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Bus issue takes another turn

Modified: Thursday, Sep 5th, 2013

(UPDATE of article that appeared in 9/4 edition of the Chronicle)

City officials have again reversed their position on whether Colorado River Discovery buses can access the company’s property via Fifth Avenue, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.

The Chronicle left a message Sept. 4 with City Manager Rick Olson to confirm the latest ruling, which reportedly occurred earlier in the day.

A front-page story in the Sept. 4 edition of the newspaper said City Attorney Robert Wingo on Aug. 28 had overruled a decision by Page planning and zoning that would have allowed CRD its buses on a residential street.

Homeowners on 5th Avenue met with city officials last month to complain that Colorado River Discovery was using the back entrance on their street to access its property.

One of the residents, Wes Berry, said former City Manager Bo Thomas had assured him buses would not be allowed on the street.

A CRD representative, however, talked to Capt. Ray Varner, of the Page Police Department, who checked with planning and zoning officials about the issue. It was determined that city code permitted the type of buses the company uses, and officers would not ticket the drivers.

Wingo, however, interpreted the code differently.

“...[I]t restricts commercial vehicles, including buses, to designated truck routes,” he wrote in an Aug. 28 email to Varner. “There have been complaints of buses using 5th Ave., which is not a truck route, to access the back of CRD.”

He noted that Sixth Avenue, which runs in front of CRD, is a truck route.

The company had been using that entrance to its property, but officials were concerned about safety issues related to backing-up buses on 6th Avenue because it’s a high-traffic street. Using the back entrance off 5th Avenue would allow buses to drive forward into the CRD lot to park, then forward through the front gate to take on passengers.

Wingo added there is “no exception to the provision that would allow any business along that truck route (or any other) to deviate and use a non-designated route.”

He concluded his email to Varner by saying, “If you receive complaints of buses on 5th Avenue, have your officers cite the driver of the bus.”

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