One the most anticipated openings of the year for Summit County's music scene couldn't be contained in one day, so 10 Mile Music Hall will celebrate its grand opening with shows Tuesday and Wednesday, both of which are guaranteed sellouts.
Max capacity at 10 Mile Music Hall sits at just over 700 people, creating a hugely intimate venue for live music performances at 710 Main St., Frisco, right smack dab in the heart of Summit County.
Excitement ahead of this week's two-day grand opening is beyond palpable, and with Leftover Salmon playing both shows, tickets to either performance have quickly become a hot commodity.
"I'm just feeling excitement," said co-owner Todd Altschuler, as crews were putting the final touches on 10 Mile Music Hall in the background. "After working on this project for two years, it's finally coming to fruition, and it feels like the whole community is going to be here so I'm pretty psyched about it."
10 Mile Music Hall is the vision of Altschuler and co-owner Keegan Casey, who together previously managed The Barkley Ballroom, a popular bar to catch live music in Frisco. They closed the ballroom to focus their efforts on 10 Mile Music Hall, and now they have a true, custom-made music venue.
The building is a nice fit, roughly 8,000 square feet with an industrial, yet rustic mountain feel. The vaulted ceiling reaches up to 33 feet at its peak, and a massive dance floor on the ground level directs attention to the focal point — the stage, of course — with a wraparound balcony on the upper floor.
"So you really have two levels really close to the stage," Altschuler said.
With two side-by-side, garage-style sliding doors, the upstairs balcony connects to a large outdoor deck. The owners said they won't "do that to the neighbors" during concerts. Rather, the plan is to open the balcony up over the summers, as the venue brings more than live music to Frisco.
A 25-foot bar on the ground level and smaller bar upstairs should keep drinks flowing. Interestingly enough, 10 Mile Music Hall will also enlist the help of a smartphone app, Noble, which allows patrons to order drinks on their phones and get a text when they're ready so people don't have to wait in line.
The sound and lighting systems inside are comparable to what someone might find at a much bigger venue, Altschuler continued, adding that with "lots and lots" of bathrooms, water-bottle filling stations and smartphone-charging hookups, he thinks they're pretty close to getting everything "all dialed in" ahead of Tuesday's inaugural performance.
"It was a small footprint, but we fit a lot into it," he said of the new building, and everything is ADA accessible.
For the grand opening, 10 Mile Music Hall is bringing Leftover Salmon for shows on Tuesday and Wednesday. According to Altschuler, it's "a super-fun band who does it right on Halloween."
Because the band has such a strong following, especially on a day like Halloween, the owners of 10 Mile Music Hall decided to make their grand opening a two-day event instead of one.
Tickets for Wednesday's show were sold out online last week. A few remained for Tuesday's performance early Monday morning, but those too were expected to run out soon, if they haven't already.
Looking ahead, the winter is looking pretty stacked with numerous shows already lined up. Additionally, 10 Mile Music Hall will house much more than adult-oriented live music, as it plays host to family concerts, private events, weddings and more.
According to Altschuler, the venue has already booked enough weddings to fill about 60 percent of its weekends from July through October next year. The first children's show at 10 Mile Music Hall will bring in Mister G, a Latin Grammy award winner who does bilingual children's songs, on Jan. 27.
If that's not enough, the owners of 10 Mile Music Hall have also been working with Odell Brewing Co., which has crafted a house beer specifically for Summit County's newest music venue. The brew is called, "10 Mile Mosaic," which is a single-hop, citrusy IPA that's said to pair quite nicely with a good, live performance.
For a lineup of upcoming shows at 10 Mile Music Hall or information about booking events, go to 10MileMusic.com.
Former Silverthorne Mayor Bruce Butler returned to town hall Wednesday night to praise the progress on Fourth Street Crossing, an estimated $80 million "catalyst project" designed to stimulate the downtown area.
The outgoing mayor didn't get that opportunity, but he came back on Wednesday to tell his former colleagues he's quite pleased with the way things have been going since his departure.
"It's such an exciting night I had to come watch," Butler told council after detailing how he thinks this project will set the tone in Silverthorne for the next 50 years. "Thank you for your efforts. I think this is so close, and it's something we've wanted to see for a long time."
After that, council unanimously approved the developer's preliminary zoning and site plans. According to Tim Fredregill of Milender White, the Arvada-based firm selected to lead the project, if everything goes according to plan, he will come back with finalized plans in mid-December.
