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Camouflaged T-Mobile cell tower debate

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Black Hawk Council plans development of Miner’s Mesa

By Randy Beaudette

Highlights of the Black Hawk City Council Regular online meeting includes an Inter-governmental Agreement concerning the distribution of CARES funds, matters that concern the Miner’s Mesa T-Mobile cell tower, and the planning contract to construct the road over Miner’s Mesa that will connect Black Hawk to Lake Gulch/ Whiskey Resort.

Mayor Spellman called the Council to order followed by Roll Call and an online Pledge of Allegiance. Roll call revealed Council members who were present online included Linda Armbright, Paul Bennett, Jim Johnson, Hal Midcap, Greg Moates, and Benito Torres. Also present online were City Attorney Corey Hoffmann, City Manager Stephen Cole, City Clerk/ Administrative Services Director Melissa Greiner, and Deputy City Clerk Michele Martin.

Mayor Spellman called a moment of silence in memory of Black Hawk resident Tommy Gish.

City Attorney Hoffmann asked Council to declare any Conflicts of Interest on any issue appearing on the agenda other than those already disclosed and filed with the City Clerk and Secretary of State. There were no objections from the City Council or from anyone online.

Approval of minutes

Black Hawk City Council approved the meeting minutes from the June 10, 2020 Regular Meeting and the June 17, 2020 Special Meeting with no corrections or amendments.

CARES Act Fund Distribution IGA (CB-16/Ordinance 2020-16)

Black Hawk City Council approved the Intergovernmental Agreement Regarding Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) act Fund Distributions between the Board of County Commissioners of Gilpin County and the City of Black Hawk. The State is appropriating $535,569 from the CARES Act Fund for use by the Parties to reimburse them for certain eligible expenses. All Parties recognize that it is in the best interest of the Gilpin County community to work cooperatively to ensure that all of the Gilpin County allocation is applied to the benefit of Gilpin County residents rather than allowing the funds to remain unspent and revert to the state-wide reserve fund pool for reallocation elsewhere in the state. The County and Cities are governmental entities, each with authority to provide resources and services for the benefit of their respective citizens contemplated under the CARES Act as a result of COVID-19 public health emergencies. Applicants shall complete a one-time opt-in web-based form which will be submitted via DOLA’s Grant Portal no later than July 7th, 2020. This form requires affirmations of spending, reporting, monitoring, and certain federal requirements of local government participants for the Coronavirus Relief Funds. Based on population, Black Hawk will receive 14% of the funds allocated for Gilpin County, which comes to $33,700.

Cell Tower Height Variance (Resolution 46-2020)

Black Hawk City Council agreed on a continuance until July 22, 2020 on Resolution46-2020 which allows a structural height variance of 53 feet to allow a 103-foot tall stealth/faux (water tower design) CMRS tower structure for the T-Mobile facility at 821 Miners Mesa Road. On May 10, 2019 the City of Black Hawk received an application request for a Certificate of Architectural Compatibility (COAC), a Height Variance, and Site Development Plan for a Communications Tower for T-Mobile from Chris Stryker, a representative of Vertical Bridge. The request involves a proposed 103- foot multi-user telecommunication facility at 821 Miners Mesa Road. The proposed location is zoned Public Facilities (PF) and is located at the City’s material storage yard on Miners Mesa. The Black Hawk zoning regulations allow a tower on property zoned PF to be no taller than 45 feet above grade, therefore the variance requested is a deviation of 58 feet taller than allowed. The City approved a Lease Agreement in January 2019 with Vertical Bridge Development, LLC on January 23rd, 2019, for the installation and maintenance of a cellular tower facility on City property on Miners Mesa with no understanding of the need for a future variance. If this application is approved by City Council, then the approved Lease Agreement will need corrections approved in the near future with updated legal descriptions (recently discovered) for this subject lease area. Telecommunication towers require a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), so the project was reviewed under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The review found that the proposed tower will have no adverse effect on resources within the area of potential effects. Proximo Distillers, developers of the Lake Gulch Whiskey Resort, entered a letter of opposition to the 103-foot tower citing aesthetics and diminished property values of a property they have yet to purchase

T-Mobile Cell Tower (Resolution 47-2020)

The City of Black Hawk has received an application from Chris Stryker, a representative from Vertical Bridge Development LLC, requesting the construction of a multi-user telecommunication facility. The construction will consist of installing a 103-foot self-support tower and required radio/electrical equipment at the base. The proposed facility will be fenced and the tower will be designed as a faux water tower. The application was heard at the June 10, 2020, City Council meeting and had been continued to the June 24, 2020, City Council meeting. Staff recommends continuing the hearing to the July 22, 2020, hearing to allow reasonable time for the applicant to prepare and review additional exhibits for City Council. Black Hawk agreed to postpone a decision on Resolution 47-2020 until July 22, 2020.

Miner’s Mesa Road (Resolution 53-2020)

Public Works Director Tom Isbester presented  Resolution 53-2020, which is a Resolution awarding the design contract for the Miners Mesa Roadway project to Baseline Engineering, Planning, & Surveying in an amount not to exceed $131,482. Proposed development on the property known as Miners Mesa Lot 1 includes a potential RV park, boutique distillery, and several other possible uses. The property has been recently rezoned and the property owner has dedicated a right of way to the City for roadway improvements. The roadway improvements will extend the length of Lot 1 which is basically from the crest of the hill going up Miners Mesa Road to the west end of Lot 1 beyond the old mechanics shop building. The roadway will have a roundabout on the west end. Because of the proposed development, the City needs to establish a plan and profile for the new roadway so that developers will have grades to tie into as well as direction for drainage and infrastructure design. This work will include topographic survey, multiple conceptual design alternatives, 30%, 50%, 90% and 100% final design plans and specifications ready for bidding.

Executive Session

Black City Council approved a motion to adjourn into Executive Session to confer with an attorney to receive legal advice on specific legal questions.

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