Sweet Pea Market and Cafe employee Romy Klinger unloads produce Wednesday at the Sweet Pea stand near Ace at the Curve.  The Routt County Board of Health revoked Sweet Pea’s retail food establishment license Tuesday, closing its downtown location until at least Nov. 15 because of health code violations.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Sweet Pea Market and Cafe employee Romy Klinger unloads produce Wednesday at the Sweet Pea stand near Ace at the Curve. The Routt County Board of Health revoked Sweet Pea’s retail food establishment license Tuesday, closing its downtown location until at least Nov. 15 because of health code violations.

Steamboat's Sweet Pea violations about more than seating

Sanitation, food storage conditions influence county’s decision to revoke license

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Sweet Pea Market and Cafe employee Romy Klinger sorts produce Wednesday at the Sweet Pea stand near Ace at the Curve.

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Routt County Department of Environmental Health specialist Jason Striker takes the temperature of food being prepared Thursday in the kitchen at Yampa Valley Medical Center.

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Read our previous story about Sweet Pea's license revocation here

Read about Sweet Pea's initial troubles and efforts toward compliance during the summer here and here

— County officials’ decision Tuesday to close Sweet Pea Market and Cafe, the first license revocation of its kind in Routt County in at least 30 years, involved issues that go beyond the popular downtown eatery’s seating capacity and restrooms.

Officials said those issues include several other health and building code violations at Sweet Pea this summer — including food stored beneath an unshielded sewer line in a basement walk-in cooler installed without a permit — along with public health and safety concerns, accountability issues for the estimated 250 food establishments in Routt County, restaurant inspection compliance and even potential tourism impacts. The Routt County Board of Commissioners, acting as the Routt County Board of Health, said those factors contributed to its Tuesday decision to revoke Sweet Pea’s retail food establishment license until at least Nov. 15.

“It’s important for us all to follow the rules,” Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said. “This is even more important when it comes to public health.”

Although Sweet Pea’s grocery market operates separately from its cafe, the business uses one food establishment license, meaning both components shut down as of midnight Wednesday.

Tuesday’s Board of Health hearing was required by state law after the Routt County Department of En­­vironmental Health assessed three fines of $1,000 each — July 28, Aug. 6 and Aug. 20 — to Sweet Pea owners Jonathon Hieb and Katherine Zambrana. The owners paid all three fines.

Mike Zopf, director of the county’s environmental health department, showed the Board of Health documentation of seven notifications of noncompliance and seven follow-up inspections at Sweet Pea between July 6 and Sept. 3.

The violation that led to the inspections, fines and hearing involved Sweet Pea’s operation during the summer with far more seating capacity than its one restroom allowed, according to state health regulations. Sweet Pea received notification about that regulation in a letter dated May 20.

County senior environmental health specialist Heather Savalox said she saw the noncompliant seating June 22 and notified Hieb that day about the need for a second bathroom.

Carl Dunham, of the Routt County Regional Building Department, said he received an application for the second bathroom July 28. Savalox said she received necessary materials for the bathroom addition Aug. 11. Sweet Pea’s permit was approved Aug. 20 and issued Aug. 26.

The Building Department conducted its final inspection of the second bathroom Sept. 7.

Hieb told the Steamboat Pilot & Today in July that he likely would wait to install the second bathroom after the busy summer season, choosing in the meantime to instead pay the fines for non-compliance.

But Savalox and county environmental health specialist Jason Striker reported numerous other state health code violations during inspections at Sweet Pea this summer.

The violations involve food stored in the walk-in cooler and Sweet Pea’s basement walk-in freezer, which also was installed without a permit and walled with noncompliant, absorbent materials including plywood and foam core.

Savalox said she discovered the cooler and freezer in an inspection Sept. 2 after an anonymous complaint.

