Town Board Work Session and Meeting: April 22, 20199 min read
Hi neighbors! In last Monday’s Town Board Work Session and Meeting, we reviewed a draft of ACES’ sustainability scorecard, reviewed the 2019 cemetery improvement plan, discussed the public engagement process for a playground at Riverbend Park, and had a lengthy executive session to discuss oil & gas issues and other ongoing litigation. Ready to find out more on what happened? As usual, you may read this post in written form, or scroll to the bottom for a video recap.
Disclaimer: While I do my best to represent an honest and accurate portrayal of meetings and events, the following should be considered an editorial that represents one person’s interpretation of the meetings. At the request of my fellow Board members, I am keeping their points anonymous rather than trying to attribute my interpretation to them personally. For the most unbiased and complete information, I would encourage residents to watch the meeting video itself and draw their own conclusions – visit the town website at SuperiorColorado.gov for the official meeting video and meeting minutes. Finally, I’d also encourage you to check out EngagedCitizens.us, which is a fantastic free tool created by one of our own residents. Engaged Citizens includes a repository of agendas, documents, and meeting videos, and allows you to search within a video to jump to critical parts. I hope you find it as helpful as I do!
During the Work Session, the Advisory Committee for Environmental Sustainability (ACES) joined the Town Board for dinner and to present a draft of their sustainability scorecard (linked in the blog post). I thought ACES did a fantastic job compiling metrics around climate emissions, energy, water use, air quality, transportation, and waste management, to show how we’re doing as a town and how we compare to Boulder County and neighboring towns. Members of the Board gave feedback and suggestions for improvement, and I had a few ideas of my own to add.
For each metric displayed, I’d like to see us also add at least one tangible but small next step for how families can help improve the metric. For example, to improve our waste diversion (how much we recycle vs throw away), we could suggest that families take a few minutes to review the recycling guidelines and ensure everyone’s clear on what can be put in your recycle bin. If we featured one metric a month in the Superior Sentinel along with one suggested action for improvement, it could help drive small but incremental improvements throughout the community.
Superior residents can take advantage of a number of potential programs to help improve sustainability and manage their energy / resource use, like Slow the Flow, Garden in a Box, XCel energy audits, and registering for the XCel Saver’s Switch. I was shocked to learn that the Saver’s Switch currently only has a 5% take rate in Superior, since I think this program is a no-brainer. (Earn some money and also help the environment; sign up here.) Another Board member mentioned making it easier for residents to understand the programs available to help improve sustainability, and I took this idea one step further – what if we created a scorecard for each house with a list of environment-friendly actions, so families could rate their home / behaviors in a number of different areas? Once scored, we could partner with local schools and get kids to encourage their parents to try to “level up” by taking action to get a higher score. That kind of gamification could draw attention to these programs, and encourage higher participation.
ACES also shared some details on the Partners in Energy program that Xcel Energy has created, and the Board agreed that we’d like to consider participating in this if the program were to come for formal approval.
The work session concluded with an interview of John Bain for potential appointment to the Parks, Recreation, Open Space, and Trails Advisory Committee (PROSTAC).
At our Board Retreat on April 15th, we discussed my blog at length, and whether the content is appropriate or whether I should refrain from continuing to recap our meetings. During reports this past Monday, I let the rest of the Board know that per their feedback, I am going to limit the information I share going forward, so as to not represent the positions of others on the Board. As for you, readers, I welcome your feedback on how I can improve my recaps to provide as much value to you as possible.
During public comment, Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC) Chair Ryan Welch updated the Board on the position paper that OSAC is working on to outline how Hodgson Harris Reservoir should be protected. Another resident asked the Board to consider hiring an attorney who specializes in aviation law, to determine if our avigation easement with Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport is valid or null and void. Two residents spoke up about agenda item 5, a proposed public engagement process for amenities at Riverbend Park; both residents said that they don’t think Riverbend is the right location for a playground, and expressed disappointment with the process so far. Finally, with regard to agenda item 4, review of a cemetery improvement plan, a resident suggested that the local Boy Scout troops may be interested in volunteering to assist with the activities.
On the consent agenda, a member of the Board pulled item 3C, consideration of approval for a new manager for the Old Chicago restaurant, for discussion. However, the applicant did not show up to the meeting, which was disappointing given that we had some questions about a potential misrepresentation of information on the application. We came back to this item at the end of our regular agenda, and the Board voted unanimously to deny the application.
