Author Topic: Mountain Homes and Beyond...  (Read 13420 times)

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Offline Halflinger

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Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2011, 01:18:52 PM »
Quote
Ya know, I've been trying to wrack my brain as to what that other program might be, and I'm afraid that no possibilities really jump out at me. Is there any other info you have, however seemingly trivial?

Nothing that didn't smell fishy, or at least like a third-hand reinterpretation of what was actually said. In conversation, it was mentioned that 'they don't use restraint. If a girl runs, they just follow her. They have very good runners on staff,' and that family therapy is conducted through a videochat function once or twice a week. That's as specific as it got.
As far as the Buddhism angle goes, I think what was actually being referred to was Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which my friend had been receiving from a therapist before being sent off. I met with a practicioner of that variety a couple times myself, and didn't find it helpful. A somewhat New Age, meditative brand of behavioral therapy, a secularized version of Buddhist "Mindfulness" training is the crux of it's philosophy.
My money had been on an InnerChange program, but, again, that's hinging on my interpretation of the weirdness that was coming from her parents, and a lot of it was very weird. Lots of talk about 'emotional dishonesty' and 'negative worlds' and the like.
InnerChange touts the DBT angle pretty heavily on their websites, and I believe at least one of thier programs was using videochat for parent therapy. I'll have to double check that, though.
I'd never heard of CERTS, but from looking at their own info, seems to be pretty much the same thing -- going for the touchy-feely angle, and again, the DBT.
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Offline Ursus

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Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2011, 11:42:22 PM »
Quote from: "Halflinger"
Quote from: "Ursus"
Ya know, I've been trying to wrack my brain as to what that other program might be, and I'm afraid that no possibilities really jump out at me. Is there any other info you have, however seemingly trivial?
Nothing that didn't smell fishy, or at least like a third-hand reinterpretation of what was actually said. In conversation, it was mentioned that 'they don't use restraint. If a girl runs, they just follow her. They have very good runners on staff,' and that family therapy is conducted through a videochat function once or twice a week. That's as specific as it got.
What might really be helpful is any "cult lingo" that you can recall. E.g., specific wordage and descriptives, phrases used, etc. Although generally all of these programs employ mere variations on a theme of very similar modalities, they each tend to evolve their own specific vernacular which, presumably, sets them apart as being "different" from all the rest.

To some degree, that's just human nature. We all develop our own pet phrases and verbal symbolism whenever we operate in a group that's distinct from the rest of the world, e.g., at our job, when with associates highly versed in a specific specialty, within a long term group of friends, etc. but it can get quite pronounced in programs. And ofttimes, quite program-specific.

Quote from: "Halflinger"
As far as the Buddhism angle goes, I think what was actually being referred to was Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which my friend had been receiving from a therapist before being sent off. I met with a practicioner of that variety a couple times myself, and didn't find it helpful. A somewhat New Age, meditative brand of behavioral therapy, a secularized version of Buddhist "Mindfulness" training is the crux of it's philosophy.
Ah, I see, fair enough. Well, as you mentioned earlier, DBT is quite trendy at the moment, so unfortunately, that aspect doesn't narrow it down too much. I think we can probably rule out some of the more overt "Christian" programs, however! :D

Quote from: "Halflinger"
My money had been on an InnerChange program, but, again, that's hinging on my interpretation of the weirdness that was coming from her parents, and a lot of it was very weird. Lots of talk about 'emotional dishonesty' and 'negative worlds' and the like.
InnerChange touts the DBT angle pretty heavily on their websites, and I believe at least one of thier programs was using videochat for parent therapy. I'll have to double check that, though.
I may be speaking out of turn by saying this, but I have a strong suspicion that InnerChange got a huge boost in credibility with the Mormon program crowd when they managed to get Kimball DeLaMare on board. DeLaMare would, I suspect, be very hip to new psych developments that could increase the caché of whatever program offered them. He even sits on one of JCAHO's assessment boards. IIRC, DBT may not have been even mentioned on their website just 4-5 years ago, back when InnerChange went by the name of Solacium Holdings.

