Town Board Work Session and Meeting: May 28, 201912 min read
Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Town Board Work Session and Meeting, we held a worksession to discuss the public engagement process for playground amenities at Riverbend Park; heard a proposal for Superior to become a sister city with Khandbari, Nepal; heard an update from the executive director of the Superior Chamber of Commerce; heard an update from the Director of Library and Museum Services for Louisville Library; approved the 2019 Planning Commission work plan; signed an agreement with Happy City Lab for a Creative Placemaking Master Plan; considered the installation of a traffic signal at South Coal Creek Drive and Rock Creek Parkway but ultimately deferred the decision until after we decide whether Coal Creek Drive will go through to the Superior Town Center; and held an executive session with our Town Attorney to discuss 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!
Monday’s Board Meeting kicked off with a working session to discuss the community engagement process for potential amenities at Riverbend Park.
When asked for his opinion, Parks & Open Space Director Patrick Hammer said if he had sole decision making power and budget, he’d add multiple areas of interactivity along the trails in Zone 3, rather than building one larger park. At the Riverbend Pond area, he said he would like to see an embankment slide (sunken into the ground / less visible) and also have us improve the sledding hill that’s already being used by kiddos. I really like that Director Hammer’s ideas are less around a plastic playground and more about adding unobtrusive features that enhance what’s already there; however, I am currently unconvinced that there is a strong need for a playground in this area, particularly given that the survey results have been fairly divided in their response to question 10 (“Do you see a need for new playground amenities somewhere in zone 3?”).
Next, the Board heard a presentation from Narayan Shrestha, describing a proposal for Superior to become a sister city with Khandbari, Nepal. Mr. Shrestha is a 25-year resident of Superior who grew up in Nepal, and last year, facilitated a sister city partnership between Boulder and Kathmandu. Our Board was receptive to the idea of a sister city, but asked for more details on what a sister city partnership would entail.
The work session concluded with an interview of Sara Miller for potential appointment to the Parks, Recreation, Open Space, and Trails Advisory Committee (PROSTAC).
During Board reports, I announced that I had the opportunity to play pickleball in Wildflower Park this weekend, and it was a blast. Thank you to the residents who have invited me out, and I’d love the opportunity to play with more of you – drop me an email anytime (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can set a date to play. I also wanted to call out to all residents that there is an orange locker at Wildflower Park with all the equipment needed to play; you can reach out to Town Staff for the code to unlock this.
On a related summer note, I have an announcement to share from resident Cathryn Marsh. We all know how important it is to make sure our kids are covered from ears to toes with sunscreen before they go out into the Colorado sunshine. For families living in poverty, however, sunscreen is often a luxury item. Many children who need protection from the sun’s harmful rays go without this basic necessity. To help, the town has partnered with A Precious Child to offer dropoff boxes at our Town Pools to collect new sunscreen and hats for infants, kids, and teens. The drive will run through July 4th; you can drop off your items in the yellow bin by the front desks. Thank you for your help in making summer great for all children in our community!
During public comment, six residents spoke up opposing the potential addition of playground equipment at Riverbend Park. One particularly salient comment was from a resident who is unhappy with the public engagement process, and points out that “I shouldn’t have to read every agenda of every commission just to see what might happen in my backyard.” I completely agree with this comment, and wish that we could do a better job as a town of communicating with residents without forcing them to put a lot of work in. I am really happy with the Weekly Meetings Schedule and Last Week’s Recap emails we’ve been sending out, but I still want to see us improve how we push updates to residents. I think EngagedCitizens.us is a good start in allowing residents to search for any keywords they want and jump to the specific moments in the video where they are discussed, and would like to encourage more people to use this tool.
Finally, a resident spoke up in public comment about a potential trail from the Wiggins/Karval area to the downtown center. She pointed out that McCaslin is not a safe option for walkers/bikers to get to downtown Superior, and also noted that well-connected neighborhoods promote health and safety as well as social interactions between residents.
Presentation – Superior Chamber of Commerce
Superior Chamber of Commerce Executive Director TJ Sullivan provided an update on some recent events. One Trustee asked about how the Chamber is changing with the times and attracting younger generations; Director Sullivan talked about the E3YP (East 3 Young Professionals) group that’s been created in partnership with Louisville and Lafayette. Director Sullivan also talked about the need for more feedback from the business community to the town, which I think is a great idea and one I would certainly champion. Residents frequently talk about wanting more places to go in town – and in fact, I posed this as a major issue during my campaign and future vision for Superior.
“Imagine if Superior wasn’t just the pass-through “gateway to Boulder Valley”, but it was the place for our residents to stay for restaurants, festivals, and farmer’s markets. Having our residents head off to neighboring towns hurts not only our sales tax base but also our community. Despite our size, at heart, we’re a small town – in my opinion, the best small town in the country – and even as we continue to build new homes and businesses, I want to preserve that small town spirit.”
