RTA Proposes Bike Trails on Town-Owned Parcels

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Rico Board of Trustees meeting

May 20, 2020


Fires and fireworks banned.

Town sales taxes revenues climb.

Hot springs use proposal considered.

Dust control options reviewed.

Replat, subdivision agreement, encroachment easement approved.

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Rico Bike Park proposed location on lands owned by Town of Rico east of Silverglance Rd. Map by Rico Trails Alliance included in May 20, 2020 Rico Trustees meeting packet. Note in upper left corner of map: "Trails and property boundaries shown are for illustrative purposes only. Actual property boundaries may differ."

Rico Board of Trustees

Regular Monthly Meeting

May 20, 2020

Trustees present Barbara Betts - Mayor, Nicole Pieterse - Mayor Pro Tem, Joe Dillsworth, Pat Fallon, Brandy Randall, Esteban Roberts

Trustees absent Sophia Kyriakakis

Town Staff present Kari Distefano - Town Manager Linda Yellowman - Town Clerk

Mayor Pro Tem Pieterse presiding

Rico Trails Alliance (RTA) proposes to develop new bike trails on sloped, forested land owned by Town of Rico. A May 15, 2020 correspondence from Rico Trails Alliance Board of Directors to Rico Town Manager Kari Distefano describes the project:

RTA is requesting that the Rico Board of Trustees provide preliminary approval for a town bike/recreation park on a section of town-owned property east of the Deadwood 4x4 road above Silverglance. The park would consist of two directional, machine-made bicycle flow trails and one multi-use non-motorized trail for all ability levels. After receiving preliminary approval, RTA would create a detailed design and map to provide to the Board of Trustees for final approval. The attached concept figures illustrate how the multi-use trail will gently climb to the highest point of the property, and riders will have their choice of two descents. This trail system would be funded, built and maintained by the RTA and its volunteers. We are asking the Town of Rico to issue a permanent easement on this property, allowing RTA to take this otherwise unusable land and develop trails to benefit the local community.

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Lot boundary line locations shown on the map are estimated, explained RTA representative Alex Wing. Actual lot-line locations will be determined onsite by GPS instruments. A buffer zone along lot-lines will be established to prevent new trails from encroaching on adjoining privately-owned parcels.

RTA needs approval of its easement request before spending money on trails design, stated Alex.

Trustee Fallon asked if the proposed bike trails will use existing trails historically used by motorized riders. Alex replied that the proposed trails will be new, and motorized use will not be allowed on the new trails.

Trustee Fallon asked if Deadwood Road will be affected. Only for access to the town lots, stated Alex. Volume of out-of-town users is expected to be low, and parking along Highway 145 should be adequate, he said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Nicole Pieterse proposed for Trustees to grant formal preliminary approval of RTA's easement request, subject to:

  • Town's approval of trails final design.
  • No other approvals will be required from adjacent private landowners.
  • A "perpetual" agreement between RTA and Town be prepared later.Trustees approved RTA's easement request with the conditions listed above.

Replat Block 29, Lots 6-14

Town Manager Distefano reported that the U.S. Forest Service does not own the land where Watertank Road crosses the affected lots. This is new information obtained since the previous action on the replat request.

Rico Board of Trustees gave conditional approval to a re-plat of Lots 6-14, Block 29 at its February 19th, 2020 meeting. The conditions included the following references to the USFS, listed in the May 20 Trustees Packet:

c. That should the applicant obtain an access permit from the USFS it will permit a turn-around for fire trucks,

d. That the permit obtained from the USFS will permit grading and snowplowing to the secondary driveway accessing Lot D,

e. That the permit obtained from the USFS will permit a water service line from the water main line to the lot line of Lot D, . . .

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Trustees approved the replat.

- see related Ore Cart report -

Right-of-way encroachment easement

Lot 39 and 40, Block 12 is the site of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad Assay Office building. Owner Raegan Ellease acquired the parcel in January 2019. The assay building encroaches into Soda Street, possibly because a surveyor was not hired to locate lot lines before construction.

The owner wishes to work on the assay building and maintain its historic value, and needs an easement from Town of Rico before proceeding because part of the building is on Town property. The Agreement document was included in the Trustees Packet for review (excerpt below).


1. GRANT OF EASEMENT. The Town grants to Grantee an easement for the current Assay Building to remain in the Encroachment Area (“Easement”) and for the maintenance, repair, upgrade and use of the Assay Building. Grantee shall have no right to use the Easement or Encroachment Area for any other or additional use or purpose. The Easement is subject to any and all existing utilities, conditions, covenants and restrictions of record in or affecting the Encroachment Area.

2. TERM. The Easement shall be perpetual subject to the provisions of Section 4 below.

3. LIMITED SCOPE. The Easement is limited in scope to the use of the existing portion of the Assay Building that is located within the Encroachment Area and any improvements thereto. Grantee shall not have the right to expand the Encroachment Area or alter or change Grantee's use of the Encroachment Area without the Town's prior written consent. The Easement Area may be expanded to include a small overhang if approved by the Town following Grantee’s submission of drawings specifically showing the overhang design, dimensions and any additional information requested by the Town. . . .

