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Sweet Pea Market and Cafe clerk Katie Stassen checks out customer Molly Waters after Tuesday’s decision by county officials to revoke the retail food establishment license for Sweet Pea. The decision means the popular downtown business will have to close its doors until at least Nov. 15

Photo by John F. Russell

Sweet Pea Market and Cafe clerk Katie Stassen checks out customer Molly Waters after Tuesday’s decision by county officials to revoke the retail food establishment license for Sweet Pea. The decision means the popular downtown business will have to close its doors until at least Nov. 15

County shuts down Steamboat's Sweet Pea Market and Cafe

County Board of Health revokes market and cafe’s license until Nov. 15

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Sweet Pea Market and Cafe in downtown Steamboat Springs will be forced to close for at least two months beginning at midnight tonight. County officials revoked Sweet Pea's business license for 60 days as a penalty for not complying with state health regulations over the summer.

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Customer Kyle Nelson looks for the perfect ear of corn while shopping at the Sweet Pea Market and Cafe on Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday's decision by county officials to revoke the retail food establishment license for Sweet Pea means the popular downtown business will have to close its doors until at least Nov. 15

— County officials revoked the retail food establishment license for Sweet Pea Market and Cafe on Tuesday, closing the popular downtown business until at least Nov. 15 after repeated inspections, warnings and fines for health code violations this summer.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners, acting as the Routt County Board of Health, made its unanimous ruling at the end of a quasi-judicial hearing in the Routt County Courthouse.

Mike Zopf, director of the Routt County Environmental Health Department, showed the Board of Health documentation of six notifications of non-compliance and six follow-up inspections at Sweet Pea between July 6 and Aug. 26. The department assessed civil penalties of $1,000 each to Sweet Pea owners Jonathon Hieb and Katherine Zambrana on July 28, Aug. 6 and Aug. 20. All three penalties have been paid.

While some state health code violations arose during the inspections — and several of those were corrected immediately or before a follow-up inspection, according to county documents — the primary violation that led to the fines and Tuesday’s hearing involved the cafe’s seating capacity of about 60 on its deck on the Yampa River.

Although Sweet Pea’s grocery market operates separately from its cafe, the business, as a whole, uses one food establishment license, meaning the entire business shut down as of midnight this morning, when the revocation became effective.

“I was expecting to shut down, (but) I wasn’t expecting to get shut down for two months, and I definitely wasn’t expecting the market to get shut down, as well,” Hieb said. “We’re completely out of business right now.”

Hieb said Sweet Pea will try to sell off its remaining produce at its stand in west Steamboat.

“We are still able to sell farm fresh produce at the stand down at the Ace at the Curve, and we’re going to have a big huge sale down there the next few days,” Hieb said.

That stand, outside the hardware store on Steamboat Springs’ west side, will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the next several days, he said.

The business at 729 Yampa St. operated most of summer with more customer seating than state regulations allow for a food establishment with only one bathroom. Food establishments are required to have more than one bathroom — at least one for each sex — if seating exceeds 15.

Routt County senior environmental health specialist Heather Savalox notified Hieb of that regulation in a letter dated May 20. The letter gave the department’s approval of renovations to Sweet Pea’s cafe, contingent on seating of no more than 15 and compliance with regulations involving sinks and drainage.

Savalox has said the renovation application she received “did not indicate anything like” Sweet Pea’s expanded deck and seating area along the river.

Savalox said she later heard the business had more seating than allowed and saw the noncompliance during a June 22 visit. Sweet Pea had more than 10 multiseat tables on its deck.

Zopf and Carl Dunham, of the Routt County Regional Building Department, said Sweet Pea now is in compliance with bathroom and sink regulations.

Dunham said his department did the final inspection of the second bathroom Sept. 7.

Although Hieb said Tuesday that the bathroom addition took much longer than he expected, largely because of architectural and plumbing hurdles, Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak noted that he could have achieved compliance at any time simply by reducing the number of seats.

“He chose not to take it back to 15 seats,” Stahoviak said, calling it a business decision. “I personally would not be comfortable with anything less than 60 days suspension of the license.”

The Board of Health ultimately decided to revoke Sweet Pea’s license, rather than issue a 60-day suspension. The revocation requires Hieb and Zambrana to meet all building and health requirements through the re-application process.

The ruling stipulated that Sweet Pea cannot be issued a new license until Nov. 15.