Quote from: "Halflinger"
I'd never heard of CERTS, but from looking at their own info, seems to be pretty much the same thing -- going for the touchy-feely angle, and again, the DBT.
Moonridge Academy and Kolob Canyon are two of their programs. From what I recall, there's a parent manual that can be downloaded from a Moonridge thread here that might give you a better idea. Someone who was there relatively recent saw fit to stress that their website is hopelessly out of date. I had started to read that manual (but didn't finish) and I remember being struck by how newagey it sounded. You might want to check it out to see if something jumps out at ya...
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Offline Halflinger

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Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2011, 10:02:46 PM »
Link is dead on the Moonridge thread. Ursus, do you still have a copy? PM me for my email, if you do. I did notice, however, on the Moonridge testimonials page, that a parent had mentioned that family therapy was twice a week. That seems pretty out of the ordinary for most programs, and was a detail that stood out from my conversation with my friend's mother. Grasping at  straws, of course.
As for more details, program language, no, unfortunately they (her parents) were playing it pretty close to the vest. I got a not-so-friendly call from the police after the last time I spoke with them, and I very much doubt they'll be seeking me out to volunteer any info. what I've got is what I've got.
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Offline Ursus

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Moonridge Academy and Kolob Canyon
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2011, 10:56:16 PM »
Quote from: "Halflinger"
Link is dead on the Moonridge thread. Ursus, do you still have a copy? PM me for my email, if you do. I did notice, however, on the Moonridge testimonials page, that a parent had mentioned that family therapy was twice a week. That seems pretty out of the ordinary for most programs, and was a detail that stood out from my conversation with my friend's mother. Grasping at  straws, of course.
As for more details, program language, no, unfortunately they (her parents) were playing it pretty close to the vest. I got a not-so-friendly call from the police after the last time I spoke with them, and I very much doubt they'll be seeking me out to volunteer any info. what I've got is what I've got.
Yes, I *do* have a copy, but try this first (.doc, so use MWord to open):
    Moonridge Parent Manual (1.28 MB)[/list]
    This download is stored on fornits' website, so if the link is n.g., there may be some technical reasons that bear looking into...

    Fwiw, Kolob Canyon is supposedly very similar to Moonridge. One of the differentiating criteria is supposedly age, with Moonridge catering more to the younger crowd. This may or may not still be true, if they've changed and their website hasn't been appropriately updated. Some of those statements on Moonridge's testimonials page mention both programs and, in one or two cases, appear to actually be about Kolob Canyon and not Moonridge.
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    Offline Halflinger

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    Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
    « Reply #19 on: November 14, 2011, 02:31:18 PM »
    another satisfied customer of MHYR/AVW... http://2pacsouljah.blogspot.com/2010/03 ... r-rob.html

    Ashley Valley Wilderness/MHYR: Rob Caldwell, Marty Bingham, Crooks, Liars, TRAVESTY
    As I explained before, I was sent to Ashley Valley Wilderness in Colorado/Utah for about 3 months, 89 days in which I had no electricity (or ANY utilities like water gas or even housing), freedom of speech, medical treatment, drug rehabilitation, therapy, or even a PILLOW. We were up in the mountains, making fires with bow-drill sets, and eating rice, lentils, oatmeal, germade, and spam with no vitamins, freedom to choose if we could eat or not, or the ability to even share our experiences involving substances (at a "rehab"?).
    Furthermore, I was NOT allowed to speak about
    a)politics [i.e. "I think Obama..." "HEY! You can't talk about politics or you FAIL and you're here another week!" (AV Staff)],
    b) religion (i.e. "Oh my God!/Oh my Lord!" Staff: "HEY! That's Diety! FAIL FAIL FAIL!")
    c) "war stories" (i.e.) "My parents had just got divorced and I did a lot of ____ one night, I neglected my family-"NO WAR STORIES! Try it again you FAIL!
    d)anything "wierd" (i.e. ghosts, ufos, samsquatch haha, pokemon, aliens, etc.
    as WELL as the inability to swear at all, even with "damn" or threaten failing and staying on the mountain another week.

    The Ashley Valley / Mountain Homes Youth Ranch (Youth Program) says Dr. Phil endorsed them in an episode, and has his face on their website. In actuality, they don't even mention the name Ashley Valley or MHYR in the episode, and Dr. Phil probably hasn't even approved of their front/fraudulant bullshit website. DR PHIL YOU COULD BE GETTING A HEFTY HUNK OF CHANGE!

    I met Rob Caldwell (owner) and Marty Bingham (Program Director) and both live luxurious lives of fly-fishing, driving over-sized vehicles, lying to thousands of suffering parents of addicted teens/adults, and ROBBING THOUSANDS OF KIDS AGES 12-26 of 3-7 MONTHS OF THEIR LIFE.

    I will never get my 89 days of life back. Those bastards broke me down, made fun of my musical preference, my tattoos, my name, and I wasn't even allowed to stand up for myself, or I'd risk staying on a SHIThole mountain for another week. I could NOT leave because I was over 60 miles from any gas station, with no electronics, no money, and no ID (all confiscated at the airport by AV staff).

