Argo asks to change conditions in final development plan

The City Council seemed supportive of changing three conditions in the Argo Gold Mill’s final development plan for the gondola project to avoid delays.

The council conditionally approved the plan in late May, and it was scheduled to take a final vote at Monday’s meeting.

Barb Cole, interim city planner, explained during an Oct. 19 work session that the changes are centered on what triggers certain conditions. For instance, one condition originally stated that the water system design would be reviewed and approved by the city before a building permit is issued. Cole suggested that it be reviewed before a certificate of occupancy is issued.

“The city isn’t giving up any right to review,” she said.

The other two conditions were similar: changes to reviewing and approving the wastewater system design and changing when building the upper landing site is permitted.

Cole said the original condition was that construction on the upper landing could begin after the four upper parcels’ annexation was recorded.

However, she and the Argo team explained that there is a very small property in the middle of the site that’s tied up in bankruptcy court, and it’s waiting for the deed’s release.

So, city staff recommended approving the annexation but not recording it with the county until the Argo had secured that final sliver, and asking the county for a letter allowing construction on that property.

Argo team members clarified that the property’s been ruled on, but the company can’t get the deed to make the acquisition it needs.

“We have letters from both parties involved saying they support us,” Argo team member Travis Cook said, “but it’s a frustrating technicality.”

Council still contemplating whether, how to regulate body-art studios

Although the City Council passed a moratorium on new body-art studios in August to allow officials time to determine whether to regulate them, staff members found most similar-sized municipalities don’t regulate them.

The council members were unsure how to regulate body-art studios and wanted more time to decide. With the moratorium set to expire in May, City Attorney Carmen Beery said she’d check in with the council in January after the budget was complete.

Beery explained during an Oct. 19 work session that when the city amended its land-use regulations in 2018, body-art studios changed from a conditional use to a use by right. As long as a studio is in a commercial district and has a business license, it can operate without restriction, she said.

One tattoo parlor is operating under this change and can continue to do so, she stated, but the council must decide whether others should be regulated.

Beery outlined three avenues Idaho Springs could take: leave things as they are, establish a licensing process or amend the land-use regulations to make body art studios a conditional use again.

Her firm conducted a survey to see how other municipalities of Idaho Springs’ size regulate these establishments and found many don’t regulate them at all. She clarified that during the survey her firm didn’t ask how many establishments each municipality had.

However, the survey identified two municipalities that do — Edgewater and Englewood. While Englewood is bigger than Idaho Springs, Edgewater is about the same size and has a local licensing process, Beery said.