Dunham said Sweet Pea also must reach compliance on building code violations including proper exits for occupancy levels. Renovations including walk-in coolers in the basement have been done without permits, Dunham said.

Hieb repeatedly has said since the issues arose in June that he intends to reach compliance with all county regulations.

“We will do everything it takes to get this up to code and in compliance,” he said Tuesday. “From here on out, I’m not going to do anything without a sit-down meeting” with county officials.

Zambrana reiterated their focus on compliance Tuesday.

“In the next two months, we’re going to be doing construction on the building to be in compliance,” she said after the hearing. “We’re soaking it all in right now — we did not expect this to happen right away.”

Zopf said that Routt County has more than 250 food establishments and his department conducts more than 200 inspections each year.

Zopf said the license revocation is a unique incident in his experience in Routt County.

“We have never before recommended that a retail food license be suspended or revoked until (Tuesday),” Zopf said.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

Kelly Colfer 4 years, 2 months ago

Oh C'mon! In this poor economic climate, the BOCC and Health Department are gonna shut down a solid, upstanding, tax-revenue-generating business that is actually making a profit and succeeding wildly??!!! Because they had one too few bathrooms!!!!! Nancy! Doug! Dianne! and Zopf?!!!! Bad move guys. Take it back.

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kyle pietras 4 years, 2 months ago

I agree with Kelly, our small businesses are in enough trouble! There's got to be a better way.

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Carrie Requist 4 years, 2 months ago

I can understand the decision to shut down the restaurant, but to shut down the whole business and put all those employees out of work for 2 months right now, seriously? This was a bad decision. They are the only year round produce stand we have in Steamboat. I sure hope they can weather this shutdown or Steamboat will be losing a great and needed business and the jobs it provided.

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beentheredonethat 4 years, 2 months ago

sweet pea must abide by the same rules as all other businesses in town. they chose to ignore the rules and their competitors were going to hold them accountable, via the Health department.

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Sara Gleason 4 years, 2 months ago

Let me get this straight-

A business has been repeatedly cited for noncompliance with respect to the health code, federal, state and local statutes. The business owner operated both the market and the restaurant under the same permit and is upset that after not correcting every noncompliance statute, the entire license was revoked? Are you kidding me? If a liquor store has its license revoked for not complying with the law, is it still allowed to sell beer, but not hard liquor? Take a little responsibility, Hieb, and quit whinning that you are the victim here.

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John Fielding 4 years, 2 months ago

.

Some greater degree of accommodation would have been an appropriate tempering of justice. In light of the fact that no serious health hazard existed and the business agreed to come into full compliance and worked diligently to do so, a schedule for achieving it which recognized the importance of being supportive of valuable businesses should have been established. It probably would have included them closing down for a period that roughly coincides with this revocation term, but only the part that needs further work. As it is the major item of the additional rest room has been provided in remarkably good time, but they are shut down anyway

In my opinion the state regulation is arbitrary and excessive, and to strictly enforce it is another example of why people are becoming further dissatisfied with their government.

.

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ybul 4 years, 2 months ago

--In my opinion the state regulation is arbitrary and excessive, and to strictly enforce it is another example of why people are becoming further dissatisfied with their government.--

^^^^^^ This!

It is not like the bathroom has anything to do with the food safety at the restaurant. It is simply an arbitrary decision point that for the most part is meaningless in actually having a clean food processing facility.

I bet that there are far worse infractions at restaurants in town, that actually would impact food safety that should be looked into, as opposed to a bathroom.

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Sara Gleason 4 years, 2 months ago

Wow-

Absolutely agree John. I typed then deleted an entire paragraph about gov. regulations, etc. My point is that these are the rules. No one should be above them. Why open that part of the business knowing it's in noncompliance? You know the saying-only two things are true, taxes and death. Permits, fees, and compliance are taxes, and Sweet Pea picked the other certainty over taxes. Can't fight city hall, and all that other C__P. My point is that government didn't help this small business, but we can sure as heck rely on Obama counting the government people who enforced this as jobs "saved or created." Wake yourselves up, Steamboat! Fifteen, twenty percent employment, headed your way. This is just the start.

