Littleton City Council Meeting – 1 July 2008

Littleton City Council Meeting

1 July 2008


Unscheduled Appearances

Paul Bingham told the council that he hoped the council would consider the recommended changes to the Legislative Rules and Procedures that were on the agenda later in the meeting.  He thought Peggy Cole had done a “really good job” in making suggested changes and he hoped that the council would seriously consider her changes.


Carol Brzeczek said dittos to what Paul Bingham had said.  She also commented on the need for the council to extend some workshops for all board and commission members on parliamentary procedures, Robert’s Rules of Order and the Open Meetings Law.  She has been serving on the Fine Arts Committee and has found their by-laws to be out of sync with the rules in the board and commission handbooks.  She thought perhaps staff should have a lesson on the Open Meetings Law based on the proposed secret ballot at the last BIAAC meeting. 


Consent Agenda

A motion was made to pass the Resolution Amending the Investment Policy, the Contract with the State of Colorado for a Certified Local Government Grant for a Reconnaissance Survey for Arapaho Hills Subdivision, and to eliminate the water tap fees that have been collected since 1983.  (This is the money that has been collected and is in the famed Water Fund – money that can’t be spent but the City continued to collect it.  There’s approximately $12 million in the fund today.)    All three items were passed on a 7/0 vote.


The next item was a motion to pass an ordinance on first reading amending the park and open space fees.  The council communication indicated that the “new fees be set at a corresponding level offsetting the lost revenue from eliminating the water tap fees which would be $3000 for a single family unit and $2100 per multiple family unit.” 


Jose Trujillo said the rate of open space fees have no relationship to and never have had a relationship to the water tap fee – there is no such thing as an offset.


Jim Woods said the statement Jose was referring to came directly from the notes of the study session from Doug Clark.  Did I miss understand?


Clark said Woods did not misunderstand – Clark said he suggested $5,000 but that did not get much traction so he suggested $3,000.  Clark thought the single family and the multiple family unit fees should be the same.


Cole said the April 13 minutes do say a single fee for single and multiple family units but they also says we should at least cover the lost revenue from the water tap fees.  The fees seemed low to her.


Clark suggested passing the ordinance as is and amend it during the second reading.


Woods said the ordinance presented reflected the council’s direction from the May 13 meeting.  If you want to go back and rethink the whole thing I will resend the research that was done earlier.  Is $3,000 defensible – I think so?  Is $6,000 fair – that would require a broader discussion?


Motion passed on a 7/0 vote.


Woods was asked to bring additional figures to the second reading for the council to consider.


A motion to approve the partnership agreement for the South Platte Greenway Legacy Project was made by Debbie Brinkman.  If the motion passes Littleton will be the first city to sign the agreement.  Motion passed 7/0.


International Fire Code

Jim Hofstra, Fire Marshal, told the council that the document represented very few changes from the 2003 Codes they are currently using.


Jim Taylor asked about warrantless searches – even if they were already in the Code he was bothered by it.  Hofstra told Taylor that this had been the language of the code for the last 20 years.


Taylor asked how often warrantless searches are conducted.  Hofstra said never.  Taylor wanted to know why it was in the code if never used.  Hofstra said the city attorney’s office preferred this language.


Clark said it was just another example of language previously approved.


Taylor also questioned the requirement of 6 inch high house numbers on a contrasting background for new and existing buildings – does it include houses?


Hofstra said it did but only on existing building and homes – the landguage was there at the request of a previous council.  Taylor thought it could be a problem – someone could come along and enforce the Code.  We are an older city and most of the numbers aren’t even 4 inches tall and they are not on a contrasting background.  If it is in the Code and not enforced why have it in the Code?


Hofstra said it was for commercial and multiple family structures and only enforced where they have encountered problems.


Another requirement that “rubbed” Taylor “the wrong way” was a requirement to “provide adequate on-site fire service communication capabilities by installing a radio amplification system” with the costs to be borne by the property owner.  Hofstra said it was typically on new construction and they would prefer to have the language in the Code so if there is a problem they have a way to address it.


Taylor said he was really upset about “Fire apparatus access roads 20 to 28 feet wide” that shall be fire lanes on both sides (thus eliminating parking on those streets).  He asked how wide a fire truck is (8 feet wide and 16 feet wide with ladders and out rigging).


Taylor said we are moving into a new era – more walkable.  Building will start to make it easier for pedestrians and seniors to walk.  Belmar, from curb to curb, is 34 feet wide and they have parking on both sides. 


Taylor commented on a tour of Commerce City.  They are trying to make it walkable – that is the future for Littleton – in-fill will be developed like that – costs have gone up and places will be condensed and concise.


Chief Mullins told the council there are reasons to push for 36 feet wide streets.  If communities are accepted with narrower streets fire protection may require all units to be sprinkled.


Cole moved to change the language on house numbers that would make the requirements for the numbers apply to new buildings only and to eliminate the “contrasting background” requirement.  She added the words “on new buildings” be inserted so the 6 inch high numbers only applied to new buildings.  Taylor seconded her motion.  Her motion failed on a 2/5 vote with Cole and Taylor voting in favor.


Clark tried his hand at the same paragraph.  He moved to remove the words “and existing” from the first sentence.  His motion passed 4/3 with Cole, Mulvey and Trujillo dissenting.


Taylor asked if a planned project comes to Littleton would they have to meet the road restrictions in this ordinance.  Clark said if we get a planned development now – does it override the fire code if approved?  He remembered the Marathon Oil project – the width of the streets was dictated by Denver Water.


