The dog days of summer

Gilpin Commissioners review dog ownership responsibility ordinance changes

By Randy Beaudette

The Gilpin County Commissioners meeting was called to order at the Gilpin County Courthouse July 26, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. with Commissioners Madam Chair Linda Isenhart, Buddy Schmalz, and  Gail Watson. Also in attendance were County Manager Roger Baker, County Attorney Jim Petrock, and Deputy Clerk to the Board Sharon Cate.

Changes to the agenda included the addition of the Quitclaim deed for the Belvidere Theatre located 139 Nevada Street, in Central City.

There was no public or press comments, so Madam Chair Isenhart opened up the Public Hearing portion of the meeting.

Zoning change

Gilpin County Planner Dan Horn presented, to the Commissioners, a zoning change for the property located at 9 Karlann Drive. The applicant, Thorodin Development L.L.C requested the property zoning be changed from Heavy Commercial to Residential. In 1970 the property was re-zoned Commercial until 1998 at which time it was then re-zoned Heavy Industry. Over the past 15+ years the subject site has been used for a real estate office, a used car lot, and finally a medical/recreational marijuana dispensary. All of these businesses failed and currently is unoccupied. Commercial property is assessed at a rate of 29% whereas residential is at a low 9% thus Gilpin County has the potential to lose nearly $4,300 annually at the current value, if the re-zoning is approved. Motion was carried by Commissioner Watson and seconded by Commissioner Schmalz. The motion carried unanimously.

Yoga Anyone?

Gilpin County Planner Dan Horn and S.G.R.Y representative John Tull presented to the Commissioners an application for a Special Use Permit to be re-issued for the Shoshoni Yoga Retreat located at 1400 Shoshoni Camp Road. The applicants, S.G.R.Y dba Shoshoni Retreat was issued a Special Use Permit in 1988 that allowed them to operate and was exempt from paying property taxes. This was granted from the Division of Property Taxation of the State of Colorado. Special Use Review provides that in the event an applicant is exempt from paying Gilpin County Property taxes then the applicant will render an annual payment thereafter to offset the impact upon County services. The original S.U.R. was revoked in 1991 for non-payment of those fees. Since 1991 Shoshoni Retreat operated as a legal non-conforming use. All improvements added since 1991 were permitted and approved by the County contrary to the legal non-conforming use provisions of Gilpin County zoning codes. Approval of this request would remove the legal non-conforming use moniker and allow S.G.R.Y to operate as they have in the past under a valid Special Use Permit. The S.U.R. was approved with conditions that the applicants consult with Timberline Fire for mitigation and egress issues.

True Blue Custom Mill

Gilpin County Planner Dan Horn presented, to the Commissioners an application for a Special Use Permit (SUR 16-02) that would allow the True Blue Custom Mill to be located in the Russel Gulch area. True Blue Custom Mill has submitted an application to the Mined Land Reclamation Board (MLRB) which is required by State regulation.

It is customary for the County to wait for MLRB to complete their review and render a decision before the County completes their review. It is not uncommon to conduct both reviews simultaneously to accommodate the applicant’s schedule when time or other extenuating factors warrant. The applicant’s MLRB review has been delayed due to certain complications and technicalities. Gilpin County Commissioners moved to postpone the Public Comment and approval of the SUR 16-02 to an uncertain date to be re-noticed according to Gilpin County notice requirements.

Treasurers Monthly and Semi-Annual Report

Gilpin County Treasurer and Trustee Alynn Huffman reported to the Gilpin County Commissioners that the County is doing quite well. With over 95% County taxes collected this year, the budget is on track and this will be a good year for Gilpin County. The balance sheet reports a Grand Total Cash Balance of $11,927,900, which is $2,076,400 over last year’s total. The Semi-Annual report reflects the same – $31,673,097 in total revenues and $19,745,176 in total spending.

County Clerk’s Report

County Clerk & Recorder Colleen Stewart had several items to present to the Gilpin County Commissioners. First of all the Monthly Financial Report stated that the County Clerk’s office received $192,191 in ownership taxes, fees, and licenses for the month of June.