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bandmama 4 years, 2 months ago

One of my customers, a "tourist" ate lunch there today, Nothing but good comments. Has anyone been ill? Any real health issues? I haven't heard of any. Instead of putting more hardships on working folks, why not invest in another sh*tter? Or whatever.(donations???) Instead of thinking of the bigger, whatever political views, why not help a LOCAL small, income producing spot stay just that, Employment helps everyone. Instead of thinking big, think small. Compared to other city issues, this is sort of petty. This little place stayed open and drew revenue, that we all benefit from. They are working to comply. Deal with walking next door. Oh yeah, by walking next door tourists and locals may just see something they like and frequent.

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Carrie Requist 4 years, 2 months ago

The only violation that I know of (and that is in the article) is for not having the 2nd bathroom. Even the article states that they are now in compliance with that (the 2nd bathroom is up and running), "Zopf and Carl Dunham, of the Routt County Regional Building Department, said Sweet Pea now is in compliance with bathroom and sink regulations. Dunham said his department did the final inspection of the second bathroom Sept. 7." So, the commissioners action yesterday was purely punishment for the restaurant continuing to operate prior to Sept 7th with more than 15 seats and only 1 bathroom while paying the fines that were levied upon them. This has nothing to do with food safety.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 2 months ago

So how do other restaurants operate with more than 15 seats and only one bathroom?

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Cooke 4 years, 2 months ago

Gleason -- Where in the article are the owners whining?! All I could find was them saying that they would work to get everything in compliance. With the vehemence of your attack it sounds like you may have an agenda here
"Wake yourselves up, Steamboat! Fifteen, twenty percent employment, headed your way. This is just the start."

Well, the county putting the entire staff out of work is certainly going to help that number come quicker.

This reeks of vindictive. Yes, they didn't play by the rules. Yes, they did it knowingly. But there are not rat droppings in the food. It's a bathroom. Having eaten there often, I can tell you I was not the slightest bit impacted or inconveniences by this.

Ahh, the joys of bureaucracy. Why use an once of compassion or common sense when you have a badge and a rule book?

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

The bar kept getting higher and higher for Jonathon and Katherine, the bathrooms are done and the wash down closet is done. The establishment that beentheredonethat is speaking for has a personal relationship with Heather the inspector. I would love to see the regulations applied to beenthere's favorite outdoor watering hole in the same rigor as was applied to this beloved market. This was a witch hunt and it stinks. They paid their fines, they came into compliance and then new items were added to the list and the fines were increased. Why would the people of this fair town put up with people who make vindictive statements like,“He chose not to take it back to 15 seats,” Stahoviak said, calling it a business decision. “I personally would not be comfortable with anything less than 60 days suspension of the license.” This looks so personal from some in positions of power that we should all be apprehensive of our rights in this small community. If people new the full process that went on from the start then they might be as upset as I and others are.

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Elizabeth Danielson 4 years, 2 months ago

When the law stipulated a financial penalty (fine) for non-compliance, it made more financial sense for this small business to pay the fine rather than close during the time they could make the most revenue. They paid the fines, they've corrected the issue - this seems to be a case of double penalties being invoked for the same offense; I hope some lawyer will take a look at the legality of the county even doing this. It's not only Sweet Pea that suffers, but this also impacts every county resident that shops at the store and is now denied access to the products they want, and of course trickles back as a negative impact to every vendor (again many small businesses) that supplies the store who will see a decline in their revenue as well. A poor decision in this economic climate....

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

Good point abc123, the County, in all fairness should have closed the cafe right away and had them come into full compliance rather than impose penalties and let them operate under the false assumption that they could fix the issue after the busy Summer season was up. The fact that the County members shut down the whole operation rather than just the cafe shows their personal vindictiveness in this case. The market was in no way out of compliance and should not have been attached to the order. I will go back to my weekly drives to the Natural Grocers in Silverthorne in order to not give the businesses that beentheredonethat quotes as being behind this ugly incident any of my revenue. What a shame for the community, a disgrace as well.

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Truculent 4 years, 2 months ago

Yeah! Soak it to the fat cats with every rule and regulation imaginable but then look the other way for a little guys business. While we're at it lets raise the taxes on the owner of Sweet Pea so he can't afford to do the improvements he's being sited for and hire some locals...

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Truculent 4 years, 2 months ago

Yeah! Soak it to the fat cats with every rule and regulation imaginable but then look the other way for a little guys business. While we're at it lets raise the taxes on the owner of Sweet Pea so he can't afford to do the improvements he's being sited for and hire some locals...

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addlip2U 4 years, 2 months ago

Let your vote be your voice in the next election..

"Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak noted" .........

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grundy 4 years, 2 months ago

I think the penalty is reasonable & suspect Hieb's "business decision" was quite calculated. Rather than execute the very simple solution of reducing seats, Sweat Pea elected to maximize profit during Steamboat's busy season. I would have to presume Hieb made some projections, crunched the numbers, & decided it was more profitable to operate with the illegal seats during tourist season than to operate through the fall at reduced capacity.

How should the health department react when a business flagrantly violates the code? It seems many poster's here think it's okay to put honest businesses at a competitive disadvantage by tolerating this rogue behavior. Perhaps you would support dismantling the health code altogether then? And from the department's point of view, Sweet Pea's reaction to the violation indicates a frivolous attitude towards the rules that govern their business activities & casts doubt on their willingness to compete in a fair market. Cracking down on this behavior through increased penalties is economic incentive to play fair, something all honest business owners should support. If you know of other businesses out there violating health code, perhaps you should report them instead of promoting them as a business model.

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Kelly Colfer 4 years, 2 months ago

In general, I think our County Commissioners do a pretty good job of governing in a County with a difficult constituency. However, in this particular case, I believe they erred.

Grundy, your logic would be accurate, in my opinion, were we in an average or prosperous economy. However, we are in a deep recession with 10% unemployment. In my opinion, the loss of paying jobs, tax revenue, and economic productivity outweighs the benefit of competitive fairness, in this particular instance. Were the times different, I might agree with you.

Make no mistake, we are in dire circumstances here in Steamburgh Falls and nationwide. Government should be facilitating economic success for business, not hindering it via their bureaucracy.

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tcb 4 years, 2 months ago

"I was expecting to shut down" Hieb said in the article. Sounds calculated to me. The topic came up earlier this summer when the first articles on the issue sprung forward in the Pilot. There was talk of ongoing fines, potential closings...yet they deliberately chose to continue operating in non-compliance. I'm sure the fines were a drop in the bucket to Sweat Pea and Hieb and Zambrana felt it was a worthy business risk to continue and just keep on making money. There are consquences to actions at times, and they have now found it out. Cry me a river, Sweat Pea.

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John Merrill 4 years, 2 months ago

Somewhere, the Rainbow People are laughing, now. Sweet Pea busted them, but now Sweet Pea thinks it can run above the law as long as they wish to. Good karma, this penalty.

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

"How should the health department react when a business flagrantly violates the code?"

They should put a cease and desist order on them immediately until the business is up to code, not accept fines continuously, collect the tap fees that were assessed for the 60 seat capacity, approve the bathrooms and water closet and then close them down after all that expense and effort to comply. What a travesty! The county has acted terribly in this case and a good attorney, from outside of this burgh, will hopefully take a long look at the evidence and time-lines and seek proper relief for the proprietors.

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Neil O'Keeffe 4 years, 2 months ago

I totally agree with Grundy, this was a calculated decision by the owners and they knew exactly what they were doing. Everyone keeps citing our dire economic conditions should preclude Sweet Pea or any other business for that matter from complying with regulations. What kind of logic is that??? Trickle down or not these, regulations are not there for the convenience and discretion of individual businesses. For those people that are out of work or are losing a customer with SP being closed you have no one to blame but the owners, they called the counties bluff and ended up with the losing hand. We too shall survive!!

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Kelly Colfer 4 years, 2 months ago

The point is, that they have complied with the law. And they are shut down anyway. What purpose does that serve that the fines have not already accomplished?

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grundy 4 years, 2 months ago

Refloc, I see your point but respectfully disagree. Eventually we will emerge from these difficult economic times and, when we do, I think we will regret making concessions that weaken honest, law-abiding businesses. This is what we do when we permit some businesses to operate outside the code. Regulatory compliance is a cost of doing business, uncontrollable overhead. I think it's important to consider our other local restaurants, also struggling through these difficult economic times. Should they be rewarded for meeting the regs by seeing their competitors realize better profit margins through reduced overhead? I think this is a dangerous business culture to cultivate. I think we need to carefully consider the long-term consequences of our decisions and the movements they set in motion before using "the economy" to rationalize behavior we would otherwise find inappropriate.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 2 months ago

The law is supposed to serve a purpose instead of just being arbitrary. The point of bathroom requirements is so that customers are not impacting other businesses bathrooms or even public urinating due to lack of bathrooms. Any evidence or complaints about this business impacting neighbors? None that I've seen.

