Gilpin commissioners approve Tolland Ranch Trail

Axe & Snax is ready to fight an early wildfire season. Join us to help cut, pile and haul slash to help mitigate the wildfire potential.

No masks at County Transfer Station; free Rec Center access for seniors

By Jaclyn Schrock

The Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) had their bi-monthly meeting June 15, 2021, beginning at 9 am and closing to go into executive session at 12:36. In Gilpin County’s historic 1900 Courthouse at 203 Eureka Street, Central City, CO the BoCC was attended by Gilpin County elected officials District #1 Commissioner Web Sill, District #2 Commissioner Linda Isenhart Chair, and District #3 Commissioner Sandy Hollingsworth. Also attending were County Attorney Brad Benning, and Deputy Clerk to the Board of County Commissioners Sharon Cate. County Manager Abel Montoya was not present.

Many other presenters, Gilpin staff, and public comments were contributed to the meeting through the Zoom meeting. Technology enables these to be seen and heard with other meeting attendees, including sharing screens with documentation of evidence.

Call to order began at 9 am with opening comments from public and press. Donna Okray Parman spoke into the microphone, but was unable to be understood by most on Zoom getting echo from the large room. Linda Isenhart assured her in the future when developments occur regarding the FAA concerns, she would be contacted as the organizer of GRRift.

Covid-19 Update

Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albright began detailing that Gilpin County in the last seven days had only five cases of Covid confirmed, for a total of eight for the month. Colorado hospitalizations of Covid and deaths continue to decrease as vaccinations increase.

Colorado has 55% of residents with their first vaccination, and 48% fully vaccinated.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccination continues to be administered at on Wednesday mornings in June at Gilpin’s Health Center at 101 N  Norton Drive by the fairgrounds and recreation center.

July 2nd from 2 pm to 10 pm a mobile clinic will be available to give Covid vaccines near the casinos. Grant money is being used to encourage many Coloradoans to get the vaccine. Getting the vaccine by Tuesday makes people eligible for a drawing of the state lottery. Also, three youth can become eligible for a $50,000 scholarship by becoming vaccinated.

Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington informed us that today was National Smile Power Day. He confirmed supporting Bonnie Albright in health efforts, and reviewed last year’s challenges that local residents pulled together to face. He explained the efforts in progress to build a long range plan for emergency and healthy wellness. Mr. Whittington confirmed the continuation of preparedness in county buildings to promote safe distancing, sanitation materials, and procedures to contain the spread of disease.

Treasurer’s Monthly Report

County Treasurer Mary Lorenz confirmed the annual receipt just under $25, 000 and disbursement of Title 1 National Forest Service Money apportioned to schools and roads.

In 1908 our Federal government established tax support from use of federally managed land to be given to rural counties with a limited tax base because of the large amounts of federal land in their county. In 2000 the tax support was divided into three categories, or Titles: Title I for roads and schools, Title II for projects on Federal lands, and Title III for county projects.

Gilpin County has received, on May 13, 2021, the Title 1 National Forest Service money and so distributed the funds.

In our county, Title 1 funds are distributed 34% to Public Work Funds used toward Gilpin County roads, receiving $8,430. The remaining 66% is designated for schools.

Title 1 funds are divided between the school districts in Gilpin County that service our students. Gilpin County RE-1 received $12,340.31 and Boulder RE-2 $4,023.98.

Gilpin County’s May Treasurers report indicates that most property taxes have been paid, perhaps aided by an online payment system. Total assets bring us about $1 million dollars ahead of last year’s total funds on hand at the end of May.

Sheriff’s Office Report

County Sheriff Kevin Armstrong shared a chart identifying the month of May’s activities in the Sheriff’s office. In all the categories of actions, compared by months in 2021, May has seen general increase in all areas: calls for assistance, 911 calls, victim services, concerns for children (mostly protection violations) evidence for charges, daily population in the jail, casino related calls, dog complaints, and reports of shooting.

Shooting areas have been checked to assure proper backstops are in place, and no drugs or alcohol are used while shooting occurs.

There were a number of praises received in the office for professional and compassionate practices of officers while on duty. Cherokee Blake was also commended by Boulder County for her assistance with them during the King Sooper’s shooting.

Watching wild fire concerns in the area, data is being monitored to determine when to start a fire ban.

Sandy Hollingsworth thanked Sheriff Armstrong for his efforts in our County and in the report.

