Virtual Town Board Meeting: February 8, 20217 min read
Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Town Board Meeting, we heard a concept plan for development on the Zaharias property; conducted additional interviews for our citizen-led Advisory committees and appointed new members to CAPS and ACES; approved a Sister City affiliation with Khandbari, Nepal; and discussed our Board priorities for 2021. 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 keeping their points anonymous. 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 2E – Public Comment
During public comment, nine residents shared their feedback on the concept plan that we would be hearing in our presentations. Another resident spoke up with concerns about a suggestion that we institute landing fees at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport.
Item 2F – Presentation – Zaharias Property Concept Plan
Dennis Cavallari from The Cavallari Group presented a revised development concept for the Zaharias property east of 88th St. and north of the Hodgson-Harris Reservoir (HHR). Last year, we heard a proposal to rezone for 22 apartment buildings with 180 units, which we denied. The developer heard the concerns of residents and the Board about being too dense and not following the intent of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan (which has the site zoned as a Regional Activity Center); now, he brought a concept plan that includes both residential and commercial buildings, plus overall lower density. The updated concept plan includes 2.3 acres of commercial development (contemplating a gas station / convenience store, inline retail, and a child care center), plus 20 acres of single-family residential development with 92 homes. The concept plan also includes a public land dedication of 4.6 acres next to the HHR, a 20% increase from the last proposal; the community pool was also relocated to be in the center of the homes rather than next to the reservoir.
A member of the Board asked how The Cavallari Group expects to make the commercial area profitable / viable, given that during the previous proposal, they expressed doubts about the success of commercial in this area. They already have interest from a kindercare; however, Mr. Cavallari said he’s not sure that a gas station is the best use, and they are still thinking on that. As we heard a lot of concerns from residents about the aesthetic, environmental impact, and viability of the gas station, I was happy to hear this would not necessarily be part of the proposal.
We heard a lot of feedback from the community prior to this meeting, but a lot of it wasn’t about the concept and was more about wanting the land to be rezoned as Open Space. As discussed with residents at February’s First Friday, this land is currently zoned for commercial uses, and the Board may only rezone it if requested to do so by the owner. (That is, we may not rezone land as Open Space unless the owner comes to us with a request to do so – just like I cannot rezone your home as Open Space even if it’s in an especially lovely location.) To move forward with this particular concept plan, Mr. Cavallari would need to request a zoning change to allow residential. However, if the Board denies a request for rezoning, Mr. Cavallari could still build commercial at any time without needing permission from the Board; the land would not necessarily remain undeveloped as it is now.
As for my thoughts on this new concept plan, I was happy to see the extra acreage included in the public land designation, and also the reduced density of homes. I told Mr. Cavallari that if he decides to move forward with an application, it would be imperative to me that all development be set back significantly from the HHR, and that we see as much detail as possible around how The Cavallari Group intends to preserve and protect the HHR and the wildlife that lives there.
Item 3 – Planning Commission and ACES interviews
Next, our Board did additional interviews as part of our quarterly filling of vacancies on our citizen-led Advisory committees.
We interviewed one applicant (Jason Serbu) for two vacancies on our Planning Commission; Laurence Rose, Bryan Kinderman, and Jennifer Kaaoush interviewed for the Planning Commission vacancies at our last Board meeting. We also interviewed two applicants (Michelle Gazarik and John Craven) for two vacancies on ACES; Miles Hoffman and Lauren Wheeler interviewed for the ACES vacancies at our last Board meeting.
Item 4 – Consent Agenda
Next, our Board unanimously passed the consent agenda – including meeting minutes, committee work plans (ACES, Historical Commission, OSAC, and Superior Youth Leadership Council), and a resolution approving the ACES Energy Action Plan and Mission Statement.
Out of the committee work plans, we pulled the CAPS committee and PROSTAC committee work plans for discussion. The CAPS committee will be coming before the Board at our next meeting on February 22nd, so we deferred approval of their work plan until that meeting when we can ask some questions about items in their budget. After discussion, we did unanimously approved the PROSTAC committee work plan.
Item 5 – CAPS and OSAC Committee Appointments
At our last Board meeting, we interviewed two residents for potential appointment to the CAPS committee – Andrea Golod and Michael Dempsey. As there was only one vacancy, our Board voted by written ballot prior to this meeting, and Town Clerk Phyllis Hardin announced that Andrea Golod had been appointed. We voted unanimously to make the appointment.
At our last Board meeting, we also interviewed two residents for potential appointment to the OSAC committee – Michael McDonnell and Amber Greves. As there was only one vacancy, our Board voted by written ballot prior to this meeting, and Town Clerk Phyllis Hardin announced that Amber Greves had been appointed. We voted unanimously to make the appointment.
Item 6 – Sister City Affiliation with Khandbari, Nepal
In 2020, the Board approved a policy for entering into Sister City relationships and became a member of Sister Cities International. The Town also received a request to establish a Sister City relationship with Khandbari, Nepal, from Superior resident and Nepal native Narayan Shrestha.
I had some concerns about the financial commitment we would need to make for this relationship. This was something I asked about in our last meeting on this topic, and had been assured that there was no financial commitment, but the mission statement for the project included mention of a “monetary and experiential” exchange, which seemed inconsistent. As the Sister City agreement would involve the establishment of a 501(c)3, another member of the Board asked many questions about who would be managing the finances of the 501(c)3 and their ability to act with fiduciary responsibility. Through a public records search, the Board member found two dozen Colorado court cases allegedly naming Mr. Shrestha as a party to Colorado and federal bankruptcies, which Mr. Shrestha denied.
The Sister City Affiliation agreement passed 4-3, with Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis, Trustee Ken Lish, and myself as the dissenting votes.
Item 7 – Quarterly Work Session Carry Over Items
Last on the agenda, we continued a few topics that we ran out of time for at last week’s Quarterly Work Session – some potential updates to our oil & gas regulations, and the potential creation of a trails master plan for Coyote Ridge Open Space.
Finally, we discussed our Board priorities for 2021. There seemed to be general consensus around our top four priorities:
- Downtown Superior (specifically, vertical construction on Main Street)
- Affordable Housing (potentially targeting the Superior Marketplace)
- Sustainability / Renewable Energy
- Economic Development
I had two additional priorities I wanted to see as part of our 2021 Board goals. First, supporting transparency and good governance (through digitizing more records, improving civics education, and making government emails searchable online). And second, the establishment of a technology, information, and communication commission, as suggested by resident Sean Maday (creator of EngagedCitizens.us) in January 2020.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or to me specifically at email@example.com. 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.