Littleton City Council Meeting Minutes – October 7, 2008

Regular Council Meeting

October 07, 2008


Scheduled Appearances

Keri Scalet gave a report on the Littleton Leadership Retreat of 2008 that is now called the Littleton Community Retreat.


Unscheduled Appearances

Jerry Hill gave the Council an update on the repairs and maintenance at Geneva Village some that have been neglected for the past 8 years.  He thanked the Council for their effort to remedy the situation.


Consent Agenda 

The following items were passed on a 7/0 vote.

1.      Ordinance on first reading granting permanent drainage and temporary construction easements to Arapahoe County – this will allow Arapahoe County permanent drainage easement to allow them to install, maintain, repair or replace and operate a drainage pipe in Slaughterhouse Gulch which is owned by the City.

2.      Ordinance on first reading amending the City Code Sections 10-1-2 and 10-3-2 pertaining to zoning definitions and land use tables as they apply to senior living facilities.

3.      Ordinance on first reading amending City Code Section 11-7-1(A) pertaining to parks and open space fees as they apply to senior living facilities.


Resolution Approving a Budget Transfer to Fund Televising Meetings Through 2008

The transfer was requested in order to continue to fund the Channel 8 television coverage of Council and Planning Commission meetings.  When the 2008 budget was determined under the old Council it was based on two council and two planning commission meetings per month.  The newly elected Council has broadened the live coverage to include all of their meetings and all of the Planning Commission meetings resulting in another $3,500.  The money would be transferred from Council’s Other Charges Account to the City Manager’s Littleton Cable TV Account.


John Ostermiller thought this was a bad example in fiscal responsibility when they miss a budget by 40%.  It shows council has no resolve or doesn’t care about costs.


There was a short discussion about whether or not it required 4 or 5 votes. It was determined that it required 5 votes since it was not a decision delegated to the City Manager who could actually make the transfer on his own.


Brinkman moved to transfer the $3,500.


Jim Taylor said the 2008 number was based on a good guess.  At the time there was no idea that there would be 5 budget meetings to televise and the motion was appropriate.


Doug Clark said the 2008 budget was approved by the previous council and he was not surprised that they are over budget.  Motion passed 6/1 with Ostermiller dissenting.


Ordinance on First Reading Approving the Rezoning of 5590 South Windermere Street from R-5 to T

Clark pulled this item from the Consent Agenda concerned about the PDO (Planned Development Overlay) that was already approved by the Planning Commission that is contingent on a T zone designation.  He said they could not change a land use based on a PDO.


Clark understood the motive of the application and applauded it but felt they were restrained by zoning ordinance and rather than face the problem in two weeks on the second reading he wanted to discuss it now to see if there was a way to accommodate the applicant that would not require another application process.  He said PDOs do not go to Council and if we put restrictions on this they can be eliminated 6 months later without Council approval.  The T zone allowed for a broader use than the PDO.  Once a zoning is approved the PDO could be changed.  Clark did not have a problem with the additional business use of the building but had a problem with the PDO.


Dennis Swain said this PDO restricts the land use but the future owners could change the land use according to the T zoning.


Clark suggested changing from a T zone to a B-2 zone but thought there were problems with whether or not that was a valid action for the Council to take.


Clark also said since the lot was small it was limited to extending the existing zoning to a zoning district that has to be contiguous and he had a hard time viewing the fact that this lot touched another T zoned lot at the corner in the middle of the intersection of Windermere and Powers fulfilled the definition of contiguous.


Taylor wanted to know if it was legally defensible to do a T zone on this property with only touching at the corners.


Peggy Cole moved to postpone the decision to give the attorney a chance to carefully consider the diagonal question.  Motion failed for lack of a second.


Clark asked the attorney if there are ways to limit property uses that transcend zoning code.


Jose said he did not like the T zone – it allowed for crematoriums.  Swain said that use was not longer permitted in the T zone.


Jim Woods said a B-2 zoning would be a difficult path for the applicant.


Suzanne Staiert, City Attorney, said there may be some remedy in place once we do the research.


The building owner, David Day, said he did not mind the restrictions of the PDO.  He just wanted to add professional offices in the building.  He did not want a B-2 zoning. 


Clark said there might be another alternative – we can change the permitted uses in the R-5 zoning.  We would have to see what impact that would have city wide.


Taylor reminded him that they just turned down a rezoning of one property from R-5.


Ostermiller moved to approve the ordinance on first reading.  Brinkman seconded and motion passed 6/1 with Clark dissenting.


Ordinance on Second Reading Adopting National Elevator Safety Standards

The purpose of this ordinance is to adopt the safety standards for elevators and escalators that are mandated in Colorado law.  Motion passed 7/0.


Motion approved acquisition of Granicus Legislative Management and Web Casting Package

Kelli Narde was excited to propose the purchase of the Granicus System.  It will stream-line the work for the City Clerk, make more media available to the public through the media vault, it would eliminate the $12,000 per year cost for the current streaming of meetings, had a keyword search capability, and a CD creator tool among other features.  She and Cathy Weaver, city’s Web Manager, demonstrated the system by going to Broomfield’s web site.  (They are using the Granicus System.   It was impressive.)  By using a keyword search (prairie dog) the system took the viewer to a meeting where prairie dogs were being discussed.  The viewer could watch video of that portion of the meeting, read minutes of that portion of the meeting, if available, and read any memos relating to the topic all at the same time via split screens. 


Brinkman applauded their efforts and she liked the fact that this system would ease the workload for staff.  It is an excellent use of the PEG money.  She moved to approve the purchase of the Granicus System.  Ostermiller seconded.


