Town Board Meeting: June 28, 202112 min read
Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Town Board Meeting, we heard a presentation from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office; heard an update on our annual fall town event; made resident appointments to each of our Advisory committees; discussed an update to our Comprehensive Plan; and discussed our town landscaping agreement with BrightView. 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. At the request of my fellow Board members, I am not attributing any points to them. For the most unbiased and complete information, I encourage residents to watch the meeting video and draw their own conclusions – visit the town website at SuperiorColorado.gov for the official meeting video and meeting minutes.
Item 2D – Board Reports
During Board reports, I reminded everyone that I’m testing out the new hybrid functionality that allows people to participate either in-person or remotely, in order to ensure that there aren’t any glitches we may need to solve. Better to find that out now, when I’m five minutes away from Town Hall, than when someone is trying to attend from the other side of the country (as Congressman Joe Neguse was at our last meeting)! There were some sound glitches and issues with the visuals that I am working with our Town Manager to resolve, and I was disappointed to realize that anyone participating remotely will not be able to see individual Board members when they are not speaking, unless the Board member chooses to turn on their camera. I am hoping to convince other Board members to make it a best practice to turn on their cameras whenever they attend in person, as I plan to do 🙂
On a similar vein, this week, we will go back to hosting our First Friday coffee chats in-person only. We heard so much feedback from the community over the last year that virtual meetings have helped make our government open and transparent – two attributes I am extremely committed to improving for Superior. While I would love to have First Fridays continue to be hybrid, I understand that it’s technically difficult to host a hybrid meeting for this informal forum. Therefore, I’d like to propose that we offer both an in-person and a virtual forum for our residents, at different days and times. Maybe First Friday stays as a morning coffee event on the first Friday of the month, and we offer a virtual option on the third Wednesday of the month in the afternoons? A few years ago, we experimented with moving First Friday to a happy hour time. I don’t have a strong opinion when we should host the in-person vs virtual options, but I do feel strongly that we need to make it as easy as possible for residents to engage in discussion and raise their concerns.
Item 2E – Public Comment
During public comment, resident Brad Walker spoke on the topic of Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (RMMA); Mr. Walker mentioned that our airport consultants have recommended that we notify new homeowners about the airport, and encouraged us to adopt this policy.
Planning Commissioner David Harper also spoke up in his role as incoming President of the Boulder Valley Rotary Club; the Rotary typically organizes the beer festival part of the annual Chili Fest, which we would be discussing later in the agenda. Mr. Harper said that for 2021, it would be impossible to organize a beer festival on such short notice; however, if the Town decided to move forward with the annual Chili Fest in future years, the Rotary Club would welcome the opportunity to reinstate the beer festival in 2022. More to come on this in agenda item 2F2.
Item 2F1 – Presentation – Sheriff’s Office Update
Next, we heard a presentation from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, delivered by Sergeant Troy Wolfe and Crime Analyst Dave Rogers, showing trends in the number of calls for service, types of calls, types of crimes, and seasonality. There were fewer reports in 2020 than 2019 (882 vs 947), which continues a downward trend in reports since a peak of 1114 reports in 2016. Analyst Rogers noted that the nature of crimes has changed quite a bit in the last few years – for example, while a vehicle trespassing call used to mean taking a report for a stolen stereo / CD player, now it usually spawns quite a bit of follow up investigation for identity theft. However, Sergeant Wolf pointed out that the Sheriff’s Office typically runs 8-10 service calls for each report that is collected.
Analyst Rogers pointed out that many crimes in Superior are preventable crimes of opportunity: people leaving valuables in their cars, not locking their doors, or leaving cars parked on the street rather than in their garage. We briefly discussed issuing more reminders for people to lock their doors to decrease crime. Personally, I’d like us to be cautious about increasing these reminders. To me, it is incumbent upon individuals to lock their doors and put their valuables away, the same way we brush our teeth; if we blast out messaging that constantly reminds people to lock their doors, we’re going to create an environment of fear – when the truth is, Superior is a very safe community.
Item 2F2 – Presentation – Fall Event Update
Next, we heard an update on our annual fall town event. As Town Staff work to plan the Fourth of July festivities, there is a short window after July 4th to plan the next big event, our annual Chili Fest. Parks & Recreation Director Leslie Clark said that in order for the town to adhere to current health standards and guidelines for food service, Town Staff could no longer handle managing a food competition in house. Instead, the focus would be bringing people together with a variety of fall activities along with food trucks, beer, and music. The new theme would be more flexible and emphasize all things fall – harvest, hot cider, wagon rides, pumpkins, wearing anything plaid – for example. Staff also proposed a date change to Saturday October 9th.
Our Board felt strongly that Chili Fest and Beer Fest are a hallmark of Superior; they are also the only Town-sponsored events that cater to adults rather than children / families. Even if it means extra cost to hire a food service specialist, I think it’s worth it to continue the Chili Fest tradition, which draws in hundreds of visitors to Superior from all over the Front Range and helps to highlight our town. While the Boulder Valley Rotary Club may not be able to organize a beer festival this year, Town Staff will work to put on both a Chili Fest (outside the purview of the International Chili Society) on October 9th and also provide some kind of beer festival experience in parallel. So, save the date! I look forward to seeing you there 🙂
Item 3 – Consent Agenda
Next, our Board unanimously passed the consent agenda – including meeting minutes; a belated proclamation for Juneteenth; a proclamation recognizing Advisory Committee members for their service; an ordinance removing the requirement that a Town Official serve on the Planning Commission; a new policy for money spending for Advisory Committees; and a resolution appointing nine residents to our Advisory Committees. Congratulations to Melissa Cates, John Schallau, and John Craven on their appointment to ACES; Leslie Balarezo and Michael Dempsey on their appointment to CAPS; Mark Fordney, Andy Fortna, and Tim Martin on their appointment to PARC; and Katharine Cummings on her appointment to the Planning Commission.