At that point, they'll go through another review with town staff, a hearing before the planning commission and then another hearing before town council. With council's final approval, crews could break ground as early as spring.
"That's the goal," Fredregill said.
The town and developers have been working on plans to redo the entire block between Third and Fourth streets for about two years now, even longer going back to the overarching concept of creating a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly downtown in Silverthorne.
Altogether, the Fourth Street Crossing covers about four acres of prime downtown real estate on the Blue River Parkway, directly across the highway from the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center, a new $9 million building that opened in summer 2017.
Billed as the next step for downtown, Fourth Street Crossing's preliminary site plan lays out 13 new buildings on the four acres — including a 112-room upscale hotel, Market Hall, transit center and parking garage, and two large mixed-use buildings with over 7,000 square feet of commercial space.
Multiple live-work units line Third Street and Adams Avenue in hopes they will help breathe new life into the area. The units could offer ideal space for financial advisors, lawyers, chiropractors, masseuses or other small businesses. Because the units can easily separate first-floor business activities from the rest of the home, Fredregill said he believes they will be quite attractive for people working in some of those professions. Behind the live-work units sits a cluster of townhomes, which help make the project financially viable.
With a facelift, The Mint Steakhouse will remain largely untouched where it is. Meanwhile, developers are working to incorporate elements of the Old Dillon Inn into the new Market Hall, which will sit beside The Mint and house multiple retailers, including anything from small food kiosks to sit-down restaurants, along with a large event space.
In approving the land-use and preliminary site plans, council put 17 conditions on the developers. The two biggest line items were fine-tuning the transit center and making the architecture look "more rustic."
Considering the scale of the project, Councilman Bob Kieber said he was impressed council didn't have to add more conditions and was greatly looking forward to voting on it Wednesday night.
One resident spoke out against the project, saying he doesn't see any reason Silverthorne needs a "Main Street" and believes it will be a "dead end" for the town. That prompted another man to offer his strong support in favor of the effort. For the former mayor, it was nice to see it all inching closer to reality.
"One of the things we talked about over the years is Silverthorne is a great community and what it lacks is a cohesive, physical identity," Butler said. "This project is the culmination of many, many, many years of work to try to bring that vision to fruition. I really commend Tim and his team. … if this works well, I see locals would gravitate to it just as much as visitors."
Interestingly enough, Fredregill said, the former mayor is apparently connected to the project in more ways than one. Recalling how a deal was struck to purchase the Old Dillon Inn, a critical component of the project, he said that agreement was actually signed on the old bar itself.
Part of the negotiations pertained to who got to keep the bar, while another piece of the talk covered some of the "old artifacts" found inside the Old Dillon Inn. One of them was an old softball that was apparently signed by a rec league many years ago. As fate would have it, one of the biggest signatures scribed on that ball happens to be Butler's.
Declining material costs and a strong economy contributed to homebuilder confidence climbing one point to 68 in October, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
“Builders are motivated by solid housing demand, fueled by a growing economy and a generational low for unemployment," NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said. "Builders are also relieved that lumber prices have declined for three straight months from elevated levels earlier this summer, but they need to manage supply-side costs to keep home prices affordable.”
NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said favorable economic conditions and demographic tailwinds should continue to support demand, but housing affordability has become a challenge due to ongoing price and interest rate increases.
“Unless housing affordability stabilizes, the market risks losing additional momentum as we head into 2019,” Dietz said.
In October, all three HMI indexes experienced an increase. Current sales conditions inched up from 73 to 74 points, while buyer traffic climbed four points from 49 to 53. Lastly, expectations over the next six months rose from 74 to 75 points.
The three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores show the Northeast moved up three points from 54 to 57 points, the South increased from 70 to 71 and the West remained unchanged at 74 points, respectively. However, the Midwest declined two points from 59 to 57 points, respectively.
Summit County's planning department unveiled its first draft of short-term rental regulations on unincorporated county properties during the regular board of county commissioners meeting on Tuesday. The draft has been in the works for over a year, and the rules are meant to start regulating the burgeoning industry.
County Commissioner Dan Gibbs said the purpose of the rules were to ensure health and safety of residents, maintain the residential character of neighborhoods and catch up with other resort communities that already have regulations, as well as level the playing field for all lodging entities.