    I need to warn parents and children of this place. I am absolutely forever traumatized by my experiences from this place. Hives, headaches, sleep troubles, frost-bite, diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, anxiety attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts, violent tendencies, and a pessimistic decision-making attitude are all attributed to the fact that I was robbed of my freedoms by these scammers, my family bought into it, and I lived through 3 months of what is worse than Jail- yes, Jail is NICER than AV/MHYR. I know this through tesimonials by my fellow "pupils" and from MY OWN EXPERIENCE.

    Rob Caldwell- keep buying a new fully loaded Chevy each year, and puttin down-payments on extra fishing lodges, but I see through you're bullshit you spit to these suffering families.You fuckin bastad ;P

    Marty Bingham, by the way Ladies and Gentleman, is a very obese, Okley and expensive cowboy boot/hat-wearin mothafucka who's addicted to money, FOOD, big trucks, and probably pornograph. Fake-ass lying crook.

    Anyway, I'm off that mountain, but I pray from my apartment in Portland, every single day for my colleagues who get sent up there to live through such a blasphemy.

    I PRAY that this saves at least ONE person from one of the most F'd up experiences a person can endure (the "Therapists" talk to your parents and you have VERY little contact (write monitored letters that take weeks to get delivered to ONLY the parent who paid or bi-weekly MONITORED phone calls with the therapists. Their Bastards
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    Offline Ursus

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    Ashley Valley Wilderness/MHYR: ...Crooks, Liars, TRAVESTY
    « Reply #20 on: November 15, 2011, 10:42:30 AM »
    Date for that blog entry, fwiw:

      Saturday, March 27, 2010
      Ashley Valley Wilderness/MHYR: Rob Caldwell, Marty Bingham, Crooks, Liars, TRAVESTY[/list]
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      Offline Ursus

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      Mountain Homes Youth Ranch & Ashley Wilderness
      « Reply #21 on: November 15, 2011, 11:20:06 AM »
      Apparently, there has been some grumbling amongst the locals about how Mountain Homes Youth Ranch does their business. For awhile there (almost a year), MHYR was operating without the required conditional use permits. This has allegedly since been corrected.

      However, in my reading of material on the requisite community hearings held earlier this year, I kinda get the impression that MHYR has not been altogether forthright with the locals about what exactly it is that they do, as well as particulars regarding the population of youth they allegedly "treat."

      Moreover, there are some vague answers regarding what licenses they hold. Are they licensed as a "school?" Or not? I'm not sure that being licensed as a "residential child care facility," if that is indeed the license they hold, necessarily qualifies MHYR to pass themselves off as a school. But, it's not like I'm any kind of expert in such matters, and that criteria may very well not be important to the residents of this area.

      Also, fwiw, in November of 2010, a local resident apparently suffered a break-in by four youths from MHYR who stole a loaded shotgun, and attempted to steal a truck. My guess is they were probably trying to escape...

      I have a bunch of material to post pertinent to the above noted conditional use permit hearings which culminated this past June. Feel free to interject with commentary. This material will include, hopefully in the following order:

      • Notice of Application and call for public commentary;
      • Notice of Application, announcement of public hearing;
      • Official minutes of public hearing held before the Moffat County Comissioners on June 7, 2011;
      • Article: "Moffat County Commission considers permit for Mountain Home Youth Ranch";
      • Comments on said article;
      • Poll results, conducted by the Craig Daily Press; and
      • Followup article.
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      Offline Ursus

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      Public Notice of Application, call for public commentary
      « Reply #22 on: November 15, 2011, 01:15:04 PM »
      Regarding MHYR getting that required conditional use permit, here's the public Notice of Application and call for public commentary:

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      Craig Daily Press
      Mountain Homes Youth Ranch

      April 22, 2011, 12:00 a.m.
      Updated: 12:00 a.m.


      112757-1

      Public Hearing

      NOTICE OF APPLICATION
      FOR CONDITIONAL USE

      Mountain Homes Youth Ranch

      NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT Mountain Homes Youth Ranch; applicants have submitted an Application for Conditional Use for Camping and Youth Programs located on private land in T7N to T10N; R99W to R102W of the 6th Principal Meridian, Moffat County, Colorado.

      The Moffat County Planning Commission and the Moffat County Commissioners would appreciate any comments that you may have that would help them make a more informed decision. A public hearing will be held before the Moffat County Planning Commission on May 3, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in the Craig City Council Chambers located at 300 West 4th Street, Craig Colorado.

      A public hearing will be held before the Moffat County Commissioners on May 10, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. in the Commissioner's Conference Room located on the main floor, east end of the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way, Craig, Colorado. The application is available for public inspection in the Planning Department during normal business hours. Conditional Use Permit regulations can be found on-line at http://www.colorado.gov/moffatcounty under the Planning Department or contact the Planning Department at 970-824-9148.

