Town Board Meeting: March 28, 20228 min read
Hi neighbors! In Monday night’s Town Board Meeting, we heard updates on Marshall Fire recovery, including our water issues and an updated emergency alert system; deferred an agreement to install a new granular activated carbon treatment system for our water treatment plant, until we can get more details on cost; and heard a presentation from our Town Planner on proposed building code changes for Sagamore and Original Town. 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 Updates
Tomorrow night there is a Coordinated Debris Removal Program meeting online; you can find more details here. The webinar will be recorded and posted to BoCo.org/Marshall-Debris-Cleanup for those who cannot attend.
Although the NCAR Fire this weekend did not end up burning any structures or moving down to Superior, I know a number of community members had a tough time this weekend seeing another fire in the area. Any residents feeling symptoms of post-traumatic stress from the Marshall Fire, are encouraged to call the Colorado State Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-844-493-8255. Furthermore, Town Manager Matt Magley let us know that there will be a new emergency alert system going live in April – this has been in the works for a while, but unfortunately didn’t go live for the NCAR Fire, which I know caused some anxiety.
We’ve received some emails alerting us that people have been picking up trash off the curbs where it was awaiting pickup. While normally recycling is a good thing, in this case, these are contaminated household items that people’s insurance companies said should be thrown away for safety. Remember, curbside items may be contaminated with toxins and are only meant for disposal; please do not pick up items from other homes! After the meeting, an eBlast went out to remind people of this.
We are still having aesthetic issues with our water, and are hoping to have a temporary carbon filtration system up and operating in April to address these. In the meantime, Public Works Director Alex Ariniello is trying to get the Northern Water bypass implemented until then. If any residents still have concerns about VOCs in their water (or other problems beyond the known aesthetic issues), they should contact the public works department for testing.
Item 2D – Board Reports
During Board reports, I was grateful to another member of the Board for pointing out that we need to find ways to support renters who have been affected by the Marshall Fire, as many programs primarily target the homeowners (whether or not that homeowner is living there). I also asked our Town Manager to find time on our agendas for us to meet with other Boulder leaders and take action on tactics to help prevent future fires; we heard a presentation a few weeks ago on planning the wildland urban interface, but I think it’s important for us to start moving on this.
Item 2E – Public Comment
During public comment, Sagamore resident Mark Sires asked the Board to open up the elevations (as we would be discussing in item 4 for Original Town) so he and his neighbors can build something they think will be better than the original plans. Another Sagamore resident, Nadim Ferzli, agreed that we ought to open up the architecture. He pointed out that the living expenses that insurance companies are providing are often topping out at two years, so we need to move quickly or people may run out of time to build. Sagamore resident Chris Raulf agreed with their comments, and said there are many more who feel the same. Sagamore resident Joy Cassidy shared her neighbors’ concerns about the slow process for the PUD, and pointed out that while we’re talking about Original Town tonight, we didn’t yet have time to discuss similar changes for Sagamore. Sagamore resident Jonathan Vigh pointed out that code updates can make a big difference and encouraged adoption of the IECC building codes. Finally, Sagamore resident Dan Cole supported flexibility in architecture and asked that we provide clarity on the setbacks as quickly as possible.
Rock Creek resident Colleen Callin asked the Board to instate a moratorium on rebuilding of wood fences throughout town, particularly where they back to open space.
Item 3 – Consent Agenda
Next, our Board unanimously passed the consent agenda – including meeting minutes and the appointment of Robert Stephens to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PARC).
Item 3D, a Rental Agreement with Evoqua Water Technologies LLC for the Installation and Rental of a Granular Activated Carbon Treatment System at the Water Treatment Plant, was pulled for discussion. Since the Marshall Fire, the Town has pursued several things to try to address our smoky water: reservoir ash removal (work to be completed in early April), reservoir draining (releasing reservoir water into the irrigation system to help replenish the raw water storage with clean water), and installation of a granular activated carbon (GAC) system to remove compounds that are causing the taste and odor issues. The GAC installation would require extensive modifications to the water treatment plant, and after significant research, Town Staff is recommending the Evoqua Water Technologies system that includes six steel vessels, each 10 feet tall; we can lease this for six months to make sure it works ($850K rental cost for six months), and then either extend the lease ($27K per month) or purchase the system outright (cost currently unknown). Whether we lease or buy, there will also be installation costs of up to $500K, plus replacement of the GAC filters up to $74K per event. I asked whether there might be any other benefits to this system, if the reservoir ash removal and reservoir draining resolve the problem, and was told that the process would also remove organic compounds, which can form into trihalomethanes (THMs). Our THM levels are completely compliant with federal standards, but I purchased a whole home filtration system for my house in part because I wanted to reduce these further.
We heard several comments from residents asking us not to spend all this money on a system for the Town, when not everyone is noticing water issues. This made me reconsider whether we ought to move forward with the GAC solution for the Town or instead offer rebates for those who choose to install their own home carbon filtration systems. However, there are other problems that can arise with home systems (e.g., home systems going awry and leading to more complaints to public works), and individual systems are also $1500-2000, which would still be a big financial burden on individuals even with something like a $1000 rebate. We agreed that a GAC solution for the Town would make the most sense, but before signing a rental agreement, wanted to know the cost to purchase the system outright. We decided to table moving forward with the actual agreement to a future Special Meeting, so we can move quickly once we get the true cost.
Item 4 – Marshall Fire Building Code Updates
With Private Property Debris Removal (PPDR) beginning later this month, we are trying to finalize some potential Building Code changes to provide more flexibility to property owners to rebuild. The Town has been conducting surveys and holding community meetings and neighborhood meetings of the affected areas; Town Planner Steven Williams shared the feedback from those meetings and provided recommendations on building code updates we should make. You may view a copy of the presentation here. Key proposals for Original Town include decreasing front and side yard setbacks and allowing ADUs even before a main house has been built. For Sagamore, residents were looking for flexibility on height, setbacks (especially front setbacks), and architecture, with a follow up survey currently in the works to get more details on the architectural flexibility desired.
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.