The rest of the consent agenda (appointment of Colin Duncan to the Superior Youth Leadership Council, approval of the Boulder County Youth Corps Intergovernmental Agreement to host a dozen youths for summer employment, approval of an agreement with Quality Water Biosystems for annual pond maintenance, and approval of an agreement with Earth Green Fence for annual fence maintenance) passed unanimously.
Item 4 – Review of Cemetery Improvement Plan
In 2018, the Superior Town Board approved budget for restoration work at the historic Superior Cemetery, just east of the Sports Stable. The Cemetery Working Group (CWG) was formed in 2018, and has been working with consultants from the Cemetery Planning Resource Alliance to identify a plan for site improvements. For 2019 and 2020, they are focusing on interior site improvements, and for 2019, the CWG has budgeted $30,000 for site analysis and preparation, creation of crushed stone walking paths throughout the site, and development of a gathering area by the cemetery entrance with a stone block bench and some interpretive signage.
There was some discussion among the Board around whether the cemetery ought to be open or closed. One Board member felt that if we were going to be investing money into this property, it ought to be permanently open to the community for meditation and similar enjoyment. Another Board member disagreed, pointing out that one of our top goals for the site is preservation, and since the cemetery is located right next to the US-36 Bikeway, we ought to really focus on security and limiting access. Superior Historic Commission Chair Larry Dorsey said he’d like to do a study of Louisville / Lafayette / Erie to see how they handle their cemetery access, and noted that there is a potential compromise by keeping the cemetery open in the daytime and locked at night, when vandalism tends to occur.
The Denver Channel covered the Superior Cemetery restoration in their “Our Colorado” feature; you may read the article here.
Item 5 – Riverbend Park Public Engagement Process Review
PROSTAC has been tasked with taking on a public engagement process to consider adding play features at Riverbend Park. During public comment, we heard from a few residents who said there is no need for a park in this location, and I understand that the last PROSTAC meeting had many more residents attend to voice similar concerns. Based on that admittedly small sample of public sentiment, it was clear to me that this public engagement process is very necessary!
Parks & Recreation Director Patrick Hammer and Management Analyst Allison James presented their plan for a public engagement process, with a few key dates – see the timeline below.
The first workshop will be at the regular PROSTAC meeting on May 15th, and will allow everyone present to put their ideas on index cards, which will then be categorized for themes. The second workshop will be June 1st, on site at Riverbend Park, to define the areas for potential opportunity in the space itself, and discuss in a more informal, family-friendly way. After both workshops, PROSTAC will compile the feedback (along with results of an online survey) for presentation to the public at the July 4th Pancake Festival in picture boards, visuals of potential amenities, etc.
There was some Board discussion over whether PROSTAC was presenting this because they truly believe that play features at Riverbend Park are a top priority, or because they were directed to do so by the previous Board. Furthermore, there was significant discussion around whether Riverbend is the right location for this park, and how we should go about community engagement, given the opposition we’ve heard so far. I emphasized that I think it’s important that our outreach not just cover which amenities should be included, but also whether a park is needed and where it should go, rather than presenting Riverbend Park as a foregone conclusion to the public where their only opportunity to weigh in is on the design.
Furthermore, I added that I think it’s important for us to conduct broad outreach – surveying adjacent neighbors (within 500 feet of Riverbend), the surrounding area (all of Rock Creek north of Rock Creek Parkway), and the broader community (the rest of Rock Creek and Superior), as long as we thoroughly track responses to be able to see subsets of data and how response trends may differ by area. Town Staff responded that they plan to have PROSTAC go door-to-door with people immediately adjacent (within 500 feet), send postcards to everyone in the surrounding area, and also allow all community members to respond to the online survey.
Item 6 – Executive Session with Town Attorney
Finally, the board went into executive discussion to get our advice from Special Counsel Matt Sura on oil & gas issues, and from Town Attorney Kendra Carberry regarding ongoing litigation. The meeting ended at 11:25pm.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read / listen to this recap – I hope it is helpful! Our Board is always open to hearing your comments, questions, and concerns – you may always email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to me specifically at email@example.com. As a reminder, any messages sent to a government email are part of the public record and will have your name attached; if you feel the need to write in anonymously, you may always comment at the bottom of my blog post recaps.