Gilpin County reviews stricter Wildfire Hazard regulations

Judge rules Larsen property to be in violation of County Code

By Randy Beaudette

The Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) with a lengthy agenda, met Tuesday September 11, 2018 at the Historic Gilpin County Courthouse. Chair Ron Engels opened the regular meeting promptly at 9:00 a.m. Joining him were Commissioners Linda Isenhart and Gail Watson. Also present County Attorney Jim Petrock, County Manager Abel Montoya and Deputy Clerk to the Board Sharon Cate. After the call to Order, a moment of silence was observed in honor of the victims of 9-11.

Public Hearing

Chair Engels opened up the Public Hearing at 9:04 a.m. to address Resolution #18-17, which is a revision to Section 3 of the Gilpin County Zoning Regulations. Community Development Director Stephen Strohminger presented this revision that will add a Wildfire Hazard Regulation inspection prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or Certificate of Completion (CC). In the revision, “Zone 1” or the “Zone” would extend outward from the structure 30 feet or to the property line. In this zone there shall be no combustible material. This includes slash, wood chips, and woody debris, firewood and/or propane tanks larger than 250 gallons. Trees in this zone must be trimmed so that branches are no closer than 15 feet from the structure and trimmed 10 feet from the ground. Non-flammable ground cover only is allowed five feet from the structure. The revision also requires a green reflective address sign be installed 4 to 5 feet from the ground and be visible from the road for responding emergency personnel. This revision is only for new construction and will not affect any existing structures. A denial of a CO or a CC may be appealed to the Board of Adjustments for further review. After much discussion, the BoCC made a motion for further review and modify the revision to be placed on the agenda at a later date. Chair Engels closed the Public Hearing portion of the meeting at 9:25 a.m.

Cost Allocation Plan    

Gilpin County Finance Director Clorinda Smith along with MGT Consulting Group Manager Michelle Garrett presented informational report to the Gilpin County Commissioners regarding the FY 2019 Cost Allocation Plan. The plan was based on the FY 2017 actual expenditures. The Cost Allocation Plan identifies costs associated with indirect services by central services departments in order to get reimbursement money from the State Human Services. Central services departments such as Accounting, Human Resources (HR), Facilities, and Information Technology (IT) all provide support services and expenditures to Gilpin County Human Services. These costs have an effect on the amount reimbursed by the State. A brief Q&A session followed the presentation. Gilpin County Commissioners thanked Ms. Garrett for her efforts.

County Employee Paid Holidays

  Human Services Director Susan Allen presented Resolution #18-18 to the BoCC. The resolution would approve a standard list of holidays to eliminate the annual holiday approval process and create consistency for employee scheduling. In the past the Board has approved the holiday schedule annually. The goal of this Resolution is to convert the process from an annual approval to a standard list of holidays that will be included in the employee handbook. The list will include New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day plus the Friday after, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. If the holiday falls on a Saturday, then the holiday is observed on the Friday before. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, then it will be observed on the following Monday. The Gilpin County Commissioners approved Resolution #18-18 unanimously.

Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG)

Gilpin County Emergency Manager Sergeant Kevin Armstrong presented an agreement with the State of Colorado for the review and approval of the EMP Grant. This grant will provide funding for the Emergency Manager position up to $33,000. The BoCC approved the EMPG pending comments and advice from the County Attorney.

Livestock Mediation Board

Stephen Strohminger presented a request to initiate an Appointment Process for members of the Livestock Mediation Board. The Mediation Board composition has been established and approved in 2012 as part of the Zoning Regulations, but members have yet to be appointed. Community Development has recently had inquiries about going before the Livestock Mediation Board, but it only exists on paper. The purpose of Livestock Mediation Board is to hear all complaints relating to livestock occupying Residential Subdivision (RS) properties only. The Board is then to determine whether or not a complaint is founded. The Board will approve a mandatory Livestock Impact Mitigation Plan when the complaint is founded. The Commissioners suggested changes be added to the Mediation Board By-Laws. One such change will have Board members serve two years instead of three and to provide clarity to the requirements for being on the Board. County Manager Abel Montoya suggested that the Commissioners refer this issue to a work session with the Planning Commission and adopt any amendments through the established formal adoption process.

Private Property Evacuation Routes

County Attorney Jim Petrock with the assistance of County Emergency Manager Kevin Armstrong presented the first reading of Ordinance #18-01 which addresses the regulation of Emergency Evacuation Routes Over Private Property. Gilpin County has identified emergency and evacuation routes in specific subdivisions and developments that are crucial to Gilpin County’s Emergency Plan. Some of these routes are located on private property in which property owners volunteered to assist by allowing emergency evacuation routes to run through their property. Recently some of these routes have been utilized by people other than the property owner or emergency personnel. This ordinance will make it crime to use this route by anyone other than the property owner, emergency personnel, or anyone evacuating an area in an emergency or disaster situation as declared by the Gilpin County Sherriff’s Office. Anyone who violates this ordinance may be charged with a Class 2 Petty Offence and if convicted is subject to fine up to $1,000. Evacuation Route Property owners have reported people trespassing on their property to the Gilpin County Sherriff’s office. This has been a concern of some property owners that are hesitant to open up their property to an evacuation route, that the route might be used for recreational purposes. This Ordinance will settle those concerns. The Gilpin County Commissioners made a motion to postpone the first reading which will be heard again at a Commissioner’s meeting in the future in advance of the 2019 fire season.

Legal Status Report

  Gilpin County Attorney Jim Petrock announced that the trial for Dirk Larsen was held September 10th in County Court, but Mr. Larsen elected to go to Mexico. Because the defendant was not present, the judge ruled a default in favor of Gilpin County. Six separate violations of the County Code were found resulting in a fine of $1,000 for each violation plus $100 for each day that the violation exists. If these fines are not paid they will be processed through County Treasurer and added to the property taxes on the property.

One other item, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Gilpin County and the owner of the property that the Gilpin County Sheriff’s Department uses for their shooting range. The MOU will allow the Sheriff’s department to continue the use of that range.

County Manager Report  

County Manager Abel Montoya reported that his first two weeks have been filled with meetings, touring various facilities, meeting staff, and generally getting a feel for the community. Mr. Montoya read off a list too long to mention in this article of all the community members, Forrest Service personnel, and members of the County’s senior community that he has met with. Next week he plans on visiting the remaining County offices.

Public Meetings

–September 25 at 6:30 pm: Coffee with the Commissioners Gilpin County Courthouse-203 Eureka St

–September 26 at noon: Lunch with the Gilpin County Seniors Gilpin County Community Center 250 Norton Dr.

Human Services Amendments

Gilpin County Commissioners approved Resolution #18-16 which delegates authority to the Human Services Director to execute annual amendments to certain contractual agreement with the Colorado State Department of Health Care Policy and Financing

Consent Agenda

Gilpin County Commissioners approved the minutes from the regular meeting dated August 21, 2018 with no changes or corrections

Gilpin County Commissioners adjourned the regular meeting at 12:37 p.m.

Next Meeting

The next Gilpin County Board of Commissioners meeting will be September 25, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. at the historic Gilpin County Courthouse, 203 Eureka St, Central City Colorado.

For this and any information on Gilpin County business or department visit

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button