG to supplement the local cost.

City Treasurer, Kristin Schwartz, noted fuel sales are doing well at the Southeast Regional Airport, now at just over $351,000 at mid-year, against a projected budget of $386,000.  “This is a new fund for us, and sales are higher than anticipated and I’m encouraged about that.”  She said that with some new hires for airport mechanics and additional services, she expects that revenues will increase for the city.  Schwartz said she will take a closer look at city water revenues, as they are down compared to what was expected for this point in the year.

Linda Williams, City Clerk, outlined a letter to council members, explaining the certification of sufficiency of the eleven petitions submitted by a group of registered electors to have a ballot question placed on the November 8th general election.  She said the question will be to amend the current city charter by adding a chapter 15, prohibiting the operation of marijuana establishments, marijuana cultivation/facilities/products/manufacturing facilities/testing facilities and retail and wholesale marijuana stores.  Williams said once the ballot language has been approved, it will be presented to the council as an ordinance for its review.

Lamar Fire Chief, Marcus Widener, provided the council with a review of Fire and Emergency Services, noting that volunteers are still needed as LF & ES continues to have a reduced volunteer staff and the shortage is having an impact on the department whenever it is short staffed.

The council agenda packet included a written report from Fire Chief Jeremy Burkhart who noted in his half-year update for the council, some equipment is aging as most hose inventory is over a decade old and in some cases up to 40 years old.  Some repairs are done in-house which saves money over buying new replacements, but the department’s oldest ladder truck failed its test this year due to hydraulic leaks.  Some local work was done at a savings of $14,000, but the truck still needs to be tested in Denver for recertification.  The department averages 4.26 calls per day with 160 fire and fire related calls for the first half of the year and 608 ambulance calls for a total of 768 year to date.

City Administrator, Rob Evans, reviewed some upcoming community events including and Sand and Sage Fair, now underway, the Downtown Custom and Classic Expo August 19-20, the Lamar Chamber of Commerce Farmer’s Market on August 20th from 8am to 1pm on East Beech Street and the council will review options for a location to host a September 7th public meeting dinner.

The council joined the Prowers County Commissioners in its approval of a letter of support for the Conservation Reserve Program which will be sent to the Secretary of Agriculture and numerous other elected officials, asking for corrections to be made to CRP rates in Colorado.  Landowner, Jillane Hixson, provided a historical recap of how farming practices during the agricultural development of the nation’s breadbasket in the early 1900s, eventually led to the Dust Bowl era of the ‘Dirty Thirty’s.  Hixson said the formula for providing payments to farms under the CRP is reversed as those farms that need subsidy payments less, are receiving more money than farmers in this region who actually need it.  She added that given the many forms of revenue farmers can make on breaking open their fields, many are opting for that practice and all the work put into preserving land cultivation for the past half century will merely blow away, re-creating, as she put it, another dust bowl for the 2030s. Hixson added the deadline for submission of letters is the first of September. “Some local farmers receive from $13 to $32 for their CRP acreage, while farmers in Illinois are receiving 10 times that amount,” she added.

Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, explained the department has begun to pay for training for those wishing to attend the police academy to become an officer of the LPD.  The agreement, which was approved by the council, will ensure that those using the program will stay employed by the department for a two-year minimum and if not, will repay the city on a prorated amount.  The agreement will provide for educational funding for Joshua Boudreau and Liam Toomey who entered into the agreement for office training.

The Lamar Ambulance Service will start using a new third-party billing company.  Chief Widener told the council, that since the current company was sold to a larger billing corporation, services have declined to a point where action was required.  The new firm, Griffin RMC LLC has been contracted with an overall fee of 8% of all collections which will save the city 2% over the former company.

The council approved an agreement with KHInc to process US Government AirCards for fuel purchases at the Southeast Regional Airport and also approved a letter of engagement with rfarmer, LLC to provide an independent city audit for 2022, 2023 and 2024.

The council went into executive session for a conference with the city attorney to receive legal advice on specific legal questions under C.R.S. Section 24-54-402(4)(b).
By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: AgricultureChamber of CommerceCity of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyFeaturedHealth


About the Author: