Virtual Town Board Meeting: April 13, 202010 min read
Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Town Board Work Session and Meeting, we approved amendments to the Superior Municipal Code around oil & gas development and approved a construction contract with Goodland Construction for phase 2 of improvements to 88th Street. 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!
Item 2E – Public Comment
During public comment, resident Kelly Mcaulay joined the Zoom conference to express concerns about the Zaharias property, any potential rezoning, and the wildlife currently living there. Resident Terrie Clarke expressed concerns about the process by which we decided to add a park at the end of Coal Creek Drive (at our September 23 meeting). Rock Creek HOA Board Member Chris Nunes joined to introduce himself and let us know that the Rock Creek HOA is interested in working more collaboratively with the Town on things like fencing and communications. Finally, resident Chris Cole expressed concerns about Promenade Drive and 88th Street construction.
Item 3 – Consent Agenda
Next, our Board unanimously passed the consent agenda – including meeting minutes, a proclamation for Arbor Day, and adoption of an ordinance for financing of the Open Space Bond. Items 3D, 3E, and 3G were pulled for discussion later in the meeting.
Item 4 – Ordinance Around Oil and Gas Development
At our March 9 meeting, we discussed proposed amendments to the Superior Municipal Code around oil & gas development; we did not come to agreement on the ordinance before the end of the meeting. Tonight, we came back to that topic.
We revised the financial security language to require sufficient reserves of at least $82,500 per well bore (rather than well pad, which could contain multiple bores) – this would mean that if anything went wrong with the site, the applicant would have that $82,500 per well bore on hand for remediation. One member of the Board also proposed amending the liability to be determined based on the specific circumstances of the application, but with a minimum of $82,500 per well; furthermore, this minimum would increase each year in line with the consumer price index.
As far as setbacks, our revised ordinance proposed that any drilling sites be at least 1,000 feet away from trails / water, and 1,500 feet from homes / schools. A member of the Board broached the possibility of increasing the setback from 1,500 feet to 2,000 feet for schools, which I was in support of, but there was not enough support from the rest of the Board to increase this at the moment.
We voted 6-1 to approve the new ordinances, with Trustee Ken Lish as the dissenting vote. Finally, we also took a vote on a resolution around adoption of Oil & Gas Best Management Practices (BMPs), and voted unanimously to adopt those (linked here).
Item 5 – 88th Street Improvements
At our March 9 meeting, we approved a construction contract with Goodland Construction for phase 1 of improvements to 88th Street. Tonight, we considered a change order for $1.1M for phase 2 of the improvements – which include full-depth reconstruction of the existing pavement section, addition of a flush center turn lane to improve safety, addition of 6 ft. wide bike lanes on both sides of the roadway, addition of a 10 ft. wide multi-use regional trail along the east side, and addition of a raised pedestrian refuge island with rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) just north of Shamrock Drive.
While the Board had previously talked about an option to close 88th only in one direction at a time, Public Works and Utilities Director Alex Ariniello said that after looking into this, we’d have a lot of difficulty building half the road at a time. Trying to preserve vehicular access would require us to build a bypass road, adding an extra month and $220K in cost to the project. To limit impact on vehicular traffic, Director Ariniello said that if BVSD cancels classes for the rest of this school year, we’d try to move the roadway closure up to May 4th and get this done while traffic is not at full capacity due to COVID19 (current traffic is about 4000 vehicles per day compared to 9000 vehicles per day in normal circumstances).
We discussed at length how to ensure that residents who live off Shamrock Drive will be able to access their homes, and decided to do this phase of construction in two parts: one part north of Shamrock, and one part south of Shamrock (which would be a short two week closure); during that final portion of construction, Shamrock residents wanting to go south could temporarily cut through Saddlebrooke. As far as pedestrian access, Director Ariniello assured us that there would always be a way for pedestrians / bikes to go to and from Louisville even while 88th Street is closed to vehicles – this map shows a cut through via Riverbend / Weldona / Boyero, or Amherst, or Promenade.