Commissioner Web Sill suggested to Sheriff Armstrong a way to help those in violation of abandoned or junk cars on property. He can recommend those who will pay cash to haul the vehicles away when the sheriff’s office gives a violation for having junk cars cluttering property.

Public Hearing: Temporary Use Permit 21-3 for Bike Race

County Planner Tami Archer presented information on the application of the Temporary Use Permit (TUP) that has now been withdrawn by the applicant.

May 11, 2021 Gilpin Co Planning Commission had some concerns yet still unanimously voted to recommend Gilpin’s BoCC to approve Dead Man Gravel Bike Race July 31, 2021.

May 20, 2021 public notice of the permit approval was published in the Weekly Register-Call. The application for temporary use of roadways in Gilpin, although starting and ending in Boulder County was withdrawn by applicant May 26th, 2021, stating a lack of time for remaining county offices to respond with coordination approval and support. Potential hopes are slated to begin the coordination process of all agencies earlier next year for the proposed 20 mile, 41 mile, and 66 mile course options for up to 750 participants.

This action publicly announces the cancelling of the race by BoCC since it had been publicly announced previously.

Public Hearing Special Use Permit #21-1 Tolland Ranch Trail

County Planner Tami Archer presented the application to the BoCC, Ms. Archer explained the public hearing is to review the request for Boulder County Open Space to create a backcountry Tolland Ranch Trail on private land in Gilpin County, for public access.

Tolland Ranch Trail (TRT) would connect a West Magnolia Trail in Boulder County with a 6 mile trail that goes through private land in Gilpin County ending at Jenny Creek Trail, near Yankee Doodle Lake up on Rollins Pass.

TRT through private land would connect a larger system of trails owned by the United States Forest Service (USFS).

TRT connects with trails exclusively for bicycles, hikers, runners, or horses. It connects east and west regions of Colorado for non-motorized travel, preserving nature, culture, scenery and recreation areas.

Boulder Co has had an agreement with Tolland Ranch, LLC for a few years to make a 6 miles trail on the property with expected limited non-motorized daytime only visitors. Boulder Open Space rangers would monitor and patrol the trail with Boulder Open Space regulations. They would not have any other jurisdiction in other parts of Gilpin County, potentially defined in an InterGovernmental Agreement, (IGA).

Boulder County Parks and Open Space Senior Planner Justin Atherton-Wood spoke from Zoom and presented documentation with photos and maps, including co-worker’s answers to questions.

Tolland Ranch Trail (TRT) would have public access points. On the west access point, there is no parking at the point where Jenny Creek Trail travels 4 miles to Yankee Doodle Lake, near Rollins Road. Jenny Creek does have an east trailhead near Eldora Ski parking lot. TRT would connect to Jenny Creek Trail and travel east to West Magnolia Trail in Boulder County, where there currently is minimal parking, but potential for more parking.

Part of Jenny Creek Trail travels near Eldora’s Nordic center and eventually reaches Yankee Doodle Lake off Rollins Pass Road in Gilpin County. Currently Jenny Creek Trail is part of the Eldora Mountain Resort (EMR).

Tolland Ranch Trail would extend from Jenny Creek Trail, through Tolland Ranch, LLC private property given right of way for non-motorized trial in 2015. It skirts along Zarlengo Family Partnerships running somewhat parallel to Apex Valley Road, through Tolland Ranch and then though Eldora Enterprises land.

TRT trail visitation is anticipated to be minimal due to the remote parking locations for trailhead access, although West Mongolia parking may be expanded in the future. Little noise or emissions are expected after construction is completed hopefully by fall of 2022.

TRT would be patrolled and maintained by Boulder County Parks and Open Space.

No utilities (water or septic) are planned for the trail.

The larger trail system has been designed to eliminate user-created routes in the area so that one maintained trail would encourage better use and health of vacant forest lands.

TRT is in the Timberline Fire District.

TRT trail is proposed to be 24 inches wide and given a natural surface for hikers, peddled bicycles and equestrian travelers. Boulder Open Space rangers could have jurisdiction with and IGA of up to 30 feet of the trail in Gilpin County.

Security control is planned with the limited access points, and non-motorized access limits visitors. Tickets could be issued for misuse by Boulder County Rangers. Arrangements are being made with Gilpin County Attorney Benning for an InterGovernmental Agreement so tickets may be issued in areas that are in Gilpin County along the trail as needed.

