OURAY COMMUNITY PLAN
land use pattern in Ouray reflects a concentrated, built-up central
business district surrounded by Victorian-era residential
neighborhoods. New residential developments have been built primarily
on the outer edges of town, while new condos, townhouses and motels
have been built in some older neighborhoods close to the town center.
More recently residential development has expanded to the north in
the annexed corridor along Highway 550 and the Uncompahgre River.
Both at the time of the original plan and in 2003, there
is no concentrated industrial activity in Ouray.
established zoning regulations in 1972. Six zoning districts were
P-1 Parks, Developed R-1 Residential C-1 Commercial
P-2 Parks, Conservation R-2 Residential, High Density C-2
and permitted uses for each zone are found in Section 7 of the Ouray
Land Use Code.
Historically, residents have
strongly supported maintaining the existing boundaries of the zoning
districts; zoning districts have remained unchanged since their
inception. Within the original town limits (from the municipal pool
south), the zones were created to reflect existing land use patterns.
North Ouray (from the municipal pool
north to Rotary Park) was designated C-1 and C-2. Most of this area
was undeveloped when the zoning ordinance was created. Therefore, the
C-2 designation for industrial uses in North Ouray did not reflect
existing use; it was created to provide an opportunity for industrial
growth. Lot coverage and minimum lot size requirements for the C-2
zone still reflect the low-density industrial uses that were
anticipated, even though much of the recent development has been
residential. Public comments during meetings in 2003 for input on the
Plan update indicated concern over the apparent trend of converting
C-2 land to residential uses.
During the public comment period for
the 1993 plan, there was a lot of concern regarding how the North
Ouray corridor will develop. Original suggestions for this area
included maintaining public open space (Forest Service land or
City-owned land) and access to it, creating pedestrian paths along
the highway and river, landscaping around new development, and
promoting mixed-use development to accommodate growth in housing,
businesses and industry. The Uncompahgre River flows through the
zone; some of the land is affected by federal, state and local
regulations governing floodways, flood plains and wetlands.
Soon after adoption of the 1993
plan, the City sponsored a planning effort aimed at lands in the
North Ouray corridor. A Vision Statement was adopted that emphasized
the importance of a comprehensive approach to the river and its
associated floodplain. Implementation involved a major undertaking
that has resulted in many of the policies and action items
recommended in 1993 being accomplished. As of 2003, the Ouray
Uncompahgre River Restoration Project has restored the river channel
and led to a renewal of the entire North Ouray corridor.
Concern was also expressed in 1993
for the strip of C-2 zoning that runs along the river through town
from the Third Avenue bridge to the municipal pool. This area was
originally an industrial zone that included the railroad
right-of-way, the power plant and other businesses. Most of the
industrial uses have been discontinued and the primary use of the
land now is residential, lodging and camping. Several commercial
businesses and the power plant still remain in the zone. In 1993,
some residents suggested rezoning land in this area to R-1, R-2 or
P-1 to reflect desired future uses. As of 2003, rezoning has not
occurred, but neither has any industrial development.
During the comment period for the
1993 plan there was support for keeping businesses from expanding
into R-1 (the current regulations seem to be acceptable). Some
residents were concerned that more large motels in R-2 would
adversely affect the current pattern of mixed use (houses, condos,
bed and breakfasts and motels now blend together in R-2) ´┐Ż´┐Ż# concerns
included the creation of large paved areas required for motel parking
lots, drainage problems caused by large parking lots, lack of
landscaping and height of buildings.
Density and over development were
areas of concern during the public comment period in both 1993 and
2003. Residents commented on the need to keep development in balance
with the City´┐Ż´┐Ż"s ability to provide community services and
facilities. In 1993 residents stated that taxpayers should not have
to pay for additional capital improvements required by new
development. Since then policies and regulations have been adopted
that require development to pay its own way. During development of
the original plan, some residents thought two houses should not be
allowed on one lot, and some said new subdivided lots are too small.