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Trustees approved this encroachment easement agreement.

Subdivision improvement agreement with Gulch Lode LLC

Lot 9 Van Winkle Subdivision 

The "Subdivision" language in the title of the proposed agreement is confusing, stated Town Manager Distefano. The owner has no intent to subdivide the parcel.

Lot 9 is not presently served by the Town of Rico water system. The final plat of Lot 9 recorded with the Dolores County Clerk & Recorder on November 12, 2008 describes a requirement for utilities extension before dwelling construction may proceed (excerpt below from proposed Subdivision Agreement in the Trustees Packet).

WHEREAS Lot 9 and Lot 4 on the Plat (Lot 4) are subject to Plat note 8 which mandates no construction of a dwelling unit until compliance with the Town’s subdivision and platting requirements for extension of utilities, execution of a subdivision improvement agreement, and a bond;

WHEREAS, Lot 9 is subject to Plat note 5 which dedicates for public use a portion of the Van Winkle Street Extension as a public right of way;

WHEREAS, pursuant to RLUC 504.4, the Town apportions to Owner the costs of public services and facilities serving subdivision residents through payment of fees, provision of facilities, and dedication of land and rights-of-way to the Town in order to assure that new development pays its way and does not burden the Town's fiscal resources and under the Town’s power to regulate the same; . . . 

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Bonding is required to assure the water main and road repairs will be completed:

3. Total Cost Calculation. The aforementioned bond or other security figure based on total costs of work occurring on Town of Rico property including, but is not limited to, the estimated cost of repairs to road, drainage, necessary storm-water facilities as may occur in the process of installing utilities including but not limited to water line, telephone line and electric line as well as the cost of extending the Town water main line to the property line, and which cost the Owner as principal and/or the surety will pay to the Town within fifteen (15) days of demand. The Owner shall be responsible for any and all plan revisions and field changes reasonably required by the Town or submitted by the Owner’s consultant or agent. Owner further agrees that if any such revisions or changes require an increase in the required amount of bond or other security, the Owner will provide such increase in bond or other security upon demand by the Town. The bond or other security will be released only upon the satisfactory completion of the improvements as determined by the Town.

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Trustees discussed implications for Lot 4. Approval of water main construction to Lot 9 is not required from the Lot 4 owner, as the work will be in the Town right-of-way. Lot 4 owner may tap the water main to provide service to Lot 4 in the future.

Trustees approved this subdivision agreement.

July 4 events cancellation

Rico Fire Protection District (RFPD) administrator David Kunz confirmed that the District and Rico Fire Department have cancelled its July 4 weekend events. RFPD Board of Directors member Gregg Anderson added that reasons for cancelling included a need to assure easy access to emergency response equipment in the firehouse.

Other event sponsors described their July 4 weekend plans. The Women's Club may use the Rico Elementary school building, subject to approval by Dolores County School District. Artists of Rico is not planning an indoor show, and is pursuing an outdoor show and possible sale.  

Mayor Betts stated that both of these organizations are non-profits and are probably subject to Colorado's "non-essential retail" public health rules.  

Mayor Pro Tem Pieterse recommended cancelling July 4 weekend events to prevent an influx from Telluride, which has cancelled its events.  

Fall Fling liquor license

Excerpt from Trustees Packet

The paperwork for the liquor license from the State for the Fall Festival is in order and the notice has been posted as per State guidelines. The Town has not yet received the required deposit or agreements with the port-a-potty company or the trash company required by the permit agreement. The suggested motion is to approve the liquor license pending the requirements agreed to at the April 15th Board of Trustee’s meeting.

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Trustee Randall asked if this event will be cancelled. Colorado public health orders which may be in effect in September are not known at this time, stated Town Manager Distefano.

Fall Fling co-organizer Amy Fordham requested the liquor license to be approved, as delays may occur with other permit applications to be submitted to the State of Colorado, such as sales tax license.

Fall Fling has no intent to sell alcoholic beverages, she stated. Fall Fling will be the holder of the license, experienced vendors from breweries will do the selling. Fall Fling will check vendor ID's.

Trustees voted to approve the liquor license request.

- see related Ore Cart report -

Fires & fireworks ban

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Hwy 145 overhead sign near Telluride, southbound to Rico. Ore Cart photo - May 21, 2020.

Town Manager Distefano proposed a 2020 fire ban ordinance containing the same language as the 2018 emergency ordinance. Fireworks were not prohibited in the 2018 ordinance, but will be prohibited by the proposed 2020 ordinance.

Enforcement will be by Town's two marshals. Communication about the fire ban to the public will be by Town website, Facebook, and direct mail.

"Sparklers" are not listed in the State of Colorado's definition of "fireworks," stated Keith Keesling.

Due to the "emergency" designation of the 2018 fire ban ordinance, only one reading is needed for adoption, stated Town Manager Distefano. Trustee Fallon suggested looking to the Rico Fire Protection District to determine if the present weather conditions are an "emergency." RFPD Administrator Kunz recommended a fire ban start ASAP, as the 15-day weather forecast does not include rain.