      Published in The Craig Daily Pres

      Publication Date: April 22, 2011

      10259792

      Published in The Craig Daily Pres Publication Date: April 22, 2011


      © Copyright 2011 Craig Daily Press.
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      Offline Ursus

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      Notice of Application, announcement of public hearing
      « Reply #23 on: November 15, 2011, 11:42:22 PM »
      I do not have the minutes of the two public hearings mentioned in the above Notice (May 3rd and 10th).

      Here's another public notice, this one also announcing an upcoming public hearing on June 7th. This one appears to have been published several times, and was probably archived under the last publication date. The first publication date is noted as May 25, 2011.

      -------------- • -------------- • --------------

      Craig Daily Press
      Mountain Homes Youth Ranch

      June 18, 2011

      112785-3

      Public Hearing

      NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR CONDITIONAL USE

      Mountain Homes Youth Ranch

      NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT Mountain Homes Youth Ranch; applicants have submitted an Application for Conditional Use for Camping and Youth Programs located on private land in T7N to T10N; R99W to R102W of the 6th Principal Meridian, Moffat County, Colorado.

      A public hearing will be held before the Moffat County Commissioners on June 7, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioner's Conference Room located on the main floor, east end of the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way, Craig, Colorado. The application is available for public inspection in the Planning Department during normal business hours. Conditional Use Permit regulations can be found on-line at http://www.colorado.gov/moffatcounty under the Planning Department or contact the Planning Department at 970-824-9148.

      Published in the Craig Daily Press

      First Publication: May 25, 2011

      Final Publication: May 30, 2011

      10263438

      Published in the Craig Daily Press First Publication: May 25, 2011


      © Copyright 2011 Craig Daily Press.
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      Offline Ursus

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      minutes of public hearing - June 7, 20
      « Reply #24 on: November 16, 2011, 11:40:55 AM »
      The issue of granting Mountain Homes Youth Ranch a conditional use permit was apparently discussed in at least two previous public hearings held before the Moffat County Commissioners. Despite the call for public commentary (posted above), it is unclear (to me, at least) just how much community feedback was effectively involved in the earlier ones.

      A public hearing which did involve community participation took place on June 7th, 2011. By which time, I should note, the BOCC appears to have already pretty much made up their minds. Here are the minutes:

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        Moffat County Board of County Commissioners
        221 W Victory Way Suite 130 Craig, CO 81625

        June 7, 2011[/list]

        In attendance: Thomas J. Mathers, Chairman; Tom Gray, Vice Chair; Stephanie Beckett, Deputy Clerk, Dee Allerd, Samuel Sheridan.

        Audrey Danner, Board Member absent.

          Call to Order
          Pledge/Moment of Silence
          Consent Agenda
          [/list]

          Gray made a motion to approve the consent agenda consisting of items:
          • A) Approved Resolution 2011-63 transfer of payment of warrants for the month of May 2011 for $261,480.77.
          • B) Approved Resolution 2011-64 payment of payroll warrants ending 5/28/2011 for $410,572.61.
          • C) Approved Resolution 2011-65 Transfer of Intergovernmental funds for the month of June for $229,277.53.
          • D) Signed agreement between the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority and Maybell Sanitation District for a grant up to $10,000.00.

          Mathers seconded the motion. Motion carried 2-0. See attachments.

          Mike Fuller (KRAI), Ben McCanna (newspaper), Phyllis Barainca, Joanne Miller, Lynda Watt, John Watt, Mara Molloy, Robert Molloy, Gina Robinson  (BLM), Shane Dittlinger (BLM), John Vaughan, Lois Vaughan, Dawn Nottingham, Margaret Gluesing, Roy Marceca, Iva Decker, Marty Bingham (MHYC), Landen Norris (MHYC), Kim Nachtmaw, Dennis Bugay, Lex and Goldie Burton present.

            Planning & Zoning Department – Jerry Hoberg[/list]
            Hoberg reviews for approval the Mountain Home Youth Ranch Conditional Use Permit. A letter and photos from The Brown's Park Land Use Board and Robert J. Molloy Jr. is attached with concerns. Hoberg gives a general overview of this conditional use permit.

            Community members and the Planning Board held two meetings and the Planning & Zoning committee approved the permit with some stipulations added. Hoberg is here to present the final decision the Planning & Zoning Board has made.

            John Watt asks if the County has received a legal description for the Conditional Use Permit. Hoberg is using the legal description for each property owner that the camp has a lease with.