There were many comments in both 1993 and 2003 stating that open
space should be protected and that greenbelts, future parks, and
landscaping are important to reduce the effect of increased density.
Some residents said, in 1993 and 2003, that street and parking lot
lighting and signs should be compatible with Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s character and
Public comments in 2003 expressed
the need to evaluate development trends in light of their effect on
structures in Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s National Historic District. The possibility
of establishing sub-districts or overlay zones within the boundaries
of the historic district was discussed. There was also significant
discussion about the need for design guidelines or standards aimed at
guiding development so that the integrity of the City´┐Ż´┐Ż"s historic
resources is protected.
for growth and redevelopment that maintains the high quality, small
town character of Ouray, preserves and enhances the scenic beauty,
natural resources, environmental quality and cultural assets that
make Ouray a desirable place to live.
1. Ensure that the
City Code is structured to maintain the diversity and vitality of
Ouray for residential, cultural and commercial/services.
2. Ensure that zoning
and development requirements address adverse impacts resulting from
conflicting land uses..
3. Reduce negative
fiscal impacts on the City and its residents by new development.
4. Reduce environmental
impacts and hazards created by new development.
5. Create design
guidelines for new development or redevelopment as identified by the
pending updated inventory of structures in the historic district.
1. Cooperate with
Ouray County and the Forest Service regarding sound planning for the
area surrounding the City to accomplish mutual planning goals.
2. Require new
development to pay its share of costs associated with its present and
future demands on the community.
3. Create performance standards for new development.
1. Complete a density
build-out analysis for the City to determine future capital
improvement requirements for increased City services and facilities.
Identify where there is a shortage in the capacity of public
utilities and city facilities. Establish a process to regularly
review and update the analysis.
2. Ensure that, as
growth and development occurs, open space and access to it is
3. Plan for future
parks and open space as needed.
4. Clarify subdivision
regulations, which pertain to condominiums.
5. Consider revisions
to the existing land use regulations to accomplish the goals,
objectives and policies stated in the Community Plan.
6. Establish a
cooperative planning agreement with the U.S. Forest Service.
1. Preserve the
existing housing stock to ensure quality residential areas.
1. Develop regulations
to create affordable housing opportunities.
Commercial and Industrial
1. Encourage infill of
vacant lots along Main Street and adjacent C-1 zoned properties.
2. Support efforts to
create more pedestrian facilities and other facilities for outdoor
use including benches, plazas, walkways and public restrooms
3. Continue to promote
sign standards, which allow effective business identification while
preserving Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s natural setting and traditional small-town
1. Evaluate the
impacts of restricting residential uses in the C-2 zone.
2. Evaluate the
impacts of restricting residential uses on the first floor, in the
C-1 zone on Main Street between 4th Avenue and 9th
1. Development is tied
to the ability of the City to provide new services and facilities
2. Requirements were
adopted to ensure that new development pays its share of improvement
costs necessitated by the development.
3. Utility corridors
are planned, designed or implemented to avoid conflict with existing
and future uses and to protect scenic and cultural resources.
4. Regulations for
development in areas of known hazards are being enforced.
5. With landowners´┐Ż´┐Ż"
participation, a comprehensive development plan for North Ouray (from
the municipal pool to Rotary Park) was created that provides for
maintenance of open space, adequate community services and
facilities, parking and landscaping, pedestrian opportunities,
improved safety on Highway 550 and other factors necessary to enhance
the community while allowing for growth and development in this area.
6. New development now
must include adequate provisions for pedestrians and landscaping
7. A plan and
associated policies for annexation have been adopted.
8. Regulations to
allow Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) in any zone have been adopted.
9. The definition of
building height has been revised to take into account the overall
height of the structure and its relation to the slope of the building
10. A cooperative
planning agreement with the County has been established.
