Cripple Creek honors Public Works Director Chip Huffman for 29 years service

Sonja Oliver contributing writer

Cripple Creek Mayor Bruce Brown honored Public Works Director Chip Huffman for 29 years’ service at the Oct. 16 city council meeting. Huffman has retired from his job of improving and maintaining city streets to enhance vehicle and pedestrian safety, which often meant working at all times day and night and under all types of inclement weather.

The council passed a resolution on Huffman’s retirement, effective Oct. 31, acknowledging his 29 years’ service and stating their appreciation for “dedicated and loyal service” and “wishes him and his family well on his retirement.” Huffman was presented with a plaque by Mayor Brown.

Liquor license hearing concluded

At least 30 people showed up on Wednesday for the continuance of a public hearing with the city council acting in the capacity of “local licensing authority” on a liquor license request from Lisa Ross for a proposed tavern called “The Blazing Skull.”

The proposed bar would be located on the second floor above Sweet Baby George’s Pizzeria and Arcade at 123 E. Bennett Ave. and Ross would sublease the space for the establishment from George and Ana Sebok.

At the prior council meeting on Oct. 2, council members voted to continue the hearing because they said said that not all the information was in, such as the results of Ross’ Colorado Background Check, a detailed floor plan, a copy of the lease, security practices and comments from the city’s police and fire departments.

The council had expressed concerns at the earlier meeting regarding entrances and exits from the bar, as well as control over minors being able to access the upstairs bar from the arcade downstairs.

The additional information requested by council on Oct. 2 was provided by Ross prior to the Oct. 16 continuance regarding the copy of the lease, floor plan and security measures. Plus, the results of the background check came back.

Ross assured the council that security practices would be in place at all times and would be strictly enforced.

A staff memo dated Oct. 9 from City Clerk Debra Blevins states “after speaking to Police Chief Peterson, there are some questions as to some of the signers of the petition being of age.”

The memo also states “staff does not recommend approval of the license for the following reasons:

Not good control of the liquor not leaving the second level;

No assurance the children will not be allowed in the bar without an adult; and

Information provided to the clerk not all complete, but applicant does not feel she needs to provide any further information.”

An earlier staff recommendation memo from Blevins dated Sept. 26 states “this license should not be accepted due to its location with children’s activities.” This is because of the proximity of the arcade downstairs plus, a new daycare center opening up at 124 E. Bennett.

City attorney Lee Phillips reiterated that when a liquor license is to be considered the needs and desires of the adult inhabitants near the location, reasonable requirements of the neighborhood and the good moral character of the applicant.

Council member Terry Waher questioned Ross regarding results of her background check, specifically; two speeding tickets, a contempt of court and lapse of car insurance. Ross explained the violations saying the contempt of court came from not being aware that one of the tickets had not been paid, which was later resolved.

In her original application, Ross also disclosed a 2005 limited gaming violation, a misdemeanor.

“While machine testing walked from one casino floor upstairs to test more machines but crossed into other casino,” the stated reason on the application says.

In additional public comment the council heard from Angie and Constance Olmstead, sisters, who said they grew up in Cripple Creek and wanted to have a place to “dance, play pool, have something for locals to do where locals can feel welcome.”

Following public comment, Ross was informed by Phillips that statute criteria allows the city 30 days to provide a written decision concluding the hearing.

“As it stands, we’ll let you know in 30 days,” Brown said.

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