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Commissioners consider banning new marijuana businesses

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Limited bus service from Rollinsville to Nederland

By Lynn Volkens

Gilpin County Commissioners Buddy Schmalz, Connie McLain and Gail Watson had their work cut out for them at their meeting of August 6, 2013. They addressed the usual property adjustment requests, new temporary event permits, employee compensation proposals and insurance claims. More controversial topics included an ordinance prohibiting retail marijuana businesses and funding for very limited public transportation serving only the far north end of Gilpin County.

Cemetery Crawl

  The Gilpin Historical Society requested and received a Temporary Use Permit to hold their 25th annual Cemetery Crawl at the Russell Gulch IOOF Cemetery on Saturday August 24, 2013. The event is a fundraiser for the Society in which costumed re-enactors present the life stories of the area’s earliest residents. The event is limited to no more than 400 people on site. Thirty volunteers guiding the tours through the cemetery are to insure there is no impact to the artifacts, headstones, fencing, etc. at the cemetery. Portable toilets must be provided and adequate trash containers. An emergency contact person must be available at all times; notice to the Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office must be made three days in advance; and an emergency plan must be accepted by the Sheriff’s Office. Parking is prohibited on county roads and the roads must be open at all times, so visitors will be shuttled to the cemetery.  There is no fee for the permit as the Society is a local non-profit organization, however a $100 security deposit is required.

Sunrise Heights BLE

  Merritt and Beverly Perkins requested and received a Boundary Line Elimination (BLE) to combine Sunrise Heights Addition to Gilpin Gardens, Block Tract Lot P (0.70 acres) and Lot 9 (0.09 acres) into one lot, Block Tract, Lot 9X of 0.79 acres.

Golden Gate Canyon BLE

  Laurin and Wanda Sundquist requested and received a BLE to combine Golden Gate Canyon Subdivision, Lot 3 (3.07 acres) and Lot 2 (3.79 acres) into one lot, Lot 2A of 6.86 acres.

Marijuana Ordinance

  Commissioners approved Ordinance 13-01, following a public hearing and its first reading.  Second and final reading, prior to potential adoption, is scheduled for August 20th. The ordinance prohibits retail marijuana sales in all of unincorporated Gilpin County. The ordinance specifically prohibits “all marijuana establishments, including marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, and retail marijuana stores. Two existing medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to continue operation in that line, and can operate as retail marijuana stores if properly licensed by the State.

Eye of the Heart Wildlife Refuge Liquor License

Acting as the Local Liquor Licensing Authority, Commissioners approved a special events permit allowing Eye of the Heart Wildlife Refuge to serve liquor at their August 10th fundraiser at 1744 Lump Gulch Road during the hours of 11 a.m. to midnight.

Public Transportation

  Commissioner Watson has been looking for a way to provide fee-based public transportation in Gilpin County and has met with the mayors of Gold Hill, Nederland and the Foothills United Way coordinator for mountain services to see if there’s a way to provide the service on a regional basis. They are proposing a one-day-per-week service which would run 10-12 hours with fixed routes from Ward and Rollinsville to Nederland in the morning and evening; paratransit or on-demand service in the middle of the day; and a once-a-month trip to Boulder. The group is also discussing how service could be planned to coincide with afterschool events for the Nederland High School and for the two days each month when the Nederland food pantry is open. Fees per ride range from $2.50 for a local round trip to $8 per round trip to Boulder.

Via Mobility Services out of Boulder is already providing the once-a-month service and is being considered as the provider of the Ward/Rollinsville runs. How to fund the service is the question. The proposal submitted by Via Mobility quotes a cost of $28,416 per year and anticipates the following funding sources: $15,000 from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) grant; $6,000 from Boulder County; and $2,000 from fares, donations and fundraising. That leaves a balance of $5,000. Commissioner Watson is investigating funding sources available through Gilpin County Human Services, the Peak to Peak Rotary Club and Mile High United Way. Foothills United Way has committed to fund $2,000 of Boulder County’s portion. Watson requested funding of up to $3,500 from Gilpin County to subsidize the service for students, seniors and those who are financially challenged.  In a split vote, with Commissioner McLain voting against, the funding was approved.

If the CDOT grant is awarded and the remaining funding can be procured, the transportation service could begin in October or November this year. Once the new routes are operational, Commissioners will collect detailed records of ridership from Via to evaluate whether to continue funding the service.

