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Letter Re: Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOB) - Gilpin County's Impact Study

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The following letter was delivered to Central City on June 4, 2024:

Dear Mayor Fey, Mayor Pro-Tem Tinucci, Alderman Aiken, Alderman Enloe & Alderman Williams:

As you are aware, on May 21, 2024, Gilpin County released a Request For Proposal (RFP) soliciting responses from qualified firm(s) able and willing to prepare an impact study of SOBs within Central City, as a municipality in Gilpin County. As stated within the RFP, the purpose is to determine if SOB restrictions are relaxed as contemplated in City of Central Ordinance 24-02 and 24-03, what could be the impact of those changes on County services, law enforcement, and specifically on County costs. On January 11, 2023, during a meeting with County Sheriff Armstrong, City Manager Miera, and County Manager Rears, it was discussed that the County would take this action of an impacts study, if a similar adult business proposal were to move forward.

This is of particular importance to the County, since the Gilpin County Sherriff's Office provides law enforcement and public safety services within the City of Central's incorporated limits, per the Intergovernmental Agreement agreed upon on October 5, 2016 by both the City and County. Other county services may also be impacted such as Public Health, Human Services and/or EMT services, which are included as part of the RFP. The choice to relax SOB restrictions itself is fully within your authority, and the County has no role to play in the decision. However, the County does have a role and obligation to address the possible unintended consequences associated with new SOB uses for the county-wide community.

The need and basis of the RFP was necessary because established research regarding SOBs [Minneapolis (1980), St. Paul (1978), Indianapolis (1978) and Phoenix (1979)], all found a close association between SOBs and high crime rates for both property and sex crimes. Ties to lower property values have also been identified in some of these studies. These are not recent studies, nor are they associated with a small mountain gambling town with many more visitors than residents, which is why the County is taking this important step to objectively determine what impacts such a change may have on County service levels and associated costs. The City is welcome to join, or even expand upon, this objective effort to review any impacts this course of action may cause, beyond those to the County, though we do anticipate making the contracted firm award in June for work to start in July.

Either by joining our impact study or by completing your own research, we encourage the City of Central to objectively study the impacts SOBs may have on the community and residents along with the possible expected tax revenue it would receive versus any expected or unintentional costs. The County is committed to proceed with an objective and expedited study which will provide more relevant facts to inform decision makers regarding SOBs entering our community.

Signed by Chair Susan Berumen, Commissioner Marie Mornis, and Commissioner Sandy Hollingsworth