Creating a vision for Gilpin County’s future

Casino restaurants, bars, pools, and health clubs can now open

By Randy Beaudette

On June 23, 2020 the Gilpin Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held a special online meeting that featured topics such as an update on the Land Use Comprehensive Plan, Cares Act IGA and submission, and Public Health order amendment. Board-Chair Gail Watson opened up the meeting at 9:00 am along with Commissioners Ron Engels and Linda Isenhart. Also online were County Manager Abel Montoya, County Attorney Brad Benning, Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate, and members from the Senior Leadership Team who joined in as needed.


Sandy Hollingsworth first of all expressed her gratitude for the mailed-out information cards encouraging public input to County’s Comprehensive Plan, then followed up with a series of questions.

When will the County receive feedback for the grant funding the Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office? Commissioner Watson replied that an answer should be received around July 15.

What has been the attendance at the casinos since last week’s opening? Commissioner Engels replied that it was up on opening day and on the weekend, but during the week days it has declined slightly.

COVID-19 Update

An Emergency Operations Center (EOC) update provided by Gilpin County Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington informed the online audience that the EOC has been participating in assisting the Clerk and Recorder’s Office in preparing for the upcoming primary elections by providing PPE and other supplies.

EOC also participated in transporting perishable food from Human Services to a refrigerated location in Black Hawk.

EOC is also working with the local Fire Departments and Districts in the County as well as the surrounding Counties and the State to standardize the Stage 1 and Stage 2 fire bans. It is confusing to decipher all of the different requirements associated with fire bans from the different areas, so this is an attempt to standardize those requirements into a simple policy that will be acceptable to all the agencies involved.

Gilpin County Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht announced that Gilpin County still has only six confirmed COVID-19 cases, and symptomatic testing continues to be available on Tuesdays and Saturdays by appointment.

Census Participation encouraged

Public Health Advisory Board member and Jamie Fanselow suggested that the BoCC engage in an outreach to encourage residents to participate in the census. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the traditional method in which the census collects data has drastically changed. Ms. Fenselow asked the Board consider using Census 360 which is an organization which calls or texts residents to remind them to participate in the census. Accurate Census information is important to a community as it will bring in services and funds that will be utilized by the residents of that community. After some discussion the Commissioners approved a motion to participate in Census 360 at a cost of $275 to $375.

Public Health Services Contract

  Gilpin County Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albright presented a renewal contract between the County of Gilpin and Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) to the Gilpin County Board of Health. The contract which will take effect from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 will provide funds towards implementation of core public health services and maternal child health programs. Gilpin County Commissioners approved the contract unanimously.

Local Licensing Authority

Commissioner Watson adjourned the session as the BoCC and reconvened as the Gilpin County Local Licensing Authority (LLA) at 9:18 am. The LLA reviewed the Retail Liquor License Renewal Application for Coyote Liquors located at 5312 Hwy 119, Black Hawk, Colo. as presented by Deputy Clerk to the Board, Sharon Cate. The Board reviewed the application and approved the renewal unanimously.

Watson closed the Local Liquor Licensing Board and re-opened up the Regular Gilpin County Commissioners Meeting at 9:19 am.

Land Use Comprehensive Plan Update

Gilpin County Community Development Director Stephen Strohminger along with DTJ Design Inc. Director of Urban Planning Francois De Kock provided an update on the Land Use Comprehensive Plan that is currently in development. Comprehensive Planning is a process that determines the County’s goals and aspirations in terms of community development. Phase 2.2 of the plan covers “Creating a Vision for Gilpin County” which has just been completed.

The meeting with BoCC on 6/23 kicked off Phase 3 which is Plan Elements & Tasks. DTJ Design continues to keep County leaders up-to-date on the progression of the plan development along with accepting input from residents and businesses through community workshops, to seek advice on the best path forward for sustainable and intelligent growth in Gilpin County. The Draft Vision Statement presented by DTJ is “Gilpin County aspires to sustain high-quality mountain living through the preservation of natural resources and rural community values while intentionally balancing opportunities for economic diversification and resiliency.”

What does a diverse economy look like? There several answers to that question. One that is favored by DTJ is in four parts to include more “brick and mortar” businesses and community services that cater to goods and services that County residents desire, a more home-based remote workforce, more opportunities to monetize outdoor recreation activities, and attract businesses that provide local goods and services. This sounds easy, but given the topography of the land located within Gilpin County and the limited water supply, some of these solutions are not going to be easily achievable. Attracting said businesses will also be difficult given the low population density in the County and surrounding areas. In summary, the development of the Comprehensive Plan is considered a living process that can be easily revised to adapt to needs of the community as well as be sustainable to the environment. Share your ideas and thoughts through the community input workshops, contact Gilpin County Community Development or go to the County website at and select “Comprehensive Plan.”

Board of Health  

A second amendment of the Public Health Order # 20-09 (Casino Opening) was introduced that will allow restaurants, bars, pools, and gyms in the casinos to open. This aligns with the CDPHE Public Health Order 20-28 Amendment #2. Gilpin County Board of Health approved the second amendment to PHO #20-09 unanimously.      

Legal Status

County Attorney Brad Benning announced that the Attorney’s Office is trying to confirm the status of the variance for the library opening. Currently, Mr. Benning has not located anyone at the State with that information.

There are five Zoning Code violations that are being processed by the Attorney’s Office currently. 211 Chalet Drive has a Structural Dangerous Condition violation, 200 Hacker Drive and 26 Hornblend Place have excessive vehicles on the property, 200 Hacker Drive and 554 Old Hughesville Road have residents camping in excess of thirty days. These are all in different stages of processing which indicates that Zoning Enforcement has taken multiple complaints and is very busy following up on those complaints.

County Manager’s Report

Gilpin County Manager Abel Montoya presented the final draft of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between the County, Central City and Black Hawk to determine the distribution of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) act funds. $536,000 has been allocated through Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to Gilpin County for distribution for Coronavirus related expenses. The funds are not to be used as a budget backfill due to the lack of income revenue. Gilpin County approved the Cares Act IGA unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

Gilpin County Commissioners approved the meeting minutes from the June 16, 202 meeting with no corrections or amendments.

Executive Session  

Gilpin County Commissioners moved to Adjourn to Executive Session for a conference with the County Attorney for the purpose of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions.


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