Hacker Drive BOA/BLE

  Acting as the Board of Adjustment, and following the required public hearing, Commissioners approved  a variance to allow Richard and Margaret George to construct an addition 13 feet from the south property line of their home at 260 Hacker Drive. County code requires a setback of 30 feet.  The site is a 0.56-acre parcel. The Georges own three other adjacent parcels and agreed to consolidate Byron Hackers Lots Subdivision, Lot 4 of Lot 30 (0.49 acres) with Lot 5 of Lot 30 (0.47 acres) into 0.96-acre Lot 4A; and Lot 14 of Lot 30 (0.56 acres)with Lot 15 of Lot 30 (0.56 acres) into 1.12-acre Lot 14A via two separate Commissioner-approved Boundary Line Eliminations.

With the addition of the three BLE’s approved at this meeting, the County has accomplished a total of 476 BLE’s since the program began in 1987. The goal of the program is preserving Gilpin’s rural character by voluntarily limiting development. To date, 1,550 potential building sites have been permanently removed from development.

Workers Compensation/County Casualty

George Tinker of County Technical Services, Incorporated (CTSI) Gilpin’s provider of Casualty and Property Pool (CAPP) and Workers Compensation (WCP) insurance, provided the following data for the year, 2012: In CAPP claims, Gilpin’s top three departments for frequency of claims and cost of the claims, are Law Enforcement (25 claims, $142,876 total cost), Road and Bridge (19, $179,308) and Administration (16, not broken out). The most common types of claims were related to weather (hail, ice, snow, rain, wind) and vehicle damage-totaling $82,578 in cost; legal process, totaling $85,119 in cost; and employee termination, totaling $51,266 in cost. There were 74 claims in all, costing a total of $372,513. Gilpin contributed $169,000 to CAPP insurance for 2012.

Workers Compensation claims totaled 84 with a total cost of $472,595. The top three in frequency were Law Enforcement (27 claims, $95,017); Road and Bridge (25 claims, $194,433); and Administration(19 claims, $114,183). Slip, Trip and Fall was the category with the most claims (21) and highest cost ($185,273). Six Caught In-Between Equipment claims cost a total of $112,619. Gilpin contributed $195,000 to WPC insurance for 2012.

Tinker said Gilpin’s number of CAPP claims represented 1.89% and WCP claims represented 1.58% of the total claims handled by CTSI. He saw no trends in the types or numbers of specific claims.

Local Emergency Planning

  The Gilpin County Emergency Services Council (GCESC) met July 25th. The council is charged with planning for local emergency management operations. It is composed of representatives from the Sheriff’s Office, Timberline Fire Protection District, Black Hawk Fire Department, Black Hawk Police Department, Central City Police Department, Gilpin Ambulance Authority and Gilpin County Administration. Central City Council Member Gloria Gaines attended as an advisor/observer. The group adopted bylaws and elected officers. Gilpin County Emergency Preparedness Director Steven Watson is the Chairperson. Gilpin Commissioners must designate an Emergency Manager. The group set goals of completing the County’s Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) and will complete a list of threats for analysis, distribute surveys for agencies to list job models, needs for the position of Emergency Manager and funding options, and agreed to have emergency services education or equipment, and lunch, as a part of every meeting. They meet again on August 22nd.

Water Basin Appointment

  Commissioners appointed Commissioner McLain as Gilpin County’s representative on the Colorado Department of Natural Resources’ Interbasin Compact Committee dealing with water related-issues.

Training Officer Compensation

  A Field Training Officer Holiday Voucher system was approved by Commissioners as a means to compensate Field Training Officers and Communications Training Officers who train new law enforcement officers for the Sheriff’s Office in the areas of Communications, Detentions and Patrol. Gilpin County requires an officer to successfully attend a 40-hour course to become a certified trainer.  In lieu of financial remuneration, the trainers can opt to take a shift (ten hours) off pay as a holiday, provided they schedule the time in advance. To earn the voucher, training officers must train a new recruit for a full four-week phase without missing more than three days of training during that phase. The voucher must be used within six months of earning it, after which it expires.  A new recruit trains for twelve to sixteen weeks in four-week phases.  The cost of issuing three vouchers to the officers doing the training of that recruit ranges from $936 to $1,868 depending on the pay range of the trainer and whether overtime pay is needed.     