One of the other topics we discussed was potential construction of a roundabout on 88th Street at the Promenade intersection. I was initially supportive of a roundabout as a way to slow traffic; furthermore, if we decide to install a roundabout in the future, it would make more sense to do this now rather than disrupt residents again at a later date. However, several members of the Board expressed concerns about pedestrian and bicyclist safety – particularly since so many teenagers use this as a way to get to Monarch High School. Between that and the increased cost to install a roundabout vs a traffic light ($1.1M vs $500K), I changed my mind and supported changing this to a four-way traffic light.
With a recommendation to avoid the roundabout, the Board approved the change order for phase 2; construction will likely begin on May 4th.
Item 3D, 3E, and 3G – Items Pulled from the Consent Agenda
We circled back to the items pulled from the consent agenda.
I pulled item 3D, an agreement with RC Special Events for event equipment rental. The agreement included funding for Arbor Day, whose festivities we have canceled; furthermore, while the agreement includes a 30-day cancellation policy, I wanted to raise the point that many of our events this year may need to change due to COVID19. While I can’t predict where we’ll be in a few months, I think it’s unlikely that in less than 90 days we’ll be comfortable convening several thousand people in one space for our traditional one mile race, parade, and pancake breakfast for the Fourth of July (even though I normally love those activities). I asked that we begin thinking about alternative activities for our annual events, and emphasized that we should be proactive in finding ways for us to celebrate so that we have these plans in hand well before the 30-day cancellation clause required in this agreement. With that, the agreement passed unanimously.
Another member of the Board pulled item 3E, the Boulder County Youth Corp Intergovernmental Agreement, to point out that the funds for this would come from our Open Space Fund. This agreement passed 6-1, with Trustee Sandie Hammerly as the dissenting vote.
Finally, we discussed Item 3G, funding for a raised pedestrian crosswalk on North Torrey’s Peak Drive. Although this didn’t follow the steps of our normal Transportation & Safety Committee review due to meeting cancellations (one due to a snowstorm and one due to COVID19), we unanimously approved funding for this crosswalk, at the sidewalk trail entrances near the intersection of Jade Court and North Torrey’s Peak.
Item 6 – Reports, Issues, and Questions
Finally, we went around the group so each member of the Board could provide reports, issues, and updates. As you’ve seen in my previous posts, I’ve been very disappointed that we haven’t yet scheduled any time for our Board to discuss our overall response to COVID19, and I took the opportunity to bring this up again:
“Earlier when we were talking about our event equipment contract, I raised the topic of how COVID19 may affect our annual events this year. As I’ve mentioned in the past few meetings, and also via email, I still feel strongly that we should schedule a robust Board discussion about our response to COVID19. I’m thrilled that Town Staff was able to so quickly mobilize to issue small business grants, but I think there are still more ways we could be proactive and take actions that the state and federal governments have not yet taken.
Mayor Pro Tem Lacis suggested that I propose specific policies for consideration. While I was initially advocating for playground closure and a shelter-in-place in Superior, the state has now made those happen. But a few additional examples of actions we might consider at this point would be requiring masks inside all Superior businesses, hosting a Town Hall to help educate people on why social distancing is important, or making sidewalks and trails in town one-way to limit passing (e.g., walk only in the opposite direction as traffic or cross the road). These are just a few ideas that I think would be helpful, which seem to have been successful in other municipalities. I don’t by any means think I have all the answers, but I think if we could put our heads together as a Board, we’d be able to collaboratively think of other options as well. So, I’d like to propose publicly once again that we have a broad discussion on our Town’s response to COVID19 – perhaps as part of our Retreat next week.”
Finally, I also brought up a request to begin recording any virtual First Fridays going forward. Although our April First Friday was held via Zoom, at the request of a Board member, it was not recorded. In the past, to my knowledge, the only reason we haven’t recorded First Fridays is because they are usually held offsite and are therefore not easy to record, but while this is being held via Zoom, I’d like us to simply turn on the recording function for full transparency.
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 email@example.com, or to me specifically at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
[…] written before, I’ve been asking for Board discussion on this topic for five weeks, and at last week’s Board meeting, finally got agreement that we could put it on the Retreat agenda. As the broad topic title […]