City Council Meeting Minutes February 12, 2008

Littleton City Council Special MeetingFebruary 12, 2008   Tom Mulvey was absent – he is sick. Rick Acres stood before the Council and asked them to reconsider the historic designation of 2690 W. Main Street. John Ostermiller supported Acres’ request saying that the report from staff was confusing for the new council members.  In fact, he found it confusing.  He mentioned this to Mary Roberts and she agreed that the staff communication did not sufficiently address the issues before the council.  In the past, the process has been rote. Debbie Brinkman agreed that the presentation and written documentation were very poor but that was what they had to work with.  As a new council member she does not expect the train to slow down for her.  She did not think it was fair to say we need a new hearing for the benefit of the new council members.  John, you said you had trouble with the documents too.  The Historic District is important for downtown Littleton.  Are we setting a precedent – it is almost like asking for a “do over.”  We need to have the best information when we are making the decision. Jose Trujillo said the property had no significant historical value – that’s it. Peggy Cole said the building has no significant value but the property does.  She appreciated the slippery slope Brinkman referred to but she thought it was important enough to allow reconsideration and then let future applicants know that they have to give it their best shot.  Acres’ deserves to have a better opportunity to present his case. Doug Clark said the only time a council has ever reconsider a decision was the result of new information being made available; the City made an error.  There is no new information being presented other than they did a bad job the first go.  If I heard something different – a technicality – but that didn’t occur in the first meeting.  Roberts Rules of Order states that a reconsideration motion has to be made by someone on the winning side and that’s not what is happening this evening. Ostermiller pointed out that the council communication did not even include the minutes from the Historic Preservation Board.  There’s your technicality.  If he had known it was going to be a close vote he would have tabled the item and ask for the minutes to be distributed.  Our own rules allow an easier process to have a motion reconsidered.  Asking for reconsideration as long as it is within 10 days of the decision is allowed within our rules. Jim Taylor said the historic designation is an opt-in process.  Acres was blind-sided.  Acres had no reason to think his request would be turned down.  He will be better prepared in the next hearing with witnesses etc.  He had no reason to suspect his request would not be approved.   Motion failed on a 3/3 vote with Clark, Brinkman, Trujillo dissenting.  (A tie vote equals failure.) Clark said the property did not comply with the standards but he doesn’t know why someone who wants to opt-in can’t.  If they want to opt-in it doesn’t make sense that there is any criteria to be met. South Platte Working Group This group, the idea of Commissioner Susan Beckman, formed in 2006 is comprised of 19 stakeholders .  Brinkman is the representative from the council serving with the group.  This is a group that has the money to purchase open space and are working to acquire parcels along the South Platte River.  They have 22 different projects identified.  Charlie Blosten talked about the projects in Littleton.  Ensor Property exists of 130 acres (located in the southwest corner of Mineral and Santa Fe Drive) is currently being used by the sod farm and others.  The property is now under contract and the developer is aware that the City is interested in purchasing 7 acres along the river.  More land may be available but that will depend on accurate measurements and the willingness of the developer to sell additional land to Littleton. Lee Gulch on the west side of Santa Fe, the Murray Property (the junkyard on the west side of Santa Fe, and the Big Dry Creek Trail by Littleton High School other projects.  South Suburban has filed a plan to develop on the north end of the Superchi property and the Carson Nature Center will see major improvements. The last property is the Water Conservation Board. Beckman ended by telling the council that the group wants to leave the South Platte area better than they found it. Taylor moved to have Mayor Clark sign an agreement that is non-binding stating Littleton’s commitment to the goals of the South Platte Working Group.  Motion was seconded and passed 6/0. Jim Woods told the council that the 2008 budget had $2,000,000.00 appropriated for open space and it has not been earmarked as of yet.   Clark said we are in a unique situation because the money isn’t the problem.  The difficult part is acquiring the property.  He recognized Beckman as the “pit bull” for open space.  Beckman is credited for bringing everyone in the group together. Contractual Agreements As background, contractual agreement is not what it sounds like.  It is a list of contributions the council makes with tax dollars to charitable organizations.  This list looks very similar to the lists of the past years. Clark moved that they remove the contribution to the Main Street Players because they do not perform in Littleton and he believed that the contributions should remain in Littleton. Taylor said a number of citizens in the group live in Littleton. Clark knew that to be true but they don’t perform here and all other recipients benefit the citizens of Littleton.  His motion failed for lack of a second. Brinkman moved that Meals of Wheels receive an additional $1,000 and the $1,000 be moved from the Summer Fun Faire at Buck’s.  She recounted the Meals on Wheels presentation at the previous council meeting.  She knew Interfaith Task Force has been in dire need of contributions because of the increased demand.  Likewise, she remembered a participant at a Pub meeting that talked about the food distribution program he lead at his church.  He was seeing an increased need too. Taylor argued on behalf of the Summer Fun Faire saying that the funds go to offset the costs for the northeast neighborhood kids to attend the event at the Buck Rec Center. Clark said that is not what their application stated – they will use the money to replace an air hockey table, purchase a disc jockey system and karaoke system. Taylor said they need something for the kids to do. Motion failed on a 3/3 vote with Ostermiller, Trujillo, and Taylor dissenting. Cole moved that the contribution to Doctor’s Care be reduced to award another $1,000 to Meals on Wheels.  Brinkman seconded. Taylor said Meals on Wheels did not ask for more funds.  