11. Resolution of
parking needs and traffic flow has been made a high priority.
utilities to new developments are now required.
standards to address impacts of new development have been
14. Adverse impacts on
residential housing caused by motel development in R-2 have been
15. Landscaping and
lot coverage regulations for new commercial lodging in R-2 have been
established to help maintain a balance between residential and
16. Lot coverage
regulation for paved parking surfaces have been created.
17. Density in the C-2
zone has been managed by establishing minimum lot sizes and revised
lot coverage limits.
18. Lot coverage
limits, parking requirements and minimum lot size for C-2 have been
redefined to meet minimum standards for similar uses in other zones.
19. Guidelines for
expansion of new residential, commercial and industrial uses in North
Ouray have been established by a comprehensive development plan
created by current landowners, residents and municipal staff.
COMMUNITY SERVICES and
Ouray was incorporated in 1876. Ouray is a statutory city; it
has not adopted a home rule charter. Ouray may govern its own affairs
within certain limits, but authority to exercise powers is derived
from State statutes. The City Council is comprised of five elected
officials ´┐Ż´┐Ż# two representatives are elected from each precinct and
the Mayor is elected at large. Precinct One is located east of Main
Street; Precinct Two is west of Main Street. There are four
administrative departments, General Government, Public Works, Public
Safety, and Parks.
While much of Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s appeal for residents and visitors alike
stems from its picturesque San Juan Mountain setting, this same asset
can be a liability when it comes to providing municipal services.
Terrain and climate of the mountains pose challenges in the delivery
of utility services that municipalities in the ´┐Ż´┐ŻSflatlands´┐Ż´┐Ż´┐Ż do not
have to face. Conversely, Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s small town character and sense of
community fosters volunteerism, which facilitates the delivery of
emergency services in particular. While not as refined or extensive
as in urban areas, in most cases Ouray is fortunate to have an array
of services that is more than adequate.
Facilities in Ouray compare favorably or exceed those found in
other communities. The park system in particular is exceptional by
any comparison. The community center, City Hall, public schools and
library are also first rate for a community of this size.
Services and facilities provided by the City include potable and
wastewater treatment, streets, sidewalks, drainage and flood control,
parks, open space, community center, law enforcement, and fire
protection. Other services and facilities such as electrical
power, communications, library and business/community promotion are
provided by a variety of private sector or non-profit entities.
Revenue to pay the cost of services provided by the City comes
from a variety of sources including utility service charges and
investment fees, park admissions, sales, property and other taxes, as
well as various other license and permit fees. In recent years grant
funds have played an increasing role in City finances, but these
revenues are typically used for capital improvements rather than the
delivery of services.
Normal precipitation, is adequate to satisfy Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s current
water requirements with some reserve capacity The City
owns water rights at Weehawken Spring, Weehawken Creek and Oak Creek.
All of the water currently used by Ouray, over one million gallons
per day during summer months, comes from Weehawken Spring. The
capacity of the spring, during periods of normal precipitation, is
adequate to satisfy Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s current water requirements with some
reserve capacity. Regular tests required by the Colorado Department
of Health have shown Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s water to be free of microbiological
and inorganic contaminates.
Under an agreement made in 1996, the City agreed to sell excess
untreated Weehawken Spring water to BIOTA Pure, L.L.C. for bottling
purposes. The agreement allows the City unlimited use of Weehawken
Spring water, but after these needs are met BIOTA Pure is entitled to
bottle the next 100,000,000 gallons per year, provided that during
the months of November, December, January, February and March, all
but 50,000 gallons bottled per day of BIOTA´┐Ż´┐Ż"s use are subordinate
to use by the Ouray Ice Park´┐Ż´┐Ż"s needs as determined by the City.
water is disinfected with chlorine gas. Filtration is currently not
required, however, the State may require a filtration plant in the
future, a large capital expense. Major expenditures were incurred in
1993 to improve the spring source to comply with State requirements
is stored in a 500,000-gallon tank. Through a Water System
Distribution Master Plan completed in November of 2003, the need to
increase storage capacity, replace substandard mains, improve
chlorination and system reliability, was evaluated. Much of the
distribution system that delivers water throughout the city utilizes
old steel pipes in poor condition. Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s varied elevations create
pressure problems in some sectors of town. Pressure regulating valves
have been installed but the problem is not entirely corrected and the
valves require frequent adjustment and maintenance. The improvements
identified in the Water System Distribution Master Plan will cost
nearly $2 million. In November of 2002 voters authorized borrowing up
to half of that amount and it is hoped that the balance can be
provided by future grants and City capital reserves.
