Town Board Work Session and Meeting: July 8, 2019

Town Board Work Session and Meeting: July 8, 201912 min read

Hi neighbors! In last Monday night’s Town Board Work Session and Meeting, we conducted a work session with Charlier Associates to discuss parking management in Downtown Superior, heard an update from our CAPS committee on the development of a placemaking plan, approved the 2019 Water Conservation Plan, approved a speed reduction on South Coal Creek Drive from 35mph to 25mph, tabled a ditch crossing agreement between Rock Creek and Downtown Superior, and discussed a community engagement plan to identify uses for the former Land Rover property. 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!

Work Session

Monday’s Board Meeting kicked off with a working session with Charlier Associates, a consulting firm engaged by the town to advise on potential parking management strategies for the Superior Town Center. President James Charlier spoke about the importance of matching parking supply with demand; however, parking demand is challenging to determine with the advent of ridesharing (e.g., Uber) and self-driving cars, which another Trustee and I felt the consultant was a bit bearish on. While I agree that it will take a few decades for us to go fully autonomous (read my personal blog post here for more on my thoughts there), I think the self-driving car revolution is important for us to consider so we don’t end up with an oversupply of parking in a newly built area.

On the bright side, I really liked the idea that Mr. Charlier shared around being “service oriented” in how we approach parking violations. For example, rather than simply having law enforcement issue tickets, for a first offense, we could hand out a flyer with a message like, “Welcome to downtown Superior! So you know for next time, you overparked today; however, we’d still like you to come back, so here’s a retail coupon for 10% off your next visit.” Mr. Charlier also pointed us to a unique ambassador program in downtown Phoenix, where parking enforcement is done by friendly uniformed staff who also chat with visitors, provide concierge services, and generally try to be helpful. (More details on the Phoenix ambassador program here.) To me, this kind of messaging and program is a great cultural fit for our little town, so I’d love to see us explore more along these lines.

Item 2D – Board Reports

During Board reports, I commended Town Staff and the Superior Chamber of Commerce for really outdoing themselves on the fabulous fourth of July festivities last week. I loved the addition of the wonderful soprano to sing the National Anthem, the Silent Disco tent, and the extra inflatables (and relocation of them to downwind so the great band could be better heard). Huge kudos to everyone for the fantastic job with both the parade and pancake breakfast!

On July 27th, I attended the CAPS committee meeting and heard a report from our consultant, Happy City, who has been contracted to develop our cultural arts master plan. I have to admit, I was a little dismayed by the initial communications and engagement plan – specifically, I was concerned with the limited planned engagement of key stakeholders before a draft plan will be developed. For comparison, our economic development consultant began his work by conducting comprehensive interviews with many stakeholders, which is an approach I think will result in a more tailored plan that fits Superior and its character. I expressed these concerns in the CAPS meeting, and noted that I looked forward to hearing changes to the plan later in the agenda.

Finally, one Trustee wasn’t present at the meeting, but sent in a prepared statement to alert the Board and residents to the fact that PROSTAC decided at their June meeting not to pursue the addition of playground equipment at Riverbend Park. However, the town survey did find that more than 50% of respondents would like to see playground amenities added somewhere in Zone 3 (south of Rock Creek Parkway and east of McCaslin).

Item 2E – Public Comment

During public comment, a resident of Original Town asked the Board to prioritize budget to relocate the utilities in Original Town from above ground to underground.

Another resident presented the results of a new citizen-led breeding bird study on Riverbend Park – which compiled a list of 29 species of birds residing in Riverbend, including two species of special concern (the double-crested cormorant and the snowy egret).

Several residents of Waterford commented that they are against having a walking path connect from their neighborhood to Downtown Superior; however, they would support having a walking / biking path on the east side of town, from Lanterns Lane to Downtown Superior.

A resident shared his idea for the town to build a paved lot that could be used by residents to park trailers / work vehicles, which are not permitted by the HOA to be kept in driveways or by the town to be on the streets for more than 48 hours. After doing some research into this myself, I learned that there are several storage facilities in the area that have spaces large enough to accommodate parked vehicles; Guardian Storage does not currently have any availability, but Extra Space Storage in Broomfield does. Based on the private sector availability, I don’t think there is a need for the public sector to step in.

Finally, a resident commended my blog (thank you!), and warned the Board that we need to tread lightly and work with the pilot community rather than try to just mandate change at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport when we do not have the jurisdiction to do so.

Item 2F – Presentation – CAPS Update on Placemaking Plan

Next, Parks & Rec Staff and members of the CAPS committee shared an update on the Placemaking Master Plan process. As a recap, placemaking is about reimagining and reinventing public spaces to become the heart of the community; it can include event planning, designing for social gatherings, improving accessibility, increasing comfort, and building culture. (More on placemaking here.)

