2013 04.02.2013 Littleton City Council Regular Meeting – Citizen Minutes

Citizen Minutes – Littleton City Council Meeting

April 2, 2013

Approval of the Minutes

Jerry Valdes stated that minutes are important and they need to reflect the meeting and suggested that more information on the opposition of charging for the use of plastic bags should be included in the minutes.  He also suggested changes to show that his obligation is to represent the citizens of District 2 that elected him to council.

Reports –

Michael Penny reported that 44 different people will be involved in the interview process for the police chief and we should have a new chief within a couple of weeks.

The South Platte Working Group will be conducting a visioning process which will be exciting in conjunction with the Santa Fe Corridor work the city has done.

The downtown parking analysis is almost done and will be discussed at an upcoming study session.  It will look at the downtown parking waivers and the Historic Preservation piece (which is the relaxation of the parking requirement by 50% to those in the downtown area that opt into the Historic Preservation District.).

Peggy Cole asked that more of the study session items be included on agendas that are on the light side.  The items could be discussed in the regular meeting or they could adjourn to a study session.   Valdes thought their meetings could be cut down in time if they would just stick to the subject.   Penny said that items come forward as they can but other are not scheduled because staff is not prepared to talk about them yet.

Jim Taylor asked to add an item to the agenda – a letter to the 10 legislators on the rules committee for recreational marijuana (MJ) asking that no statewide tax is set.  The local communities need to set the sales tax at a rate to cover enforcement.

Taylor suggested that the Musuem Board be responsible for the 125th anniversary of Littleton in conjunction ith the 40th anniversary of the South Platte River flood.

He also suggested that someone from Littleton should be on the CML board as he will no longer be eligible.  (CML – Colorado Municipal League)

Bruce Stahlman provided his public service announcement – April 27th is the Spring Clean up Event.  Drop off sites are Home Depot in Littleton and Auto Lab at 4000 S Broadway in Englewood.  Coupons will be distributed in exchange for the donations.

Phil Cernanec suggested that the final presentation by Civic Canopy be given in a venue that would allow for broadcasting to the citizens.

Bruce Beckman recognized Detective Russ Hoffman who was named police officer of the year by the Elks.

Debbie Brinkman announced the opening of the Alamo Drafthouse in Aspen Grove.  She commented on the Japanese outreach to the LHS for their help in the tsunami and earthquake relief.

Unscheduled Citizen Appearances

Norm Brown expressed concern about the Policy Statement on the agenda during the General Business portion of the meeting.  He remineded the council that in the past two weeks they have heard from a former attorney/developer, a traffic engineer and other citizens asking that they develop station area plans that take into account traffic, building heights and density.  He said citizens should know what can happen on the property next to the and developers should know what is acceptable on properties in Littleton.  He asked the council to direct staff to proceed with an ordinance related to impact fees.  The Pub Forum had been well attended and questions were raised about impact fees that were paid when the land was subdivided around County Line Road and Santa Fe.  He believed that impact fees for and new development out there could be and should be assessed.  There are impacts to the city by the development – sidewalks, increased traffic  and costs associate with the increased traffic.  Having impact fees in place by the year’s end is quite a ways out.  Think about the impact fees during your budget cuts – we have great programs that are difficult to fund so think about how impact fees could be used to help the great program to survive.

Stahlman asked Norm how the DT Neighborhood Plan specifically differ from a TOD?  (Norm was on the Planning Commission for 3 years during the time that the DT Neighborhood Plan was developed.)  Norm told him that the DT Neighborhood Plan only went up to the light rail station and nothing east of it.  Whereas a TOD would looked at an area ¼ mile radius of the light rail station, ½ mile radius etc and  that sort of look was not considered.

Paul Bingham echoed Norm’s concerns.  He thought the Littleton Blvd Study was a fine document but remained just a study and it should be incorporated into the Complan for more authority.  He also commented on the Land Use portion of the Policy Statement – he was concerned about the use of “urban renewal” – it scared him.

Leah Burkett – provided a power point asking the council to pause and reflect before approving any more development of high-density apartments in Littleton.  (I will link her power point presentation just as soon as I get it.  2013 04.02.2013 Leah Burkett Presentation to Council

Pam Chadbourne told the council that TOD was “college” and Littleton still needs to go to high school.  On March 5th Pam addressed the council with a study showing the number of luxury apartments in the metro area and with so many being built in the downtown locations why would Littleton luxury apartments be more appealing than downtown Denver luxury apartments?  She asked that the staff study the metro housing market.  She also asked the council to hold off future votes on high-density projects until more was known about the housing market and impact fees.

Penny said the impact fee process is in place.  There has been no analysis on competitive housing stock – they have been focused on the parking study.  Impact fees can’t be arbitrarily fixed.  They are trying to move quickly and it will be coming up in a future study session.  It is time consuming to look at the costs.  He also said the Planning Board would be looking at an area plan next.

Chadbourne asked when she will have answers to her questions.  Brinkman said in two weeks.

I will provide a link to Chadbourne’s statement to council once I have it.  Here it is!2013 04.02.2013 Pam Chadbourne’s Presentation to Council on Highdensity Followup  To see her initial remarks follow this link from the March 5, 2013 council meeting.2013 03.04.2013 Pam Chadbourne’s Presentation to LCC DevelopmentMarketAnalysis

Carol Brzeczek – I expressed my concerns over the TOD statement in the Policy Statement to be considered in General Business.  How could the staff understand our position on TOD when we do not have any TOD guidelines in Littleton.