“This aspect of the retail food operation was not disclosed at previous inspections, was not included in the original establishment’s plan review packet and had several significant design deficiencies that are not in compliance with the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations,” Savalox wrote in a Sept. 3 letter to Hieb and Zambrana. “In order to address these issues, you as the licensee of Cafe Sweet Pea are required to submit plans for the walk-in refrigeration units. You are also ordered to immediately remove all food items from the beneath the unshielded sewer line(s) and must also remove all food products including produce from the floor and place these items in properly designed and constructed storage areas.”

The Colorado regulations Savalox referred to in the letter state that food cannot be stored “under sewer lines that are not shielded to intercept potential drips.”

Zopf has directed Routt County’s environmental health department for 31 years. He told commissioners Tuesday that “we have never before recommended that a retail food license be suspended or revoked until" Tuesday.

Savalox has worked for Zopf for 10 years. She had a similar environmental health job in Eagle County for five years before that. She and Striker each conduct more than 200 restaurant inspections a year. Zopf said every food establishment in Routt County is inspected twice a year.

“I’ve never seen anybody else store food under a sewer line,” Savalox said about Sweet Pea’s basement. “In 15 years, I’ve never seen that.”

Learning process

Hieb told commissioners Tuesday that the photos taken by Striker are not representative of the normal condition of the walk-in cooler and freezer. Plumbers were in the basement Sept. 2, Hieb said, working on plumbing to install the needed second bathroom.

Hieb said Wednesday that he was setting up a meeting next week with Dunham, Zopf, Savalox and his architect to talk about plans and requirements for Sweet Pea to achieve compliance, with the goal of opening again Nov. 15.

“We have a meeting with Carl (Dunham), and we will do whatever it takes to get up to compliance to his satisfaction,” Hieb said. “We don’t want to go forward until we need to know exactly what to do, on all parties.”

Hieb and Zambrana, from the start of questions this summer, have said they fully intend to comply with health and building regulations.

Hieb also repeatedly has said that compliance has been a constant learning process through positive interaction with county officials. Contractors for work sometimes told him permit and regulation information that later proved incorrect, Hieb said.

“Our walk-in, we thought, was OK for a grocery store. It’s storing uncut, unprocessed produce and retail things such as packaged sausage,” Hieb said about the basement storage. “We were under the assumption that these things were fine to do. … The kitchen has its own, separate walk-in.”

He said “there’s nothing wrong” and no leaks with pipes in the basement walk-in.

Unpopular job

Rex Brice is vice president of the Steamboat Springs chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Assoc­iation. He owns four local restaurants: Rex’s American Grill & Bar, Mazzola’s Majestic Italian Diner, Big House Burgers & Bottle Cap Bar, and Lil’ House Country Biscuits & Coffee.

Mazzola’s has undergone significant interior renovations in the past year and Lil’ House opened in February. Brice said when planning Lil’ House, he had hoped that its customers could use the bathrooms in Big House. The two restaurants adjoin each other on Steamboat’s west side. Lil’ House is a much smaller, breakfast-oriented spot.

But Brice said in working with the county, he realized Lil’ House had to have its own bathroom — even if it meant limiting its seating.

Food establishments are required to have more than one bathroom, at least one for each sex, if seating exceeds 15. Sweet Pea this summer had more than 10 multiseat tables on its deck, with seating for about 60. Brice said although Lil’ House is small, he could have fit more than 15 seats in there but has not done so.

“We’ve never exceeded (15) because that’s the law; that’s the regulation,” Brice said.

He said county officials have provided information up front about regulations for all of his restaurant projects.

“I feel bad for Sweet Pea, but I’ve always been given the information I’ve needed to make those decisions and I’ve always been held accountable for the regulations,” Brice said. “I guess if you’re going to hold one person accountable, you’ve got to hold everybody accountable.”

Brice said he supports all restaurants in Steamboat, including Sweet Pea, and noted the struggles that come with a down economy. But he also acknowledged the tough job held by county health specialists.

“They’ve got an unpopular job and to do it sometimes they’ve got to make unpopular decisions,” he said.