County senior planner Kate Berg presented the draft regulations to the board and a packed room of local residents at the Frisco Day Lodge. The highlights of the proposed regulations include a permitting system with a fee of $150 per year, occupancy and parking limits, health and safety requirements, providing notice to guests about proper trash disposal and noise, requiring self-certified "Good Neighbor" agreement to not disrupt the character of residential neighborhoods and contracting a third party compliance company called STR Helper to ensure regulations are being followed.
If a permit is approved, short-term rental owners will be required to list the permit number in advertising, along with occupancy and parking limits. The draft regulations also add a process by which owners can apply for exceptions to the occupancy and parking limits, as well as a mechanism by which permits can be revoked for up to two years if a unit owner repeatedly violates the remit of the short-term rental permit.
Berg said the planning commission gathered a lot of feedback by direct contact from residents and at planning commission meetings. They then made a series of revisions to their original drafts to respond to the feedback.
Occupancy limits were one of the main complaints. Based on feedback considering the limit of two occupants per bedroom plus another two occupants as overly restrictive, there will also an option for occupants to be limited to one person per 300 square feet in addition to the two-plus-two formula, whichever has a higher limit. As far as parking, there needs to be a minimum of two parking spaces for each unit, with a maximum of five spaces. Again, these limits may receive exceptions through an appeal process.
Another change is removing the requirement for a "local" agent within a certain proximity to respond to unit issues, and instead requiring rental units have a "responsible" agent who can live outside the county, but still be able to respond to unit issues within 60 minutes, 24/7.
But by far the most pushback came from residents and lodging companies from the resort areas of Copper Mountain and Keystone. A long line of residents went to the podium to voice their opposition to the regulations, telling commissioners that the planning commission "needs to go back to the drawing board."
Opponents said the restrictions make no sense for short-term rental regulations in resort areas, since they are meant for commercial lodging and because most units are already under restrictions and regulations from HOAs and property management companies that make the county's regulations and annual $150 fee redundant. In an attempt to appease opponents from resort areas, Berg said that the planning department is considering whether to create new overlay districts for the resorts that would exempt them from some of the new county regulations.
One resident accused the county of "looking for problems to solve" when they didn't exist, while others did not understand the need for regulations when they were self-managing rentals just fine. Several residents believed the process was being rushed and that the county needed to take more time and feedback before passing any regulations.
Summit Cove Vacation Lodging, a company that short-term rents many units in Keystone, brought a small army of its employees to oppose the regulations, with many expressing fear of a significant loss of revenue from the occupancy limits.
After three hours of public comments, planning staff and commissioners tried to clarify certain issues raised by residents. However, issues such as whether to create an overlay district and how to streamline regulations with existing regulations from HOAs and metro districts remained unresolved, and the commissioners voted to table the issue to review all the feedback, as well as let staff make more tweaks to the draft regulations for another review. The regulations will be considered again at the commissioners' Nov. 13 meeting.
"I understand what people are saying, and there's a lot of information to review here," Gibbs said. "I'm ready to slow down a bit."
However, Commissioner Thomas Davidson wanted all the regulation opponents in the room to understand that the county is not acting arbitrarily in contemplating regulations.
"You should know that commissioners and other elected officials in resort communities have been feeling a lot of pressure to enact short-term rental regulations," Davidson said. "We are playing catch-up with resort communities across the nation. They've already done this, and they have not seen their economies cash or property values decline."
Breckenridge town staff are recommending the town keep Isak Heartstone, a public art installation made of reclaimed wood that has become so popular he's been creating problems for the people who live nearby.
At the beginning of the month, a handful of homeowners in the Wellington neighborhood told Breckenridge Town Council about the issuesthey've been seeing since the 15-foot wooden troll came to life in August for the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts, hoping the town would remove the troll.
The installation, created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo about a mile up the Wellington Trail for a $40,000 commission, is a project designed to remain in place for as long as the troll can withstand the elements and isn't vandalized.
He's been so well received, however, that nearby homeowners say "literally hundreds" of people are flocking to the troll on a daily basis. Aside from the heavy foot and vehicle traffic, the homeowners say troll hunters have been getting lost in the neighborhood, circling and parking illegally, sometimes blocking driveways and preventing the homeowners from getting to work.
In addition to fears for the safety of the children who play in the neighborhood's alleyways, the homeowners have described a loss of privacy because the trail to the troll sits close behind their homes. Other annoying behaviors such as excessive noise day and night, littering, people failing to pick up after their dogs and trespassing haven't gone unnoticed, either.
