Commissioners approve liquor licenses for existing and new mid-Gilpin liquor stores

Results of vehicle sealed-bid auction

By Lynn Volkens

Gilpin County Commissioners Buddy Schmalz, Connie McLain and Gail Watson had a full morning of public hearings at their June 11, 2013 meeting, as they considered applications for new and renewed liquor licensing and zoning changes.

Mid-County Liquors PUD

Mid-County Liquors, currently located in the small building fronting Roy’s Last Shot, plans to move into the residential building just east of the Last Shot in the Quien Sabe subdivision, accessed via Dynamite Drive. Business owners John Dunham and Jan Peterson want to convert the home into a commercial building with space for the liquor store, including a drive-through lane, and space for future retail and service businesses, such as health-wellness center, massage, salon and food catering. To do that, they applied for a zoning change, from Residential to Planned Unit Development (PUD). The property consists of two lots comprising 3.4 acres, with the structure straddling the property line between the two. Two Gilpinites weighed in during the public hearing. One said he opposed “selective legislation;” the other told Commissioners they were opening the door to more residential property owners trying to change zoning vs. “laying out the money for commercial property.” Commissioners noted that the property in question is in the Sierra Pines village center area where commercial businesses meet the goals of the County’s Master Plan, and that they were not randomly picking sites for commercial businesses. Following the public hearing, Commissioners, acting as the Local Liquor Licensing Authority, approved the zoning change, in a split vote (Commissioner McLain voting against) with several conditions. One is that the owners must agree to a Boundary Line Elimination so that the two lots are combined into one.  When completed, the new commercial area will include an 8-space parking lot with a 15’ wide circular driveway. With full occupancy of the building, the number of daily traffic trips generated by the new businesses is estimated to average 98.

Dunham and Peterson also applied for a liquor license Change of Location, which was also granted.

Underground Liquors License

  Partners, Stephanie McCollum and Brady Kutscher, doing business as Underground Liquors, applied for a new liquor license for property located at 15107 Highway 119 (McCollums Excavating). Commissioners considered letters of opposition written by neighbors, petitions both for and against, and comments by a dozen people (only one in favor) during the required public hearing. Then, acting as the Local Liquor Licensing Authority, Commissioners unanimously voted to grant the license. They commented that petitions for this matter are not certified and they have no way of knowing what signers of the petitions were told about the proposed business. All three Commissioners expressed their goal to support small businesses and said competition and free market economy will play a part in determining the saturation point for liquor stores in the County.

Birdwood Lodge Liquor License Renewal

  As the owner/operator of the bed and breakfast, Birdwood Lodge, located at 19411 Highway 119, Commissioner Watson recused herself from discussion and vote regarding renewal of her liquor license. No liquor is sold at her B&B, however it is occasionally served to guests staying at the lodge. Commissioners Schmalz and McLain approved the renewal.

Treasurer’s Report

  Deputy County Treasurer Mary Lorenz presented the Treasurer’s April report showing 55.19% of County taxes had been collected (compared to 69.38% in April 2012). At the end of last month, County coffers contained a grand total of $9,573,313. At the same time last year, the grand total was $10,378,963.

Lorenz also presented her May report. It showed 75.17% of County taxes as collected (compared to 73.03% at the same time last year). As of the end of May, County coffers contained a grand total of $7,666,306. In May 2012, that grand total was $7,037,726.

Community Development Revision

  Following up on proposed changes to the County’s zoning code, and after continuing the public hearing related to the changes, Commissionersapproved revisions to the code that removed areas of duplication, added an appeal process, set structural height requirements, amended certain Special Use requirements and defined special events that qualify for a temporary special use permit . The revised code also prohibits re-filing a zoning permit application for 12 months from the date of County Commissioners’ action. The revisions necessitated updating the Community Development Department’s fee schedule, also approved by Commissioners. The most significant change in the fees was an increase in the construction permit fee for roofs. It went up to $210 from $50. Some fees are reduced when builders use fire proofing measures, alternative energy or green construction materials. The new section for Temporary Use Permit fees exempts local non-profit organizations. For specifics on all fees, contact the County’s Community Development Department.

Employee Medical Insurance

  Human Resources Director Susie Allen provided renewal information for the County’s employee medical and vision insurance.  The renewal date for these benefits is August 1, 2013. Commissioners considered several options. Changing the plan, in one case, would have resulted in a $33,150 decrease in the annual premium cost to the County; another would have realized an annual premium savings of $82,134. Commissioners opted to renew the current plan at a 2.14% increase ($34,781) to the annual premium cost. They will wait to see how the Affordable Care Act affects the insurance benefits and look at their options again next year. The rate for the vision insurance benefit remained unchanged and Commissioners approved renewal at annual premium cost of $18,426. Dental, life, accidental death and disability, and long-term insurance rates were already locked in for this year, so were not discussed.

