Mountain City Cantina now serving margaritas!

Central City Council approves Saltness to Historic Preservation Commission

By David Josselyn

Work Session

Council met with Staff for a Work Session immediately prior to the regular meeting on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. Council was briefed on street closure revisions for special events, contractor licensing, and marijuana hospitality establishments.

Regular Council Meeting

Mayor Fey convened the regular meeting at 7:09 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers. Council members; Jeff Aiken, Judy Laratta, Jackie Johnson, Jack Hidahl, and Mayor Jeremy Fey were present. In attendance for Staff were City Clerk Reba Bechtel, City Attorney Marcus McAskin, Finance Director Abigail Robbins, City Manager Daniel Miera, Community Development Director Ray Rears, Public Works Director Sam Hoover, Acting Utilities Director Jack Beard, and County Sheriff Division Chief Tom Ihme.

Mayor Fey led the Pledge of Allegiance and then asked for any amendments or additions to the evening’s agenda. There were no additions or amendments to the agenda.

Mayor Fey asked if there were any conflicts of interest for any member of the council. Mayor Fey reported that item number 7 on the agenda (liquor licensing for Mountain City Cantina) involves JKQ and he worked for JKQ BBQ in the Teller House in the past, but no longer works for them. Fey stated, “I can make an unbiased decision and am not recusing myself. Attorney McAskin asked to clarify that the Mayor has no business dealings with the owners Joe and Kara Tinucci and Fey responded, “No.”

Consent Agenda

The Mayor called for a motion to approve the consent agenda which consisted of the minutes from the October 23 meeting and regular bill lists through March 23. Alderwoman Johnson moved to approve the Consent Agenda and was seconded by Alderman Aiken and Alderwoman Laratta simultaneously. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Forum

Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to a topic on the agenda. No one chose to speak to the Council at that time.

Liquor for Mountain City Cantina

The Council convened the Liquor License Authority to consider approval of a new liquor license for JKQ Consolidated LLC dba Mountain City Cantina at 430 Lawrence Street. Although the owners operate a restaurant in the Teller House, this will be their first liquor license in Central City. The Teller House license is granted to Central City Opera.

City Clerk Bechtel reported that background checks have been initiated and results are still pending. Alderman Hidahl voiced his concern that, “Generally needs and desires are demonstrated by a petition, but there is no petition. How do we determine needs and desires of the community?” Attorney McAskin responded that testimony from the applicant and members of the public is used for determination.

Owners and applicants Joe and Kara Tinucci addressed Council. Kara stated that they have been members of the community for many years, they own one restaurant in town (JKQ BBQ in the Teller House), and “in talking with people about opening a second restaurant, people responded with high regard.” Mountain City Cantina will have an upstairs cantina with the food service downstairs. “We are not the type to create new outdoor recreation, but we can provide a great place to eat.” Mayor Fey commented, “In working with JKQ; Kara’s adherence to liquor license protocol is exceptional; she runs a tight ship.” Alderman Aiken mentioned, “It would be a great thing to have another restaurant.” Alderwoman Johnson asked, “What kind of alcohol?” Kara replied that the alcohol would be limited. They are in a small area and plan to serve margaritas and have some basic spirits and cervezas.

Sharon Bell, resident of Central City, spoke on behalf of the applicants. “I thoroughly enjoy going to the current restaurant. I respect that they don’t encourage people to just keep on drinking. Because they have earlier closing times, you don’t get people that stick around to keep drinking.” Candace Rosenberger of Arvada and employee at a local casino asked, “Do you have any plans to keep your employees adhering to programs like the TIPS training?” TIPS, Training for Intervention Procedures, is a common and required training for people responsible for the service, sale, and consumption of alcohol. Kara responded that they do require TIPS training and the Cantina will be more family run; “Joe and I will be down there.”

Alderman Aiken moved to approve the liquor license and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The motion passed unanimously.

Shortened Sentencing

Attorney McAskin reviewed the second reading of Ordinance 19-09 which would repeal and replace Section 1-4-20 of the Municipal Code. This is a housekeeping ordinance that aligns language regarding maximum sentencing to recent changes to the State code. The maximum misdemeanor jail sentence is reduced from “one year” to 364 days. It also changes the maximum fine from being based on the CPI which can vary daily to a set threshold of $2,650.

Mayor Fey opened the Public Forum and no one chose to speak to Council.

Alderwoman Laratta moved to approve Ordinance 19-09 and was seconded by Alderman Aiken. The Ordinance passed unanimously.

Preserving History

Council next entertained approval for an alternate to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) Appointment. Two people applied for the position: Barbara Thielemann who was not present, and Casey Saltness. Casey addressed the Council reporting he once served as the HPC commissioner, but it didn’t last. “My employer conveniently scheduled me on Wednesday nights, so I had to resign.” He has an anthropology degree and is now a commercial and residential appraiser. “I know a lot about zoning and buildings,” he said. Casey commented that even though he lives in unincorporated Black Hawk, he still likes to say he is from Central City when people ask where he lives. “I say I am from Central City with a little bit of panache and swagger in my step.

Alderman Hidahl commented, “I think your degree is an asset, bodes well for interest in historic preservation.” He asked Saltness if the Central City Landmark District would increase the value of buildings inside it? Saltness responded, “In my professional experience, it tends to devalue,” the property. Being included in a Landmark District gives people a warm, fuzzy feeling. “It’s what people inside that district do with it that drives the economy.”

Mayor Fey read aloud Barbara Thielemann’s application letter.

Alderman Hidahl commented, “This city has benefited a great deal from Barbara’s willingness to volunteer and she has fulfilled so many of those roles. My concern is that she is on the Planning Commission as well; each commission has different charges and makes decisions differently. It’s not a conflict of interest, but there can be projects landing in front of both commissions,” which could, “lead to prejudice based on the prior commission’s discussion and decision.” Alderwoman Johnson agreed saying, “I think there should not be the same people on separate commissions.” Alderwoman Laratta said, “I think Barbara’s great, but I like the fresh eyes and new outlook. We know Barbara is for the City and she loves it. We ought to give someone else the chance.”

Alderwoman Johnson moved to approve the appointment of Casey Saltness as an alternate to the Historic Preservation Commission and was seconded by Alderwoman Laratta. The motion passed unanimously.

Staff Reports

Manager Miera reported, “There was an incident in Scarlet’s.” A water break happened in the fire line. The building is heated and the vents for the heating system retained water from melting snow due to a faulty design leading to the break. “Immediate action was taken with assistance from the fire department and a restoration company was brought in.” Miera commented that as they make repairs, they will consider making it a dry fire suppression system instead of wet. The building is fully insured, and a claim has been submitted.

Council Comments

Alderman Aiken commented, “I like the stairs by the Masonic building.” He is referring to the new steel staircase leading from Lawrence Street to East 1st High Street opposite the Teller House.

Public Forum

Mayor Fey opened the floor to the public for anyone who wished to speak to the council on any items not on the agenda. No one chose to address the council at that time.

Mark your calendars

Mayor Fey adjourned the regular meeting at 8:17 p.m. The next regular Council Meeting will be Tuesday, November 19, 2019.

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