Departmental Reports

  The Public Works Department’s June Report announced the beginning of e-waste collection and recycling service at the County Transfer Station; a two-day “gravelology” class (maintenance and stabilization of gravel roads) attended by all Road and Bridge staff; grader work and dust suppressant on South Beaver Creek, Wedgwood, Dory Hill and Tolland Roads plus the first mile of Coyote Circle; 203 tons of trash hauled to BFI at a cost of $4,451; 110 trash punch cards sold; total solid waste revenue of $14,696; 767 loads of slash taken in (7 loads from outside Gilpin) with slash site revenue of $200; and 37 repair or preventive maintenance jobs completed on County vehicles at a total cost of $5,742. During the twelve month period from August 1, 2012 to July 31, 2013, the department used a total of 637,400 gallons of water: 474,000 gallons from South Boulder Creek and 163,400 gallons from Chase Reservoir.

The Community Development Department June report shows revenue of $8,545, the bulk of it generated through building ($5,995) and planning ($2,250) cases. The department handled a total of 32 cases in June. Year-to-date the caseload stands at 142 cases: Planning and Zoning, 36 cases; Building/New Structures, 4; Building/All Other, 39; Enforcement, 6; and Individual Sewage Disposal Systems (ISDS), 57.  As comparison, there were 270 cases, total, handled in 2012. Building Incentive Fee Reductions amounted to $22,850 year-to-date as of June 30th. Fees are reduced for builders using some alternative energy and fire resistant materials.

At Gilpin County Public Library, 2,633 items were circulated from June 13 to July 10 with the top checkouts being adult DVD movies and television series (516 items) and children’s/young adult materials of all kinds (882 items). Eighty-seven E-books were “checked out.” During the 21 days the library was open, it was visited an estimated 1,373 times. Seven new patron computers and three new staff computers were purchased and installed in preparation for the library’s transition to a new software system. The Summer Reading Program and Artist-in-Residence Program are underway and well-attended. On July 15th, GCPL hosted a visit of 22 international librarians and archivists from around the world.

Justice Center Well Water Use Report: During the first half of 2013 the Justice Center Wells were tapped for the following users in the listed amounts: Timberline Fire House 2,829 gallons; Modular Building, 2,017 gallons; Fairgrounds/Arena, 95 gallons; Fairgrounds Fire Hydrant, 13,707 gallons; Exhibit Barn, 5,393 gallons; Sheriff’s Annex, 321 gallons; Ball Fields 85,055 gallons; Community Center Lap Pool, 93,577 gallons; Community Center Activities Pool, 125,168 gallons; Community Center Non-Pool, 205,204 gallons. Total, 533,366 gallons.

Gran Fondo Donation

Organizers of the Gran Fondo National Championship Series, Reuben Kline and Marty Quinn, wrote to Commissioners stating that their bicycle event held June 23rd was a success and that they plan to make the event “a part of the community.” They thanked all who had been involved and said the effort had been “channeled through the Gilpin County 6th Grade Outdoor Club” and that they had “designed the event to work as an intervention for the areas of youth and provide them with the opportunity to help at the water/aid station along the bike route.” They reported a $500 donation had been made to the club.

Attorney’s Update

  County Attorney Jim Petrock told Commissioners a decision is still pending from the Colorado Supreme Court regarding the Brannan Sand & Gravel litigation and reckoned it could be “another month or so” before that decision is rendered.

Public Comment

Central City resident, and City Council member, Gloria Gaines, asked Commissioners to start a “working discussion” to control the campers and ATV-ers that take over the area around the cemeteries each summer. She intended to bring up the matter at the Council meeting to see if there was a way for Central City to work with Gilpin County for a resolution. She also offered praise and thanks for the new stairs to the Courthouse.

Work Session

  Following the business meeting, Commissioners met in work session with Human Resources Director Susie Allen on designation of on-call employees who commute in a county vehicle to/from home on a regular basis.  Commissioners requested specific data and will revisit the issue after reviewing that.

Future work sessions are being planned to discuss when the County will pay for employee certifications; the camper/ATV issue around the cemeteries; and the possibility of the County Road & Bridge Department providing maintenance (road shaping) and dust suppressant (mag chloride) on private roads for property owners willing to pay the County to do so.

Heads Up

  Gilpin County Commissioners meet next on August 20, 2013.

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