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Personal tram approved for Grand Lake property

Tonya Bina
tbina@grandcountynews.com
Grand Lake, Colorado
Judy Burke takes the oath of office Monday night.
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Grand Lake shoreline owner Morris King gained approval Monday to install a tram on his steep south-facing property to get from his dock to doorway without climbing a wealth of stairs.

Board members voted 4-2 allowing the conditional use.

The decision overturned the Grand Lake Planning Commission’s unanimous recommended denial of the track rail and carriage. The commission was concerned the precedent-setting apparatus would be against Grand Lake aesthetics, according to Chairman Marv Fischer.



Town Trustee Tom Weydert agreed with the commission, saying the wood or rock stairways seen at other Grand Lake properties are “more indicative of the flavor of Grand Lake.”

Trustee Kathy Lewis seconded Weydert’s motion to deny King’s request.



But other trustees said the argument could be made that a zig-zagging stairway up the hillside would impact the landscape just as much as the straight line of tram.

King proposed wood siding on the side of the tram’s carriage and a painted metal track rail to better disguise it to the hillside.

Although a handful of neighbors submitted letters opposing the tram, from the audience King’s neighbor Suzi Maki defended it, saying only a few houses on that shore have as steep of a slope, so if there were a precedent set, not that many would follow in King’s tracks.

“The tram is better looking than the stairways,” agreed Trustee Benton Johnson, who made the motion to pass King’s request after Weydert’s motion was defeated.

The tram is in compliance with the National Incline Elevator Industry Code and will be operated by electricity.

More than 35 feet of King’s lakeside slope is at a 94 percent incline.

Grand Lake board members could be seen as mediators Monday when the subject of the Eslick Motor Court came up during the board’s workshop.

On behalf of the Grand Lake Area Historical Society, the board appealed to Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre officials to grant Society members more time to make a decision on protecting the Eslick Motor Court building.

Two weeks ago, the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre offered to sell the historic building on its future theater property for $1 to the Society, with the condition the local historical organization move the building from its property by June 1.

The Theatre’s deadline for the Grand Lake Area Historical Society to make a decision on the offer expired Oct. 14.

On behalf of the Historical Society, the town asked that theater officials extend the decision deadline, saying it may be too short to collect the information needed to decide on moving the building.

Weydert challenged Theatre board president Judy Jensen about her board’s necessity to move the building when all new theatre plans seen by the Grand Lake Planning Commission included the Historic building. Weydert broached the idea that the Theatre consider subdividing, deeding or leasing the property to the Historic Society so that the building could remain in its current location. Such an agreement would alleviate the Theatre’s liability on the building and possibly satisfy its theatre bylaws, he said.

To that, the Theatre executive director, president and arts director agreed to talk about Eslick Motor Court possibilities further with theatre board members.

Jensen asked Historical Society board members to submit a letter to the Theatre board requesting another extension to its first deadline.

Town Manager Shane Hale said he would not like to see the historic building destroyed or moved to a place outside of Grand Lake.

Historic buildings moved from their original location generally lose 60 to 90 percent of their historic integrity, according to the historical society’s former president Dave Lively. The Eslick Motor Court is considered to be one of two of the most important historic buildings in Grand Lake, the other being the Grand Lake Yacht Club, he said.

A letter to Grand Lake’s mayor from Jim Lindberg of the National Trust for Historic Preservation says the structure is believed to be one of the earliest examples of an auto-court in the state of Colorado, the precursors to the modern motel.

“Rustic style auto-courts from any period are extremely rare,” he wrote.

– Grand Lake’s newest mayor Judy Burke was sworn in for her second term, and Mayor Pro-tem Aron Rhone was commended for having stepped up to the job during Grand Lake’s multi-month mayoral absence. Grand Lake’s recent special election saw the largest voter turnout since the contentious gambling-issue special election of 1992.

– Grand Lake board members agreed to authorize the mayor to send a letter requesting a 60-day extension for the comment period on the Windy Gap Firming Project Environmental Impact Statement.

– Failure to Appear in Grand Lake’s Municipal Court will now be an offense subject to a bench warrant for arrest, according to an update of the code approved Monday.

” To reach Tonya Bina, e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com or 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.


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