Taylor said he was trying to give Littleton the flexibility for the next 10 to 20 years.


John Ostermiller said they do allow narrow streets.  The Prince Street and Ridge Road project is a good example.  One or two of the homes have to be sprinkled.


Taylor moved to delete the section on road widths.  The motion failed for lack of a second.


Jose called for the question – Mulvey seconded and motion carried 5/2 with Taylor and Clark dissenting. The vote on the main motion passed 7/0.


Resolution adopting “the amended and restated money purchase plan and trust agreement of the General Employees of the City of Littleton

Motion was approved 7/0.  (For more info please see the official minutes!)


Board Vacancies

Brinkman said the Fine Arts Committee would like to continue to function one member short – there is a considerable “ramp-up time” for new members. 


Brinkman said BIAAC is down two members – the council needs to ask Margie (Aspen Grove Manger) if she wants to serve and then decide how to fill the second vacancy.


Taylor said Brzeczek made a good pint – we need a general training and when we piecemeal appointments the training is missed.  Brinkman agreed and said she has noticed a “looseness” in terms of how the committees conduct their meetings.  As an example, the former chair of the Fine Arts Committee never voted unless it was to break a tie.  One consistency on the committees is staff and she has seen staff perplexed at what to do next.  They are really looking for direction and not resistance – they just want to know.  Brinkman suggested training for staff.


Woods said he would talk to senior staff.  There is more structure in the quasi-judicial boards so they are not loose across the board.  BIAAC and the other committees are advisory – we can talk to those staff members to tighten things up.


Brinkman mentioned the proposed secret ballot at the last BIAAC meeting.  The rules need to be adhered to and it is not happening.


Woods said that BIAAC has not regulatory role – they are 100% advisory – we need to know if the Open Meetings Law applies – it may not apply to all boards and commissions.


Brinkman said she thought it did and Woods said he didn’t know.


Clark asked if the council wanted to interview or not for the BIAAC vacancy.  Taylor suggested that they ask Julie Freyberger, who had applied to BIAAC earlier, if she was interested in serving out the vacancy.  Motion was made to ask Freyberger and the Aspen Grove Manager if they wanted to serve on BIAAC.  The motion passed 7/0.


Clark suggested that each board and commission member be given a book on Robert’s Rules of Order – it will be first good step.  He also asked the City Attorney to look at the Open Meetings Law and how it applies to all the boards and commission for the next regular council meeting.



Woods mentioned complaints about the concert noise from Hudson Gardens.  Brinkman said she would like to study session on the Hudson Garden noise at the same time the council will be discussing the traffic noise on Santa Fe Drive.


Suzanne Staiert said Englewood is not going forward with the Use Protection request for the sewer plant.


Cole said she still wanted to look at an ordinance for the DNC and asked the Staiert to propose amendments to a couple of existing ordinances.


Taylor asked Doug Farmen is credit cards can be used to pay for city bills.  Woods said not yet but it is in the works.


Tom Mulvey said South Suburban is considering naming the Superchi property after Dennis Reynolds for his years of service.


Bruce Stahlaman has been elected as chair of the FOL/M.


Ostermiller has accepted a semi part-time job that will cause him to be late at the meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.


Brinkman said Mike Price was elected to chair BIAAC.  Their meetings will be the 3rd Friday of each month at 8am.


Brinkman said the “Year of Sundays” may not be moved – it is very expensive.  “Free Flow” has been completed 2 months early.  An unveiling event is being planned.


The Best of Own an Original Show starts July 24th at the Littleton Museum.


The stucco sculpture, “Solar Three”, has orange construction fencing around one of the pieces.  The sprinklers have beaten the stucco and the Fine Arts Committee is taking bids on repairing the piece.  A solution needs to be found to mitigate any future damages.


All the land has been secured to complete the Big Dry Creek Trail.


Clark asked that all boards and commissions indicate in their minutes how each member voted.


Study Session to Consider Changes to the Legislative Rules and Procedures


Mulvey moved that they make no changes to the document.  Ostermiller seconded.  Mulvey said it was done in 2006 and it is too soon to be doing so again.


Cole thought the current version was confusing to the members and to the public.  She said there weren’t all that many changes but she did add some definitions and rearrange the content.  She wanted to get rid of the confusion about study sessions.


Ostermiller said they had been effect for 30 years and served 15 different councils very well.  He would like to see the city attorney go through and bring the document up to date on the Open Meetings Law and other Colorado Revised Statutes that govern.  The Legislative Rules need to be in compliance with the Charter.  He thought it would be more beneficial and efficient use of their time to have the attorney look at all the changes from Cole and Clark and make suggestions.


Staiert thought some of the proposed changes were discretionary but some needed to be made – some of the changes represented are mine, she said.  I will not make any format suggestions.  I am not sure you should ever put the full Open Meetings Law or the Open Records Act in your document – they get changed more than any other law.  It would be helpful to have a reference to them.


Clark said there was confusion about study sessions and special meetings.  He suggested removing Section 22 that addresses study sessions and that will solve most of our problems.


As far as limited political advertising – he was opposed to any limits.  He wanted to eliminate the section that duplicated Roberts’ Rules of Order because they are not complete and can cause confusion.  Reconsideration has also been a problem – take out the language in our rules and refer to Robert’s Rules for the proper procedure to follow.


Ostermiller said there was a big difference in Robert’s Rules and theirs on a motion to reconsider.


Mulvey’s motion passed on a 4/3 vote with Clark, Brinkman and Cole dissenting.





One Response

  1. Thanks for the post

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