To address these complaints, staff laid out three options in a memo to town council, which is slated to continue discussions about the troll's future Tuesday. According to the memo, the town could keep the troll and try to better manage the impacts he's having, move him to another location or take the troll down altogether.
At this point, staff are recommending that the town should keep the troll on the Wellington Trail and continue to monitor the effects he's having on the community throughout the winter, both positive and negative, before re-evaluating the situation again this spring.
The memo details a number of steps the town has already taken to better manage the problems homeowners have been seeing, including increasing police enforcement, erecting new signage, adding trashcans, distributing flyers and clearly marking the legal parking areas while installing signs to discourage illegal parking in the neighborhood. Beyond that, the town has brought in some new fencing to prevent trespassing and created a "How to Find the Breckenridge Troll" page on the GoBreck.com website.
Town council is scheduled to discuss the troll's future at Tuesday's work session before going into its regular meeting. The work session begins at 3 p.m. at Breckenridge Town Hall, 150 Ski Hill Road, and the troll discussion is expected to happen sometime between 4:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., according to the agenda.
After months of work, the county planning department will present its draft regulations for short-term rentals in unincorporated Summit County at the county commissioners' regular meeting on Tuesday at 1 p.m. The regulations will seek to finally lay down some guidelines for the short-term lodging industry, which may pave the way for rental regulations in towns and counties. The regulations are expected to set occupancy and parking limits, create a permit system for short-term rentals, third-party complaint monitoring and an administrative system for permit withdrawal, among other new rules.
The meeting will take place at the Day Lodge at Frisco Adventure Park, 621 Recreation Way in Frisco, as the county courthouse is being used for early voting. Members of the public with more questions about the meeting or the agenda may contact the county at 970-453-3535.
For those sitting at the edge of the seat waiting to hear the juicy details of Summit County's 2019 budget projections, this one's for you. For everyone else, bear with us, there's important stuff worth knowing about here.
Summit County manager Scott Vargo and finance director Marty Ferris sat down to explain the projected budget for the next year as county services continue to expand as the population grows. At the moment, the county budget is projected to increase to $108,974,208 in 2019 from the 2018 budget of $95,709,036 — an increase of a little over $13 million.
The 2018 budget was used as the base for the 2019 budget. Vargo said that the county continues to use conservative estimates when it comes to projected increases in sales tax (2 percent projected increase), fee (1 percent) and property tax (1.4 percent) revenues. All county departments have been directed to maintain 2018 expense levels, within reason.
Big-ticket construction projects make up a significant share of the increase. The county's Solid Waste Fund will receive a little over $6 million, with $4 million going toward paying for a new below ground landfill "cell," or specially-engineered pit into which garbage is stored, and the rest going to new heavy equipment.
Modern landfill cells are surprisingly complex. A lot of engineering and planning is invested to make sure the waste is properly stored and won't seep into groundwater or otherwise pollute the environment outside of the Summit County Resource Allocation Park.
$1.25 million of the enterprise fund will be spent on replacing screens on several inlets on the Snake River sewer. The transit capital fund will also receive a little over $5 million to construct the new Frisco Transfer Center, as well as to complete the purchase of six new cutaway buses, with 80 percent of the bus funds coming from grants.
Operating expenses will see an increase of nearly $200,000. Vargo said that increase is related to increases in cost-of-living expenses for county employees, as well as increases in costs to fuel, utilities and maintenance.
The county retains over $25 million in "unrestricted" funds in reserve from last year. When asked about why that money can't be used to fund county services instead of asking voters to approve a 10-year property tax hike with Initiative 1A, Vargo said it is the fiscally responsible thing to do.
"We believe it's appropriate and necessary to have a reserve for emergencies," Vargo said. "We want to have a reserve based on general standards in accounting industry, which is a minimum of three months worth of operating funds and $5 million identified for some sort of natural disaster. In our case, that disaster would likely be wildfire."
As far as continuing to conservatively estimate the increase in sales tax revenue despite seeing revenues exceed projections the past few years, Vargo said that the county's finance people don't feel comfortable with the better-than-expected increases to be an indefinite trend and continue to be conservative when it comes to expected revenue.
Looking forward, Vargo said the county is concerned about the looming changes to property tax assessment ratios because of the Gallagher amendment, which requires a certain ratio for residential and commercial property tax collection rates. That assessment ratio for residential properties dropped to 7.2 percent from 7.96 during the last two-year cycle. The state estimates that the ratio will drop again to 6.11 percent in 2020.
