City Council Regular Meeting March 15, 2016 – Urban Renewal Suffered a Blow

Citizen Minutes           Regular City Council Meeting                       15 March 2016

Public Comment Public Comment on Consent Agenda and General Business Items

Pam Chadbourne 
expressed concern over the privacy rights of individuals concerning the resolution approving a License Agreement between the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and the City of Littleton for the acquisition, preparation, use, and distribution of digital aerial photography. She also thought the boundary for the streetscape plan should not be Berry but Prince and Santa Fe. She questioned why the downtown residents were not specifically mentioned in the proposed study but was glad to see that the first and last mile concept was included. She is also concerned about protecting the mid-century architecture along Littleton Blvd.

Stew Meagher 
encouraged the council to embrace the proposed streetscape study. He understood the reservations expressed by some council members about another study when so many studies are sitting on the shelf. He said the previous studies were not failures but the failure was to embrace the plans and the projects they suggested.

Pat Cronenberger 
urged support of the streetscape plan as well.

Consent Agenda Items

e) Resolution authorizing the mayor, on behalf of the city as the property owner, to sign a site development plan for Reynold’s Landing Park

g) Motion to approve the 2016/2017 Council Liaisons to Boards and Commissions and additional outside appointments

Phil Cernanec moved and Debbie Brinkman seconded to approve consent agenda items E and G. Motion passed 7/0.

The following items were pulled from the consent agenda for discussion.

a) Pulled by Bill Hopping. This was a resolution to approve a contract with Charlier Associates for the Downtown and Littleton Boulevard Streetscape Project. Hopping moved to approve the Charlier Assoc contract. Cernanec seconded.  Hopping agreed with Pam Chadbourne that the boundary should extend beyond Berry to Prince and Santa Fe and amended the motion to approve the extension of the northern boundary to Prince and Santa Fe. Cernanec seconded and amendment was passed 6/1 with Brinkman dissenting.

Hopping then expressed his concern over the fact that “historic” was not used anywhere in the document and that protecting the historic nature of Littleton was important to the community and wanted the Historic Preservation Board and Littleton Historical Inc be included in the study. Jocelyn Mills, Community Development Director, agreed that they are vital to the conversation.

Jerry Valdes asked, once again, why this was a sole source contract. The Charter does not require a bid process but the council procedures say they will do so anyway. Mills said that the original contract did go out for bid and was awarded to Civitas but after she came to the city it was determined that the scope should be more comprehensive and the scope of work more inclusive and they only went to Charlier for a contract as they were not required to go through a bid process.

Valdes said that the problem was that their procedures say they will bid and it is the city manager’s responsibility. At that moment Valdes asked the city manager if he was listening and suggested that it was important that he do so. Then he said he would wait for the city manager to stop talking before he proceeded with the rest of his statement. Valdes said the scope of work did change but it did not go out to bid giving those that bid the first time an opportunity to rebid on the changed scope. He objected going to Charlier with a limit of $200K for the contract – he would have preferred that the RFP go out and let the bids come in without setting a price first. He said, again, he has asked why it was a sole source contract and has not received a response.

Mills said they had an affidavit for sole source that was based on the expertise of this particular consultant.

Doug Farmen, Finance Director, thought there was a misperception of the requirements for the contract to be bid. Technical services and professional services are exempt from bidding in the Charter.

Peggy Cole asked if the word exempt was in the Charter and Farmen said it was in Section 97.

Charter Section 97 reads:……….Provisions in this section shall not apply to professional or technical services………..

Clark said it appeared that the appropriation had not yet been made to cover the $200,000. Farmen said it would come back to council in the clean up ordinance at the end of the year and the money would come from the Capital Improvement Fund.

Clark said different sections of the Charter deal with competitive bidding. Professional services are exempt and so are bonds. Sec. 100 of the Charter addresses capital improvement projects, (which this is) states any project over $5,000 has to be bid and council shall have final approval of the lowest and best bid or all bids must be rejected. It appears that this had been looked at as a Sec. 97 issue when it is a capital improvement project. If council wants to proceed we need an ordinance that states why we are not using a bidding process.

