Burn permit revisions proposed

John Scarffe, Gilpin County.  Gilpin County Sheriff Bruce Hartman proposed a revised version of the County’s burn permit ordinance during a regular meeting of the Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners at 9 a.m. on November 14, 2017, at the Gilpin County Courthouse. The Board also reviewed the County’s Emergency Operations Plan and approved a lease to the Timberline Fire Protection District for the Rollinsville Shop and service agreements for Courthouse renovations.



Sheriff Hartman told the Board that the County’s burn permit ordinance needs to be updated. “Some people think they can burn in the summer, but we wanted to reinforce that they can’t, and maybe it was time to redo the ordinance.”


According to a letter from Timberline Fire Chief Paul Ondr, this is the County’s slash burning ordinance. “While this has worked well for many years, it is time for a few minor changes.”


Ondr and Hartman agree that the changes are needed, and if the changes are made, Ondr will work with the Sheriff’s office and County staff to update the permit application, Ondr wrote. The ordinance in place today states that open burning of slash piles is prohibited in the County unless persons obtain an open burning permit.


Uniform permit applications will be provided to all fire districts in the County. Applications will be reviewed and permits issued by the district with jurisdiction over the burn site.


A proposed revision would add: “All applicants must obtain an ‘Open Burning Permit,” from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment prior to applying for a County permit.” Ondr wrote that this is a requirement of the Department but was not addressed in the ordinance.


The ordinance specifies slash pile construction. Another proposed revision would change the maximum size from 8 feet x 6 feet to 8 feet x 8 feet. The revisions states: “Piles shall be constructed so that the maximum size of the pile does not exceed eight feet in diameter by 8 feet in height.”


Clarifying a common question about burning in barrels, the revised ordinance would state: Burning in drums or barrels is never allowed. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment does not allow this due to incomplete combustion from lack of oxygen that creates excessive odors, toxic pollutants and smoke.”


Slash pile burns cannot occur during fire bans and can occur only with a minimum of four inches of snow cover. Burning slash during a snow event is encouraged to manage smoke emissions, according to the current ordinance.


A revision would add that piles should be ignited between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and extinguished by sunset. “No pile burning is permitted outside the above time frames.”


Hartman said he wanted to bring this before the Board and get the ball rolling.


Commissioner Linda Isenhart said a permit fee might help in the future. Hartman said this will come before the Board again.


Sergeant Kevin Armstrong presented the County’s Emergency Operations Plan. He said the plan is updated every three years for demographics and best practices. He has attended a conference and discussed guidelines at the state level and will have to meet those standards. This brought us back into compliance.


“This is a brand new document,” Armstrong said. The state of Colorado is now asking that a resolution be approved, but a resolution had not been prepared. Board Chair Gail Watson said they must continue this until the Board has a resolution.


The Board approved a lease between the County and Timberline Fire Protection District for two bays together with access to an adjacent office and restroom within the County Public Works Rollinsville Shop. The property must be used for the exclusive purpose of housing fire equipment and vehicles for use in responding to emergencies.


Isenhart took issue with the statement: “No training exercises or vehicle maintenance shall be permitted.” She said it is imperative they do some training, and it’s an important part of the service.


Limiting it to a Board meeting no more than two times also is a bit too stringent. She would like it to be used for meetings.


Commissioner Ron Engels asked that no public access be stricken and suggested the rent be $200 instead of $300. Watson said she has checked with public works and the value of snow removal. “My thought is the rent seems very affordable, and it’s precluding us from using it for county vehicles, so I would suggest leaving it as is.”


Isenhart said: “As we look at the value throughout the county, we will also make space available to Gilpin County Ambulance and others.”


Watson said: “It’s my feeling we are very much in line, so my suggestion is we leave it as is.” Watson asked the Finance Department to look at the cost of creating this lease. They had an attorney write the contract and review it.


Isenhart said that Timberline adds a lot of value with its presence on Rollins Pass. This is a way to show appreciation for the County for absorbing the process.
Engels moved approving the lease with the edit regarding public access and training, and $200 a month. Isenhart seconded the motion, and the Commissioners voted two to one to approve the lease.


Watson said: “I am, for the record, going to decline because we have a fiduciary responsibility to manage County facilities.”


Bill Harrington with Alpha Services LLC presented services agreements for renovations to the Courthouse. Harrington first presented estimates to the Board for the renovations at the Board’s June 13 meeting.


Since then, bids have been accepted for moving furniture, removing asbestos, painting and installing flooring. Harrington brought the final agreements for signing, although work has already begun moving furniture and removing old storage items from the third-floor storage area.


Harrington said the County Attorney has reviewed these as well as former Public Works and Facilities Director Bill Paulman and current Public Works Director Gordon Thomas. Eagle Environmental Solutions will do the asbestos abatement, which is required in several offices, hallways, entryways, bathrooms and the vault on the second floor. Eagle will charge $11,845.


Mesa Moving Storage is moving and storing furniture for $49,900. The work includes moving and storage of furniture, office equipment and personal items.
All City Flooring will replace all existing wooden flooring under the carpet in first and second floor offices and hallways, replace the vinyl flooring in three restrooms and the vault as well as in the Clerk and Recorder’s Office. They will, in addition, replace the entryway porch carpet and install carpet in the second floor entryway for $105,799.65


Paint Denver will paint all walls and non-tile ceilings in the first and second floor offices and common areas including hallways, stairwells and restrooms.



Excluded are all doors, windows and trim.


The Commissioner’s meeting room is also excluded from this project. The company’s base bid totals $65,764.


Commissioner Engels asked what difference it would make if they used different colors. Harrington said they haven’t ordered paint yet. Watson said that we need to convene a committee. They haven’t agreed on the vinyl and the paint color.


Engels asked if it would be possible to get a design consultant to help direct those conversations. Isenhart said, “I like the neutrality of what we have here and the historical look.”


Watson asked who wants to be on the committee, and several staff and Board members volunteered. Harrington said he will get the committee color charts and vinyl flooring samples.


Watson said she will get the committee together in the next two weeks, and the Board approved the services agreements.


(Originally published in the November 30, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)