Virtual Town Board Meeting: September 14, 20209 min read
Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Town Board Meeting, we heard an update from our economic development consultant; heard an update from our CAPS committee; passed a snow removal contract with Superior Maintenance; interviewed community members to serve on the SYLC, CAPS, OSAC, and PROSTAC committees; authorized the issuance of bonds for Downtown Superior; deferred a proposed ordinance to restrict continuous parking on residential streets to 14 days or fewer; provided feedback on an affordable housing ordinance; and discussed the vacancy on the Board left by Trustee Sandie Hammerly’s resignation. 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!
Item 2D – Board Reports
This was our first meeting with six members of the Board rather than seven, due to (now former) Trustee Sandie Hammerly’s resignation last week. During Board reports, each member of the Board expressed our thanks to former Trustee Hammerly for her service to the town.
Item 2F – Presentation – Economic Development Update
Next, we heard an update from our economic development consultant, Adam Hughes, of Better City. During the presentation, we briefly talked about potentially renewing business incentives for downtown Superior and the Superior Marketplace; however, the details of this still need to be more fully hashed out with our Town Attorney. We also talked briefly about a new business, Crumbl Cookies, which will be coming to the Superior Marketplace (time frame TBD).
Item 2G – CAPS Committee Update
Next, we heard an update from CAPS Committee chair Debbie Yeats, vice chair Terrye Whitaker, and Cultural Arts and Events Supervisor Deana Miller. The group shared how they have pivoted their plans for arts and events in 2020 due to COVID19, providing details of the projects as well as showing how that has adjusted the 2020 and 2021 budgets.
I had some concerns that we currently have $31K allocated for events in 2021; my suggestion is that the committee focus on art that can be viewed at anytime (like the fantastic prairie dog popups around town) and avoid spending time and money planning in-person events. We had some discussion about communication between CAPS and the Board, and my perspective was that I trust the CAPS committee (their fantastic work this year is a testament to how capable they are!) and do not feel the need to approve individual projects. However, as I know our Town Board agendas can be tight, I suggested that the committee feel free to email our Board at any time for more informal feedback on specific initiatives. Kudos to CAPS for their fantastic work thus far!
Item 3 – Consent Agenda
Next, our Board unanimously passed the approval of meeting minutes from the consent agenda.
Item 3D, an agreement with Superior Maintenance for snow removal and ice control was pulled for discussion. We received only one response to our request for bids, and Public Works and Utilities Director Alex Ariniello said that we might get more bids in the future if we extend to a longer term contract. This contract then passed unanimously.
Item 4 – Advisory Committee Interviews
We currently have four vacancies on the Superior Youth Leadership Council (SYLC) due to high school graduations; we interviewed four candidates (Katherine Marsella, Benjamin Levy, Jared Paulson, and Amanda Copley) to potentially fill these spots. We unanimously voted all four onto the committee.
Next, we interviewed Katherine McCormick to potentially fill one open seat on the CAPS committee; Gregory Patton, Miles Hoffman, and Kirsten Frysinger to potentially fill one open seat on the ACES committee; Kara Neuse for one of two vacancies on the OSAC committee; Hollis Richardson and Hayley Goodstein for two of four vacancies on the PROSTAC committee; and Marcia Van Eden, Jennifer Kaaoush, and Tracey Bain for the vacancies on either the OSAC or PROSTAC committees. We will vote on the applicants at our next Board meeting.
Item 5 – Financing Plan for Superior Town Center Metro Districts 1, 2, and 3
For item 5, we reviewed a financing plan for the Superior Town Center Metropolitan Districts Nos. 1, 2, and 3, and authorized the issuance of the series 2020 bonds. The service plans were approved by the Board back in May 2013, but any issuance of debt requires approval from the Town. They planned on issuing $34.8M in bonds, structured as a drawdown facility – meaning interest doesn’t actually accrue on the bond until the improvements are put in place and accepted by the Metro District. The bonds would have a 9% interest rate, with a maturity in June 2060 (a forty-year bond) – a rate verified by an independent financial advisor as reasonable given the type of bond. After some discussion of the progress made thus far to build resident amenities in Downtown Superior, we voted unanimously to approve the financing plan.
Item 6 – Ordinance to Restrict Continuous Parking on Residential Streets
Next, we considered a proposed ordinance to restrict continuous parking on residential streets to 14 days or fewer. (Cars parked longer than 14 days continuously could be ticketed or towed.) At the beginning of the night, Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis and I suggested that we defer this item for at least six months, or until the majority of the community is no longer staying home due to COVID19. However, we decided to have some discussion anyway, in order to allow public comment, before deferring this to a later date.
During public comment, resident Terrie Clark pointed out that cars parked in culs de sac are particularly problematic. I agree that there are a lot of parking violations in culs de sac – with cars overhanging driveways or even blatantly parked directly over the sidewalk, presumably because residents think that a cul de sac sidewalk is not used to get anywhere. I urged the community to be more cognizant of keeping sidewalks clear, particularly as more residents are out walking around the neighborhood and using them.
Item 7 – Ordinance to Require Inclusionary Housing for All New Residential Development
Our next item was considering an ordinance that would require at least 10% of all new residential development to be deed-restricted as affordable housing units. These units would need to be comparable in size / design / appearance to the free market units. While I recognize it is not a popular opinion, I am a strong proponent of the free market economy, and it doesn’t sit well with me that we would potentially require an arbitrary number of luxury homes to be designated as affordable housing – essentially allowing a very few people to “win the housing lottery” without solving the broader housing problem of low supply and high demand. We already have a lot of design guidelines and restrictions on housing developments. If we continue adding more restrictions on developers, we will make it more difficult for them to build at all, which further limits the housing supply and exacerbates the housing problem.
Instead, I would like us to do what our neighbors have done and find ways to encourage developers to create affordable housing communities – like Willoughby Corner in Lafayette. In 2016, Lafayette passed an ordinance to collect $1 per square foot on all development to help fund permanently-affordable housing. Rather than requiring 10% of homes within a community to be deed-restricted, I would much prefer to see us do something like create an affordable housing development fee to help fund permanently-affordable housing.
I knew that I was in the minority on the Board of opposing the direction of the current proposal; with that in mind, I added that if we were to go forward with a version of this 10% deed-restriction proposal, I would like to see this 10% designated as workforce housing, with a requirement for residents to work within a narrow radius of Superior (e.g., 5 miles).
Item 8 – Town Board Vacancy
Finally, as mentioned earlier, Trustee Sandie Hammerly resigned on August 31st; we set an item on the agenda to discuss whether to fill this vacancy. I opened the discussion by noting that I feel strongly we should follow our Town Code in appointing someone to fill the vacancy until the election. I am concerned that we may have a split 3-3 vote on an issue between now and the election, and I’m also not pleased that we may punt on some important issues simply to avoid this scenario. Furthermore, I value having a diversity of opinions on the Board, and don’t like missing the opportunity for one more perspective. At the same time, I’m cognizant of the burden it places on Town Staff to train someone new for such a short time period. Therefore, I suggested that we consider appointing a former Town Board member who already knows how to serve in this role and would not require training. However, while I had some support in this opinion, ultimately, the Board decided to leave the position vacant.
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.