"We will lose out on $14.5 million between 2016 and 2020 because of Gallagher," Vargo said. "We're preparing for that."
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area will open for the 2018-19 ski and snowboard season on Friday, the first ski area in the country to open seven days a week for this winter season.
The Black Mountain Express lift will start turning at 9 a.m., giving skiers and snowboarders access to the intermediate "High Noon" trail from A-Basin's front side, mid-mountain to its front side base area seven days a week. A-Basin mountain operations will continue to make snow as weather permits in the coming days and weeks, with the goal of opening additional terrain.
"With nearly two feet of natural snow combined with the low temperatures for snowmaking, we've been able to create a quality base for Friday's opening," Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "We're excited to get the ski season started."
Arapahoe Basin is often one of the first ski areas to open in North America, including last year when A-Basin's Oct. 13 open was the first in the nation. This year, A-Basin lost that title to Wolf Creek Ski Area, who opened on Saturday in southern Colorado, though Wolf Creek's opening is currently for weekends only.
Via a post on his blog on Monday morning, A-Basin's COO Henceroth wrote the ski area had "a lot of snow everywhere," and also explained how and why warmer temperatures this week may actually help the Basin's snowmaking efforts to come in the short term.
"Mother Nature has been kind that way," Henceroth continued. "Some of you have noticed that not all of the snow guns are running. We do have ideal temperatures. Unfortunately, with the cold temps, the streamflow has slowed down. This morning, as I am waiting for the sun to break the East Wall ridgeline, we have blue, blue skies. Sun and warmer temps will melt some of that South facing snow and bring the streamflow up. Even with our reservoir, the snowmaking capacity is really tied to that streamflow. Right now we have a hand full of snowguns making fabulous snow. I look forward to having two hand fulls of snowguns making fabulous snow."
A-Basin's current lift ticket window pricing, which runs through Dec. 21, runs $85 for a full-day ticket for adults between the ages of 19-69. Youth (15-18) full-day window tickets are priced at $70 and child (ages 6-14) window tickets are priced at $41. Children aged 5-and-under ski free every day of the season at A-Basin.
Loveland opens Saturday With their opening this Saturday at 8:30 a.m., Loveland Ski Area — just to the east of the Continental Divide from Summit County — will debut its newest lift, "Chet's Dream."
"Thanks to lots of hard work from our skilled snowmaking team and 2 feet of snow from Mother Nature, we are excited to announce that Loveland Ski Area will open with exceptional early season conditions this Saturday," Rob Goodell, Loveland's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "We hope this early season snow is the start of a generous winter and invite everyone to join us on Saturday as we kick-off another long and powder packed season at Loveland."
Chet's Dream will run from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday and will offer skiers and riders access to one top-to-bottom run covered from tree-to-tree with an 18-inch base, the ski area said in its statement. The trails "Catwalk," "Mambo" and "Home Run" comprise this Opening Day run, which is over a mile in length and contains nearly 1,000 vertical feet.
"This year Opening Day is even more special as Chet's Dream, our new high-speed lift, will carry the first skiers and riders of its tenure here at Loveland," Goodell continued in his statement. "This new lift will provide our guests with quicker and more reliable access to some of our most popular terrain while honoring ski industry pioneer and Loveland patriarch, Chester R. (Chet) Upham, Jr."
Loveland Ski Area also opened on Oct. 20 last season. Loveland's snowmakers will continue to make snow on Home Run and around the base of Chet's Dream this week before moving on to opening additional terrain.
Lift operation hours at Loveland are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on weekends and designated holidays. Early season lift tickets at Loveland are $65 for adults and $31 for children 6-14.
Breckenridge Town Council has approved spending $8 million on a town-owned fiber optic network, making the town one of the first mountain resort communities to pursue such a project.
Local officials say the $8 million investment will help cover design and construction costs for a high-speed fiber optic network designed to meet the internet and connectivity needs of Breckenridge's homes and businesses well into the foreseeable future.
Whether it's sending audio, video or other data, fiber optic cables operate on light signals rather than the electronic impulses carried by traditional wire-based communications, allowing fiber optics to produce much higher transmission speeds and bandwidths than their copper-wire counterparts.
Town officials say the network will provide new opportunities, not just for high-speed internet service, but a host of other applications, as well. This could mean better cellular service and coverage, public Wi-Fi assets, real-time water metering and other "smart city" solutions to address common problems, like parking and transportation.