During the public comment periods for the plan in 1993 and 2003,
residents said the water system should be carefully managed to
protect the supply, quality and distribution. Some residents said new
developments should pay for the increased burden on services such as
water and sewer. In recent years water investment fees have been
increased to help fund future capital improvements.The higher fees
will be paid by all new developments and the funds collected are
reserved for use in capital improvements projects.
In July 1992 the city initiated construction of a new wastewater
treatment plant which combined aerated lagoons with constructed
wetlands. The new plant provided an increase in capacity while
offering the benefits of constructed wetlands. It was to be visually
pleasing, a sanctuary for small animals and waterfowl, emit less odor
and discharge cleaner water into the Uncompahgre River than a
conventional plant. When completed it was the largest constructed
wetlands wastewater treatment plant in the State of Colorado, and the
largest plant of its kind anywhere in the U.S. at this altitude.
of the older sewer lines are jointed clay tile pipes that allow
infiltration from groundwater sources into the system. Infiltrated
water passes through the treatment plant and adds to the burden of
treatment. Parts of the system have been replaced with newer concrete
or PVC pipe and current policy is to replace at least 2,000 lineal
feet of substandard pipe each year.
the treatment plant can process up to 363,000 gallons of effluent per
day, which is about 38% more than the average flows during the summer
season when flows are the highest. Improvements aimed at reducing
odors were installed in 2002 and 2003 and other measures are being
evaluated. Plans are being made to divert backwash water from the hot
springs pool filtration system, now processed by the plant, to an
auxiliary treatment structure buried in the pool parking lot.
Estimates show that this could significantly increase capacity at the
wastewater plant. In recent years, sewer investment fees have been
increased to help fund future capital improvements.. The higher fees
will be paid by all new developments and the funds collected are
reserved for use in capital improvements projects.
the public comment periods in 1993 and 2003, residents said the
system for wastewater collection and treatment should be carefully
managed to prevent problems with effluents and to ensure adequate
recently, all of Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s streets, except Main Street were unpaved.
In recent years, however, paving has occurred on lower Third and
Seventh and upper Fifth Avenues The City´┐Ż´┐Ż"s Public Works Department
is responsible for maintenance that includes grading, drainage and
snow removal. Dust control on gravel streets is achieved by at least
one application of magnesium chloride during the summer. Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s
Main Street is U.S. Highway 550. All aspects of Main Street,
including parking, signage, auto and pedestrian traffic control are
regulated by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Components of Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s
drainage system include Portland and Cascade Creek Flumes, the new
Fourth Street interceptor system, concrete valley pans, drop inlets,
miscellaneous culverts and the streets themselves.
During the public comment
period for the 1993 plan, some residents said better maintenance of
streets and flumes is a concern. They wished to see a reduction in
bumps and ruts, better dust control for the streets and protection
from ´┐Ż´┐ŻSflumalanches´┐Ż´┐Ż´┐Ż in Cascade Flume. In 1993, the City initiated
action to prevent flumalanches in Cascade Flume. Some residents said
better general clean up of streets, alleys and flumes is important
and that random fill and dumping along street rights-of-way should be
prevented. Some residents supported paving some of the busier streets
in Ouray to improve dust control and drainage. A more complete
analysis of dust in Ouray appears in the Environment section of the
Thanks to voter
authorization, proceeds from a bond originally used to finance
construction of the Portland Flume, were approved for use to pay for
street paving. This revenue could pay for the paving of approximately
one block per year, but since these same funds must also pay for
flume maintenance, the City Council must prioritize between these two
important areas of infrastructure.