City Attorney, Kristen Scheldorn, told Clark this was for professional services and he said he respectfully disagreed. It is funded from the Capital Improvement Fund. He had two concerns. First, an ordinance is needed that states why they are not using a competitive bid process and second, the money has not been appropriated. Section 79 of the Charter states that appropriations in addition to those contained in the budget may be made for a public emergency caused by an act of God or public enemy and he did not understand why they were going through such gymnastics to get this thing approved.

Cole pointed out that the contract was dated 2015 and not 2016. She was concerned about what they are trying to do – there are things in the contract such as parking – where is that going to go? In her research she has found that other municipalities do not have that funnel effect that we have in Littleton. How can we do what is implied in the contract because of what we have and what we love?  She did not see the feasibility.

Cernanec said you don’t know what is possible unless you go through the study – there might be space and opportunities available. He did not see a problem with using a sole source contract.

Motion failed on a 3-4 with Cole, Clark, Beckman, and Valdes voting dissenting.

b) Resolution approving a License Agreement between the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and the City of Littleton for the acquisition, preparation, use, and distribution of digital aerial photography. Pam Chadbourne’s concern over privacy was addressed. The information will be used for GIS mapping. It is done every two years and is not something new. City Manager, Michael Penny, said it was high resolution and would probably pick up individuals but the information would not be downloadable.

Clark moved to approve the resolution to approve the resolution approving a license agreement between the Denver Regional Council of Governments and the City of Littleton for the acquisition, preparation, use, and distribution of digital aerial photography. Cernanec Motion passed 7/0.

c) Motion to approve Council’s 2016-2017 Goals and Objectives – 
Valdes pulled this item asking to separate the city manager’s goals because they had not had time to discuss them yet. Cernanec moved to approve 2016/2017 Goals and Objectives, removing the City Manager’s Action Items. Cole seconded.  The motion passed 7/0.

d) Motion approving signage related to the prohibition of open carry of firearms in or upon public facilities. Attachments: Open Carry Prohibition Signs – Draft (1)
  Clark moved to approve signage related to the prohibition of open carry of firearms in or upon public facilities. Cole seconded.  Beckman said that the original ordinance was passed in 2012 and like so much the devil is in the details. The enforcement, per the ordinance, could not take place until signage was in place. At this point in time he felt there might be concerns of over-reach as there was in a neighboring community. Beckman moved to amend the motion that signage be approved only for posting in public buildings. Clark seconded.  Motion passed 7/0.(So open carry is still permitted in parks and open spaces) 

f) Certification of the February 16, 2016 regular meeting minutes Attachments: 02-16-2016 Journal. Clark said he would be voting no on this item in order to make a statement. He is hoping to get the current method of minutes as a goal for the city manager. Cernanec moved to approve the Clerk’s certification of the February 16, 2016, video as the minutes for the February 16, 2016 regular session and the March 3, 2016, video as the minutes for the March 3, 2016 Study Session. Hopping seconded.  Motion passed 6/1 with Clark dissenting.

General Business

Cernanec moved to approve Board and Commission appointments. Brinkman seconded.  Beckman said upon reflection, the history of allowing former council members to be appointed was a concern. He said they do an exceptional job of interviewing because of their previous involvement and he thought the goal was to try to get other citizens involved and he did not like the former council members bumping citizens from an opportunity to volunteer. Brinkman said they were not city council members – they were citizens and she did not understand the issue and to disqualify them from service is unfair.

Beckman moved to amend the motion by removing Bruce Stahlman and Susan Thornton’s names from the appointments. Hopping thought it was stunning and accused Beckman of not wanting good thinking, good planning and that he did not care for the community. Cole thought the conversation would be appropriate for the future but to do this after the fact was not appropriate. Clark wanted to get wide involvement from the community and he would take the restrictions further to include someone ineligible for a city appointment if they were serving on a county board and he would add husbands and wives to the mix too. He did not intend his statement as a slap on anyone of the two council members – they have been around long enough to understand that it is about opening up slots for others. Valdes asked the attorney when a council member, after being termed out, could run again and she told him they have to sit out a term. Valdes wished the point had been brought up earlier and the discussion should happen before the next appointments are made.

