Granby requests county to seek exemption from state orders
Granby’s trustees are asking the county if restaurants might be able to open to in-person dining early as a way to help businesses.
The Granby Board of Trustees wants to see if Grand County officials will request an exception from the governor’s safer at home orders, specifically to reopen restaurants to in-house dining.
As regulations relax related to COVID-19 and certain businesses are allowed to reopen, trustees expressed their concern that the slow opening of the economy might not be enough for restaurants in Granby.
“I think we need to let our restaurants open up (with strict requirements) … or the few restaurants we have built up in this community are going to be gone,” Trustee Becky Johnson said at Tuesday’s meeting.
The state has not yet announced a date for restaurants to resume in-person dining. County officials said Wednesday that there would be no way to predict when it might reopen.
However, for Granby to get an exemption, the town must go through the county who has to ask the state. While the town could impose stricter health regulations if it chose to, state approval is needed for an early relaxation of regulations.
Johnson explained what she has been hearing from business owners in Granby. She said that while many businesses in Granby have received financial assistance, including from the Grand County Emergency Business Fund, it wasn’t going to help them stay afloat in the long run.
All trustees agreed that if the restaurants could reopen they would have to follow strict health protocols, including not exceeding 50% capacity with increased distance between tables and extreme sanitizing measures.
“We do have a lot of businesses here and we need to do what we can to help them out,” Trustee Josh Hardy said. “It’s worth a try.”
Eagle County was able to open early with state approval, and other counties are requesting exemptions. The town attorney pointed out that opening early would require a 14 day decline in COVID-19 numbers for the county and a detailed plan in place for reopening.
Mayor Paul Chavoustie added that reopening would not impose on the safety of people who feel that restaurants should remain closed.
“People have the choice to not go in as well,” Chavoustie said. “If they’re not comfortable with that, no one’s forcing them to go into a restaurant, and they can still get take out.”
The board ultimately directed the town manager to write a letter to the Grand County officials with their request.
In other business:
- Acting as the Granby Liquor Licensing Authority, the town trustees approved a liquor license for Debbie’s Drive In.
- The board approved a resolution for the dissolution of the Recreation, Open Space and Housing Foundation and to terminate the related covenants, as required by ROSH’s covenants. The board had previously voted to dissolve ROSH, but needed a formal resolution to document the action.
- Middle Park Health requested that the town reconsider the water taps fees associated with the expansion of their Granby facility. The fee totals almost $91,000 for 11 Single Family Equivalents.
The hospital argued that the assessed fee doesn’t take into account the healthcare setting that would not utilize the sinks, toilets and showers to the same extent as a family unit.
Members of the town board agreed that the amount seemed exorbitant and that the current fee schedule should be revisited. Some board members expressed a concern that giving Middle Park Health an exception to the fee, when no exception has ever been made, could set an undesirable precedent.
If the town were to allow Middle Park Health to waive all or part of the water tap fees, the board would use the town’s general fund to reimburse the South Service Area for the lost impact fees. The trustees could also look at delaying the fees with a pay schedule or not waiving them at all.
The board made no action and tabled the discussion to get more information.
- The mayor requested the town attorney outline the town board’s responsibilities in the Granby Ranch neighborhood to clarify the obligations of the trustees and town staff. The attorney agreed to provide a summary of the complicated agreements between the town and Granby Ranch to outline what issues are the obligations of the town versus those of the developer.
- The town approved moving forward with lending a down payment assistance of $10,000 to Town Manager Ted Cherry. The down payment assistance program has existed for town employees for several years and $10,000 is the standard amount, according to the town finance director. The payment back to the town automatically comes from the employee’s check on a monthly basis.
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