Virtual First Friday: February 20214 min read
Hi everyone – and happy February! I’ll be honest – I am starting to suffer a bit of COVID fatigue. I really miss seeing friends and family, but while we certainly get some beautiful days that make it easier to be outside, it’s hard to make plans with people when you don’t know what the weather will be. But, I am still being vigilant and not meeting up with anyone indoors – which I hope you are doing too! We are so close to being able to put COVID behind us, and the last thing I want is to get / spread COVID when we are in the final stretch. While I don’t yet know when I’ll get my vaccine, I do know that spring weather will make this a lot more bearable, so I am counting down to April 🙂 Hang in there, and please don’t get lax about social distancing now!
(PS – Have I mentioned I rescued a dog from Mile High GSP to keep me company in quarantine? Sadie Olivia is the perfect hiking / running buddy for me – we do 3-10 miles a day, and she just loves it!)
Yesterday, we held our First Friday via Zoom; Board members in attendance included myself, Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis, and Trustees Paige Henchen and Tim Howard. As usual, I will not attempt to provide a complete recap of every point, but will provide a short rundown of the topics I heard, which can help provide a pulse of the town.
Topics discussed at February’s First Friday include:
- Zaharias property: During our Town Board meeting this coming Monday, the Board will consider a concept plan for a commercial / residential development concept for the Zaharias property (east of 88th Street and north of the Hodgson-Harris Reservoir). Please note that this is not a formal development application, but a concept plan – an informal presentation of their plan for the purpose of receiving feedback from the Board and the community; the developer may decide after this whether or not to assemble / submit a development application, which would then initiate the formal quasi-judicial process detailed here.
The revised concept plan includes both residential and commercial buildings, as well as less overall density than the original residential proposal that we denied in June 2020. There was a lot of discussion from residents who want the land to remain undeveloped; however, this land is currently zoned as commercial, and the Board may only rezone land if requested to do so by the owner. With this particular concept plan, to move forward, the developer would need to request that the Board change the zoning to allow residential (as we saw in June 2020). However, if the Board denies a rezoning request, the developer could still build commercial, and it would not necessarily remain undeveloped as it is now.
Several residents called on Board members to purchase the land to preserve it; however, several years ago, we understood the purchase price to be $7.6M (and it would likely be higher now). In April 2020, we purchased 182 acres on the south side of Superior for $15.1M, which we have now designated as Open Space and named Coyote Ridge. This purchase required us to dedicate Open Space funds for the next 20 years, and limited our ability to make any other acquisitions – like purchasing this property.
If you would like to comment on the Zaharias property concept plan, I would encourage you to email your comments to email@example.com by noon on Sunday 2/7; this allows us to thoughtfully consider your feedback prior to the meeting, and potentially ask clarifying questions and do additional research. If you miss this deadline, you may still join the virtual meeting and share your opinions during public comment; however, please note that during public comment, our policy is not to go back and forth with questions and answers, so the dialogue is a bit more limited.
- Storm drainage: A resident has noticed various instances where businesses (e.g., a mobile dog washing van) are allowing wastewater to run into our storm drainage systems. Trustee Paige Henchen is following up on this item and will get back to the resident on our regulations and next steps.
Hope to see you at next month’s First Friday! If you have thoughts on these or other topics, I would encourage you to attend our next virtual Board meeting on XYZ, where you may speak up in public comment, or email the full Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.