Gilpin Commissioners hear proposal for mobile vendors

Gilpin CountyJohn Scarffe
Gilpin County

Gilpin County Community Development Director Tony Petersen proposed allowing mobile vending trucks in the County at the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Gilpin County Courthouse.
During a public hearing for a zoning change, Petersen said the County Planning Commission approved the resolution allowing trailers and motor vehicles to operate permanently on a site from a temporary mobile structure. The item had been before the Planning Commission for quite some time. Ultimately the Commission approved it by a 6-1 vote with the lone dissenting vote expressing concern over perceived unfair competition for mobile business vendors taking market share from brick and mortar establishments.
The revision to the zoning codes deletes the sentence, “Temporary roadside stands and businesses operated from a motor vehicle or trailer are prohibited in all zones.” It adds a section defining mobile businesses and the requirements for them.
“Mobile businesses shall be defined as any business operated from a self-contained truck, van or trailer that is based on a qualifying location.” They must be located on commercially zoned property and must have all Gilpin County Health Agency approvals including on-site sanitation. Operating hours are between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. No liquor can be sold, and amplified sounds are prohibited.
The resolution also would allow temporary vendor stands at County-sanctioned events. Agricultural lands can have a roadside stand 30 feet from a road to sell products produced on-site.
Petersen explained the main change in the zoning code is that a vendor doesn’t have to have a building with a foundation. Commissioner Gail Watson said this is like putting a mobile home on the side of the road.
Commissioner McClain said, “I’m nervous about the temporary ones,” and Watson asked about the provision for agricultural land.
Petersen said the agriculture provision already exists. It has been an established use but at 60 feet from the road instead of 30.
Watson said she was confused by the resolution. “It’s not what I expected to see. We’re calling it mobile because it’s on tires, but we’re now talking about up to 10 of these in the county not jiving with the historical look and character of the County,” she said. In Denver, they go home and are not there all the time.
A Black Hawk resident who is interested in a mobile business said she had just wanted a special public use permit for a mobile vendor on a permanent site. “We just wanted to see if it did work, and if it didn’t we’d go on our way and do county fairs . . . If it worked we would move from the trailer and try to have a permanent restaurant.”
Member of the public Gloria Gaines asked for clarification.“I’m understanding that several years ago there was a restaurant behind the Justice Center but it was permanent. If someone had permission to set up on a permanent basis they could be there all summer for baseball games and then move out for the winter.
‘It only seems to apply to those who want the benefit of a permanent location but want to be able to take it home at night. I see this as a good option for people who want to start up a business.” The County and Sheriff’s Department will have to keep up with this but they will only have 10. This is a resolution you can go back and change any time if it doesn’t work, Gaines said.
gilpin-community-buildingPetersen said Community Development staff would enforce the resolution. The Sheriff does not enforce zoning laws. Chair Buddy Schmalz said the resolution is something the Commission can alter later. “We can see what works and doesn’t work.” Watson suggested they try it for a year.
Petersen asked if the Commission wanted a deposit from the vendors and what that would be. He agreed to come back to the Commission with a cost. The Commission agreed to continue the public hearing to its next regular meeting, Nov. 5, at 9:30 a.m. at the Gilpin County Courthouse.

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