A timely response would allow Boulder Open space to begin construction during the 2021 summer season. A Colorado-based contractor has been employed to build most of the trail this summer, with Nederland-based Teens, Inc. also constructing segments of the trail. Other volunteer groups are expected to contribute to the project, when approved.

Gilpin staff and the Planning Commission have recommended approval of SUR 21-1.

With lively discussion and great interest, the BoCC and Zoom participant Gilpin County’s CSU Extension Director and Agent had their questions answered and found approval with the proposal, anticipating wise balance of authority on the trail arranged by County Attorney Brad Benning and Boulder attorneys for an agreeable IGA.

SUR 21-1 passed approval by the BoCC.

Silver Sneakers for Gilpin Seniors Free Rec Center Access

Parks and Recreation Director Gabrielle Chisholm has been working with County Attorney Benning to create an acceptable contract with Tivity Health to supplement funding of recreation facility use of Medicare age guests. The contract was presented Tuesday for BoCC approval.

Gilpin County Community Center (GCCC) has been welcomed by all ages to be reopened, thanks to many volunteers and voters supporting our community changes. The new pricing has established a charge for seniors, previously able to use the facility for free, although they paid for classes.

To make it more user friendly for seniors, the community has worked together encouraging Gabrielle Chisholm who has completed the application for the Silver Sneakers program through Tivity Health.

Tivity Health is a nationwide contractor program that financially supplements fitness facilities and programs for seniors, often through insurance programs. One contracting option is Fitness for Seniors, another is Silver Sneakers.

Silver Sneakers contract offers access to our Gilpin Community Center with $3 per program participant visit and up to $25 per program participant per month. This is the price our Gilpin seniors are asked to pay now to use the facility.

With Gilpin BoCC approval of the Tivity contract, our GCCC maintaining requirements to participate in the Silver Sneakers program and Gilpin seniors enrolling in the program, seniors will not pay the use fee currently required. GCCC will still get the funds required to maintain the facility, while seniors will not have to pay the extra charge.

The fitness equipment and pool could become available for senior fitness for no cost to seniors with the Silver Sneaker program. Classes will still have a fee to participate, all ages.

Ms. Chisholm stated that seniors who visit more times in a month than Silver Sneakers pays for, would not be denied access to GCCC.

Once the BoCC passed the motion to accept the contract, Ms. Chisholm thanked Mr. Benning for his long hours of work to negotiate the contract successfully.

Fairgrounds Rental Request – Holistic Homestead

The Holistic Homestead had rented space in the GCCC to sell the cooperative organic produce and holding farmers markets alternating Saturdays, in 2019.

Partnering together – Holistic Homestead, Gilpin County Parks and Recreation, the CSU Extension, and Public Health and Human Services – it was hoped to bring our community together in healthy ways with these four events planned, requesting to rent the fairgrounds.

A Temporary Use Permit is being requested for these remaining events this year:

–4th of July Weekend Farmers Market July 2-3-4, 10-4 daily (Fairgrounds parking lot)

–Mountain Mama Fun Run/Walk/Stroll 5K Saturday, August 7th starting at 9 am

–Labor Day Weekend Farmers Market September 3-4-5, 10-4 daily (Fairgrounds parking lot)

–6th Annual Holistic Health Fair, Saturday, December 4th (Gymnasium)

BoCC discussion blurred the difference between a Holistic Homestead Farmers Market renting the parking lot of our Gilpin County fairgrounds with our County sponsored annual fair. So, confusion diverted conversations concerned with renters making money on booth spaces using our county property and support staff. Gabrielle Chisholm clarified that renters still carry their own insurance, and validate other requirements to rent the space, releasing the Gilpin County of these responsibilities.

In the end, more details and discussion were requested to approve all four dates to rent the fairgrounds.

July 4th weekend Farmers Market July 2-3-4, daily from 10 am to 4 pm can occur, by Holistic Homestead renting the Gilpin County Fair Parking lot, expecting less than 150 people to attend.

Lifting of Mask Order at Gilpin County Transfer Station

BoCC discussed a request to recommend but no longer require mask use in the outdoor space of the transfer station. On the county property where residents unload trash, we seldom come within 6 feet of others outside their family.

The motion passed so masks are no longer required at the transfer station.

Legal Status Report

County Attorney Benning gave an update on legal status which was unable to be understood for those on Zoom.

Library District InterGovernmental Agreement (IGA)

Gilpin County Library Board of Trustees Library Director Michael Carlson spoke with the BoCC through Zoom about the IGA which would make this the 2nd or 3rd update since creating the library district close to 30 years ago. The Library Board is mostly in agreement with the IGA that seems to be adding some health benefits for library employees.