Jamie McQuade, owner of Winona’s Restaurant & Bakery, was forced to close July 21 after subflooring collapsed in the kitchen. The restaurant re-opened Sept. 8 after a repair job done with guidance from the building and environmental health departments.

“I have nothing but positive things to say about the health department and the county in general,” McQuade said. “They were very positive with us.”

Worst case

In explaining her support for the Sweet Pea license revocation, Mitsch Bush said the potential impacts of public health risks can be disastrous.

She recalled a local incident of salmonella in 2002 at the former Seasons at the Pond restaurant.

The outbreak occurred Dec. 16, 2002, likely from fruit salad. Fifty-one cases of salmonella were reported in the weeks that followed. Those contaminated ranged from 4 to 72 years old, and 96 percent were Routt County residents.

The county environmental health department worked with the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and a regional epidemiologist to curtail the outbreak.

The work those agencies did cost taxpayers $39,245.

Mitsch Bush said such instances could create “even a perception” of unsanitary conditions or relaxed enforcement that, when portrayed in regional media, could affect the tourism industry that’s vital for local businesses.

She and commissioners Doug Monger and Nancy Stahoviak stressed that the most vital concern, though, is the health and safety of county residents.

“The residents that live here need to know that we’re taking care,” Monger said.

There have been no reported cases of illness related to Sweet Pea, before, during or after the compliance process.

Ace location open

Zopf said other health code violations found at Sweet Pea this summer, such as food stored at temperatures warmer than health codes allow, are “not unusual” in inspections at other local restaurants.

“What we as a department strive for is to see the correction of these violations immediately — meaning before the inspector leaves or as soon as possible,” he said. “We don’t want to see a pattern.”

Savalox also acknowledged that there are often “problems in other kitchens.”

“If people are going to say, ‘You should see X restaurant or Y or Z,’ we do,” Savalox said. “We’re in these restaurants twice a year.”

They both said Sweet Pea’s lengthy noncompliance with seating and the other violations, chiefly the walk-in refrigeration in the basement, set the business apart from other inspection and compliance processes.

Sweet Pea staff removed food items and other inventory from the location at 729 Yampa St. early Wednesday morning.

Hieb said Sweet Pea had about 15 people on staff at the time of the revocation.

He said the community showed “unbelievable” support for Sweet Pea on Tuesday night when the market had a sale on inventory up to its closure at midnight Wednesday.

“It just goes to show how much the community supports us,” he said.

He said sales at Sweet Pea’s Ace at the Curve location also have been very strong. That location has allowed him to maintain some employees, he said, and to keep working with the six family farms in the Palisade area that sell Sweet Pea their produce.

“We’re going to try to stay open down at the Ace market,” Hieb said. “The community has been so supportive. … We think we’re going to continue to stay open there until the weather allows us.

“Thank God for our community,” Hieb continued. “We’re going to do everything in our power to open up in two months.”

Comments

hereandthere 3 years, 10 months ago

Kudos to Mike and Heather. I appreciate their role in the community, and in my interaction with them I have always experienced only professionalsm on their part. Although it is unfortunate that this had to go this far, it appears that the community is fortunate that something bad did not happen. It sounds like the owners just plain did not have the knowlege and experience required to run this type of operation.

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insbsdeep 3 years, 10 months ago

The thing that is wrong is that they chose to operate in noncompliance to maximize potential revenue. They new what they were doing.

The food stored under the sewer pipe picture is pretty ghetto.

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vanguy 3 years, 10 months ago

Too bad the Pilot had to "sensationalize" the "witch hunt" in their first article yesterday, making the people who are actually protecting public safety appear to be the "bad guys", and getting the bloggers all kinds of worked up.

Then a day later, the Pilot publishes the whole story about the unsanitary food storage conditions...

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addlip2U 3 years, 10 months ago

In the photo published with this article: "Routt County Department of Environmental Health specialist Jason Striker takes the temperature of food being prepared Thursday in the kitchen at Yampa Valley Medical Center." ......the Health specialist is not wearing gloves or facial hair/bear cover when taking the temperature of food being prepared.... is that a code violation?

