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Commissioners listen to residents’ complaints of increased air traffic

By Randy Beaudette

At the most recent Gilpin County Commissioner’s (BoCC) meeting on October 22, 2019, passionate comments concerning air traffic over mid-Gilpin, Public Health Improvement Plan, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Colorado State University Extension Office were just an example of the highlights discussed.

Madam Chair Linda Isenhart opened up the meeting promptly at 9:01 a.m. with Commissioner Gail Watson. Also present were County Attorney Jim Petrock, and Deputy Clerk to the Board Sharon Cate. Commissioner Ron Engels and County Manager Abel Montoya were absent.

Agenda Changes

Commissioner Watson request to add Letter of Support to US Forest Service for the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative Proposal

Roosevelt Ridge Violations

Gilpin Resident Thaddeus Wiatrowski commented on violation of county ordinances on Roosevelt Ridge Subdivision allegedly committed by the Lone Pine Reality LLC. In 2005 the BoCC resolved that the applicant (Lone Pine) must complete multiple obligations as condition for approval for the Roosevelt Ridge Exemption Plan. One of these conditions included a fire code improvement plan and/or a temporary service agreement. To date none of these conditions have been fulfilled, thus denying the issuance of any building permits to the residents of Roosevelt Ridge. Commissioner Isenhart thanked Mr. Waitrowski for bringing this issue to light, and referred it to the Gilpin County Planning and Development Director Stephen Strohminger to possibly schedule a future work session with all the parties involved on this matter.

Air Traffic over Gilpin

Gilpin County Residents Bob Morgan, Joe Chismas, and Donna Okray-Parman all commented on the air traffic noise experienced in Gilpin County. Mr. Morgan presented arguments on the so-called effects of aircraft traffic to the properties and residents in Gilpin County. There is a perception that there will be an increase in noise and air pollution, that this will lower property values, and what effects will the noise have on local wildlife? Mr. Morgan also asked the Commissioners to provide a list of the projects that they are working on, and why did this issue get turned into a “back burner” issue with the Board.

Mr. Chismas stated that the aircraft noise, “Threatens his quality of life here in Gilpin County. This is more important than the gas pipeline, Gregory Street project, or anything else. This affects all of us equally with air and noise pollution.” He also inquired into his ability to use video and audio equipment to record the regular meetings. County Attorney Jim Petrock reminded Mr. Chismas that any recording made in the meeting will have no legal standing. The official Public Record is annotated on the approved meeting minutes. The meeting minutes can be reviewed electronically at www.gilpincounty.org.

Donna Okray-Parmen inquired into the notification system that the FAA uses to announce public comment period on air traffic issues. The most recent comment period notification (May 2019) was only posted at the library according to Okray-Parmen. She stated to the Board that, “You guys didn’t really know from the beginning and you didn’t even know where the public hearing from the FAA was being held in order to tell us. We feel we have some standing to tell the FAA that they can just hold off on this plan until we get our say.” For more information on public hearings and comment periods visit: https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/community_involvement/den/

Public Hearing Board of Adjustment

Madam-Chair Isenhart adjourned as the Board of County Commissioners and re-convened as the Board of Adjustment. Gilpin County Community Development Director Stephan Strohminger presented Board of Adjustment (BOA) 19-05 on behalf of applicants Henry and Juliane Rosen on Wedgewood Road. The applicants are requesting a variance that would permit the placement of a 1,854 square foot home within 15 feet of the south property line. Current code requires 30 foot setback from the side or rear property line. The Rosnes cited topography and the location of two roads on the property as justification for the request. But Wedgewood neighbor Dave Lewis commented against the adjustment citing that building on this portion of the property would cause substantial detriment for the public good. This area contains lodge pole pine on a sloping terrain and would limit the property owner to maintain a wildland fire defaceable space. Impacts to adjacent properties will not be minimized if these setbacks are to be adjusted and a smaller structure will offer more options to site the house on the property. Gilpin County Board of Adjustments denied BOA 19-05 unanimously.

CSU Extension MOU

Gilpin County Commissioners approved an MOU between Gilpin County and CSU Extension as presented by JoAnn Powell, CSU Extension Regional Director. The Extension Office provides educational information in agriculture, family and consumer sciences, natural resources, energy, 4-H Youth development, community development, and related authorized subjects.

Health Improvement Plan

Gilpin County Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht presented the 2020-2024 Gilpin County Public Health Improvement Plan. The plan contains three areas of focus captured from the 2018 Community Health Assessment Survey. These areas of focus are: radon, mental health (including substance abuse), and tobacco control. The Public Health five year goal is to reduce the number unsafe levels of radon in residences through testing and mitigation, develop a plan to integrate radon control into building permits, and develop and implement a new radon awareness educational campaign. The mental health five year goal is to increase awareness and access to mental health services and address substance abuse in Gilpin County. For tobacco use, the five year goal is to reduce the tobacco use prevalence in Gilpin County by preventing the initiation among youth and young adults and to develop and implement tobacco/vape prevention policies. The Commissioners thanked Ms. Albrecht for her hard work and emphasized that education and awareness are key points ensuring the success of this Health Improvement Plan.

Treasurer’s Report

Gilpin County Treasurer Mary Lorenz presented the September 2019 Monthly Report to the Commissioners. The Monthly Report shows that the amount of Property Taxes collected slumped slightly during the month of September. Percentage of taxes collected in September reached 98.7% down from the 99.5% from last year with a Grand Total of $22.6 million dollars for 2019, almost $132,000 under the 2018 Grand Total. Notice for delinquent tax liens were published in the Weekly Register-Call last week. Ms. Lorenz also informed the Commissioners that in 2019, the bidding for tax lien properties will take place online rather than in person as in years past. Funds will be pulled directly from the bank accounts of the highest bidder so there will be no handling of cash or checks by the County. The funds will then be deposited directly into the County’s bank account.

Legal Status

Gilpin County Attorney Jim Petrock announce that a review is in progress of the draft Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) from the Boulder County Attorney concerning the Tolland Ranch Trail. In the IGA, Boulder will assume all responsibility for law enforcement including enforcing Boulder regulations in Gilpin County Court. The IGA will be presented to the Gilpin Commissioners for approval in the near future.

Commissioner’s Report

Commissioners Isenhart and Watson approved a Letter of Support to US Forest Service for the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative Proposal.

Meeting Minutes Approval

The Commissioners approved the meeting minutes from the October 8, 2019 meeting.

Next opportunity to attend a BOCC Meeting

The next Gilpin County Commissioners regular meeting will be held on November 5, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at the Gilpin County Courthouse at 203 Eureka St. Central City, Colorado. For more information visit the Gilpin County website at http://gilpincounty.org.

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