Lower profile garage permitted

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John Scarffe, Gilpin County.  A public hearing for a variance request for a garage at 138 Elk Place came before the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners for the second meeting in a row at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at the Gilpin County Courthouse. The variance request from Ben Crabb was continued from the Board’s November 1st meeting.

Crabb requested the variance to permit the placement of a 1200-square-foot garage within 15 feet of both the west and south property lines fronting Lakeview Drive, Petersen said on November 1st. Current code requires a 30-foot setback from both property lines. This request for a garage is 30 by 40 feet in size, Petersen said.

The house is accessed from Elk Place, but the garage would need to be accessed from Lake View, because there is no available space along the side of the house. The lot slopes steeply from the north to south making access from Elk Place to the back of the house impractical, due to excessive grade.

Staff proposed an alternative that would not affect the neighbors as much. A smaller garage would offer more options, but the purpose of the proposed garage would be to house a large RV and other recreational vehicles.

Staff proposed placing the garage 30 feet from the west property line and moving the building site five feet closer to the south property line to lessen the grade of the access drive and provide more buffer between the garage and the septic field. Petersen said they would still need that variance.

Neighbors of Crabb, who attended both meetings, said they didn’t understand the need for a garage and asked that the garage be kept as far away from their property as possible.

The Board tabled the matter and continued the hearing to November 15th.

At the November 15th meeting, Crabb said he wasn’t at the first meeting. He made the mistake of not talking to his next door neighbors before submitting the application. Since then he has talked to them.

Crabb is looking at getting a camper that would be about 32 feet high, so he needs a larger garage on one side. It keeps so many cars from being parked outside on the ground, but he would try keeping a low profile on height.

The neighbors told the Board that if he would have shown them the ideas in the very beginning it would have helped. “We have no problem. We don’t have any issues anymore.”

Commissioner Gail Watson said she was expecting Crabb to come back with a smaller footprint, but since the neighbors are okay with it she’ll make a motion to approve, and the Board approved the motion.

Human Resources Manager Susie Allen, and Ben Cook, a broker with Cook & Associates, presented the County’s insurance renewal information to the Board. Allen said they would like to switch from Aetna to Anthem.

The benefits are the same, but employees would get one extra visit, Allen said. Anthem uses the same pool, and when they use up the six visits they can then transition into medical coverage and continue with the same people. It would be a 51 percent cost savings.

Cook said the County’s insurance is now partially self-funded. “You are the insurance company.” With a group of 122 employees, 18 claims totaling more than $1 million were submitted. “Claims last year were staggering,” Cook said.

“The rule is one out of three years you have a bad year. You had a bad year right off the start.” Allen said this is one of the worst years the County has had in 10 years

Cook said he’d like to get everyone to think about the proposed plan for some cost savings, and Allen said they are thinking about ideas, but that might be a work session.

Chair Linda Isenhart said that is a viable conversation we should be having. “Hopefully we’ll be better informed in the future.”

Allen said that our plan is much better than most, and the cost to put a dependent on the plan is much better than most. “I’ll have to look at how other counties track whether a spouse has insurance coverage,” Allen said.

The next meeting of the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday, December 6, 2016, at the Gilpin County Courthouse, 203 Eureka Street, Central City.