            Jeremy Snow addresses the legalities of this process. The BOCC is only determining the criteria that is set forth in the Moffat County Planning and Zoning laws. The decision today is based on C.R.S. 30-28-111. In Snows legal opinion first the BOCC needs to determine if MHYR is or is not a school. This is the first stipulation for a conditional use permit on agricultural land. If this determination is that they are a school, then the BOCC will need to find if there is an adverse affect to the permit. The approved application shall list those conditions and requirements determined to be necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the area and the County. There are nine effects to consider:

              1. Compatibility with existing uses in the area
              2. Physical separation from similar or dissimilar uses on the same property.
              3. Impact on traffic volume and safety.
              4. Impact on utilities and sanitary facilities
              5. Impact upon the established character of the neighborhood or the zone district.
              6. Conformance with the property development standards of the district.
              7. Production of any offensive noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odors, heat, glare, or unsightly aspects at or beyond the property line.
              8. Interference with airport approach zones or with electronic transmissions.
              9. Scarring of the land and soil which would leave denuded slopes, soil piles, holes or pits, or ruined areas of natural beauty, without recourse to a reclamation plan and a performance beyond sufficient to guarantee reclamation of the land.

            Snow advises that the BOCC goes through the nine criteria's and determine if there is any adverse impact. If they determine any criteria to have an adverse impact then they can see if there is a solution.

            Snow indicates that the BOCC has to take the feedback from the group before the decision is made.

            Gray and Mathers indicates that this is considered a "school". Anytime you are trying to teach somebody something even if it is behavioral then it is a school.

            John Watt indicates that he can not find that this company is licensed as a school. Marty Bingham indicates they do have licensed teachers at the school and issue a transcript credited through national schools. Bingham will provide the license to Watt.

            Rick Barnes present.

            Reviewing the nine stipulations with community feedback:

              1. Compatibility with existing uses in the area.
                a. Watt believes there is compatibility issues. This area has been used for some recreation but primarily it is a ranching area. This property is zoned for ranching.
                b. Molloy indicates that the compatibility of this permit is new to the entire community.
                c. Gluesing indicates that there is a lot of other traffic that goes through Browns Park and they can do harm to the community just as easy as the camp.
                d. Watt indicates that they bring an additional threat to our community.
                e. Landan Norris indicates that the compatibility that this organization brings is revenue to the ranchers in this community.
                f. Lynda Watt reads a letter against the Mountain Home Youth Ranch.
              2. Physical separation from similar or dissimilar uses on the same property.
                a. Mathers indicates that the buffer zone would accommodate this issue.
                b. Molloy asks if the buffer could be 4 miles from property lines. Norris indicates that 3 miles would work, but 4 miles would take out too much useable property.
              3. Impact on traffic volume and safety.
                a. The new permit has a $200.00 charge per kid to pay for road repair.
            Snow clarifies that the zoning regulations is not going to impact a citizen. The issues that citizens have are civil and does not have anything to do with this zoning permit.

                b. Dawn Nottingham indicates that the roads are a mess this year due to the weather. Some years are worse than others.
                c. Roy Marceca asks about the dust and has concerns for this summer. Maybe some of the funds could go to putting mag on the roads. Gray indicates that the dust was a problem before the camp came to town and in these financial situations the county cannot mag all the roads. Gray indicates that some of the funds could go to mag parts of the County Road that is used the most.
              4. Impact on utilities and sanitary facilities.
                a. Norris indicates that they do not use any utilities and sanitary facilities.
                b. Molloy asks if they could lease port a potties.
              5. Impact upon the established character of the neighborhood or the zone district.
                a. Roy Marceca thinks that having the camp there has had an impact on the community and has been very negative.
                b. John Watt thinks everyone needs to take a look at Moffat County's master plan.
                c. John Watt asks why are they not running the operation in Utah or in Skull Creek. Marty Bingham answers that they are in Utah and have set up in Skull Creek, but Skull Creek was not suitable.
              6. Conformance with the property development standards of the district.
                a. John Watt says this goes back to the Master Plan. It indicates to use the property as it was intended, agricultural.
              7. Production of any offensive noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odors, heat, glare, or unsightly aspects at or beyond the property line.
                a. Molloy's concern is the insurance part of this issue. What type of insurance do they have to cover a fire? Marty Bingham indicates that they have the required amount of insurance.
              8. Interference with airport approach zones or with electronic transmissions.

              9. Scarring of the land and soil which would leave denuded slopes, soil oils, holes or pits, or ruined areas of natural beauty, without recourses to a reclamation plan and performance beyond sufficient to guarantee reclamation of the land.
            Landen Norris is working on the wildlife impact and indicates they have reclaimed areas in the past.

