Town Board Meeting: February 14, 2022

Town Board Meeting: February 14, 20227 min read

Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Town Board Meeting, we discussed further impacts and mitigation strategies from the Marshall Fire; deferred adoption of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code to our next meeting; and approved a $109K cost increase for the construction of the Tract H Park Playground. 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 – Marshall Fire Update and Discussion

The deadline for submission of the right of entry form for debris removal has been extended to this Friday, February 18. You can learn more on the Boulder County debris removal program webpage.

We have received 265 responses so far to our Marshall Fire Community Planning survey; please complete this if you have not already, as it will close next Monday February 21.

We spoke at our Thursday work session about organizing an event to gather builders together in one place for residents who have lost their homes and need to rebuild. However, Ascent Church has already been organizing a housing expo on February 25 and 26, so we decided to focus our efforts on publicizing that event rather than reinventing the wheel. More details can be found here.

I announced that I am organizing another Lasagna Love event for Superior on Sunday February 27th. In January, Lasagna Love volunteers from around the state baked lasagnas to provide more than 2000 meals for the Superior community. This week we are soliciting volunteers to help cook the hundreds of lasagnas we plan to distribute – visit lasagnalove.org/volunteer to sign up to cook, or come to the Superior Community Center between 3pm and 4:30pm on 2/27 to pick up a lasagna. The lasagnas are not just for those who have lost a home, but for anyone who has been impacted by the fire and could use a home cooked meal with love 💕

Item 2F – Public Comment

During public comment, Original Town resident Gladys Forshee announced that she would offer to sell her property to the Town as a Coal Miner’s Memorial space for community gatherings.

Residents John Heckman and Jen Kaaoush formally introduced Superior Rising, which has been gathering impacted residents to understand needs, find volunteers and resources, and bring the community together as we rebuild. Superior Rising is hosting an “After the Fire” open forum this Wednesday, February 16, at 6pm, to bring a delegation of survivors from the Sonoma County fires who lost their homes in 2017 and have successfully rebuilt. This session will be held in person at the Superior Community Center and also livestreamed on Zoom; you can register and find more details here.

Resident Rick Kupfner expressed concerns about being able to sort through the ashes on his own property, and also asked for relief on dump fees for residents who are conducting debris removal on their own.

Several residents who lost their homes expressed concerns about the code updates (item 5). With so many people being underinsured, anything that makes it more expensive to rebuild poses a great hardship. Some residents also expressed concerns with the length of time to get through the permit process to rebuild, the dump fees being charged to residents, and the reliance on online rather than in-person communications.

Item 3 – Consent Agenda

Next, our Board unanimously passed the consent agenda – including meeting minutes, contracts with Jag’s Enterprises and RockSol Consulting Group for the US 36 Bikeway Extension Project, and a summary report of preliminary financial information for Q4 2021.

Item 3F, an Amendment to the Agreement with SAFEbuilt Colorado, LLC for Building Plan Review and Inspection Services, was pulled for discussion. On December 13, we approved an agreement with SAFEBuilt to provide full-service building plan review and inspection services; however, the Marshall Fire has dramatically increased the scope of inspections, and we’ve waived fees for residents for inspections. Since our initial agreement with SAFEBuilt had their compensation based on fees, we needed to amend the agreement to move to a standard hourly rate for inspections, as well as to add consulting services to support Town Staff’s increased workload, in hopes of decreasing the response time for permit applications. We had a lot of discussion about this last piece, ensuring that we are helping residents to move quickly through the permitting process, and ultimately approved this unanimously.

Item 3G, the 2022 Advisory Group Work Plans for the Cultural Arts and Public Spaces Advisory Committee (CAPS), the Superior Historical Commission (SHC), and the Planning Commission (PC) was also pulled for discussion. These too were then approved unanimously.

Item 5 – Adoption of the 2021 Edition of the International Energy Conservation Code by Reference

Next, we moved to consideration of new building codes. Back in December, before the fire, we considered adopting the 2021 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), but deferred to get more information on a few items. Now, there are a lot of concerns that updating our building codes will put financial strain on people who have lost their homes and are already uninsured to rebuild. The estimates we received indicated that the incremental cost of these updates would be about $5K-9K per home; however, XCel Energy offered a $7500 incentive for homeowners if and only if the town as a whole adopted the 2021 IECC. If we chose not to adopt the 2021 IECC, even those who rebuilt their home adhering to the 2021 code updates would not be able to receive the credit.

After discussion, we realized that the majority of the Board agreed that we did not want to require residents rebuilding from the fire to have to adhere to new codes – however, we believed that stating this would provide those impacted residents with the certainty they need to move forward with plans to rebuild. With that assurance, we voted 5-2 to continue to discuss the nuances of adoption of the 2021 codes at the February 28 meeting, with Trustees Neal Shah and Paige Henchen as the dissenting votes.

Item 4 – Increase in the Tract H Park Playground Project Costs

Finally, we went back to item 4 on our original agenda, and extended the meeting an extra 15 minutes to ensure we had time to discuss. In September 2019, we approved an FDP for blocks 16-24 of Downtown Superior, including a park and playground on Tract H (near the stub end of Coal Creek Drive and Lanterns Lane). We initially approved $300K for this, and then added $75K in April 2021; however, rising building costs have now brought the estimated cost to $484K, or another $109K over our current budget. The new project cost does include a scope reduction, removing the small shade structure and one of three tunnel structures. At our last meeting, we held off on approving this until we could get a better sense of our Town Budget after the fire; at this meeting, there was discussion around waiting longer for the full cost of the foundation removals to be determined. However, we voted 6-1 to approve the cost increase for the playground build to proceed quickly, with Mayor Pro Tem Mark Lacis as the dissenting vote.

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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