I also addressed what I perceive to be violations in the Open Meetings Law with regard to the resignation of the former city attorney.  Here are links to what I said and a link to the settlement agreement with the former city attorney.  Follow this link for presentation.  2013 04.02.2013 Address to Council April 2  Follow this link for settlement agreement.  2013 Crawford Settlement Agreement

Jack Randall – remembered when RTD came to town to tell Littleton what light rail was going to do for us.  They said we would see an influx of new people.  He thought there were two types of transit zones – TOD (transit oriented development) and TOD (transient oriented development)  and the downtown light rail station is a transient oriented development which is very different – there has not been an influx of sales tax in Littleton as a result of light rail.

Brinkman stated that the provision of an executive session is one they take very seriously.  It is to protect the interests of the City and employees.  An executive session is not entered into lightly and they have improved their process over the last year and a half.  She was sorry for the disagreement but since it was a personnel matter they council could not comment.  Brzeczek’s opinions were not endorsed by council.

Consent Agenda

Live Well Resolution – Launched in cooperation with CML, LiveWell Colorado’s HEAL Campaign is focused on involving Cities and Towns in thinking about and promoting healthy eating/active living and addressing health-related issues through the built environment, policy and regulation and within our organization through workplace wellness initiatives.

Valdes pulled the item saying he needed to know more about the cost.  Mike Braaten said the costs were unknown – it will depend on the programs.  Valdes said he understood the program but wanted to know who will administer it and how much time will it take.  Braaten said they already had budget – they were ahead of the curve.  Valdes wanted to know if it would take staff time.  Braaten said the projects are ones that they would be doing anyway – this will just give us some recognition.  Valdes said he was looking for numbers and not words.  Braaten said it would involve trails, signage – Valdes said he still wanted a plan.  We talked about asking the citizens for a tax increase to fix the roads and he wanted to know what might be added that would increase the costs for the taxpayers.

Penny told him the projects would come under the Capital Improvements Projects in the budget and the expenses would be assigned credit to the LiveWell project.

Beckman verified that the costs would b concurrent and will not be adding new projects or modify any of the current costs.  Braaten said correct.

Cernanec said he read the proposal that it might lead to access for funds and possible new resources as part of the membership……..free support and resources to turn policy goals into reality.  Motion passed 7/0.

General Business

Penny said the policy statement would be used when they are down at the state house on matters of statewide concern.

Stahlman brought up urban renewal as a matter that we do not want the state to be involved with in Littleton.  There is a wide range of opportunities to be used as part of an urban renewal project – it is not eminent domain.  We are trying to tell the legislature that we want to make those decisions.

Cole did not see any reason to include the words, “We support policies that encourage in-fill and transit- oriented development and limit sprawl and further development in unincorporated areas.”

Cernanec moved to approved the draft as amended.  Not sure who seconded.  Cole moved to strike the sentence reference above.  Beckman seconded stating that it goes beyond what we want to do in an unincorporated area.  Words have meanings.

Cernanec had no problem with in-fill and TOD – it is a policy statement and not specific to what we want to have happen in Littleton.  It emphasizes our home rule.  Urban renewal can be used in positive ways.

Taylor thought the language needed to stay – it is a broad and general statement.  DRCOG worked hard to keep the legislature out of saying we will have limited growth.  We have a voluntary system for limiting sprawl – you have to have in-fill and it is important for the statement to remain.

Motion to amend failed on a 3/4 vote with Beckman, Cole and Valdes voting yes.

Cole moved to add a statement – they support policies that improve walkability, bikability, ridability and access to public transportation and other alternatives to driving.  (this is as close as I could get to the actual words)  It was approved 7/0.

Beckman said when Littleton is compromised by regional entities he gets concerned.  He would like to see a stronger statement of home rule.

Main motion passed 7/0

Budget Expenditures – This was an added agenda item brought forward over the conern of Cole’s concern about the $3,500 expenditure for a retirement party for Chief Coogan, and Commanders Brandt and Christensen.  Brinkman wanted council to give final direction to staff on discretionary funds.  Cole expressed conern about a number of transactions and the need to clarify the level of detail that council needs to be concerned.  Beckman thought it was important to stay at the policy level.  He thought the standard went awry at this event.  Management should stay on top and it should not be discussed at council level.

Stahlman agreed.  At $3,500 and 200 people it came to $17.50 per person – it was a small part of the budget and he was comfortable.

Taylor said once we grant a department a budget they have the flexibility how to spend it.

Cole said she did not expect so much money to be spent on the event.  Beckman’s retirement party was wonderful – cake, punch, and nuts.  It was wonderful because of what was said.

Valdes said  he comes from the private sector and if someone spent $3,500 someone would be chastised or fired.  He did have problems with the cost.  We cherish every dollar in the private sector.

Brinkman said the party was for three and thought the money spent was conservative.

Valdes said in the private sector they had to earn their money.

Cernanec thought recognition celebrations were important and he was not taken aback by the expense…..just wished it was held in Littleton.

Brinkman did not want to get into the budget that deep.  We deal with one million dollar issues – have 10 department heads and we have to have a level of trust.  The money comes from hard working citizens and it is important that we send our retirees off in that fashion.  It showed well for Littleton and to the other employees in the city – it shows appreciation for their hard work.

Letter to Legislators on Taxing of Recreational MJ

Taylor spoke to the letter to the legislature regarding taxing recreational MJ.  The concern is whether or not there will be room for Littleton to add an additional tax on the MJ after the state sets their tax.  If the taxes are too high it will send the MJ sales underground.

Motion passed 6/1 with Brinkman dissenting.

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