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 10 months ago

The County's actions during this process do not do it proud.

They inspect Sweet Pea numerous times and it takes an anonymous complaint for them to notice there is an improper walk in cooler and improper food storage in the basement? But that merely generates a warning and Sweet Pea is allowed to stay open?

I do not think the County met Doug Monger's standard of “The residents that live here need to know that we’re taking care,” If the issues were so bad that they needed to be closed then they should have been closed when those unsanitary issues were found. There is something fundamentally wrong with the way the County Health dept and Health Board operates if it takes an administrative hearing some time later to close a restaurant for unsanitary conditions. If the unsanitary conditions and such were not bad enough to be closed immediately then it defies logic for them to be bad enough to be closed a few weeks later in an hearing. It would appear that the CC acting as the Board of Health should hold emergency meetings following bad inspections to be able to quickly shut down restaurants with unsanitary conditions or at least to get the restaurant operator to agree to correct all issues and that future serious violations will result in closure.

The Seasons on the Pond incident was, if anything, reflective of failures in restaurant inspections because they had been inspected and had some issues. The inspections did not convince them to stop unsafe practices and people got sick.

It also appears the fine structure is inadequate if a business can decide it is an acceptable financial decision to pay multiple fines.

As someone that just recently dealt with a blocked sewer line, it is a really naive statement to say that the pipe does not leak. Normally, the sewage is flowing in the bottom of a large pipe so whether the top and sides have leaks are not known until sewage backs up inside the pipe.

This incident should cause County Board of Health to recognize the failings in their current procedures and hopefully inspire them to more quickly be able to respond to issues.

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John Fielding 3 years, 10 months ago

. This is a much better job of reporting regarding this story.

.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 10 months ago

I was just told that the walk in was basically hidden behind other storage so it was not the inspector's fault for not seeing it.

Thus it is clear now that the inspection form is missing a line in which the restaurant operator states that the inspector has been shown all food prep and storage areas for the restaurant. That oversight certainly reduces the relevance of inspections because the part that is probably most likely to have violations are the parts that the owner knows are sketchy and would rather not show the inspector.

It still seems difficult to reconcile that it was okay for Sweet Pea to operate for months, but closing it now for health issues. If the health and manner of operation issues exist then it should not take so long to close a place opening violating them.

I suggest that Health Board should always meet with the restaurant owner when the subsequent inspection finds the issues cited in the first inspection have not been corrected. I've seen the CC allow a business to continue operating while requiring specific conditions by a specific date. So they could do the same to a restaurant with a bathroom issue or such. The advantage of that meeting is then the restaurant now clearly knows what happens next if the violations continue and the importance of meeting that schedule.

There is no good reason that it took nearly 3 months from initial violation and subsequent inspections observing the same violations until the restaurant owner had to appear in front of the Board of Health. I think it can happen within 3 weeks. 3 months to close a restaurant does not show me that the board of health is looking out for residents. 3 weeks would show that.

This unfortunate outcome creates the serious risk of other restaurant operators now seeing they can play the game and basically ignore violations until slow season when they might be closed anyway. And then deal with the issues and reopen for the next busy season. Thus, the intended lesson from this situation that restaurants have to comply with health regs is greatly diluted by seeing how to game the system so that you don't have to interrupt peak season to comply.

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jaded 3 years, 10 months ago

The inspectors went back repeatedly of the course of a few months for the non-compliance of the bathrooms, but they discovered the walk-in on Sept 2, and the restaurant was shut down within 2 weeks of that discovery.

I agree with you Scott, and I believe they did just what you are asking of them.

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Tubes 3 years, 10 months ago

Far more egregious than originally reported. Why two days to get the full story?

The Sweet Pea loyalists are kinda quiet all of the sudden.

