Gold Hill Town Meeting Newsletter

Posted on: September 13th, 2017


Minutes of the August 14, 2017 Town Meeting

 Next Town Meeting is Monday, October 9, 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center

 The meeting was called to order by Chair Tony Vrba. Eleven people attended: Johanna Morrison, Rick Sinner, Rebecca Lawrence (consultant to the Peak to Peak Housing and Human Services Task Force), Mary Ryan, John Sand, Karen Simmons, Bobby Vrba, Treasurer Martha Knapp, Member at Large Dan Maedke, Chrissy Maedke (as well as Gabe and Mikey), and Secretary Gretchen Diefenderfer.

Minutes – of both the July Special Town Meeting and the regular June Meeting were approved as published.

Treasurer’s Report – Martha reports that at the previous regular Town Meeting in June our bank balance was $13,921.14.

Our current total cash assets are $12,062.64

Revenue since the June meeting includes the pass-through grant from United Way for Airlink, donations collected during the Town Cleanup, fundraising sales (pint glasses, etc.) and advance payments for cemetery plots to the cemetery fund.

Expenses include port-a-potty maintenance, town cleanup dumpster fees, chipping project and the Airlink UW grant.

Earmarked fund totals are as follows:

            General Fund                                     $1,103.36                  

            Cemetery                               $6,107.78

            Community Relief                 $3,326.95

            Forest Management              ($2,493.38)*

            SafeLink (funds for SafeSite, AirLink, NeighborLink projects      $3,785.25

            Community Planning            $232.68

*Note re: Forest Management negative balance – this reflects Chipping Project expenses of which three-quarters will be reimbursed from a combination of residents who had chipping done and the County.

ELECTIONS – John jumped right in and moved that we just re-elect the present Council. Tony replied that we need to ask for nominations to find out if anyone is interested in running. Members of the present council are willing to serve, and Bear, who was not at the meeting had let Tony know that he would serve if no one else was interested. Chrissy nominated Johanna Morrison, who said she would be willing to serve as Vice Chair, and she was elected unanimously. There being no one else willing, and no further nominations, Chair Tony Vrba, Secretary Gretchen Diefenderfer, Treasurer Martha Knapp and Member at Large Dan Maedke were re-elected unanimously. We will miss Bear’s reliably calm and sensible input, but are also happy to have the younger generation in Jojo join the council.


Gold Hill School – Chrissy reports that school starts Wednesday, August 16th and everyone is looking forward to it. She and Breida Geesaman will be sharing days and each working ½ time. Mishie is back full time (Dan has all three babies in his care!). Jojo as the Mountain Schools Principal’s Assistant handles everything else besides teaching, which is wonderful. All grades will be working on Native American Studies and they have a teepee now up in Kirby’s Field thanks to grant writing. There are 19 kids enrolled – lowest in a long time. There is a new interim Superintendent, Cindy, for the year. The School District has now provided a propane operated generator for any power outages which is hard wired in and will click on automatically – also a new ceiling in Chrissy’s classroom.

            The bees are doing well (8-9 hives downtown – some didn’t make it) and they are working to get the observation hive going. They will harvest the honey in mid September and hoping for lots of honey.

Community Planning – Dan reports that the Gold Rush will be Sunday, September 17th. Joanne Cole is handling advertising and the crafts-people/artists. He is always looking for volunteers, bakers, and anyone willing to help.

Community Spaces – Tony reports that they have not met, but Jojo will give a Rancho Fazoo report later

Historic Zoning – no report

Forest Management – Tony is so happy that Virginia took the lead on this. Several people got some chipping done – the county paid for 1/2, the Town Meeting ¼ and the homeowners ¼.

Fire Department – Bobby reports that there have been a few calls – one medical call, one false alarm at the school due to construction, and several campfires during the fire ban – the Sheriff responds to campfires during fire bans and some people smarted off at one of them and got fined – it took 90 gallons of water to put it out. They now have water stationed at the 3 main campsites, since the ban has been rescinded. Trainings continue and all are welcome. The Firefighters retirement fund is up and running.