The business owner was complying with the rules by building the second bathroom. So any advantage over other businesses that complied from the start was very limited because he did not avoid the cost of construction. The cost of the fines certainly already made it a bad business decision to not build the bathroom at the start.

It makes no sense to suggest that they should have left the deck empty when no one can demonstrate any specific harm from the deck being used while the additional bathroom was built.

Again, how can other restaurants operate with seating for more than 15 and only one bathroom?

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 2 months ago

The harm of this sort of decision is not limited to Sweet Pea which presumably can survive being closed during a shoulder season. It affects employees that are now out of work for two months. It affects businesses considering investing in Routt County if they think the Routt County acts in an arbitrary and vindictive manner, They have choices and can go to more business friendly counties.

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

Dang Scott, stop it, I find it chilling when we agree so closely on this. There will be no benefit from me of any business but a couple that I know were not a part of this witch hunt. And I had continually patronized those establishments until yesterday, groceries, food, and drink.

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boater1 4 years, 2 months ago

I fail to see where this decession does anyone any good except for personal vendetta...

the region loses tax receipts for a very poplular restaraunt & store plus now has unemployeed locals who will seek assistance.

sweet pea owners loose valuable revenue that could go back to expanding the biz...creating more tax base and keeping locals employed.

workers lose wages and add to the unemployed list.

way to go nancy, no did nothing good here for routt county! my guess is you're not a happy & healthy sweet pea customer ......

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jerry carlton 4 years, 2 months ago

Vote all the county commissioners out every election! They become just like lifetime congressmen and senators. Have no idea what people with real jobs and businesses go thru everyday. They just continue to feed at the public trough and become fat, dumb and happy. They think that they are part of the governing elite that is destroying this country. I would run for county commissioner but since I speak my mind, I could not be elected dog catcher. Oh I mean animal control officer.

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jmm761 4 years, 2 months ago

They were shut down for being a retail/grocery establishment that did not go through the proper channels to become or apply to be a full blown restaurant. There is quite a bit involved with going through the building and health department. The county is here to help with these changes and I believe they do a good job working with establishments to do so. As it is sad to see Sweet Pea closed, they rolled the dice! There must be other issues involved for all the county officials to make there decisions as they did.

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John Fielding 4 years, 2 months ago

.

There are well established legal concepts known as the spirit of the law and the letter of the law. In this case the spirit is that there be adequate rest room facilities to avoid health hazards. The letter is after 15 tables add a second facility. Clearly they were in compliance with the spirit, the letter is arbitrary and excessive.

How often do our police respond to a call and deal with obvious violations by warning the parties to behave better or else? How would it be if there was no ability to use discretion in law enforcement or administration of justice?

Those discretionary powers are available to our public officials and they are expected to use them to best serve the public interest, and they know that. In this case it would appear they are making the point that harsh punishment is appropriate. It appears a majority of the public believes that is not the case.

The recourse is to make this decision a campaign issue, to elect officials who are more inclined to be accommodating within reason when the issue is a technicality and not a serious hazard.

To those who would ask "but what if everyone did this"? I respond "then it would become clear the law is wrong and should be changed".

If you prefer not to wait in line for a restroom go take your business to a different restaurant, that will be natural justice. .

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mavis 4 years, 2 months ago

I don't go to Sweet Pea.... but Really..... isn't this just another sign that too many government officials have too much time on their hands (due to over staffing) and really people sit on the sidewalks @ farmers market... it is on the street-- not the cleanest place to buy food by the way and are there any restrooms???? If you have a problem with it... DON"T GO THERE. but really stores used to have dirt floors and people were happy to get food. I think this is another sign of too much government control and lack of anything better to do.

Amazing this gets more investigation then numerous contractors doing shoddy construction work with heating, plumbing, building and electrical work in the past few years that has actually caused thousands of dollars for innoncent people and even bodily injury....

wow.. the priorities are clear in tough economic times.....

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Kristopher Hammond 4 years, 2 months ago

The county tells me that my business is in violation of local codes. I decide to keep operating in violation because I am in my most profitable time of the year and I can pay the fines and still make a profit. I do this right under the county's nose, knowing that the county can shut me down. The county does shut me down, to punish me for blatantly violating its regulations, and probably to send a message to other businesses who may be tempted to make the same decision. The public is outraged. Not at me...all I did was make a calculated decision to risk a shutdown (my employees' jobs) in exchange for maximum profit. Who is the bad decision maker here?

