County nearing decision on Campfire Ranch property

Staff to prepare written findings

By Katherine Nettles

After a four-hour hearing on June 25, the Gunnison County Board of Adjustment (BOA) determined it was not quite ready to finalize a decision on an appeal of county staff actions last winter to issue violation notices and cease and desist orders for a property out Washington Gulch. While seeming to lean toward upholding the staff actions, the board will reconvene for a final session on the matter on July 10 with a written staff report to use as reference.

The appeal is from McCloud Placer LLC, owned by Washington Gulch homeowner Drew Fink. Fink bought the property in August 2022 and signed on with property management company and adventure resort operator Campfire Ranch to manage the home as a short-term rental with amenities like guided backcountry skiing and gear shuttles. 

McCloud Placer and Campfire Ranch sued Gunnison County last winter when the county’s community development department determined the property’s commercial use was in violation of county codes and required permits for a change of use, eventually issuing a stop order. The case was dismissed in county court this spring. 

The certificate was later reinstated for the original maximum capacity of six people, rather than 12 people as Campfire Ranch had advertised. McCloud Placer has maintained that it was targeted unfairly and not given due process by the county staff.

The BOA began hearing the appeal in February, opened a public hearing on the matter in April and concluded it on June 6, after extensive questioning and testimony from all parties involved. The BOA deliberated at the next meeting on June 25, and the board agreed it generally found the county planning department had acted appropriately in issuing the violation notice, had not targeted the property owner or been inconsistent with building codes.

But the board directed staff to draft a decision document for the BOA’s consideration which will outline findings of fact to determine whether to affirm, modify, reverse or remand back to the initial decision-making body.

That will take place on Wednesday, July 10, in the Blackstock Government Center in Gunnison at 1:30 p.m. 

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