In 1993 some residents expressed concern that local community
needs and pedestrian safety may not be adequately reflected in
Colorado Department of Transportation policy, which places a high
priority on moving vehicles efficiently and quickly along Highway
550, Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s Main Street. In response to these concerns, traffic
lanes on Main Street were delineated to provide a center lane for
freight unloading, one lane north and south and left turn lanes at
each avenue intersection. Markings at all pedestrian crossings have
also been made more distinct.
bridges include vehicular bridges over the Uncompahgre River and
Portland and Cascade Flumes, and pedestrian bridges over the river
Bridges over the
Uncompahgre River have been replaced to comply with Colorado
Department of Transportation standards. The Third Avenue bridge was
replaced in 1989, the Box Canyon exit and entry bridges were replaced
in 1990 and 1992 respectively and the Seventh Avenue bridge was
replaced in 1992. Eighty percent (80%) of the cost of bridge
replacement was paid by State grants. Due to deterioration of the
wood structures, bridges over Portland and Cascade Creek flumes have
gradually been reinforced with steel girders or heavier wood
stringers. This increases their capacity to accommodate heavier loads
from fire and garbage trucks.
sidewalks of Ouray are owned by the City. Residents are required, by
city code, to repair, replace and maintain sidewalks, including snow
removal, adjacent to private property. Sidewalks were originally
provided in the older neighborhoods and the commercial district of
Ouray, but have not been built in many newer areas of development.
The Master Plan for parks and trails addresses future pedestrian
circulation citywide and the City´┐Ż´┐Ż"s sidewalk master plan provides
an assessment of sidewalks in all parts of town.
During the public comment
period for the 1993 plan residents said increased pedestrian
opportunities and safety are important to Ouray. Some said pedestrian
safety should be improved along Highway 550 and at flume bridges. A
pedestrian mall in the 300 block of Sixth Avenue (around City Hall)
Modified traffic lanes on
Highway 550 have reduced speeds and increased pedestrian safety as
has upgraded pedestrian bridges over the flumes. A master plan for
pedestrian enhancements in the 300 block of Sixth Avenue is now in
process, overseen by the Beautification Committee.
Access to hiking trails
and the Amphitheater road has been improved thanks to cooperative
efforts between the City and the Ouray County Trails Group.. Public
transportation between Ouray and Montrose was suggested as was a
shuttle bus from the pool parking area to Main Street..
During the comment period
for the original plan, some residents said a park or walkway along
the Uncompahgre River should be considered. In 1989 design of a trail
system along the river from Ouray to Delta was completed by the
Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Colorado at
Denver. An organization, Uncompahgre RiverWay, Inc. was formed to
help implement the plan.
Following adoption of the
1993 plan, the City, affected land owners and federal agencies
embarked on a planning effort that ultimately led to the restoration
of a one mile section of the river in the northern limits of the
City. This project was completed in 2002 and features a pedestrian
walkway on both sides of the river throughout the project area. This
trail forms the southernmost section of the Uncompahgre RiverWay
Ouray has seven parks and multiple trailheads that provide a wide
variety of recreational activities for residents and visitors.
Maintenance and capital improvements for the City´┐Ż´┐Ż"s parks system
are paid for by the Parks Fund, which operates as a government
enterprise. The Parks Fund is supported mainly by revenues generated
at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool and Box Canyon Park. Trailheads within
the City provide access to an extensive network of hiking trails on
adjacent public lands.
The comprehensive plan for park facilities, trails and recreation
programs that some residents said was needed during the comment
period for the original plan was completed in 1998. A description of
the major components addressed by the 1998 plan follows.