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jk 4 years, 2 months ago

shawant, the county graciously accepted thousands of dollars worth of fines and then finally decided to pull the trigger, after they were in compliance?? I think around her they call that a load of horse$#!T!!

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John Fielding 4 years, 2 months ago

.

There is a difference between "codes and regulations" and crimes. Crimes injure, and deserve punishment. Non conformance with codes and regulations warrants working together to find mutual reasonable accommodation. Exceptions to codes and regs are routinely granted in the form of variances, changes in zoning, administrative adjustments, revisions of the codes, and timetables for progress toward compliance.

It does appear that the commission is intending punishment here. Is the crime lack of sufficient restrooms or of sufficient respect for governmental powers? Is fear of punishment an adequate substitute for respect?

.

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poperson 4 years, 2 months ago

Shawant...once again, you dug your own grave. Duh.

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

The County kept changing the height of the bar, people like shawant who don't know the chain of events are blathering and foaming at the mouth. Had the County done their job and known what they were doing from jump street then the owners of Sweat Pea would not have been subject to undue fines and thousands of dollars worth of wasted money bringing that property up to code, which kept changing by the way. There was no other reason other then vengeance by the inspector and others on behalf of other local business owners, Buddies, to enforce the maximum death sentence on a successful local business. The next time any of these people who have posted here against Sweat Pea chime in against the so called "Big Box" stores coming in and taking business from the little ole locals like Sweat Pea I won't forget these posts. Again, Johnathon was quoted in previous articles as to why he did what he did and the fact that he was working with the local authorities to rectify the code violations, the county authorities let them go down the garden path and then after the code violations were fixed and approved they were shut down. I can't wait to vote against those in the County that carried out this injustice.

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runnerbikerdriver44 4 years, 2 months ago

Did everyone read the entire article here? It was not just the bathroom violation the city had a problem with. Here were the other items listed in the article: "Dunham said Sweet Pea also must reach compliance on building code violations including proper exits for occupancy levels. Renovations including walk-in coolers in the basement have been done without permits, Dunham said." "Savalox has said the renovation application she received 'did not indicate anything like' Sweet Pea’s expanded deck and seating area along the river."

So aside from the bathroom issue, they lied on the renovation application, do not have proper exits for occupancy levels, and installed walk-in coolers in the basement without permits? And why again are people not seeing the justification in Sweet Pea being closed down? And please don't jump in with the whole failing economy cry-clearly if they had the money to complete these under the table renovations, they had the money to comply with the city's requests, and keep themselves open. It's called personal responsibility-own your decisions, and blame no one, but yourself in situlations like this.

I also wish that Steamboat Pilot actually did some reporting, found out when the permits for the bathroom renovation were applied for, when the permits were granted, and when construction began.

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Kristopher Hammond 4 years, 2 months ago

I am sorry seeuski, I am reacting to the article I read, not the back story that I don't (and you apparently do) know. Since you know more about this matter than the article, please educate us: are you saying that the shutdown is the result of a conspiracy between Sweet Pea's competitors and their "buddies" in the county? Was it the competitors' vengeance or the inspector's vengeance at work here? What did Sweet Pea do (or what do they think SP did) to make them want to get their "maximum death sentence" vengeance?

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

shawant You obviously weren't around when the original article was posted this Summer and stmbtgrl was posting so many details here. You obviously have not read some earlier posts in this string where beenthere and others have voiced similar thrill at the outcome here. You obviously have no problem with an out of control local Government punishing one small business while ignoring infractions by others. I won't name those business's but the rules could be used similarly against several small operators in this manor. If you don't think forcing this small business to close after all the money they spent to comply is a death sentence then I say you have never had to Capitalize a small business before. I have. I do know more than I am posting here and it will remain that way for good reason. I think all of our positions on this matter have been made clearly and enough has been said at this point. I expect the next thing we get will be a public statement by the Commissioners involved. We deserve it since they shut down a place many enjoyed and patronized for quite some time now.

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jk 4 years, 2 months ago

seeu, we deserve a public statement regarding the issues here, however I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it!