As I mentioned during the Board Reports, in the CAPS meeting the previous week, Happy City consultant Mitchell Reardon shared a draft timeline of the process. However, it seemed in my opinion to be extremely rushed, and not have nearly enough opportunities for input. The six interviews that were listed in the contract had already been completed, and I thought a lot of important people were left out – like the Town Board, representatives from the Town Advisory Committees, and leaders of prominent community organizations like MOD Moms, Meals on Wheels, and the Chamber of Commerce. I emphasized how important I think it is to get all these leaders together as part of the Well-Being Workshop, if they weren’t being interviewed one-on-one. Without voices like these informing the consultants’ vision, I worry that we will get a cookie cutter approach that doesn’t truly address the nuances of our town.

Furthermore, the timeline only had one session earmarked for public engagement  – a TBD activity at the Main Event, this Saturday July 19th. Unfortunately, this hadn’t been widely advertised even though it was just ten days away. (Now an email has gone out, and I really hope to see you there!) While there is also a public talk scheduled with Happy City on Tuesday July 23rd, its stated goals were about providing information to the public, not hearing what residents had to say.

During public comment, a former Town Trustee who had attended the CAPS meeting spoke up to express her concerns with the timeline – which were very similar to my own. She noted that in the past, the Town has successfully collaborated on projects by having Town Staff, the Committees, and the Town Board all work together; she questioned whether the currently-outlined process would really make use of all these resources to get the richest results. We are spending a lot of time and money to produce this master plan; we need to do it right, from the start.

I was pleased that Town Staff was very receptive to opening up more avenues for engagement – including a digital channel so that residents don’t need to make it to a specific date / place in order to weigh in. The Town Manager also said he’d find a way for each member of the Board to meet with Happy City. I had the opportunity to speak with them today, and was really heartened by the conversation – I think we’re going to get some great results!

Item 3 – Consent Agenda

Next, our Board unanimously passed the entire consent agenda – including approval of meeting minutes, approval of a non-exclusive utility easement agreement along 88th Street, and approval of an ordinance extending the temporary moratorium on oil and gas.

Item 4 – Water Conservation Plan

The Town’s Public Works & Utilities department worked with consultant Joel Price from Murraysmith, Inc to develop the 2019 Water Conservation Plan, an update from our current 2011 plan. The draft of this plan was published on the Town website in May, and received one comment around accounting for population growth. Mr. Price presented an overview of the final version, and the Board voted unanimously to approve the 2019 plan.

For those of you bored by public works and water plans, I’d point out that there are some really population growth estimates within this presentation that you may find interesting… I referred to some of them myself during the earlier Working Session on demand for parking 😉

Item 5 – Speed Limit Reduction on South Coal Creek Drive

Next, Public Works and Utilities Director Alex Ariniello presented a proposal to reduce the speed limit on South Coal Creek Drive from 35mph to 25mph. The Board voted unanimously to approve this speed reduction.

Item 6 – Ditch Crossing Agreement

The South Boulder and Coal Creek Irrigating Ditch Company owns a 50-foot wide tract of land along the north side of Rock Creek. Boulder Creek Neighborhoods’ Lanterns Lane project would like to do utility work to install potable water and reuse water mains across the ditch; in addition, a potential road / trail connection between Rock Creek and Downtown Superior would require crossing this ditch. However, there were legal concerns around liability indemnification language in the ditch crossing agreement – our Superior Town Attorney wanted this language replaced with a hold harmless provision, but the ditch company would not agree to do so.

A Trustee proposed that we ask a representative of the ditch company to come in person to our next meeting and discuss, and the Board voted unanimously to move forward as such.

Item 7 – Process and Timeline for Former Land Rover Building

Finally, the Board heard an update from Town Staff on the former Land Rover property at 1500 Coalton Road, for which the Board unanimously approved a purchase agreement last month. Town Staff let the Board know that inspections will be done at the end of this month, and the due diligence period will close the second week in August.

Assuming that we close, there are three options for the space: pure community / municipal space, pure commercial space, or a private / public partnership. At Monday’s meeting, the Board discussed when it would be appropriate to begin engaging the community to hear everyone’s ideas, and talked about what that engagement process could look like. Although I was in favor of reaching out to the community as soon as possible, there were concerns that doing so might get people’s hopes up prematurely if the deal were not to go through, so the decision was made not to conduct a formal survey or listening sessions until later in the summer.

However, I feel very passionate about hearing from community members ASAP – I believe you’re all smart enough to understand that it’s not a done deal and that things could change, and I’d rather start generating ideas as soon as possible, so we aren’t rushed in brainstorming even though we want to open something as soon as possible. I think we have a really neat opportunity with this property, given its location right in the center of our population. If the purchase moves forward, I’d like to see us renovate and put it to use sooner rather than later – but I don’t want that to come at the expense of hearing from you.

So, as I told my fellow Board members in the meeting I was going to do, I’ve created a brief four-question survey to begin getting your input. What would you like to happen with the property if/when it closes? Click here to complete the survey; once you’ve answered, you can also see all the results and what your neighbors think. This obviously isn’t quite as good as a back-and-forth in-person discussion (which the Town will be formally hosting later this year), but I’m hoping the simple survey will help start the ideas flowing!

Wrap Up

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 townboard@superiorcolorado.gov, or to me specifically at lauras@superiorcolorado.gov. 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.

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