Lance McDonald

Town projects director Lance McDonald briefs council on the details of new land acquired for open space or potential trade. (Photo by Suzanne Cheavens/Telluride Daily Planet)

Telluride’s open space acreage increased by a little over 57 acres with the purchase of three parcels that Town Council unanimously approved at its Tuesday meeting. The parcels were purchased from the San Miguel Conservation Foundation for $635,000, plus closing costs. The money comes from the town’s open space fund.

The Silver King Lode is a roughly north-south swath of land located west of town in unincorporated San Miguel County in the Mill Creek Road area; it is crossed by the water line and portions of the Mill Creek Trail, which town projects director, Lance McDonald characterized as “a well-known public trail.” That parcel comprises 8.43 acres and is currently zoned forestry-agricultural.

It could be designated as open space or, according to staff’s memo to council, “could facilitate a potential future trail alignment on the hillside which would bypass Mill Creek Road.”

The largest of the newly acquired parcels is a 40-acre in-holding with the National Forest, 16.5 miles west of Telluride. Referred to as the Beaver Park parcel, McDonald said is was land “that could be used for a potential future land trade.” The staff memo indicated the U.S. Forest Service has identified it as “a property desired for acquisition.”

The third of Telluride’s new open space parcels is the Last Chance Lode, located in La Junta Basin. It shares a border with the Bear Creek Preserve boundary. It also could be considered for future trade with the Forest Service. The Last Chance Lode is 9.291 acres. The La Junta Basin hiking trail and Blixt Road, which connects to the Wasatch Trail, cross the acreage.

In other council news, the board and staff undertook a lengthy discussion on a proposed increase to on-street metered parking in the town, as well as the establishment of a fee schedule for the Silver Jack underground parking garage, which is expected to be operational by mid-November. Parking rates were last increased in 2015, when they were raised from 50 cents to $1.

Local and former owner of Baked in Telluride Jerry Greene urged council to make the regulations more user friendly.

“I don’t see the need for this complexity,” he told council. “You can make it much simpler.”

He also noted that skiers using town parking while on the mountain was a cost the ski resort should help bare.

“Telski should contribute,” he said. “It’s skier parking. They contributed to Carhenge,” and should, too, to Silver Jack, Greene said.

Council ultimately passed the proposed rate as calculated by staff, but increased the monthly business permit rate from $150 to $175 with a limit of 15 permits issued in a calendar year.

Council also eliminated free Sunday parking. Meter rates will go from $1 per hour to $1.50, effective Jan. 1. The hours of metered parking will remain 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Council urged code enforcement staff to do a soft rollout of Sunday ticketing as locals become accustomed to the revised ruling.

Rates in Silver Jack, which offers 70 spaces, will be $1.50 for the first three hours with graduated fees for every hour up to seven hours and a $15.50 maximum. There are reduced rates for nighttime parking and overnight parking fees now in the books.

McDonald reported that staff is looking into incorporating phone payment apps at Silver Jack and for street parking.

“We are working with ParkMobile, in the early discussions and being sensitive to cost, durability, and ease of use,” he wrote in the staff memo. “Once more details are verified, a proposal will follow. The intent is to go live or test the pilot program with the opening of the Silver Jack Facility.”

Council also approved the addition of Rico into the intergovernmental agreement governing the San Miguel Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). The new resolution would make Rico — located in Dolores County — a member and eligible for SMART funding and programming. Rico will not become a member unless voters approve the measure in November’s election.

Town Council also unanimously re-upped attorney Daniel Zemke’s position as the hearing officer for the town’s Combined Retail Marijuana and Medical Marijuana Licensing Authority. Zemke will serve for another two-year term.

In other appointments, Peter Lundeen will serve another two years on the Historic and Architectural Commission. Lundeen has served on that board since 2016.