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runnerbikerdriver44 4 years, 2 months ago

"Sweet Pea owners Jonathon Hieb and Katherine Zambrana are working through the compliance process with county officials, but Hieb has said they likely will delay installation of a second bathroom until after the busy summer season, choosing instead to potentially pay a fine of as much as $1,000." July 27th, 2010 Steamboat Today article.

Seeuski-are you kidding me? The openly and very publicly went against what the city told them to do, and you're crying "big bad government?" It was a choice and now they are living with the consequences.

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jk 4 years, 2 months ago

runner, that's just it, they were charged their fines for staying open, they paid their fines for staying open, as well as rectified the issues regarding their non-compliance, yet they are being shut down for 2 months?? FOUL!!

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dave reynolds 4 years, 2 months ago

Sweet Pea had several violations between 7/6 and 8/26..they paid there fines and went on with business as usual now if someone were to have been arrested for driving drunk six times in that time period would you all still be singing the same song(big bad government)..H^^%%&&LL no youd want them locked up and throw away the key..laws are laws rather driving or health regulations everyone is expected to follow them and if they cannt then face the consequences..they made the choice to ignore the county..its called accountability

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jk 4 years, 2 months ago

paddle, as John so eloquently put it "There is a difference between "codes and regulations" and crimes. Crimes injure, and deserve punishment. Non conformance with codes and regulations warrants working together to find mutual reasonable accommodation. Exceptions to codes and regs are routinely granted in the form of variances, changes in zoning, administrative adjustments, revisions of the codes, and timetables for progress toward compliance." I think comparing the lack of a restroom for some patrons, which has been rectified, to drunk driving is as they say comparing apples to oranges.

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runnerbikerdriver44 4 years, 2 months ago

JK-He offered to pay the money back in July, stating that he'd rather pay the fines and stay open during the busy time. It also stated in the paper that you can be fined up to 3 times a year, for a total of $3000, and potentially lose your license, and that can be found in the same July 27th article I quoted earlier. How is any of this foul? If you are given pleanty of warning of what the consequences could be, admit that you'll just go ahead and pay the fine, and admit that you assumed you would be shut down, then what is the problem here?

To me, it sounds like the city was accomidating, giving him pleanty of notice and making it very public by putting in the paper what steps were being taken. They sent notifaction on in May, followed up 3 times afterwards, and somehow the government is being blamed for being the big baddie. No wonder we're in such a horrible state as a country right now-everyone is pointing fingers except where they need to be pointed...

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Kristopher Hammond 4 years, 2 months ago

Seeu: I was "around" for all the previous articles, blogs, etc. I just didn't read them. I was probably having fun. I have owned a small business in Steamboat for more than 20 years. If I had been hit with $6,000.00 in fines the past few months it would have hurt bad. Let's say that a driver passes a stop sign on her way to work every day. She is in a hurry and gets caught rolling through that stop sign. She pays the fine (which she can afford). The next time she's at that intersection, she sees the same cop there. She rolls through the stop sign anyway, and gets caught again and again, and again, and again. Would anyone be surprised that her drivers license is going to get suspended even though nobody is hurt by rolling through a stop sign and she paid the fines every time?

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 2 months ago

The difference is that Sweet Pea was not blatantly ignoring an important safety regulation, but was working towards compliance.

What Sweet Pea failed to do was rope off a nice deck next to the river and instead made the decision that they can afford to pay the fines. Since the County Health dept can shutdown any restaurant for anything that is unhealthy or unsafe, since they were allowed to continue operating strongly suggested that they were not considered unsafe or unhealthy.

The additional building code violations all appear to be existing issues, issues that were not noticed or not important in May, but were apparently noticed during a later, more detailed inspection.

In conclusion, the actions by the County as this drama unfolded undercuts their justification for closing Sweet Pea. If their violations were so severe to warrant being closed then they should have been closed earlier.

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poperson 4 years, 2 months ago

In conclusion? Wait til tomorrow and stop pretending you know everything because you don't.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 2 months ago

poperson, I am not so arrogant to believe my "in conclusion" ended the conversation for all. It is the last I have to say on this subject.

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vanguy 4 years, 2 months ago

Given today's article about the other issues surrounding their revocation, I wonder if the tone of this thread might change a bit?

Too bad the Pilot had to "sensationalize" the "witch hunt" in their first article, yet waited a day to publish the whole story about the unsanitary food storage conditions...

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howard_roark 4 years, 2 months ago

How much do you hippie-dippies love your big government now?

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