Hot Springs Park and Pool
Hot Springs Park includes the Hot Springs Pool, bathhouse and fitness
center, a playground, outdoor basketball and tennis courts,
baseball/soccer field, walking/jogging track, gazebo, picnic
tables, barbecue grills and public restrooms. The Hot Springs Pool is
Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s most popular attraction and is listed on the National
Register of Historic Places. It annually generates significant
revenue while providing employment for as many as 40 full and
part-time employees. Natural geothermal water from several sources is
mixed with cooler water from the City´┐Ż´┐Ż"s domestic water system to
supply the pool. A filtration system to improve pool water quality
and achieve compliance with state and federal standards began
operating in 1996.
The Colorado Geological
Survey has studied the sources of Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s geothermal water and
concluded that the aquifer probably does not contain a large quantity
of water, but ´┐Ż´┐ŻSas long as hot water is not removed from the system
faster than it is being recharged, the quantity and temperature of
the water in the system should remain in equilibrium´┐Ż´┐Ż´┐Ż. The CGS
report indicates there is adequate hot water for the pool without
affecting other springs. Because the available quantity of hot water
is unknown but assumed to be limited, further development, if any, of
geothermal water sources will be carefully monitored.
Box Canon Park
Canon Park is accessible to the public year-round but is staffed,
with charged admission, only during the months of May through
October. During these months it offers picnicking, interpretive
learning, sightseeing, with short hikes to the famous Box Canyon
Falls and an overlook. A small admission fee and low expenses have
allowed the park to consistently operate at a profit, not including
repayment of debt for recent capital improvements.
Since 1999 several major capital projects have been completed at the
park including a new visitor center furnished with interpretive
exhibits, bridge and stairway to the falls, high bridge stairway,
high bridge decking and stringers and catwalk to the falls. The new
visitor center now makes it possible for the park to be staffed on a
year-round basis and this has been attempted on a trial basis during
the Christmas/New Years holidays and during the annual Ice Festival
in January. There is also an opportunity for expansion of nature
trails and picnic areas onto the adjacent Whippoorwill Lode acquired
by the City in 1989.
glaciers and the Uncompahgre River have carved a dramatic canyon
through solid rock at the south edge of town adjacent to and within
Box Canon Park. The Uncompahge Gorge, as it´┐Ż´┐Ż"s called, is an
impressive natural phenomenon in any season, but during the winter
months it is indeed spectacular and a perfect venue for Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s
newest sport, ice climbing.
Land in the gorge is held
by a combination of public and private owners that together lease
their property to Ouray County, which in turn oversees operation of
the Ouray Ice Park through a non-profit organization, the Ouray Ice
Park Inc. During winter months, employees of the Ice Park use
overflow from the City´┐Ż´┐Ż"s water tank and freezing temperatures to
transform sheer walls of the gorge into solid towers of ice. The
Ouray Ice Park is the only facility of its kind in the Western
Hemisphere, attracts thousands of climbers annually and has benefited
the local winter economy greatly. With the assistance of the Trust
for Public lands, the City, U.S. Forest Service and other landowners
are cooperating in an effort to consolidate ownership of properties
in the Ice Park. Consolidated ownership will greatly simplify Ice
Park operations and clarify insurance and liability issues.
Lee´┐Ż´┐Ż"s Ski Slope
Lee´┐Ż´┐Ż"s Ski Slope is a
youth downhill ski hill on the south side of Ouray. A rope tow,
currently in service on weekends and on weekdays after school,
provides conveyance to the hilltop. An operator is present while the
tow is in use, but there is no charge for use of the lift. The City
supports its operation from park revenues. The base apparatus was
completely rebuilt by the City in 2001.
Rotary Park, Cascade Falls Park and
Woman´┐Ż´┐Ż"s Club Minipark.
Visitors use Rotary Park, fronting Highway 550 on the north side
of town, primarily as a picnic area and rest stop. Cascade Falls
Park, at the east end of Eighth Avenue, is an undeveloped park with a
parking area and access, by a primitive trail, to the base of Cascade
Falls. The Woman´┐Ż´┐Ż"s Club Mini-park, corner of Fourth Avenue and
Fifth Street, has playground equipment for small children and
City-owned land on the
hillsides east and south of town is currently zoned P-2, which
requires land to be left in its natural state except for parking and
sanitary facilities. During the public comment period for both the
original and 2003 plan update, residents said hillsides should remain
undeveloped and existing open space should be maintained and
protected. Maintaining the P-2 designation for this land will help
protect Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s natural setting.