Mr. Carlson noted a confusion of some conflicting statements so considered more time for the Library Board to review the IGA. Two of the commissioners also raised interest in wording in two other sections of the agreement.

BoCC agreed to review this agreement and discuss it again July 6.

Planning/ Discussion of Staff Picnic

The last Gilpin County staff picnic was in 2019. The plan to have another 2 hour time to relax together on a weekday was discussed. The 2 hour time frame allows staggering time for some to be on the job while others are having lunch.

Waiting to get input about best time and location was considered by having department heads ask staff what they considered best – late August or early September.

Commissioner Summer Evening Meetings

The BoCC has given residents in upper Gilpin, mid-Gilpin, and southern Gilpin the opportunity to meet with them in the past, usually in summer when travel is easier. The casual “coffee” meetings have allowed residents to speak their mind, so the Commissioners can hear what residents are concerned about.

Coordinating schedules for summer evening gatherings with each Commissioner, or perhaps Monday or Friday evenings when they could all gather to listen. Coordinated dates will be forthcoming.

Membership in National Association of Counties (NaCo) was discussed of the benefits and disadvantages of traveling to national events, so postponed a decision to renew that membership for the BoCC.

FAA Final Ruling

This item was added late to the agenda, having recently received a response from the United States Court of Appeals, dated June 8, 2021. Gilpin Co BoCC discussed the recent dismissal of the lawsuit they had helped initiate filed against the FAA.

The request for Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to comply with their own requirements by six government agencies and Denver area airports, has not been recognized as legitimate requests.

A Lawsuit was requested by these six entities against the FAA through the United States Court of Appeals, September 2020.

Before filing the lawsuit, the FAA did not responded to concerns presented to them when they made a ruling about the Denver Metroplex Plan, ignoring citizen concerns that were presented.

In essence the FAA denied the reporting of misuse of authority to bring a change in air traffic over our homes and community. Local entities implied to the FAA they did not follow nationally required procedures to facilitate the Denver Metroplex plan.

Denver International Airport is nearly the last of 35 United States Airports to be transformed by the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) approved by Congress. NextGen uses more of a GPS guiding system for aircraft take-offs and landings than tower control. This change comes with the implementation of NextGen involving the Denver Metroplex plan.

Because FAA procedures were not completed, including Environmental Impact studies and opportunities for communities to be informed they could voice our concerns, Gilpin BoCC’s, along with other local entities, made a request for further review of our area impact – it was denied.

When our communities were denied this right, they bonded together in concern, and an appeal was presented for investigation.

A cooperative effort of six entities presented an Appeal in the District of Columbia with the United States Court of Appeals, (USCA). USCA case #20-1075. A response was made June 8, 2021, from the September Term, 2020.

The six entities in requesting an appeal include:

–The Arapahoe County Public Airport Authority (Centennial Airport)

–The City of Greenwood Village,

–an air-charter company named Mountain Aviation, Inc,

–and three Colorado counties: Gilpin, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties

All arguments were considered unfounded by the court, mostly claiming no evidence was presented. The documents from each entity requesting recognition of concerns in FAA procedures were found lacking in some legal position or another by the USCA.

Chief Judge Srinivasan, and Circuit Judges Wilkins and Katsas ordered and judged that the petitions for review be dismissed.

County Attorney Benning’s comments were not understood through Zoom. Board discussion empathized with residents about the increase in air traffic noise. Frustrated with the answer of no by the courts, Gilpin County is seeking the next step.

The BoCC agenda had planned to meet in executive session to obtain legal advice for further FAA proceedings.

Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes were approved for May 13, 18, 24, and June 1, 2021.

Public Comments

Donna Okray Parman spoke with concerns of the BoCC response to this FAA becoming unstoppable with the lawsuit dismissal. She spoke of the struggles Gilpin and other residents have with the Denver Metroplex Plan.

Bill Marlon also spoke of concerns for noise in our community, and made some recommendations.

Other residents also gave comments of support to our commissioners concerning the FAA struggles.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:36 pm for commissioners to go into executive session.

This meeting was recorded and can be found in the Gilpin County Commissioners page;  Meeting minutes can also be found on this page once they have been approved.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be at 9 am on July 6, 2021, in the old Courthouse 203 Eureka St. Central City. A link to join the zoom meeting can be found above.

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