Departmental Reports

The Human Resources May report shows 179 people employed by the county; 110 are full-time. Three part-time positions had been filled in May and four people, two full-time and two part-time, had left the County’s employ. The Property Tax Work off Program season ended May 15th. Ten of the twelve participants had completed their hours. Meetings preparatory to the 2014 Property Tax Work Off Program will begin in September. There is now concern that the program has more participants than available work hours. A salary survey is in progress to evaluate the pay scale for a proposed Case Manager Supervisor position in the Human Services Department. The County is also working on a proposal to compensate Field Training Officers for Sheriff’s Office employees who train new recruits.

The Community Development Department’s April report showed revenues of $6,947 for the month and 31 cases handled during the month, mainly pertaining to Individual Sewage Disposal Systems. There were nine building permits issued in April; one was for new construction and eight were for modifications to existing structures.

At Public Health/Environmental Health, the May report shows one new Retail Food Establishment (RFE) had opened and there were a total of 87 RFE’s operating in the County at that time.  Seven RFE inspections had been done and three critical violations had been identified with two corrected immediately and one scheduled for a follow-up inspection.

The Public Works Department’s April report notes crews were still busy plowing snow. Pot holes at the Justice Center had been filled and three Tolland Road bridges were worked on. The Fleet Supervisor had resigned, due to relocating out of state. Road maintenance will be significantly impacted this year due to water restrictions affecting the water in Gilpin County that belongs to Denver Water, that available from Chase Gulch and no water being pulled from Dory Lakes.  Dust suppression will also be reduced and focused mainly on the highly traveled roads: Gap, South Beaver Creek, Lump Gulch, Gilpin, Wedgewood, Tolland, Karlann, Beethoven, Apex Valley, Hughesville, Juniper, and Virginia Canyon.

The Solid Waste crews had hauled 90 tons of trash to BFI at a cost of $1,876. Year-to-date, 376 tons of trash have been hauled away and 98 tons of material has been recycled. Revenues for Solid Waste amounted to $6,353 in April. Forty-eight punch cards had been sold. Additional room is being made to accommodate E-waste recycling.

The Slash Site had opened early, but snow curtailed use. Seventeen loads of slash had been received at the Slash Site in April with no loads coming from outside the County, and thus no revenue. The Roto Chopper was prepared for increased slash grinding; 100 yards of chips (21.2 tons) had been loaded into the chip pit in April. Maintenance costs for County-owned vehicles had run to $4,754 for the month.

At Parks and Recreation, the May report shows 1,222 individuals, including 949 Gilpinites, made a total of 3,476 visits to the Community Center. That includes observers and class attendees. Total revenue for the month was $5,807; $2,983 for memberships and the rest from drop-in admission fees. Eleven teams had registered for adult Co-Ed softball, which opened on June 11th.  Natural gas conservation efforts in the swimming pool area has resulted in a significant decrease of average therms used per day. In May of 2012, the average was 88.2 therms; last month that number was 46.6 therms. Parks and Rec Coordiinator Kathi Lambert had received a thank-you from the Boulder Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service regarding use of the Center for employee orientation. Everything had gone very smoothly and the USFS plans to host the event again at the Center next year.

DOLA Grant Process Plan

  In order to make sure that all of the County’s DOLA grant applications are on target, Commissioners plan to offer their assistance in crafting the 2014 grant requests. They plan to meet in mid-May next year to review the grant applications so that they have time to offer input prior to the submission deadline.

NACo Conference

  Commissioners McLain and Watson voted in favor of registering one Commissioner for the July 20-22 conference of the National Association of Counties, this year held in Ft. Worth, TX, however none will actually attend. Registration comes at a cost of $515 and was considered a vote of support for NACo. Commissioner Schmalz voted against, saying that he didn’t think Gilpin County got much out of it.

Attorney’s Update

  The Brannan Sand and Gravel litigation continues. County Attorney Jim Petrock informed Commissioners that Brannan has petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court to hear their case, possibly basing their logic on whether the state authorities pre-empt County authorities regarding the proposed use of land in south-Gilpin for a gravel quarry. Petrock said he will file a response and expects a decision in the next three months.

Vehicles Sold

  Twenty-two sealed bids were received at the annual Gilpin County Flea Market for no longer needed County-owned vehicles. The winners:

1996 Chevy Blazer: Lowell Allen, $1,226

1996 Chevy Pick-Up: Chris Hockley, $600

1998 Chevy Pick-Up: Chris Hockley, $600

1995 Chevy Suburban: Lowell Allen, $3,626

1999 Polaris Snowmobile: Joe Davis, $777.77

2007 Triton Trailer: Joel Anderle, $876

Heads Up

Gilpin County Commissioners meet next on June 25, 2013.

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