Virtual Town Board Meeting: May 10, 2021

Virtual Town Board Meeting: May 10, 202110 min read

Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Town Board Meeting, we provided feedback on a concept plan for 250 apartment units at the Superior Marketplace, discussed a change to the Superior Municipal Code to allow food trucks with certain limitations, approved a design option for a mural at 1500 Coalton Road, approved the PROST Master Plan, and agreed on an approach for an in-person Fourth of July extravaganza. 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, a member of the Board who attended Monday morning’s Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (RMMA) Community Noise Roundtable reported that based on FAA regulations, it would be unlikely that we could get flight paths to move (or for varied flight paths to be taken) for touch-and-gos. He also reported that the flight schools say that they are all following the voluntary noise abatement procedures, and it was noted that Centennial Airport has had a community noise roundtable for twenty years, so patience will be needed.

I made a little public service announcement about Coyote Ridge Open Space. We acquired this property last year, so this is our first spring with the land owned by the Town of Superior. Unfortunately, we have not yet established a protocol for closing these trails due to muddy conditions, and I have noticed that the trails are getting severely damaged from people going on the trails in muddy conditions and then widening them to try to avoid the mud. If you are going to go on these trails when it’s muddy (which I would urge you not to do), please at least follow leave no trace rule #2, and walk single file in the middle of the trail rather than veering off to try to avoid the mud. For my part, I will be sticking to the roads and sidewalks when the trails aren’t dry!

Item 2E – Public Comment

During public comment, we heard several comments supporting the Element Properties concept presentation we would be hearing next on the agenda; speakers included Superior residents Matt Koschmann, Natasha Flyer, Suzanne Garrett, Rachael Tittle, Mel Glover, and Terrye Whitaker; Louisville resident Debbie Haseman; Boulder Area Labor Council President Geof Cahoon; and East County Housing Opportunity Coalition founder Annmarie Jensen. Several of these supporters, however, had concerns about the height of these buildings. Residents Suzanne Sawyer-Ratliffe  and Megan Williams encouraged us to look at other models for affordable housing.

Superior resident Johnny Lasker wanted to comment on item 6, and encouraged us to be mindful of public health concerns, but also try to have some sort of July 4th celebration because it is such a beloved tradition.

Item 2F – Presentation – Element Properties Concept Plan

Our Town Board has prioritized affordable housing in our community (see my thoughts on that here), as well as exploring public improvements to enhance the Superior Marketplace and the adjacent RTD Park-n-Ride site. In February, we heard an initial presentation from Element Properties seeking our input and interest in partnership opportunities; on Monday, Scott Holton from Element Properties presented a concept plan to build a five story building with 250 residential units, at least 50 of which would be dedicated for affordable housing.

Element’s proposal indicates that without any town subsidies, they could deliver 50 units at an 80% AMI rate (meaning, residents must make 80% or less of the Area Median Income). Element committed to exploring all funding resources and working towards deeper affordability (60% AMI and below), but doing so might require significant subsidies from the Town. It should be noted that our 2020 Superior Inclusionary Housing Policy already requires all developers to put in attainable housing in at least 15% of units.

I think it’s important not to label this as “an affordable housing project”, given that only 20% of units are designated affordable; this is really diversifying our housing stock by adding more apartments that happen to include a few affordable units. While I appreciate Element’s commitment to exploring additional funding sources, I am not convinced that they’ll find enough funding from other sources to avoid Superior having to subsidize any increase in the percent of designated affordable units. With this site being so close to RTD, I think the apartments will attract many people who primarily want an easy commute to Boulder or Denver, rather than contributing to the Superior community. If we are going to put Superior taxpayer dollars behind affordable housing, I believe they should subsidize those who want to live / work in Superior.

Item 3 – Consent Agenda

Next, our Board unanimously passed the meeting minutes on the consent agenda.

Item 3C, a contract with JHL Constructors for the 2021 McCaslin Drainage Project, was pulled for discussion. The steel culverts on the west side of McCaslin are more than 50 years old and in disrepair; Town Staff recommended that rather than repairing them, we install a storm drainage pipe along the east side of McCaslin. After a competitive bidding process, Town Staff recommended we choose the lowest price bidder, JHL Constructors, for $696K; this would leave a more than adequate $2.5M in our budget for the resurfacing part of the project. This contract passed unanimously.