Reverse 9-1-1 – Gretchen reports that people can sign up their land lines as well as their cell phones through the Office of Emergency Management website

(go to and look under Emergency Messages Sign Up: For bike races, in answer to citizen concerns expressed, any emergency call to 9-1-1 takes precedence. They will make sure responders get through without delay. For what to expect when you call 9-1-1, see the town website ( and look on the left under Gold Hill Fire Department. Also, the Fire Department apologizes for the super soaker squirt guns at the 4th of July parade. They know some people were unhappy with them and the department will see that it doesn’t happen again.

Weed Management – no report. Chrissy reports that the school kids will go on an outing and pick the Scentless Chamomile, if someone will find out what to do with the bagged ones. It is spreading all over town now.

Historic Gold – John reports that elections were held at the last museum meeting. Deb Yeager is now President of the Board, Boyd Brown is Treasurer, Joan Few is Secretary. Other members include Gretchen Diefenderfer, John Sand and Marie Brookhart who replaced Leslie DeGrassi, who has resigned. Marilyn Soby is also leaving the board after 20 years (since the beginning!) so they will look for another member.

Mining – Gretchen reports that the County is monitoring the collapse along the edge of Horsfal. There is continued activity at the Mill – most of the time there are a few cars/trucks there – but no hard information.

SafeLink and AirLink – In Dina’s absence, John reported that the ham radio group is working on the Jamestown link and making good progress.

IMA – Tony reports that she attended the meeting on June 22. They are considering not continuing and may defer to the Peak to Peak task force.

            The Mayor of Ward (since they are an incorporated town) charges bike races that come through Ward. Lyons is working on communications with the ham radio group. Allenspark has a large emergency generator now. Ward residents had a very successful chili cook-off, and have built a new town greenhouse.

            There was lots of talk about the bike races and advance notification. We were not the only people who were not notified much in advance of the July race. The County has promised that this has been remedied.

            The County is working on affordable housing for the mountains. They have 50 homes now and are looking to have 500. They want to know what our needs are in regard to affordable housing as well as other needs.

John Sand reports that there is another organization – the Boulder Heritage Roundtable – and they are looking for representatives from anyone into historical preservation.


Bike races/Road Closures – Tony gave an update from Mike Thomas who sent an email reporting that the mine owner will be getting the work done to fix the road and repair the adit and that he will keep us posted. (ADDENDUM – it has since been repaired and the warnings and cones have been removed).

Also, there is a check off list that all special events like bike races are required to fulfill, but Tony looked at it and it doesn’t address impacts on any businesses, people or the environment. Tony would like more responsibility put on the organizers and closer monitoring by the County.

 Book Exchange/Mailbox – has been delayed

 Rancho Fazoo – Jojo reported that people had great questions and ideas at the last town meeting, which she has addressed in meetings with Open Space. She is wondering about separating the town adopting Rancho Fazoo from the cemetery issue. Open Space wants the town to have the part of Cemetery that is on the Schmidt property – they do want some kind of donation for it (cannot just give it to us), and work on that part of the cemetery would qualify. We need to check with Bob about the hours and money already spent – we may well already have enough to qualify. They seem to think it should be around 40 hours or $1,000.

            As far as adopting Rancho Fazoo (the part of the Schmidt property where the old Sosnowski residence was that burned in the fire and now needs cleaning up, etc.), the mechanism seems to be their Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department Adopt-A-Park/Trail Policies and Procedures. Cleaning up is required, and we want to do this, with the idea that the space could possibly be used for town purposes – nothing definite at this juncture, just general ideas that have been batted around, like possibly picnic tables. Open Space is not presently talking about creating new trails, no heavy machinery, including chain saws, is to be used. However, since it is not actually a park or a trail, they are looking at our ideas on a one-by-one basis and seem open to our input. They have not developed an overall management plan, and that seems to be some years in the future. They are asking for a liability waiver to be signed. Remember, this is not our property; it’s the County’s.   Ultimately we don’t get to decide, but they do seem open.