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dave reynolds 3 years, 10 months ago

vanguy I don't know how long you have lived here but I remember when Ski Time Square had problems with their sewage and Anderson's and Friends keep serving food while sewage was dripping on their gritle..ummm.. yum yum..for those of you late comers it was formally Heavenly Daze....yep dazin at the stars while ecoli infests my body..the materials are available to rectify this problem..so why not just do it..Rebel without a cause..Good luck.."I fought the law and the law won"..like it matters I won't eat there again..but the food is good.catch 22

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 10 months ago

Jaded, Sweet Pea was notified May 20th of the seating and bathroom requirements.

Initial inspection was apparently June 22nd. First followup inspection noting it was still not in compliance was apparently July 6th. So on July 6th, the situation was that Sweet Pea has known the rules for six weeks and is continuing to ignore them. It took 3 more weeks for the first $1,000 fine to be issued. So, for nine weeks it is obvious that Sweet Pea intends to ignore the rules and yet the Health Board did not meet to make it clear that immediate compliance was required (or that they'd allow conditional continued operation if they quickly got into compliance).

It then took another 7 weeks for the Health Board to summon Mr Heib and close Sweet Pea.

There is something wrong when a restaurant can be notified of violations well before peak season and can game the system by not complying and be shut down during the next slow season.

Adding the additional refrigerated storage without permits and inspections after being told of the need to go through the process has no apparent excuses. There are food, building and workplace safety issues justifying inspection of the walk in. That they were not and apparently hidden suggests willful violations of all sorts of regulations.

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exduffer 3 years, 10 months ago

How quick would they have been shut down for not submitting sales taxes?

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poperson 3 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Wedel...get out of your bathrobe and slippers; get a job and contribute to society like the rest of us. Quit complaining. Quit commenting like you said you would on the previous blog, and get off the issue. Why are you so vested in it? Haven't you noticed the other bloggers have quietly disengaged themselves? Hmmm. Look up the C.R.S.; see the directives. Do you understand the law? Do you abide by the law? This is not about you Mr. Wedel, as much as you want it to be. Go ahead and enjoy the freedom of speech you are entitled to but also understand that this is the real world where most of us not only believe in but respect and appreciate public health and safety. If you cannot do either, I suggest that you consider relocating to a third world country where they're not so fortunate. Set aside your bathrobe and slippers and get a good night's sleep. Seems like you need it.

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doug monger 3 years, 10 months ago

Scott, I just wanted to comment on your comment "The county's action "do not do it proud". The county does not, nor did not make the rules, the rules are specifically set up by state statute and department (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) rulemaking. Routt county undertakes the restaurant inspections on behalf of and with a contract with the state to implement Colorado rules and statutes which are mostly set in stone and non-discretionary. Many of the counties in the state do not even have restaurant inspection therefor relying on random and unreliable state inspections (those inspections, which costs Routt County citizens and Routt County money to protect ourselves). Many cities do their own restaruant inspections on behalf of the state with a similar contract (Routt County and the county's municipalities preferred to have only one county inspection service years ago which would provide a higher level of service but not duplicate services among governments). The county does not have the luxury of implementing rules and or regulatory discretion as in planning/land use matters. Also to another poster, the county takes EVERY effort to work with restaurant operators as referred to the 250 current licenses, over 25 years of inspections and as I can remember the only recent case of regulatory shutdown. Also I appreciated the Today's more balanced approach of news reporting rather than the sensationalism. The decision was not arrived at lightly and not without all of the issues being discussed and understood. Doug Monger Routt County Commissioner

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jerry carlton 3 years, 10 months ago

poperson I do not know Scot Wedel. I do not have a job but I worked 51 years before I quit. Who are you? Get some guts and put your name on your posts.

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callguinness 3 years, 10 months ago

"It’s storing uncut, unprocessed produce and retail things such as packaged sausage,” Hieb said about the basement storage.

Bag of "Turkey parts for stock" right in the middle of the picture. I'm sure it came from the manufacture that way, in a Zip-Lock bag. Maybe Hieb should look at the pictures before he makes comments about them.