Item 3D, an agreement with Earth Green for the 2021 Fence Maintenance, was also pulled for discussion. The Town’s annual maintenance plan calls for painting and staining ~153K linear feet of fence throughout the community, which we do on a four-year rotation. Last May, we made the decision to change the color of our town-owned fences from “Rock Creek Yellow” to “Cabot Dune Gray”; the Rock Creek HOA subsequently followed suit and decided that all fences should eventually be painted Cabot Dune Gray. (More on that history here.) With many homeowners already repainting to Cabot Dune Gray, a member of the Board suggested potentially pulling forward our painting of the two later sections of Town-owned fence so that we wouldn’t have different colored fence throughout Superior. I was opposed to this – the reason we paint the fence on a four year rotation is for maintenance reasons, because that’s approximately how long the paint lasts. If we were to pull this forward, we would essentially be spending about $200K to paint fence that doesn’t yet need to be painted. The rest of the Board agreed, and we approved the $104K agreement with Earth Green Fence for this year’s rotation two, covering 40K linear feet of fence.

Item 7 – Mobile Food Vending Ordinance

(We moved item 7 to be earlier on our agenda.) Currently, our Superior Municipal Code prohibits food trucks from parking in one location for more than 15 minutes; as I brought up at our last meeting, some residents in Downtown Superior are interested in organizing food truck nights, where the trucks would park there for some time and allow everyone to come, potentially along with music. The proposed ordinance change would remove the time restriction of 15 minutes, require food trucks to get a business license and permit from the Town, allow operation only between the hours of 8am and 10pm, and require food trucks to move to a new location every 24 hours.

I would prefer that we remove the operating hours requirement – I could see a breakfast truck operating successfully before 8am, for example. And while I am certainly not a late night person and don’t think we as a community have a strong need for late night food in Superior, I’m open to the possibility if a food truck wanted to give it a try. While noise might be a concern, that would already be covered by our noise ordinances.

Item 4 – Mural at 1500 Coalton Community Center

At our April 12 Board meeting, we approved the Cultural Arts and Public Spaces (CAPS) committee recommendation to commission Fawn Atencio to complete a painted mural on the south wall at the 1500 Coalton Road community center. Ms. Atencio had two design options – option one with pyramidal lines above the mountain range, and option 2 without the linework.

I suggested we support CAPS’ recommendation to include the lines, so as not to micromanage their decisions that do not have a financial impact. We decided to approve design option #1 (with the lines) by a vote of 6-1, with Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis as the dissenting vote.

Item 5 – PROST Master Plan

Based on feedback from our April 12 Board meeting on a draft of the Superior Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) Master Plan, PROS Consulting made recommended changes which were approved by both the Open Space Advisory Committee (OSAC) and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PARC). Some of the changes included creating a higher level of emphasis for senior programs and services as well as programs for those with special needs; eliminating the prioritization of the focus areas; and removing the potential concept plans for the Town 15 as a recommendation. The updated PROST Master Plan (which you can read here) passed unanimously with these changes.

Item 6 – Fourth of July Extravaganza

Finally, we considered three options proposed by Town Staff for this year’s Fourth of July extravaganza. On May 16, Boulder County expects to move to “Level Clear,” which is expected to remove all event capacity restrictions. While the State and County have paved a way for communities to host outdoor events again, COVID19 has changed how we approach public gatherings, celebrations and the use of public spaces. So, Town Staff sought to create relatively safe options that incorporate some of the traditional features of Superior’s past Fourth of July events.

First, we had a choice of whether to do the traditional downhill mile race in person or virtually. As an avid runner, I’ve been closely watching how various race organizations do in-person events, and I’ve seen some hits and misses. I think the best model is the “time trial” method used by Millennium Racing, where runners are seeded based on their self-submitted pace estimates and two people start every 8 seconds. A race announcer calls each person’s name as they start, and I think that would be particularly fun for a family-friendly race like our Superior Mile. The rest of the Board agreed that this would be a good approach; I’m excited to be able to truly race the mile without all the initial crowding of past years!

As for the rest of the day, our other decision was whether to end the parade with the grand opening of the 1500 Coalton Road Community Center (including indoor activities), end it with a food truck festival outside in Community Park, or end it with no gathering at the end. We had some debate over whether it would be safe to be encouraging crowds to go indoors at 1500 Coalton, but ultimately decided on a somewhat hybrid model – with vendor tents and the traditional July 4th activities in Community Park, but closing Coalton Road for people to easily cross the street and do a walkthrough of the new community center.

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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