The question has been raised of whether the committee should be part of the Town Meeting or separate? Call it something like Friends of Rancho Fazoo? People on the committee are Tony, Gretchen, Dina Elder, Jan Eaton, Joan Few, Jojo, and Mary Claire Mulligan. The rationale for separating it is that the town meeting can get unwieldy. Gretchen supported keeping it part of the town meeting and it seems that the town supports the goals of taking care of the property and working with the County. Since we are not an incorporated town, the Town Meeting is our long-term voice with the County and she wants us to speak with one voice and for it to be as strong and inclusive as possible.

Mary Ryan brought up the existing wildlife trail going down the gulch and would like that to be included in any plans.




Town Noise – Several people have expressed that events at the Inn, in particular, have become more frequent over the years, many go on late into the nights with the noise reverberating all over town, and the parking issues impact every one’s ability to get through town or sometimes out of their own driveways. One person said, metaphorically, that he knew he was buying a house near an airport, but didn’t expect jumbo jets to start landing here. Several people expressed that they understand that the Inn has a business to run and don’t want to limit them too much, but the impact is growing and growing. Everyone knows and appreciates how much the Finns and the Inn have contributed to the town for years and wonder if there are ways to mitigate the late night noise and maybe limit the numbers of people to some mutually acceptable amount.

            Tony checked with the county about noise ordinances and found this:

“Sound from a non-vehicular source located in a residential area, shall not exceed the following limits: 7:00 a.m. -7 p.m. of the same day: 55 dB(A)   7:00 p.m. – 7 a.m. of the following day: 50 dB(A)   Shall not apply to: Property used for manufacturing, industrial, or commercial business purposes.” So that does not seem relevant, nor did anyone know what 55 dB(A) is. We wondered if there is something clearer that does apply to business purposes in residential neighborhoods.

            Someone brought a newspaper article about pastures of Plenty Farm being limited to 12 events a year by the County Commissioners “to mitigate or prevent potential noise, traffic and parking problems that several of the farm’s rural Boulder County neighbors had contended occurred during events there in years prior.”

            To be continued.

Taxes/80302 – Just a reminder that people should check their phone bills and sales receipts for large purchases to be delivered up here because city taxes may be erroneously included and could add significant costs.

Rebecca Lawrence is a former resident of Gold Hill who now lives in Ward, is one of the founders of the IMA, and has been a victims’ advocate with the Sheriff’s Office She has now been hired as a consultant with the Peak-to-Peak Housing and Human Services task force (  Their mission statement is: “To bring resources to the Peak-to-Peak region, foster relationships amongst mountain communities as well as between human service agencies/resources and the mountain population”. She is helping assess needs in the smaller mountain communities – Gold Hill, Jamestown, Ward, Lyons. She would like to do a simple one-shot focus group with representatives of elders, families with little kids, teenagers, and town government people. The goals of the Peak-to-Peak group are to support seniors and others with housing, access to transportation, etc., in ways that enable little towns to have more of a voice. There are funding streams to support these needs.

            The Task Force is also working on a website to better communicate activities/needs across the region and putting together an emergency response manual/handbook with the Office of Emergency Management for communities like us (both through Foothills United Way funding).

            Jojo volunteered to serve as Rebecca’s contact person in Gold Hill.

            She also wanted to remind us that the third Thursday of every month, Kristi Venditti and Colleen Sinclair, Mountain Resource Liaisons (720-336-2326) are hanging out at the Gold Hill Store from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. to answer questions about EFAA, and other County agencies who may help with basic needs support such as: rent and deposit insurance, utilities, housing, food, medical, dental and vision needs, bus tickets, connection to other community resources.

Respectfully submitted, Gretchen Diefenderfer, Secretary


P.S. If you know anyone without computer access who should get this Newsletter, please let me know and we will snail mail them one.

On the other hand, if you are getting a mailed one and could get it on your computer, please let me know that as well. It saves time, money, and effort if I can send them out via email.