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poperson 3 years, 10 months ago

where would the fun in that be? besides as Scott said yesterday...I'm done commenting on this issue...as if....

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ftpheide 3 years, 10 months ago

poperson, You'll get used to Scott. Don't take his remarks personally. He became angry at me and suggested ftpHeide was a crack head working undercover with Wiggins. We had a good laugh. ftpHeide is our family dog!

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John Fielding 3 years, 10 months ago

.

Thank you Commissioner Monger for your statement, the clarification of the role of the county is very helpful, and it is an appropriate service to your constituents to make such a response when there are so many questions about the actions taken.

To continue in the same vein, could we please be given a little more information about what we are obligated to do as a condition of accepting the responsibility of enforcing the state codes? A few points would be if there is a mandatory staffing level per number of permits, a minimum number of inspections per permit per year, a stipulated time frame for ensuring compliance with noted non-conformance, a prioritized enforcement policy based on degree of risk to public health, and a mandatory penalty specification.

It seems based on Commissioner Stahoviak's statement regarding the 60 day term of revocation that there is at least some discretion given with the enforcement obligation.

How much does the service cost us if the State performs it, is it a flat rate or based on number of permits, number of inspections, etc? How much does it cost us to do it ourselves and about what is the difference per inspection or per permit? How are the costs assessed, by billing the county or from permit fees?

About how many violations are noted per year, how many fines assessed, for what amounts? Does the money from fines go into the budget for enforcement costs?

I will say I am very much more in favor of having the responsibility held by local officials than at the State level. There is certainly more accountability and opportunity for communication. I doubt a State official would have made a statement of clarification as you so obligingly did, nor respond to requests for further discussion.

This does do the County proud, to have our officials step up to the plate and patiently explain to those they serve the basis for controversial decisions, to take responsibility. While it is certain that some will opine that the actions should have been different, at least none can contend the action is improper if the information is freely shared and demonstrates reasonable judgment.

I realize the questions are complex, maybe you would be willing to have a response prepared by our department staff. I expect the distribution of the information will be widely appreciated and thus well worth the effort.

.

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greenwash 3 years, 10 months ago

Word on the street is SEEUSKI is in the bathroom with severe stomach cramps.....Go Figure.

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Jan Kaminski 3 years, 10 months ago

This article was well thought out and written from many perspectives. I find it fascinating that a capitalist business plan is based on passive aggressive anarchy of the system. The results were predictable, the business unsustainable.

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Jan Kaminski 3 years, 10 months ago

This article was well thought out and written from many perspectives. I find it interesting that a capitalist business plan was based on passive aggressive anarchy of the democratic system. The results....predictable. The business....unsustainable.

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Jan Kaminski 3 years, 10 months ago

This article was well thought out and written from many perspectives. I find it interesting that a capitalist business plan was based on passive aggressive anarchy of the democratic system. The results....predictable. The business....unsustainable. Bottom line: someone made money at the cost of all else. I'm thinking bamboozled.

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aichempty 3 years, 10 months ago

Having been through the process of obtaining licenses, building permits and health department inspection prior to opening a business, I can tell you from personal experience that the people involved in the permitting and licensing process are VERY helpful, including the building department, in this county. You can't miss out on doing something that is required because nobody told you it was necessary. All you have to do is ASK THEM. They will tell you exactly what is required.

The need to make a profit around here to survive is something I know a lot about. The regulations don't make it any easier. Selling other "merchandise" out the back door is also apparently a great way to help make ends meet (and no, I am not referring to the Sweet Pea) as I found out when going back through the tax records and discovering that the previous owners had income that could not be supported by money that came into the cash register from sales of front-counter merchandise. You almost HAVE TO break the law around here to make a living, but continuing to do so after fair notice of problems with building codes and sanitation is just plain dumb. The financial penalty of being out of business during the shoulder season is a result of thwarting the law willfully and deliberately over a period of time.