Trustees approved a motion to adopt the proposed 2020 fire ban ordinance.

Amendment to DOLA contract for water meters replacement

Town of Rico is replacing water meters, under contract with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). Town is using in-house labor and the town-owned backhoe. DOLA requires an amended contract for Town's "in-kind" work. The contract revision is not prepared yet.

Town Manager Distefano requested Board of Trustees grant pre-approval for Town Manager and Mayor Betts to sign the revision when it arrives.

Trustees pre-approved the DOLA contract revisions.

2020 revenue: budget projections vs. actual

Summary of details contained in Trustees Packet

General Fund Sales tax revenues year-to-date (YTD) through April are above budget, due to Rico residents' Internet purchases. Actual YTD sales tax revenue for the General Fund is $38,809.00, compared to $33,333.33 budgeted for the same period.

Rico Street Fund YTD sales tax revenue is $3,880.90, compared to $3,333.33 budgeted.

Mineral leasing and severance tax revenues are expected to decline this year, according to information provided to Town by DOLA, but the amount of the decline will not be known until the lump sum payment from State of Colorado arrives in September. The expected decline in these revenues may affect the General Fund, but the reserve amount is expected to remain above $750,000.

Highway users tax revenues are $1,374.64 below the 2020 budget predictions. The highway users tax is based on motor vehicle fuel consumption in Colorado, which has declined due to coronavirus public health orders. This revenue reduction affects the Rico Street Fund, which could end 2020 with less than $35,000 in reserve.

Hot springs license agreement - Disposition Properties

Excerpt from Trustees Packet


Possibly because of the public health concerns that have been voiced during this pandemic, Oli Swanky, the proprietor of Disposition Properties, has contacted me (Town Manager) regarding a license agreement so that the Town could have access to the Hot Springs. . . .


If the Town were to engage in the management of this area, we could close it to vehicles and ensure that people weren’t living down there and leaving trash. On the other hand, we would be obliged to maintain it. While we now have some law enforcement personnel, we may not have the funds for future maintenance. It is impossible to understand how this virus is going to affect our economy in the long run. 


In addition to the discussion about the hot springs, I (Town Manager) went on a site visit with two members of the Rico Trail’s Alliance to look at their proposed site for a mountain bike skills park and some existing trails. Many of the existing trails and a portion of the proposed skills park sits on property owned by Disposition and they would like to see the Town enter in to a license agreement with Disposition Properties to use this area also if possible.

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Town's concept for use of the hot tub site was as a tourist attraction, stated Town Manager Distefano, adding that the present reality of public health orders, possible out-of-state visitors, and site management expenses are negative factors.


Trustee Fallon stated that a cost estimate of Rico's law enforcement and maintenance expenses to operate the hot tub site, and CDOT's position on highway access, must be known before a decision on an Agreement with Disposition Properties can be made.


Trustee Randall commented about liability issues associated with operating the hot tub site, and suggested the owner (Disposition) should take more responsibility for the site.


Mayor Betts commented about present health issues which may affect use of the hot tub site.


Trustee Roberts commented that Town finances are not fit for taking-on hot tub site management expenses.


Mayor Pro Tem Pieterse reported that Disposition Properties has not linked any future agreement for Rico Trail Alliance use of other of Disposition properties to an Agreement with Town for the hot tub site, and concluded that Trustees comments indicate no interest in proceeding with the hot tub site.

Dust control

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As a rule of thumb, one car making one pass on one mile of untreated unpaved road every day can generate one ton of dust in one year.

- "Dust Control and Base Stabilization with Liquidow Calcium Chloride," Peters Chemical Company, 5/18/2020, page 4 of 13 (included in May 2020 Trustees Packet).

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Trustees supported dust control by Town. Speed bumps were considered as a partial solution. Trustee Fallon commented that calcium chloride will run off into ditches, and recommended a water truck for dust control. Town is searching for a used water truck, and has budgeted for this equipment in past years but was unable to locate one to purchase, reported Town Manager Distefano.

Radar speed sign

A verbal estimate provided to Town of Rico in 2019 for a radar speed sign to be installed by CDOT at the south edge of town was $3,795. A recent bid with optional equipment totaled $4,768.

Proposed radar speed sign features are:

  • flashing lights to alert drivers if speed is excessive
  • data collection to log the number of cars and speeds

Data collection may be useful for scheduling Town's marshals during peak speeding times, stated Town Manager Distefano.

Trustee Randall reported that recent public comments indictate support for Town to install a radar speed sign.

Colorado Local Government Liquid Asset Trust signatures

Trustees approved adding Town Manager Distefano and Mayor Betts to the Signatory Amendment Form for the Colorado Local Government Liquid Asset Trust. Town Clerk Yellowman is currently the only signatory.

Excerpt from Trustees Packet

The Colorado Trust is money in a trust from local governments that by State law, they are not required disburse. The trust allows local governments to take advantage of short-term investments maximize net interest earning. It is always wise on these types of items to have at least two signatories in case of a change of staff and elected officials.