In response to consensus
voiced during development of the original plan, an effort began in
1993 to articulate community values regarding the future of lands in
the northern reaches of the City. The effort created a Vision
Statement for the North Ouray Corridor, which called for complete
renewal of the area beginning with restoration of a one-mile section
of the Uncompahgre River. Construction began in the fall of 1996 and
was completed in the fall of 2002. The project created an 18-acre
riparian corridor on either side of the river that will be owned and
maintained in perpetuity by the City. Previous to this, private
ownership prevented public access to the river. The riparian corridor
has been developed as a park and features a continuous walkway linked
by pedestrian bridges across the river and is furnished with
amenities such as picnic tables, exercise equipment, interpretive
panels, public parking and a restroom.
The Ouray School is
funded to provide for kindergarten through 12th grade. Two
hundred sixty four (264) students were enrolled for the 2003-04
school year. The school regularly achieves higher than average
academic standards. The campus consists of two buildings; the main
building was built in 1937 and the secondary building with a gym,
shop and cafeteria was built in the 1960´┐Ż´┐Ż"s. Several capital
projects have upgraded facilities since then, most recently a new
library, classrooms and gym improvements completed in 1997.
school is fiscally independent from the city. Funding for operations
is derived from the State and from local sources. The local portion
of the funding is raised by a mill levy from property taxes. Funding
for facility improvements is raised through bond issues that are
repaid by property taxes. All property taxes and mill levies are
administered by the County Treasurer.
City Hall and Community
original City Hall, including the Walsh Library on the second floor,
was built in 1900. It was damaged by fire in 1950 and rebuilt with a
modern façade. In 1983, the adjoining Community Center
building was constructed and a connection made to the space formerly
occupied by the Walsh Library on the second floor. In 1988, a civic
effort was initiated to replace the 1950´┐Ż´┐Ż"s front with a
reproduction of the historic design. Thanks to funding provided by
gifts and donations, the project was completed at that time. The
City Hall now houses the City administrative offices, library and
Community Center houses the Emergency Services Center on the ground
floor, including the fire department, and emergency medical services.
The three Community Center meeting rooms have capacities of
approximately 30, 150, and 300 persons, as well as facilities for
food preparation. The rooms are currently rented for meetings,
conferences and civic events.
public library, located in City Hall, is supported by a mill levy on
property taxes, donations and funds raised by Friends of the Library.
The library owns approximately 16,000 volumes.
and Fire Departments
Police Department is located in City Hall and employs four full-time
officers, including the chief. The Volunteer Fire Department, housed
on the ground floor of the Community Center, has about 28 volunteers
and four vehicles including a 1983 750-gallon pump truck, a 2000
model pumper/ladder truck, a quick-response 200-gallon truck and a
2003 model tender for firefighting in remote areas that lack
developed water systems.
medical services for the community, including two ambulances and 10
to 15 EMT´┐Ż´┐Ż"s, are directed by Ouray County, but headquartered in the
City´┐Ż´┐Ż"s Emergency Services Center. Mountain Rescue, with
approximately 50 volunteer members, is directed by the Ouray County
Sheriff´┐Ż´┐Ż"s Office. The 911 emergency phone service became available
in 1992 and is managed by a county-wide Emergency Management Board.
During the1993 and 2003 public comment periods for plan development,
residents commented on the importance of maintaining quality
emergency services and encouraging continuing volunteerism.
power needs are served by the San Miguel Power Association, which has
a franchise agreement with the City. As an REA co-op, any profits
realized are to be returned to its customers. Overhead transmission
lines that feed Ouray from the north have recently been upgraded in
conjunction with construction of a new substation located at the
City´┐Ż´┐Ż"s northern limits on north Oak Street. Over time, this new
substation will replace the old original facility located on the
river at the south end of town. This will also allow the overhead
transmission lines between the old and new substations to be
Telephone and Internet
Quest provides telephone service to Ouray. Internet service is
provided by a local company, Ouraynet.