Stewart then mentions the County Clerk Election Report “It has been a busy month, with the Primary Election, and the introduction of the new voting equipment” Stewart continued, “and training the Election Judges on those new Dominion machines.” The new drop-off boxes were utilized in the primary election and the majority of the polling took place using the boxes. With 768 total voters, only 28 residents voted in person. The remaining 740 either mailed in their ballots or dropped them in the drop boxes. Stewart also stated that she submitted a grant application to the Colorado Secretary of State for a grant that will cover 80% of the costs associated with the drop boxes. This was welcome news to the Commissioners.

Lastly Stewart presented to the Board a restructuring request to eliminate the Recording Specialist and Motor Vehicle Technician positions and create new position that combined the two. Titled; Deputy Clerk-Motor Vehicle Technician & Recording Specialists. This will be Pay Grade 70 and will not impact the current 2016 budget.

The Gilpin County Commissioners unanimously approved the report along with the restructuring request.

Facilities Maintenance Technician  

Facilities /Public Works Director Bill Paulman submitted a request to the Gilpin County Commissioners to increase the starting pay of the Facilities Maintenance Technician. The increase will set the annual salary of the new employee at $22.99 per hour, up from $18.77, the mid-point of the current range. “With the level of qualifications needed to apply and the current housing situation in Gilpin County,” Paulman informed the Board, “it has been a struggle to attract, interview and hire qualified individuals at this rate of pay”

The Gilpin County Commissioners approved the increase of starting pay from $18.77 to $22.99 per hour.

Library Director

  President of the Gilpin County Public Library Board of Trustees Alan Smith submitted a request to raise the starting pay of the new Library Director from $53,200 per year to the pay grade mid-range $66,600 per year. Smith stated that there are few applicants with the qualifications needed to apply that are willing to accept the current salary offered. This increase will affect the 2016 budget in an increase of $1,300.

The Gilpin County Commissioners approved the increase of starting pay from $53,200 to $66,600 per year.

The Dog Days of Summer in Gilpin

The second reading of Ordinance 16-01, Pertaining to the Welfare, Control, and Licensing of Dogs was held and sent back to the editing room to for revisions. It is the intent of the Board, by adopting this Ordnance, to declare as a matter of policy that the keeping of a dog in Gilpin County is a potential hazard and annoyance to the citizens of the County. A dog owner, therefore, must assume full responsibility for the action of any dog owned, kept by, harbored by, or in the custody of the dog owner.

The new ordnance clarifies language that is in the current ordnance and eliminates the phrase “voice command” which has caused some confusion in the past, and replaces it with “physical control.”

Six residents signed up for the Public Comment. Four opposed the language in the ordinance as being too vague and too harsh on the law abiding dog owners. Others stated that the ordinance didn’t go far enough. The ordinance failed to limit the number of dogs that a resident can have on a property. County Manager Roger Baker replied that this information is outlined in the State Statute.

Commissioner Watson suggested that language be added to exempt “highly trained dogs” from this ordinance. This generated several comments. Resident Gene Rothe fired back saying that, “highly trained should be replaced with well behaved, a well behaved dog might not have received any training, but they are not exempt.” Undersheriff John Bayne responded, “There is no way a Deputy responding to a complaint can tell if a dog is “highly trained” or not.” Highly trained is neither defined nor quantified in this ordinance. Commissioner Watson also requested that some of negative language be removed.

Other comments ranged from dogs attacking wildlife to barking at all hours to dogs freely defecating on property that is not theirs. Which brings up the question, is it dog, coyote, or bobcat scat?

The ordnance was not voted on at this time in order to further review the language and allow for additional public comment and a third reading.

Belvidere Theater Quitclaim

Gilpin County Commissioners approved the long anticipated Belvidere Theater Quitclaim. The newly amended Quitclaim deed transferred ownership of the Belvidere Theater from Gilpin County to Central City. Central City planner Ray Rears thanked the Gilpin County Commissioners for their approval and presented them with a large bag of popcorn.

There was no County Manager or Legal status report.

Gilpin County Commissioners adjourned at 11:10 a.m.

Next Meeting

The next Gilpin County Board of Commissioners meeting will be August 9, 2016, 9:00 a.m. at the old Gilpin County Courthouse at 203 Eureka St. Central City, Colorado.

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