BALLOT LANGUAGE FOR NOVEMBER 2 TOWN VOTE ON SALES TAX INCREASE AND SHORT TERM RENTAL ZONING APPROVED; TOWN COUNCIL PREPARES TO MEET WITH GUNNISON COUNTY COMMISSION TO DISCUSS SNOW REMOVAL
Following several months of discussion related to a sales tax increase to bolster town budget revenues and efforts to resolve controversy related to short term rentals occurring in the Residential zoning district, the Pitkin Town
Council approved two ballot questions at their meeting on September 3. The ballot questions will be included on the November 2 general election ballot and the election will be a combined election with Gunnison County. Gunnison
County election officials will facilitate the mail ballot election. The sales tax increase proposal includes a 1.5% increase in the Town of Pitkin sales tax rate which, if the ballot question is approved, will raise the total
Town of Pitkin rate from the current 3% rate to 4.5%. The ballot question provides that 2% of the sales tax will be designated for the general fund and the other 2.5% will be specifically earmarked for the Street fund. It is
understood that the main reason for the Street fund earmark is to assist the Town in dealing with increasing snow removal costs as Gunnison County has reduced the level of service it provides. In that regard, the Town Council
held an executive session for the purpose of negotiations with Gunnison County to assist Council members in preparing for a September 11 meeting with the Gunnison County Commission to discuss snow removal in Pitkin.
The Council also approved a ballot question to seek guidance from Town registered voters concerning short term rentals. The approved ballot question will seek a yes or no vote and will ask if voters favor amending the Pitkin Zoning
Code to prohibit short term rentals in the Residential district and allow them in the Business district only. If a majority of the voters vote yes on the ballot question the Pitkin Zoning Code will be amended to indicate that
short term rentals will be permitted only in the Business zoning district. The Council also acknowledged that work should begin on developing a short term rental permitting regulation which is separate from the zoning question.
After a lengthy discussion concerning plans of the Pitkin Historical and Community Association to add an historic stable structure to its property on Main Street, the Town Council asked that more detailed drawings of the proposed
location of structures be provided and that a “hold harmless” agreement with the adjacent property owner be provided prior to final action by the Council. The “hold harmless” agreement was requested to memorialize the understanding
of PHCA and the adjacent property owner that the location of the historic stable might impact the fence on the property line between the two property owners. The Council believes the agreement is necessary so that any future
owners of the property involved will be made aware of possible problems resulting from the stable location. The matter was first reviewed by the Zoning Board of Adjustment but was referred to the Town Council because a variance
request for the stable location does not meet the criteria for review and approval of a variance. The Council also discussed that should the PHCA request be approved it should be as a waiver from enforcement of the Zoning Code
rather than be considered a variance.
In other business the Council received an update on the status of seven properties in Pitkin where new OWTS systems have been installed since 2015. At issue is the fact that most of the new septic systems have not received final
inspections because the Building Inspector has not received final “as-built” drawings of the systems so it is not possible to complete the inspection process. It was also noted that it
is the property owner’s responsibility to have “as-built” drawings provided and to request the final inspection. The Council also briefly discussed the first draft of a budget fund balance and reserve policy which would provide guidelines for the management and use of the various budget funds in the Town budget.
The next regular meeting of the Town Council will be October 1 although there may be a couple of special meetings in the interim period to address several outstanding items, including discussion of employee and officer classifications
for Town personnel. The Town Council will also meet with the Gunnison County Commission on September 11 to discuss snow removal in Pitkin.
You may listen to the audio recording of this meeting by following this Link.