Item F, an amendment to the Superior Municipal Code concerning administrative approval of eligible telecommunications facilities requests, was pulled for discussion. Our Town Manager agreed to keep our Town Board apprised of any applications that come in, even if we do not vote on them. This passed 5-1, with Trustee Neal Shah as the dissenting vote.
Item H, a resolution approving the Park and Recreation Committee (PARC)’s recommendation for the name of the 1500 Coalton building, was also pulled for discussion. PARC initiated a community survey inviting residents to vote on the names provided by PARC and to provide their own naming ideas. The results of the community survey were reviewed by PARC at their June 16th meeting and the group unanimously recommended the name “Superior Community Center”, based on an overwhelming 49% of respondents who voted for this option. Our Board, in turn, approved this recommendation unanimously (6-0; Mayor Clint Folsom was absent so all votes at this meeting had six Board members voting).
Item 4 – Appointment to OSAC
Next, we considered a potential appointment to the Open Space Advisory Committee, which had one seat available but two applicants. By anonymous ballot, our Board voted 5-1 to appoint Michael McDonnell to OSAC, with one vote for Rob Olson. The Board then voted unanimously (6-0) to approve Michael McDonnell’s appointment.
Item 5 – Recommendation from Planning Commission Regarding Comprehensive Plan
This year’s Planning Commission Work Plan included reviewing the Comprehensive Plan and providing recommendations for targeted Comprehensive Plan updates, since the current Comprehensive Plan was created in 2012. From 2012-2016, there was relatively little development, but in the last three years, development has accelerated and there are few opportunity areas left. An update to the Comprehensive Plan would allow us to assess our progress toward Town goals and determine how remaining opportunity areas should be used and what additional facilities and services the Town may need. Town Staff estimated that the cost to update the plan would be approximately $200,000.
Members of the Planning Commission were in attendance, with some excellent points made about the need for a plan and the need to adhere to what’s in our plan, if we create one. I could not have agreed with this more. While updating the plan certainly comes at a cost, I think it would be pennywise and pound foolish to let the current outdated plan stand. Today, our Comprehensive Plan is so outdated that the Board really can’t rely on it for guidance; it’s my opinion that our decisions about land use / development tend to not be as thoughtfully planned as a result. I think our decisions would be a lot more cohesive and easy to explain if we were to update the Comprehensive Plan and reference it as part of all of our decisions. While $200,000 may sound like a lot of money, it’s only 0.4% of our $49M Town Budget, and I think it would be a grave mistake for us to try to save money by not updating this plan.
However, I should add that I only think it is worthwhile to spend the money on the Comprehensive Plan if our Board is going to then follow its guidance. I have become quite frustrated with how we ask Committees to make decisions and then second guess and micromanage those decisions, sometimes going in a completely different direction on subjective matters. While I hope we do move forward with updating the Comprehensive Plan, I also hope our Board can agree to use it as a tool for decision making, rather than updating it and letting it languish on a shelf.
Item 6 – Executive Session
Finally, we went into Executive Session to discuss legal questions about our landscaping agreement with BrightView. We have heard so many complaints from the community about BrightView’s quality of service over the last few months. Laura Maxey, account manager at BrightView, attended our last meeting as well as our First Friday discussion and shared many reasons why they’ve been struggling: a high-volume snowstorm, unusually high spring rainfall, a shortage of flower product from Colorado growers, COVID19 restrictions around H2B workers causing a staffing shortage, and our Board decision last year to switch from glyphosate (Roundup) to glufosinate aluminum (Ignite).
While I was initially very sympathetic to these reasons, and saw some improvement over the last few months that we have been providing our feedback, I’ve been very frustrated in the last two weeks to see the progress taper off – many things are not improving. It feels like as soon as we address one problem, a new one pops up. And the biggest point of frustration for me has been service quality: residents reporting that they are getting sprayed with grass and rocks from mowers as they walk by, and that workers are driving trucks at high speed on our walking paths and trails. Although I understand that grass, flowers, and weeds may take time to address, friendly and attentive service is something that I think ought to be attainable nearly immediately, and I’m disappointed that BrightView has not resolved these complaints.
Coming out of Executive Session, Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis made a motion to terminate the agreement with BrightView Landscaping; however, the Board voted 4-2 not to terminate, with Mayor Pro Tem Lacis and I as the dissenting votes. As we will therefore be keeping BrightView, I would encourage you to please write in to firstname.lastname@example.org to report any issues, and would ask that you be quite specific about where and when (day and time) you saw the problem. The only way BrightView will be able to address our concerns is if we can provide them with specific, pointed feedback. In spite of my vote, I hope BrightView can turn it around and that I may be pleasantly surprised!
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.