"We see this as a cornerstone investment for the town for the next 50 years and beyond," Breckenridge Councilman Gary Gallagher said. "Much like previous councils had the foresight to secure water rights and land bank for the future, this fiber backbone enables the town to be proactive towards future developments and ensure that we're in charge of our technological destiny."
Breckenridge aims to break ground in May and the first phase will include 17 miles of underground infrastructure. Basically, the town will start by creating a "backbone" for the fiber optic network with subsequent "spurs" reaching out to individual neighborhoods. Each new spur would bring more homes and businesses online as the town grows out the new network.
Construction of the first phase should be complete within two years, and the first provisional services are expected to come online for some customers in the third quarter of 2019, according to the town.
Which neighborhood will get plugged in first has not yet been decided, said assistant town manager Shannon Haynes, who expects it will be a "high-density" area like the Wellington neighborhood.
The first service provider or providers will be selected later this year or in early 2019, with residential and business sign-ups slated to begin once the provider or providers are in place.
The idea is to allow all different kinds of service providers to compete using the town's network, but getting to that point might take some time.
"The intent is to allow competition on the network, but we know the first person in the door will help us work out any bugs in the system, and we don't know how many folks we'll have interested right off the bat," Haynes said, adding that town staff hope to find three to four in the early stages.
Also, the fiber optic cables will have to run into each customer's home or business. For a connection to be run from the network's backbone to a home or business, the homeowner or business owner would need to sign up for the fiber optic service before they were wired in.
Oftentimes, these connections, called "drops," can cost consumers hundreds of dollars when done by private service providers, but the town is committed to shouldering that cost with its fiber optic network, Haynes said.
According to town staff, Breckenridge is one of the first resort communities in the mountains to pursue a project like this and joins other Colorado communities like Centennial, Longmont and Montrose in developing its own municipal-owned network.
Town staff put out a request for proposals regarding the town's efforts to build a fiber optic network in July 2017 and selected Foresite Group, a Georgia-based company, to complete an assessment and create a business plan to design and build the network.
During town council's Oct. 9 budget retreat, representatives of the Foresite Group presented their plan, and council approved $8 million for the design and construction of the network.
Additionally, Breckenridge hired consultant Tim Scott of Peak View Enterprises, who has worked with fiber infrastructure projects both in the U.S. and internationally, to provide guidance on the project.
Meanwhile, the town is moving forward on a couple different pieces at the same time, Haynes explained.
While Foresite Group is working on detailed network designs and engineering, town staff are putting together another request for proposals for construction contractors and a request for inquiries in search of service providers who might be interested in coming to Breckenridge.
Both of those should go out soon. The town is also working with a marketing group to help brand the new network, which will tie into fiber optic cables already running up Highway 9 between Frisco and Breckenridge and down Interstate 70 to Denver.
The National Weather Service has put northeast and north central Colorado, including Summit County, under a hazardous weather outlook after an overnight storm blanketed the region.
Snowfall is expected to diminish this afternoon and evening with clearing skies tonight. Highs today are expected to be in the 20s.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has reported some problems on Interstate 70. Sometime before 9 a.m. today, a wrecked semi caused the closure of both eastbound lanes of Interstate 70. Other issues on I-70 were reported in the Georgetown area.
The coming days should bring mostly dry conditions, according to the NWS, as temperatures slowly begin to warm with readings pushing back to normal levels by the end of the week.
Lowest price for a 4 bedroom condo in the County! Open house today - 3 - 5 p.m.
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The receding shoreline of Lake Dillon uncovered an important part of Summit County's railroad history: the remains of the railroad facilities at Dickey, located at the southern end of the reservoir.
In the early 1880s, two railroads fought for the mining business of the county. The Denver, Rio Grande, under the leadership of William Jackson Palmer, entered the county from Leadville, traversed the Tenmile Canyon, passed through Frisco and headed to Dillon. The Denver, South Park & Pacific, with Sidney Dillon as president, crossed South Park to Como, climbed to Boreas Pass (11,481 feet), descended to Breckenridge by September 1882, and followed the Blue River north to Dillon, by December 1882. (Yes, the town of Dillon was named for Sidney Dillon.) At Dillon, the DSP&P intended to turn west toward Frisco and follow the Tenmile Creek through the canyon, eventually tapping the mines of Leadville.