            Samuel Sheridan home was broken into and he indicated that he was never told about the camp. Sheridan sees the good side of these camps, but this is dangerous to the residents. The communication was not sufficient in the past year.

            Dee Allred asks what criminal background do the kids they take at the camp have. Landen Norris answers that they do not take any kids that have any criminal background. The kids that they teach normally get in trouble for vandalizing, and drugs, and alcohol use.

            Mathers closes the notice for taking information and input from community members. Molloy interrupts and would like to request that the BOCC put more conditions on the permit that could later be taken off. Watt would like to add one more comment; he would like to remind them to take the health, safety, and welfare into the decision, also the maximum buffer area.

            Watt read from the state inspection and asks who authorized the camp to continue operations until final approval. Landen Norris answers that Jerry Hoberg granted this.

            The BOCC will postpone the decision until next week.

              Announce appointment to Planning & Zoning Board alternate seat[/list]
              The BOCC received one letter of interest from Rick Barnes to fill the alternate position for the Planning Commission Board.

              Gray made a motion to appoint Rick Barnes as the alternate for the Planning & Zoning Commission. Mathers seconded the motion. Motion carried 2-0.

                Meeting Adjourned[/list]

                Submitted by: Stephanie Beckett, Deputy Clerk

                Approved by:
                ________________________________________________

                ________________________________________________

                ________________________________________________
                Approved on:
                ________________________________________________
                Attest by:
                ________________________________________________
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                Offline Ursus

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                Moffat County Commission considers permit for MHYR
                « Reply #25 on: November 16, 2011, 12:04:02 PM »
                So... here's that first article, which summarizes the above public hearing and also gives a lil more background:

                -------------- • -------------- • --------------

                Craig Daily Press
                Moffat County Commission considers permit for Mountain Home Youth Ranch

                By Ben McCanna
                June 7, 2011, 2:49 p.m.
                Updated: June 8, 2011, 12:00 a.m.


                The Moffat County Commission hosted a public hearing Tuesday to review a conditional use permit application by Mountain Home Youth Ranch.

                The ranch, which has operated without a permit in Greystone for 11 months, "is a therapeutic growth program for troubled teens (co-ed ages 12 to 17)," according to the group's website.

                The ranch group, based in Vernal, Utah, plans to serve 100 to 120 teens per year.

                The commission did not make a decision on the application Tuesday. Commissioner Tom Mathers said a decision would be announced at next week's commission meeting.

                The program came under scrutiny from local residents after an incident in November 2010 in which four juvenile males from the ranch allegedly broke into a home owned by Monty Sheridan, and stole a loaded shotgun before attempting to steal a truck.

                More than 25 area residents attended Tuesday's commission meeting. There were voices of opposition and support for the ranch at the meeting.

                Moffat County Planner Jerry Hoberg began the meeting with a brief history of Mountain Home Youth Ranch's presence in the county.

                The group originally approached Hoberg for a conditional use permit for a property the group purchased in the Skull Creek area. That permit was granted.

                However, Hoberg learned in January that the group moved its operation to property leased in Greystone. Hoberg asked the group to apply for a new conditional use permit to reflect the new location.

                In the meantime, the ranch was allowed to continue doing business, which is customary, Hoberg said.

                "In the past, when we have discovered people that need a conditional use permit ... they are approached," Hoberg said. “I tell them, 'You need to apply for a conditional use permit,' and they go through the process. But, we don't shut them down."

                On April 5, the county planning commission discussed a conditional use permit for the ranch group, but the matter was tabled to allow time for more discussion.

                Then, on May 3, the planning commission approved the permit. However, the county commission needed to provide 15 days of public notice before voting on it.

                With the background established, Moffat County Attorney Jeremy Snow addressed the commissioners and described their legal duties in the matter.

                Snow said the commissioners would be required by law to grant the conditional use permit if ranch officials could provide evidence that the ranch was a licensed school, and if it satisfied nine criteria set forth in the Moffat County Zoning Resolution and Subdivision Regulation Manual.

                Ranch counselor Landen Norris said the company is fully licensed in Colorado as a residential childcare facility.

                With that requirement satisfied, the commission next considered the nine criteria, and whether the ranch creates a significant adverse effect on those criteria.

                And if so, whether those adverse impacts could be reasonably mitigated through specific conditions, restrictions or requirements.

                The criteria are:

                • Compatibility with existing uses in the area.

                • Physical separation from similar or dissimilar uses on the same property.

                • Impact on traffic volume and safety.

                • Impact on utilities and sanitary facilities.

                • Impact on the established character of the neighborhood or the zone district.

                • Conformance with the property development standards of the district.

                • Production of any offensive noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odors, heat, glare or unsightly aspects at or beyond the property line.