Natural gas is not currently available in Ouray, but a gas
provider has recently secured permission from the City and Ouray
County to construct pipelines that will serve both entities
Provide efficient and high quality community services and facilities
to the residents and visitors of Ouray.
2. Manage growth in a
manner that balances land development with the ability of the City to
provide necessary public services, facilities and capital
1. Ensure economy and
efficiency in operations and capital improvements projects.
2.Maintain a balance
between growth and development and the capacity of services and
effective and comprehensive planning.
Promote economy and
efficiency in all expenditures, seek grants for
funding whenever possible.
Maintain the quality of Ouray's water.
Continue to use water and sewer investment fees to raise revenue to pay for capital
Monitor the capacity
of the water and sewer systems with respect to new demands created
by growth and plan for needed system improvements.
Make safety, paving,
dust control and maintenance high priorities.
landscaping and other streetscape improvements.
Urge the State to
improve avalanche safety and enforce hazardous materials regulations
on Highway 550.
importance of pedestrian opportunities and safety in all planning
Maintain and expand Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s current parks program including
developed parks for
and undeveloped parks for public open space.
with the county to support emergency medical services and encourage
Support efforts to
improve the quality of utility services and facilities in Ouray.
Develop a Capital
Improvements Program, that identifies long-range needs and financial
As needs arise,
create citizen groups to study and propose solutions to problems.
Encourage citizen participation in study groups.
Create a policy or
plan for public properties.
Update the existing
City Forestry Plan prepared by the State Forest Service.
recommendations made by the Water Distribution System Master Plan.
Replace at least
2,000 linear of substandard sewer line per year.
problems at the wastewater treatment plant.
and specifications for streets.
Clean up weeds and
debris in flumes, landscape the perimeter of the Cascade catchment
implementation of the drainage plan.
and replanting along streets in coordination with forestry plan.
Support efforts to
improve safety on Highway 550 through Ouray.
alternatives to achieve more effective dust control.
Use voter authorized
revenues from the Portland Flume tax to pave streets.
Create a comprehensive plan for construction and maintenance of
sidewalks and other pedestrianways, including snow removal.
for sidewalks on grade (including allowable slope, railings and
Uncompahgre Riverway through Ouray.
Expand the P-2
Parks-Conservation designation for undeveloped land on the hillsides
Address issues of
need, location and cost for new restrooms.
1. Establish standards for street lighting; consider decorative
lighting and additional lighting for safety in some areas. Promote
street lighting standards that will preserve Ouray´┐Ż´┐Ż"s natural
setting and traditional small town character.
The need for future
improvements and expansion of water storage has been analyzed.
Long-range plans for
water improvements have been created and record drawings maintained.
Progress has been
made to bring water and sewer systems into compliance with state and
prevention devices have been installed on the Cascade Creek Flume.
between the City, County and State for maintenance of Highway 550
has been achieved.
The pros and cons of
paving some of the busier streets to improve dust control and
drainage have been considered.
Railings and steps
on footbridges over flumes comply with the Uniform Building Code.
and sidewalks in the comprehensive plan for North Ouray have been
Access, signage and
parking for hiking trails have been planned.
The City has
provided for persons with disabilities by requiring compliance with
the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The City and
landowners have created a comprehensive parks development plan
including facilities planning, parking and circulation planning,
landscaping and budgeting, with public participation in the planning
have been made at Lee´┐Ż´┐Ż"s Ski Slope.
The City has worked
with utility companies to identify alternatives and establish
corridors for future service needs.
The City has
supported efforts to improve power and phone service and to bring
natural gas to Ouray.
Last Updated: Friday, November 09 2007 @ 03:11 PM MST|Hits: 21,840