I’m hopeful that closer relations with the Superior Chamber of Commerce can help bring us closer to this vision.
Presentation – Louisville Library
Sharon Nemechek, Director of Library and Museum Services for Louisville Library, presented an update on library operations, finances, programs, and services. I am a very avid reader and library user, and it turns out that I’m not alone – Director Nemechek said that our usage (about 500,000 checkouts per year) is higher than typical for a community of our size. With regards to Superior specifically, Superior residents comprise 18% of the Louisville Library’s total number of patrons, but 20% of the library’s circulation.
Director Nemechek talked about some of the outreach / programming that Louisville Library organizes for Superior, and mentioned that space constraints are a big reason there isn’t more programming here in Superior. Although I think actual programming in Superior would be wonderful, I would prioritize the minimal space needed for a solution like the Lamont bookstop (details here), which would allow Superior residents to pick up books here in town without having to cross the bridge over 36. We do offer a book drop at Town Hall (and we learned in the meeting that it’s Superior Town Staff that brings those books to Louisville; the Library does not pick them up directly), but I think it would help complete the book circuit if we could check books out here as well.
On the consent agenda, we unanimously approved item 3C, a proclamation declaring June 7 to be National Gun Violence Awareness Day. I would encourage all residents to wear orange on Friday June 7th to show their support.
The rest of the consent agenda (approval of meeting minutes, approval of two permits for alcohol in Wildflower Park, and appointment of Vicki Kupfner to the Superior Historical Commission) also passed unanimously.
Item 4 – Planning Commission Work Plan
Next, the Planning Commission’s 2019 Work Plan came before the Board for the third time this year for approval – this time, with more specificity around action items for the Northwest Superior Planning Project, including a focus on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in town, design guidelines for housing development in Original Town to include incentive-based alternatives, and revised land use code criteria regarding variances for existing conforming or nonconforming properties in Original Town in order to facilitate reasonable improvements (e.g., porches or additions). The work plan passed unanimously.
Item 5 – Agreement with Happy City Lab for the Creative Placemaking Master Plan
I was very excited about the next item on the agenda. The Town Board had provided direction to the Cultural Arts and Public Spaces (CAPS) committee and approved funding to develop a master plan in 2019, whose purpose is to develop creative placemaking strategies that will guide the work of the Town over the next five years (2020-2025). After issuing an RFP, Happy City Lab was selected as the finalist to develop this master plan; Cultural Arts and Events Supervisor Deana Miller presented the agreement for Happy City Lab to deliver.
Happy City Lab, based in Vancouver, Canada, was founded by Charles Montgomery – award-winning author of the book Happy City, Transforming Our Live Through Urban Design. If you haven’t read this book, I would highly recommend it. I read it back in 2017 after numerous recommendations from friends and colleagues, and it’s a fascinating look into the nuances of social psychology and how not just architecture but all sorts of town planning codes and decisions affect the moods and lives of citizens. Hearing that we might be able to engage the author’s consulting firm is quite a coup for our small town! The proposed cost of this engagement would be $61,000, and the proposed timeline for master plan development would be as follows:
I asked a few questions about interaction with Happy City, and Supervisor Miller told us that Happy City is open to video / phone conferences as needed for updates. Furthermore, there is talk of a townwide book club to discuss Happy City (the book) in conjunction with the engagement activities. I think this is phenomenal – the more we get residents thinking about the psychology and ideas in the book, the more creative and on target we’ll be with brainstorming ideas to improve our town.
The agreement passed unanimously.
Item 6 – Contract with WL Contractors for Installation of a Traffic Signal at South Coal Creek Drive and Rock Creek Parkway
During discussion of tonight’s agenda, one Trustee suggested tabling this item until we make the decision in a few months whether Coal Creek Drive should connect to the Superior Town Center. There were concerns that we had noticed public comment for this item for 9pm; however, we did not end up having any public comment for this item.
Most of the Board agreed that we’re not yet ready to make a decision about a traffic measure at Coal Creek Drive and Rock Creek Parkway, since we have not yet decided whether Coal Creek Drive will connect to the Superior Town Center. We decided to table this motion until a future meeting. However, most of the Board also agreed that speeds on Rock Creek Parkway are currently too high – and this needs to be addressed.
One Trustee suggested re-striping Rock Creek Parkway to be one lane in each direction (rather than two), and reducing the speed limit to 25mph. As we didn’t give public notice that the Board would be discussing changes to Rock Creek Parkway, we deferred this discussion. Our Transportation and Safety Committee will be meeting this Monday, June 3rd, and discussion will resume there. If you are unable to attend the TSC meeting, you may email your comments on this topic to me at email@example.com, and I will be sure to pass them onto the other two members of the TSC.
Item 7 – Executive Session with Town Attorney
Finally, the board went into executive session with Town Attorney Dan Harvey regarding ongoing litigation. The meeting ended shortly after 11pm.
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.