Cole said even so they would welcome more money. Taylor said Interfaith Task Force would too. Motion failed on a 2/4 vote with Ostermiller, Clark, Taylor and Trujillo dissenting. The main motion passed on a 5/1 vote with Brinkman dissenting. Bi-City Waste Water Treatment Plan UpdateCharlie Blosten gave a history of sewage treatment in Littleton. Clark asked for the actual cost for operating the plant.  Until Englewood gives us the final reconciliation it won’t be known. Clark believes that tap fees need to be increased so users are no longer subsidizing the plant expansion.  He also wants to look into the possibility of selling our excess capacity. Blosten said the flow rates are going down and we do have excess capacity.  We can treat 25 million gallons per day (mgpd) and we are averaging 12 mgpd. Clark would like to look into the potential of having Sterling Ranch purchase our excess capacity which would require an amendment. Blosten said Sterling Ranch is not in the Littleton sewer district but he has been contacted by DRCOG about an application by Dominion to reopen the Roxborough treatment plant.  It would be a huge annexation to our service area if worked out. Taylor agrees with Clark.   Clark said the projections made by DRCOG are higher than actuals and they are not willing to reassess the flow rates for Littleton.  In light of that, Littleton will have to do the work on their own.   Blosten agreed that the flow rates have decreased and tap fees have slowed. Clark wants to know when figures will be available. Woods said they have struggled with this – they have to make their best guess.  DRCOG will not change their model.  The engineers will be reluctant to come out with numbers but council would more than likely get a range of numbers based on a set of assumptions.  If we assume that the drop in consumption is not a blip and that per capita consumption has truly dropped it may yield excess capacity. Taylor said we need to look at areas currently zoned for residential – those numbers have to be plugged in as future growth to determine consumption. Woods said the large variable in the past 5 years is the flow rates and the per capita consumption has everyone scratching their heads. Blosten said the figure used for average consumption for a single family resident was 300 gpd and it is actually less than 250 gpd.  They are not seeing ground water infiltration – it has been reduced as a result of the drought and fixing the leakage. Woods will return to council in 30 days with information to help set the rates for 2008. Trujillo wanted to know if the sewage enters into the plant in separate lines for Littleton and Englewood.  Blosten said yes – there are meters that measure the rates for the two cities as well. Taylor said a long-term look at capacity for Englewood so they can provide for their potential growth.  Blosten said Englewood sets their rates differently than we do. Ostermiller mentioned that Englewood takes care of Lone Tree and there is a lot of new development out there. Clark said there was a mix-up in the time line.  User rates have to be determined in April but that won’t impact user tap rates.  It is not necessary to determine the excess capacity to set the user rates.  Currently, the tap fees are way too low to offset the cost of the plant expansion.  It is a timing issue – if Roxborough is ready to sell their old plant and we have excess capacity and we want to sell it – the time line for that is before Roxborough gets permission to reactivate the old plant.  He does not know if selling capacity to Sterling Ranch will be good for Littleton but they won’t know until it is discussed. Ostermiller asked if they sell excess capacity to Sterling Ranch would it be similar to what they did with Roxborough?  They answer was yes. It was determined that they will need another study session on the topic.  Motion passed 6/0. Board and Commission InterviewsThe question is what to do about those that are unable to make the interview with council.  Clark would prefer to let them know that they are welcome to apply again next year. Cole believed that everyone should have the opportunity to interview and moved to start the meeting on the 19th at 6 pm to accommodate them.  Brinkman seconded. Clark said that would mean they have to get the questions out before the meeting and he didn’t know how they were going to do that.  Brinkman suggested using email to expedite the process. Cole said if her motion is voted down they should at least give the applicants an opportunity to write down their responses to the questions and be considered.  Her motion failed 2/4 with Clark, Taylor, Ostermiller and Trujillo dissenting. Cole then moved to allow those that can’t meet the interview schedule to respond to the questions in writing.  Brinkman seconded. Taylor asked, “What’s the purpose?” Cole said to give them a chance to answer the questions so we can see how they qualify – it is a disservice to eliminate the people from the process. Clark said they have never selected people in the past that did not show for the interview. Ostermiller said the purpose of a personal interview is to see how applicants conduct themselves and express themselves verbally.  Some will be part of a court record. Brinkman said it doesn’t hurt to ask them to respond to the questions and it was reasonable for them to look at the questions and answers.  It is just not that big of a deal.  Motion failed 2/4 with Taylor, Ostermiller, Clark and Trujillo dissenting. COMPLAN ProcessAt the workshop this past weekend it was determined that council would come up with priority areas in the City based on the neighborhood plans and have that area go through the process with the 1981 plan. Taylor would like to see the downtown area as their first priority.  Clark seconded.   Taylor thought the area represented by Trujillo was extremely important then the area where Brinkman lives actually needs a plan. Clark said if Ensor comes to the council for a rezoning before they get to that update they will be in trouble. Ostermiller asked Planning Commission to look at the downtown area and he would like to see some of that area designated as downtown be moved into the Santa Fe Corridor plan. Clark said he thought the boundaries should be one of the questions for the groups to consider – are they still good.  He also said the mechanics need to be looked at too – such as “changing conditions” and the applicability of the Complan to the zoning codes. Cole would like to see “for the general good” be defined, refined or an additional statement included. Woods said he was hearing zoning code amendments and if they give Brad Bailey instructions he can draft zoning code amendments for them. Taylor thought the Planning Commission should work on this and then the two groups should have a joint meeting. Cole and Clark agreed – that is what they had decided to do in their workshop.

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