                • Interference with airport approach zones.

                • Scarring of the land and soil, which would leave denuded slopes, soil piles, holes or pits, or ruined areas of natural beauty.

                The commissioners worked down the list and asked residents to share examples of how the ranch may impact the criteria.

                Beginning with the first criterion, Greystone resident John Watt said he is opposed to the youth ranch.

                "I don't believe they're compatible with the area at all," he said. "I have some real serious issues with this."

                Watt said the Browns Park area is pristine and hasn't changed much in 125 years. The area is used primarily for ranching sheep and cattle, he said.

                "These ranchers want you to give them a permit so they can herd human beings because that's what this comes down to," Watt said.

                Greystone resident Robert Molloy said the area is known for traditional uses, and the youth range doesn't fit within those traditions.

                "This is something that's being brought into the community," he said. "This is totally different from anything that's ever existed there before, or has existed anywhere in Moffat County."

                Norris said the youth ranch is compatible.

                "There's a lot of hunting and camping that goes on in that area, and a big part of our program is camping and detaching those kids' survival skills," he said. "It's a good area to do it in because there are a lot of camping spots."

                Watt added another comment regarding the compatibility issue.

                "The other reason they're not compatible is they bring an additional threat to our community," he said.

                Watt's wife, Lynda Watt, read from a written statement.

                "The fear of living on our own ranch started almost a year ago for me when Monty Sheridan's home was burglarized by escapees from one of these detention camps," she said. "The fact they stole loaded firearms is a clear indication of their intent to harm anyone in their way."

                She said her husband was asked by a neighbor to check her house to make sure that no one from the youth ranch was hiding inside.

                "At that time, it became very obvious that this Utah-based corporation had brought domestic terrorism to our community," she said.

                Lynda said the ranch threatens her Constitutional rights to safety and happiness.

                Regarding the second criterion — physical separation from similar or dissimilar uses — Mathers said a buffer zone between the youth ranch and adjacent properties could mitigate any adverse impacts.

                Norris said the ranch could accommodate a three-mile buffer zone.

                Regarding traffic volume and safety, many residents felt the county roads have been impacted by the presence of the youth camp. Residents cited deep ruts and dust as adverse impacts.

                Mathers said a $200 surcharge per youth could help the county maintain the roads and thus mitigate the impact.

                Regarding the ranch's impact on utilities and sanitary facilities, Norris said the impact was nominal.

                Mathers said sanitary issues involving camping are governed by the state, and the ranch's trenches and pit toilets are in compliance with state laws.

                Regarding impact to the established character of the area, several residents expressed concern that the ranch's presence has sparked such fierce debate that the community has been impacted.

                "Ever since these people came to our community, it has put division within our community," Watt said. "We have lost that harmony.

                "Neighbors have turned on neighbors."

                Greystone resident Dawn Nottingham said her 86-year-old mother decided to lease land to the youth ranch in an effort to preserve a way of life.

                "We're trying to hang on to our custom and culture," she said. "She gets $500 a month, that's all she gets out of retirement."

                The money from the youth ranch helps, she said.

                "It doesn't run our ranch. It doesn't even pay our ... gas bill," she said. "But, we still are trying to hang on to our custom and culture."

                Mathers said affirming or denying the conditional use permit, at this point, would not restore harmony.

                Watt asked why residents of Browns Park should be burdened with children whose parents neglected them.

                Nottingham responded.

                "Why not?"

                "Because I live there, and I don't want the threat against my wife, myself or my property," Watt said.

                "What about the kids?" Nottingham said.

                "To hell with the kids," Watt said.

                Commissioner Tom Gray said he appreciated residents' concerns, but ultimately the commission is bound by law.

                "Legally, we aren't able to just say no," he said. "Many of you just don't want it. We don't have that luxury."


                © Copyright 2011 Craig Daily Press.
                « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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                Offline Ursus

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                Comments: "Moffat County Commission considers permit for MHY
                « Reply #26 on: November 16, 2011, 12:17:39 PM »
                Comments left for the above article, "Moffat County Commission considers permit for Mountain Home Youth Ranch" (by Ben McCanna; June 7, 2011; Craig Daily Press):