Those designing the route revised the plans so that the main and branch lines would meet at a place about three miles south of Dillon and two miles east of Frisco called Placer Junction, but later renamed Dickey (9004 feet). By doing so, the railroad saved four miles of track and shortened the distance to Leadville. The main line returned to the original survey in the Tenmile Canyon.
Dickey became an important coal and water supply station for the engines. By stopping at Dickey for fuel and water, the trains could carry a maximum of goods/ore rather than carrying the coal and water needed to reach a distant fueling station. Dickey had a well and huge water tank with a 47,500-gallon capacity. The railroad constructed a depot, an engine house to repair engines and rolling stock, a section house where train maintenance crews lived, a tool house, a water pumping station and well house, several homes and cabins for railroad employees and their families, and a wye. The wye, used most often by helper engines, allowed trains to change directions. Those returning to Como or Leadville used the wye extensively.
The unique double-sided coal docks, built in 1902 at a cost of $4,397.82, replaced the older style docks that required shoveling the coal twice — from the gondola cars into the coal bins and again into the engine tender. With the newer-style coal docks, the men shoveled only once — from the gondola cars into the bins. The coal dropped by gravity into the tender.
The last scheduled train passed through Dicky in 1937, when the railroad discontinued service. A few remained living in Dickey until the mid-1960s when the water from the reservoir forced them to leave. Since then, the town of Dickey has been covered by water. But in 2003, in the midst of a drought, members of the Denver, South Park & Pacific Historical Society had the opportunity to explore the town site.
Members commented that they first saw few remainders of the town. Later, as they walked "the ground, the foundations of all the major structures began to emerge," wrote Bob Schoppe, long-time president of the DSP&P Historical Society. He continued: "We decided to visit the site a week later better prepared with maps and photos, and thus were able to document the locations of nearly every structure on the ICC map. The wye was very much in evidence, as were the foundations of the depot, engine house, water tank, pump house, well, section house, tool house and some of the surrounding cabins. Less in evidence were the coal bins and coal dock, but there were large amounts of coal fragments and residue right where they should be. One surprise was a wooden culvert on the main (line) to Frisco beyond the wye that was not only still in place but once again (temporarily) functioning! Since no one had been to Dickey since the '60s, metal was everywhere. (One member) found a journal box cover with the retaining chain still attached. While (the group) thoroughly enjoyed this first-time-in-45-years chance to visit Dickey, we didn't realize at the time just how special this window of opportunity was."
Two weeks later, water covered the site.
In October and November 2012, drought again exposed the Dickey site. Bill Fountain visited the site and found the same things as in 2003.
This year's dry summer has uncovered the site once more. When Fountain explored the site, he found things much as they had been in 2012. He and Rich Skovlin, an expert on the history of the county, brought photographs to compare "then" and "now." They found footprints of buildings, pieces of bottles, rail spikes and connectors, coal chunks and the cement foundation of the water tower.
To visit the Dickey town site, park in the lot at the southern end of Lake Dillon at Farmer's Korner. Do not follow the old roadbed but follow the trail to the right of the sign, through grass to the dry lake bed. At that location, you will see what those who, like Fountain, live in Hawaii call a "black sand beach." Of course, here it is tiny bits of coal that came from the locomotives' smoke stacks.
Do not remove any of the artifacts. Take photographs only. Leave the artifacts for others to see and enjoy.
It appears for the first time in years neither Arapahoe Basin Ski Area nor Loveland Ski Area will be the first Colorado ski area to open the state's ski season.
On Wednesday — in the wake of a massive early season storm that dumped about 12 inches of snow at Wolf Creek Ski Area's summit elevation of 11,904 feet — Wolf Creek announced it plans to start spinning its chairs on Saturday.
The Durango Herald first reported the news. In the Durango Herald article, Elesha Goad, ticket office supervisor for Wolf Creek Ski Area, said the mountain is also reporting 8 inches of snow at the ski area's mid-mountain. As a result, Wolf Creek will open Saturday and Sunday, though the ski area is still deciding what portions of the mountain will be open and what the price of admission will be.
Over at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, A-Basin's director of marketing and communications, Leigh Hierholzer, said via email on Wednesday morning that the ski area has yet to formalize an officially announced opening date. That said, the ski area has referred to a "budgeted opening date" of Oct. 19 since A-Basin closed down its lifts last June.
"We have no update as of now on the opening date," Hierholzer wrote.
A-Basin's chief operating officer Alan Henceroth wrote on his blog Wednesday that the ski area's snowmakers had two consecutive nights of "big" snowmaking.