Clark said it will open up the broadcast of the city’s meeting to others beyond Comcast subscribers.  You can be anywhere in the world and watch the meetings via the internet.  Motion passed 7/0.


Motion Approving 2009 Arapahoe County Community Development Block Grant Applications

Taylor made the motion and Cole seconded.


Clark said he was concerned about continuing to fund the Mental Health program when a former partner backed out.  He suggested a study session on the mental health needs of Littleton.  The $22,500 salary is for a part-time nurse that does triage – no mental health services are offered at the site.  The basic responsibility of the city is to provide police, fire, streets and to some extent open space, library and museum.  However he recognizes that mental health needs do impact the police and fire departments.  At this point the $22,500 might be better spent at Arapahoe Mental Health and he could not support the $22,500 for the Doctor’s Care program.  (He did not support this expenditure last year either.)


Brinkman asked if the decision could be postponed.  Blosten said no – the deadline is October 15th.


Taylor thought it was appropriate to have a study session on the topic.  He thought there was a need for this program and they should have a discussion before they make the cut.


Woods said the money is very restricted in how it can be used.  He understood Clark’s concern.  Many times people come in for a medical condition and it is determined that mental health is also needed.  If we knew there would be concerns we would have brought this to you earlier but since we have funded it for the past three years we didn’t. 


Motion passed 5/2 with Clark and Brinkman dissenting.



Market Plan

Brinkman was asked by Mulvey, who worked on a committee with the Chamber, to review the work.  With Mulvey’s information and the BIAAC information she met with Chris Gibbons and thought it was important for Council to take a look in order to provide staff some direction of how to proceed or even if to proceed.


Clark said if they moved forward they would need to amend the 2009 budget.


Taylor said he appreciated the work but this is not where he thought they were headed based on conversation at their February Retreat..  He preferred to see Littleton continue to work with the Chamber.  He moved not to follow through with the proposal.  Brinkman seconded.


Brinkman said they had asked for a status quo budget and we don’t have the money for the level of marketing to get the results we want.  She thought it should go out for bid and will require more planning.  She agreed to continue with the Chamber this year and keep it on the radar so when the budget permits it can be considered.


Mulvey said we need to market Littleton and we need a lot of it.  He envisioned the City’s expenditure being matched by retailers.  Motion passed 6/1 with Mulvey dissenting.


More Elevator and Escalator Business

Memorandum of Agreement with the State of Colorado to allow the City to perform elevator inspection.  This was passed 7/0.


Inspection Fees

DRCOG has been providing inspection services but their costs have been raised 40%.  The increase will be passed along to the elevator owners with an additional $20 fee payable to the City for administrative costs.  The City is seeking bids from others and if they accept a bid at a lower cost than the DRCOG $180 they would like to accept it.


Ostermiller asked if a firm involved with the maintenance of the elevators could also inspect them. 


Jim Thelen said you can’t have the guys doing the work inspect the work.


Ostermiller was uncomfortable with using someone other than DRCOG.  You have no idea about the parent company, sister company or if they are a subsidiary and he needed to be totally comfortable with an unbiased opinion.


Taylor said the reason fees went up is once the state got into the business, in the manner that they did, cities went to outside companies rather than using DRCOG but DRCOG still has to pay their staff so their rates went up.


Brinkman asked Thelen if he was okay using DRCOG.  He said they have been very good to work with.  The issue for him was trying to provide a cheaper way for the elevator owners to get the inspections.  He would be looking at a national company and as long as good service resulting in safe elevators is provided he has no concerns. 


Brinkman said the resolution before her indicated that DRCOG will provide the service at the $180 rate.


Swain said the language was revised in a later draft.


Brinkman said she would prefer to see a correct version before voting and moved to postpone the matter until the 21st.  Ostermiller seconded and motion passed 6/1 with Mulvey dissenting.



Woods said they have decided to discontinue the search for a Community Director.  Swain will continue to act as Community Director.  The slow down will provide them an opportunity to move forward with the Complan process and get it done.


Doug Farmen will be writing a memo on the City’s investment portfolio.


Cole said she would like to see more of Council’s accomplishments in the Budget document.  She is still getting things printed on one side when they could be printed back to back.


Taylor reported that Littleton Housing Authority (LHA) will close on three properties in the NE neighborhood – apartment buildings for a total of 69 or 79 units.


Mulvey reminded everyone about the Harvest Festival at the museum this weekend.


Ostermiller mentioned a segment on Channel 9 news on Littleton’s Main Street.


Brinkman reported that they had another resignation on BIAAC and the group recommends not filling the slot until spring as they are nearing the end of their report.


Clark said there was a resignation on the Library Board and it is preferred that position not be filled until the spring.


Clark mentioned the study session on Mental Health stating that he would like to see how mental health effects the Police and Fire, the funding provided at the state and federal level and how it effects the County – although looking at the County impact that might not be productive.


Clark mentioned that after contemplating the 2009 budget he would not be in favor of moving the interest from the Water Fund to the General Fund and will make such a motion at the budget meeting.


Clark thought it was fabulous news that the LHA is purchasing three apartment buildings in the NE section of Littleton and that they needed to look for some way to motivate owners of some of the other buildings that may look very nice from the outside but are in bad shape inside.


Woods said they will put a report together – there are on-going inspections in that area and many are placarded as uninhabitable.  Some buildings have gone into foreclosure, Washington Mutual is the holder and they are evicting some people.  The code enforcement people are in those buildings almost daily.

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