                3canines (Anonymous) says... 8 June 2011 at 9:52 a.m.
                  "To hell with the kids." I wonder if Mr. Watt considers himself a "Christian" man?
                kp81625 (Anonymous) says... 8 June 2011 at 12:21 p.m.
                  Nice attitude Mr. Watt. I certainly hope that if you and your wife had children, that wasn't your attitude while raising them.
                  Who are we to say, you can't have these people on your land? You can't profit from this venture? You can't lease your land to this company?
                  They have offered to pay for the damage to the roads, and also to adhere to a buffer zone. So what's the problem?
                  The problem as these residents see it is the loss of harmony and who caused that? Whiners and complainers caused it. Unless you are willing to let someone tell you what to do with your property, when and for how much, then you need to stop complaining and whining and let the land owners do what they will with their own property.
                cag81625 (Anonymous) says... 8 June 2011 at 12:40 p.m.
                  Ohhh, you don't know Mr. Watt! I can tell you that "to hell with the kids" will probably be that man's epitaph.
                wellwell (Anonymous) says... 8 June 2011 at 4:30 p.m.
                  Something to think about:
                  The land in this area is viewed by Northwest Colorado as being fairly pristine and a historic area that has remained that way. The residents that live in the area are proud to that tradition and family linage. Understanding that tradition and culture is hard in our faster changing culture in Craig. When some one from the Front Range of Colorado looks at Craig we are viewed as have a delayed culture growth and we are quite comfortable with how we live, not wanting the life of the Front Range put upon us.

                  Do you see the connection with the Greystone area? They want to maintain that culture and many in Northwest Colorado, Moffat County and Craig appreciate that culture also. We can escape to the western culture for relaxation and viewing, much as the Front Range comes to our area to escape to a more relaxed western culture.

                  The first time I heard about the "ranch" was a complaint about the number of trucks, vans and ect. It was not just the number of vehicle, but the speed and dust created. The first person didn't know what or where the vehicles were going, but ask if a well was going in.

                  The next person knew it was something to do with a kids camp or something.

                  What bothered me was that the camp did not get a use permit. The answers about being certified for education seemed to vague and incomplete at their first meeting at the County Commission. The group did not have the professional knowledge that should have been part and parcel of a well run unit.

                  I don't know when the camp opened, but having someone someone escape, steal a weapon, ect is not the best start.

                  No, I would not want this a neighbor of mine. 3 miles away in that area is a next door neighbor.


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                Offline Halflinger

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                Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
                « Reply #27 on: November 16, 2011, 02:25:20 PM »
                That doesn't sound too neighborly. Disturbing to hear about the runaways stealing the firearm and vehicle, on a couple levels. A bad situation for all involved, including the locals.
                What I'm wondering now is, how many properties do they use, and where are they? MHYR/AVW give a couple of different answers to that, Northwest Colorado, Southeast Colorado, and Utah, depending in part on seasonality. is the Adult program (which does take court diversions, I believe) operated on the same property used for minors?

                I've seen similar situations arise in my own community, where zoning meetings become one of the few options for public commentary on complicated and unpopular issues. Unfortunately, they really aren't effective forums for the kind of underlying problems that get dragged into them... just the only forums.
                « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

                Offline Ursus

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                Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
                « Reply #28 on: November 18, 2011, 10:48:43 AM »
                Quote from: "Halflinger"
                What I'm wondering now is, how many properties do they use, and where are they? MHYR/AVW give a couple of different answers to that, Northwest Colorado, Southeast Colorado, and Utah, depending in part on seasonality.
                I believe that MHYR/AVW uses their own property as well as leases land from a number of the local residents; how many, I do not have a clue.

                Personally, I kinda suspect that the following comment (left for the above article) may have been made by MHYR/AVW folk. Someone who was truly local would probably know whether the Watts had children or not.

                Whether made by MHYR/AVW or not, it certainly seems to illustrate their attitude towards resolving the controversial issues at hand. Those who cooperate will "profit from this venture," and those who don't are tagged as "whiners and complainers." Incidentally, these are pretty much the exact same descriptions the kids get tagged with vis a vis their response to being in a program:

                  kp81625 (Anonymous) says... 8 June 2011 at 12:21 p.m.
                    Nice attitude Mr. Watt. I certainly hope that if you and your wife had children, that wasn't your attitude while raising them.
                    Who are we to say, you can't have these people on your land? You can't profit from this venture? You can't lease your land to this company?
                    They have offered to pay for the damage to the roads, and also to adhere to a buffer zone. So what's the problem?
                    The problem as these residents see it is the loss of harmony and who caused that? Whiners and complainers caused it. Unless you are willing to let someone tell you what to do with your property, when and for how much, then you need to stop complaining and whining and let the land owners do what they will with their own property.
                  [/color][/list]
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                  Offline Ursus

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                  Re: Mountain Homes and Beyond...
                  « Reply #29 on: November 18, 2011, 10:57:17 AM »
                  Quote from: "Halflinger"
                  is the Adult program (which does take court diversions, I believe) operated on the same property used for minors?
                  Good question. This may well prove to be a contentious issue for the locals as time goes on. Or not.
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