Virtual Town Board Meeting: August 24, 2020

Virtual Town Board Meeting: August 24, 20208 min read

Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Virtual Town Board Meeting, we appointed Denise Beaber to the CAPS committee, approved a final plat and final development plan for Wee Cottages on the Rogers Farm property, and approved a “quit claim” deed to transfer ownership of the right-of-way on Douglas Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue to Boulder Creek Neighborhoods, who is already building a park on the property. Ready to find out more on what happened? As usual, you may read this post in written form, subscribe to the Laura for Superior podcast, 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!

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Item 2E – Public Comment

During public comment, resident Terrie Clark asked for someone on the Board or Town Staff to step up and take ownership for managing pollution (dust, noise, etc) of any construction. Resident Nancy Thomas spoke up supporting the Wee Cottage application.

Item 3 – Consent Agenda

Next, our Board unanimously passed the consent agenda items around meeting minutes of the Board and several Advisory Committees.

I pulled item 3C, the potential appointment of Denise Beaber to the CAPS Committee, for discussion. As I have stated numerous times this year, for me, a firm requirement to earn an appointment to a committee is attending at least one committee meeting. How can you say you want to be on a committee if you haven’t attended (or at least watched) a meeting to know what that committee is doing and state with certainty that you want to be a part of it? At our last meeting, when we interviewed Ms. Beaber, she said she had not yet attended or watched a meeting of the CAPS committee, and I stuck to my policy that I would therefore vote no on a potential appointment. Ms. Beaber’s appointment passed 6-1, with me as the sole dissenting vote. However, while this was not my ideal, I would like to state that Ms. Beaber brings a significant amount of musical experience as a choir director, and I am looking forward to seeing her contributions to CAPS and our town! 🙂

Item 4 – Continued Public Hearing for Rezone, Final Plat, and Final Development Plan for Rogers Farm

At our July 13th meeting, we opened a public hearing for the rezone, final plat, and final development plan for the “Rogers Farm” property, which is the 8.765 acres west of McCaslin Boulevard, east of First Avenue, and south of Coal Creek. At Monday’s meeting, we reopened this meeting to reach a final decision.

Based on feedback from our Board and from the community in multiple public meetings, Boulder Creek Neighborhoods (BCN) made several changes to the plan we last saw. Since July 13th, BCN has decreased the density from 61 homes to 55 homes (decreasing the overall density from 7 homes per acre to 6.25 homes per acre), and improved circulation on 1st Ave. To dive into the details: two homes were removed on both the north and south sides to add more off-street parking, and one additional home was removed from the south side to provide pedestrian access to the pocket park. Also on the topic of parking, five homes had two-car driveways added to provide more off-street parking, and a turnaround was added at the dead end of 1st Avenue. Finally, one home was removed from the south side of Douglas Street to improve access to McCaslin. This all adds up to 56 guest parking spaces in the immediate vicinity (more than four times the code requirements).

Also new at this meeting – BCN put in a request for a reduction in system development fees for the single family homes, which you can read about here. Essentially, given the small size of the homes and also the limited square footage allocated to yards (where 50% of household water usage is typically for outdoor irrigation), BCN wanted to have the Wee Cottages classified as multi-family homes for fee purposes. This request would result in a one-time decrease in revenue to the town of $500K (total fees would decrease from $2.5M to $2M).

During public comment, a resident in phase 1 of the Rogers Farm development said he was supportive of this phase 2 with Wee Cottages, and pointed out that they will attract very different demographics. He suggested that we consider separating the HOA for the two developments – a request I certainly understand and would support for exploration.

Another resident drew our attention to a petition that was signed by 52 people and submitted in July; if valid, this petition would require a supermajority (two-thirds) of the Board in order to approve this application. However, our Town Attorney stated that the petition did not comply with our Town Code for several reasons. It was not on the correct form and did not include all of the required information; the petition pages were not numbered so it was unclear if those signing had read all of it; and many signatures were either not from property owners or from only one owner rather than all owners of a parcel. Therefore, the petition was deemed invalid, and a supermajority vote was not required. I sincerely regret that Town Staff did not notify petitioners of the invalidity of this petition before the public hearing, and have subsequently spoken with our Town Manager at length to ensure that a situation like this does not arise in the future. However, if we had allowed a deficient petition to change the voting requirements, it would have violated the due process rules for the applicant and opened us up to a lawsuit. It is also possible that in a what-if scenario where this petition was deemed valid, the votes might have changed and the supermajority might have been obtained.

Prior to the vote, we took a recess to allow our Town Attorney to meet privately with the developer to ask for a few conditions of acceptance. BCN agreed to build only single family units (no option for duplexes), and also agreed to contribute up to $20,000 to help with pedestrian-oriented traffic calming measures on McCaslin at the roundabout (e.g., installation of a rectangular rapid flashing beacon). We also asked for the developer to stick to the height variance as set in our design guidelines, but the developer came back that this would change so many aspects of the project that they could not agree. As such, most of our final Board discussion centered on this request for a height variance. The zoning in this area allowed for a maximum height of 32 feet, and only two stories above grade; however, BCN wanted to request the ability to potentially build up to 13 of the 55 homes as three story homes, reaching a height of 38 feet.

When it came time to vote, we had two separate rounds of voting – the first, to potentially approve a final plat to subdivide the property into 55 single-family residential lots, three HOA parcels, and one open space tract to be dedicated to the Town, and easements for utilities, public and pedestrian access, emergency access, and drainage. The second, for a final development plan depicting the required grading, landscaping, utility layout, architecture, and lighting improvements proposed for the neighborhood. Both votes passed 4-3, with Trustees Sandie Hammerly, Kevin Ryan, and Neil Shah as the dissenting votes.

Item 5 – Quit Claim Deed associated with W. Douglas Street Right-of-Way between First and Second Avenues in Original Town

Finally, as mentioned at our last Board meeting on August 10th, BCN asked the Town to transfer ownership of two right-of-ways (ROWs) on Douglas Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. BCN has already presumptively begun building a park on this land, but as I and several members of our Board pointed out, we were not pleased with the decision to start building the pocket park before seeking permission – and we could have asked BCN to remove it and revert it to a road.

I am generally supportive of keeping as many roads open as possible, to help with traffic flow rather than funneling all cars to one or two exits that could potentially become chokepoints. However, we heard a lot of feedback from residents, both via email and also in public comment, that the park was preferred. Additionally, we had a lot of concerns about traffic calming (as evidenced by the $20,000 condition we added in the previous item), and keeping this a park rather than a roadway would help with that. We also added a condition to the transfer requiring BCN to provide up to $50,000 to work with CAPS and PROSTAC committees for the addition of public art and other potential amenities to this area.

The ordinance for the quit claim deed passed unanimously.

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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