Littleton City Council Meeting 16 December 2008

Regular Meeting of City Council
City of Littleton, Colorado

Littleton Center December 16, 2008

Citizens Appearances
a) Guest Citizens – Jim Prado, King Soopers

b) Scheduled public appearances – Jim Taylor, Littleton Riverfront Authority – This is where I tuned in to the meeting. Taylor was explaining that the Authority will need to extend their life beyond 2008 because there are some unresolved issues and money in the bank. The Authority will be making their 2007 payments to the bond holders and the City.

c) Unscheduled public appearances – Arnell Kimmet (sp?) addressed the Council about a code violation notice he received. He lives on Front Range Road and has a car trailer that he parks in the back of his home. Several of his neighbors have horse trailers. The notice from the City indicated that he needed to change the way the trailer is parked. He said no one in the neighborhood is complaining and he received the same complaint in 2003 which he was told to ignore. He tries to hide the trailer by parking in the back and it doesn’t make sense to park it in the front where it would be legal. He asked the Council to reconsider the code.

Jim Woods did not recall the previous Council’s recommendation to ignore the complaint. He will provide the Council with a memo explaining the code and the situation. If Council wants to change the code they can.

Consent Agenda Items
a) Resolution for Local Review of Historic Tax Credit – The Council will delegate their authority to the Historic Preservation Board and was passed 7/0.

Second and Final Reading on Ordinances and Public Hearings – None

General Business
a) Motion to authorize purchase of Fire Department Ambulance – This motion was before the Council even though the money had already been approved in the budget. The Charter states that if the lowest bid is not accepted the matter needs to come before Council for approval. The ambulance that was preferred was just over $2,000 more than the lowest bid. Council approved the Fire Department’s recommendation 7/0.

b) Discussion on Main Street intersections – Taylor requested Charlie Blosten to consider alternatives for paving the intersections in downtown Littleton. In an earlier study session Blosten presented several options and he needed a decision in order to get the bids out in time for the Spring work. Taylor liked the brick intersections – it will slow down traffic. He also liked the Grant Ranch and Greenwood Village alternatives.

Blosten said if they do concrete and pavers they will have to remove the old trolley tracks in order to get the depth necessary to do the job right. Taylor said that was not an insurmountable problem for the long term beautification and the benefits to the merchants – it would be worth the inconvenience.

Debbie Brinkman asked about the noise – is concrete louder than asphalt. Blosten said yes.

Blosten also said the pavers, if not installed perfectly, will get ripped up by the snow plows. The cost would be $250,000 easy said Blosten.

Tom Mulvey liked the option that did not cost any more money. Peggy Cole asked how much the “tire grip” option would be and Blosten said $30,000. Brinkman asked about the tire grip surface when wet and Blosten read from the manufacturer’s brochure that it is suitable in all weather. Brinkman said she has seen the tire grip application on Colorado Boulevard and it was nothing special – it was noticeable by motorists and pedestrians alike. Taylor said she said the magic words – it was nothing special and downtown Littleton needs to be made special. Brinkman said she did not mean it in the way Taylor thought.

Jose said he had been on Main Street since 1966 and had seen the streets torn up – it took 4 years one block at a time with the storm sewers. The merchants just want the street paved – he prefers the thermoplastic markings – they only have two lanes of traffic! If traffic is disrupted for more than three weeks there are businesses that won’t make it – just pave the street – we don’t need the fancy stuff for the extra money.

Cole moved to use the tire grip with the diagonal option at Prince and Main Street. She also proposed to incorporate the “LOOK” in the pattern painted on the road to caution pedestrians. Brinkman seconded the motion.

Taylor said he would not support the motion because it was the one opportunity to really enhance the look of downtown and make it look historic.

Mulvey said he would vote against it because he preferred no enhancement at all.

John Ostermiller said he liked the tire grip – it gets the driver’s attention but he thought the diagonal pattern at Prince and Main was way too busy and he made a motion to amend Cole’s motion that would eliminate the diagonal pattern at that location. His amendment passed 5/2 with Taylor and Mulvey voting no.

Brinkman said she would support Cole’s motion and although she liked the look of the pavers she could not justify the cost, the time it would take and the cost to the businesses in this tough economy.

Ostermiller did not think pavers would last.

Clark thought the tire grip would look awful downtown and it would look better to keep the same stripping they currently have. Motion passed 4/3 with Taylor, Clark and Mulvey dissenting.

c) Discussion of downtown parking study – The staff is somewhat confused about just what the Council wants in a parking study. Brinkman asked how many parking studies have been done in the past 10 years and she was told 2 in addition to a study on a bridge and a parking structure at the NE corner of the ACC parking lot.

Clark thought this study would be different. The bridge was in response to RTD. There is also the problem with the code that requires a certain number of parking spaces if anything over 500 square feet are remodeled or redeveloped. They ran into this problem with Merle’s.

Jose read from a 1977 task force that looked at the parking problem then mentioned that the Historic Preservation Board was allowed to waive the parking requirements to those businesses that joined their group – where do we go from here?

Clark said they will be meeting with the Historic Preservation Board and that will be part of the discussion.

Mulvey thought this study was premature. What happens if Reinke sells his property? We are not ready to hire a firm.

Clark mentioned a real live example – Ruth Graham is adding on to her business which would require her to provide parking spaces that just aren’t there. Reinke offered to lease her 6 of his spaces and we lease some of his spaces and he needs spaces for his business. The answer is maybe we need to change the parking requirements for downtown. Does Graham tear down a property to get her six spaces?

Taylor moved to approve the contract to do a downtown parking study (over $51,000). Clark seconded the motion.

Brinkman would not support the motion – it may not be a surface problem as much as a policy problem. The Gaylord area is one block and parking is chaos but they are doing it. Gaylord’s not doing a parking study – they want the energy. Have the Planning Commission figure it out while working on the CA district. She understood staff’s confusion – we need to have clear direction if we expect to get good information and we are not there yet. We don’t have to pay someone to get into the neighborhoods and get the information we need.

Ostermiller said he doesn’t know how many times parking has come up – they have old studies that contradict each other and council members that either agree or disagree with the studies. Downtown has changed and we need to get a handle on where we are today. We need professionals and then Council has something to work with. Let’s get it done.

Mulvey said it is premature – Pearl Street has more restaurants than we do and they don’t have parking. Motion failed 3/4 with Cole, Brinkman, Trujillo and Mulvey dissenting.

d) Motion to approve City Manager salary increase for 2008-2009 – Jim Woods received a 3% increase in salary.

e) Outreach Schedule – February 23, 24 and 25th were set aside to interview Boards and Commissions applicants.

January 8th was set aside to have breakfast with the legislators if available.

January 27th the Council will meet with the Planning Commission.

a) Resolution of the City Council of the City of Littleton, Colorado, adopting by reference the Model Municipal Records Retention Schedule – Wendy, the City Clerk, presented a comprehensive schedule that covers all City documents. The current model is very short and vague. She suggested that the Council adopt the new model which was developed by the State’s Attorney General and several City Clerks throughout the state of Colorado. It will save time and money in all the departments and can be tweaked as needed. Motion passed 7/0.

Comments / Reports
a) City Manager – Apartment inspections are going well but they would like the approval of Council to provide more payroll money to keep the program going without the rest of the City suffering from lack of attention.

Ostermiller moved to go into an executive session after the Reports to discuss the water fund and annexation with the City Attorney. Motion passed 7/0.

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