"We hope to keep the snowmaking system running all day," Henceroth continued. "If we are really lucky, maybe we can run it all day (Thursday) also. So while we had previously run the system a few times, that was practice and training and maybe a little bit of snowmaking. This session is the real deal."
Over at Loveland, snowmaking operations have continued in full at the ski area at the Continental Divide since it commenced on Monday.
Last season, A-Basin opened on Oct. 13 while Loveland opened on Oct. 20. Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort plan to open this year on Nov. 9 while Copper Mountain Resort is targeting an opening date of Nov. 16.
Silverthorne looks like it's done treating short-term rentals like any other business. A draft ordinance proposes a new type of business license for the properties, along with some additional requirements, like requiring they come with "a responsible agent" to address complaints.
If anything sounds familiar here, it's likely because Silverthorne's efforts to better regulate the short-term rental industry read much like Breckenridge's rules and regulations, which the town updated earlier this summer. Silverthorne Town Council began formal discussions about how the town might better manage the impacts of short-term rentals in July, though a countywide push to reign in the booming industry has been in the works for much longer.
Following July's discussions, Silverthorne town staff issued a public survey and held open houses to help gauge public opinion. With that, council met twice again last month to continue hashing out the details. All that work is now showing up on Silverthorne's agenda, with council expected to vote on the proposed changes Wednesday.
According to a memo to town council, Silverthorne officials are trying to strike a delicate balance between preserving individual property rights and protecting the interest of neighbors, guests and the overall community from the impacts of short-term rentals.
"I think there's an acknowledgement that we're in a resort community … and a lot of our guests are looking for that type of lodging," Silverthorne town manager Ryan Hyland said of the discussions. "So there was an understanding that they are filling a need for our visitors, but how do we balance that with maintaining community and enforcing the codes?"
The proposed changes exempt hotels, motels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, and any rentals operating under long-term leases from the new rules. In short, short-term rentals are defined as lodging accommodations leased out for a term of less than 30 consecutive days.
One of Silverthorne's proposed new rules would force each short-term rental to secure an individual business license, rather than allowing a person or company to hold one license for all the properties they manage.
Like Breckenridge already does, Silverthorne also aims to ensure compliance by requiring the rentals post their corresponding business license numbers in all their advertisements. This would help the town identify the owners who either fail or refuse to secure the proper licensing and remit sales and lodging taxes back to the town.
Like Breckenridge, Silverthorne is also looking to mandate short-term rentals have a designated "responsible agent," or someone who can respond to "the issue that was subject of the complaint" with a one-hour time frame.
Per the proposed ordinance, the agent must be willing to address any issues arising from the property 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Complaints would be phoned into a centralized call center.
"All the towns and county are working together with a third party to set up a call center so that it will be easy for anyone that lives in or stays in Summit County to call one number and start the (complaint) process," said Laura Kennedy, Silverthorne's director of finance.
When Breckenridge passed its latest update to its rules for short-term rentals, which included similar language about a responsible agent addressing complaints, most of the criticism was directed at the one-hour window to address complaints. Unlike Breckenridge, though, Silverthorne is considering cutting that window in half between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., which is more closely in line with what Vail currently does. Still, that could change as Silverthorne Town Council takes up the proposal.
"Between first and second reading, (council) can continue to modify this," Kennedy explained.
Silverthorne's proposed ordinance would also allow for an alternate agent in the event the primary agent cannot be reached. The agent need not be the owner, but it would be the owner's duty to keep this information up to date with the town.
Additionally, Silverthorne is also looking to establish a formal complaint-escalation process, along with a system for monitoring short-term rentals, enforcing violations and assessing penalties.
The town's finance director would have the authority to revoke an owner's license should the director determine a rental has racked up three or more formal complaints within a 12-month period. Owners may appeal any revocations, but if upheld, it could prevent that owner from obtaining another short-term rental license for the violating property for at least two years or until a change in ownership.
Beyond that, Silverthorne's proposed ordinance speaks to public safety, inspections and a new fee structure that's supposed to recoup the town's cost for administering the program, among other things.
Council is expected to vote on the proposed changes on first reading Wednesday. If passed again on second reading, they would take effect in the next 30 days. The goal, however, is to have all short-term rentals in Silverthorne kicked over to the new business licenses by Jan. 1, Hyland said. He emphasized that any regulations approved by council are completely separate from any rules imposed by homeowner associations.