A relative of mine (not around here) was hospitalized this week for food poisoning apparently caught from eating a salad at a fast food place. Then I read about an unshielded sewer pipe over fresh produce in a walk-in cooler built without a permit. Guess what. It IS a big deal, and other people around town who are in the retail food business are going to take notice.

This is a tough place to make a living, and it's not because of the laws and regulations. It's because everybody is living on the bare edge and they expect to pay low prices in an expensive resort town, and now there's a deep recession going on which makes everything worse.

The owners of the Sweet Pea would not have had to spend much more to avoid violating the codes if they had done it right in the first place. Whether they could have stayed in business after doing it right is another question. They would not be the first "local" place to go out of business because the money just wasn't there. You don't have to lose thousands of dollars per month. All it takes is coming up $100 short of what you need every week until your savings run out.

(cont.)

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doug monger 3 years, 10 months ago

John, I will comment on some of what I know, and we will work on some of what I don't know at this time. First off for a local entity to accept the obligation of restaurant inspection, we are also allowed to offset our expenses with the normal renewal fees charged. While those fees don't offset the cost of doing inspections and or running the whole Environmental Health department they do offset some of the costs, and we continue to believe that the best regulatory option is a local option both in service level to the restaurants and for public health. I believe and heard that we do inspections twice annually and on complaint basis. There was in fact some discretion in the penalty, the minutes when finalized will reflect such. The end basis was that the BCC thought that the 60 days of being closed/revoked closely reflected the 62 days that Sweet Pea operated with the 60 seats versus the 15 allowed by their license. I will also say that the BCC had discussions of suspension versus revocation, and the BCC chose BCC to revoke the license so that the applicant will also be required to correct the building code issues (walk in freezer- and adequate access). From our discussions with staff, violations are a very normal and routine thing, but staff works on the educational option in that violations are noted, no fines are issued , and the applicants fix the violations. Regarding staffing levels, there is no requirement to have X staff for Y permits, yet we have to provide adequate staff to do the inspections and respond to new permit applications. Again from what I heard we very seldom issue fines, and I believe yes if fines are issued, they further offset the cost of running the department.
I would have to say in defense of our department both staff and leadership, again you will note that we monitor 247 permits, and this seems to be the first suspension/revocation of a license in over 30 years while still having a great track record of minimal sickness cases through those same years. Doug Monger Routt County Commissioner

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jaded 3 years, 10 months ago

I still disagree with you Scott. The freezer wasn't discovered or noted until Sept 2, after which they shut the restaurant down in 2 weeks. If the only violation had been the bathrooms, it may have never been shut down and the fines would have been sufficient, we'll never know because on Sept, they found the freezer and decided the place was unfit to serve food.

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John Fielding 3 years, 10 months ago

.

Thank you Commissioner Monger, that information is very much to the point. You do a great service to create and maintain respect for your service and office by being so forthcoming. I look forward to the more detailed answers.

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aichempty 3 years, 10 months ago

(cont)

Never mind.

The two posts above covered it.

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chickadee 3 years, 10 months ago

This really puts in perspective that "Sweet Pea Incident" from years past.

Maybe those guys who ate food from the Sweet Pea Dumpster had the right idea? I mean...really...if you had to make a choice between eating food that had been stored under an open sewer line versus food that was stored in a garbage can, the garbage might be a safer bet.

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chickadee 3 years, 10 months ago

Back in the olden days where I come from we would have punished Hieb as follows:

Force him to eat one of his own juicy sandwiches prepared with those organic (sic) ingredients that were stored next to the open sewer line and them make him sit in a public place that has inadequate bathroom facilities (looooong lines to use the john) for the next 48 hours.

This Sweet Pea incident is a case study in unethical business practices and economic externalities being imposed upon the public, putting the general health and welfare of the public at risk.

When auto manufacturers make an economic decision for to jeopardize public safety over a two dollar part because the risk of product liability litigation is slim, people are outraged when the manufacturer is busted by not beating the odds. Similar outrage is justified against Sweet Pea.

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