Council interviewed applicants for board and commission appointments in February and at the end of their interviews, on the second night, they polled each other and determined who they would appoint to the different boards and commissions. Since they do not believe polling is voting tonight’s motion was brought forward to vote for their previous decisions that you will not find recorded anywhere but in Citizen Minutes. If you want to see how each council member voted (excuse me they did not vote!) see the Citizen Minutes of February 23, 2016.

Brinkman thought it was unnecessary and it was punitive and unfair.

The amendment failed 2/5 with Beckman and Clark in support.  The main motion passed 6/1 with Clark dissenting.

***************Discussion on council direction to staff on Urban Renewal*******************

Valdes introduced this item saying that urban renewal was very divisive in the community and some things could have been done a lot better. Valdes moved to direct the city manager to provide to Council at the next scheduled regular council meeting on April 5, 2016 and ordinance or ordinances and resolutions for council’s consideration and vote to dismantle Littleton’s Urban Renewal and the LIFT Board including the handling of the outstanding loan to LIFT, and addressing any tax collection concerns, if any, and consider the status of any pending litigation concerning urban renewal.   Cole seconded.  Valdes said it has been rough going for urban renewal and he asked how this could be done a couple of months ago and tonight he was making a motion to get it done. Cole said there are other ways to effectively help the city to thrive. Hopping said it was a hot potato topic and most of the comments have been related to how things were done and if that was the real reason for this ….his professional work tells him developers go where they can get good incentives and the most creative incentive packages get the good developments. He hoped the conversation would include why they don’t like urban renewal and how they will attract future development. What will you replace urban renewal with?

Clark said the short answer to fixing it is that there are a bunch of problems with all four plans, there is a messy court case, and it would be difficult to fix plan by plan. He told Hopping that urban renewal could be used in the future. Motion passed 5/2 with Brinkman and Hopping dissenting.

Public Comment

Stan Zislis – Spoke in favor of lifting the ban on recreational marijuana. He is with Silver Stem on Littleton Blvd and they are involved in the community. He stressed that the regulations for recreational marijuana are more stringent than for medical marijuana.

Kyle Speidell – He is with Green Solutions on Santa Fe and spoke about their involvement in the community and how lifting the ban on recreational marijuana met three of council’s goals.

Garrett Graff – An attorney for the marijuana industry spoke to the council about the revenue that would flow into the city with the lifting of the ban on recreational marijuana, which could be up to $100,000 to $200,000 per month.

Don Bruns – Please see the category on Open Space. Don’s presentations are so rich in content that I have asked him to allow me to post his comments in full on the Blog.

Frank Atwood – Spoke in support of lifting the ban on recreational marijuana and informed the council that the Approval Voting
 Party would be on the Presidential ballot this November. He encouraged citizens to learn more about approval voting by Googling Approval Voting. He asked the council what he needed to do to see that approval voting was used in the 2017 Municipal Election. Approval Voting is voting for as many as you like and the one with the most votes wins…..just like we do when we vote for at large council members when there are only three on the ballot.

Clark asked Atwood who the Approval Voting Presidential Candidate would be to which Frank said it was he but he encourages people not to vote for him but to learn about approval voting. His number is 720 260 1493 for more information.

 Norm Brown – Spoke on behalf of Marty Brzeczek who was out of town. Brzeczek wanted to know why the Subdivision Exemption, which was written to divide one parcel into not more than two was used to approve The Grove which was a combination of properties. The same Subdivision Exemption was used to approve the site for Station 19. He asked the mayor to provide him with a response to his question.

Joseph Trujillo – thought that urban renewal had been brought in in a big lie. The city manager said there would have to be full agreement of the taxing entities but that was not how it happened. He asked if increment was being collected, what was being done with it and how was it being disbursed?

Jerry Hill – spoke about his involvement with the approval of medical marijuana in Littleton.

Eric Speidell – wants the ban lifted – there’s been enough experience now that they can get it right. He urged them to reverse their previous action bringing new jobs and revenue to Littleton.

Martin Bolt – told the council they were wonderful for some of the actions taken that night. He was opposed to lifting the ban.

Marina Bajszar – although not a user but in fact someone who works in the addiction field offered her support for lifting the ban.

Harrison Filas – also supported lifting the ban. There’s overwhelming evidence that it would bring in revenue and it is not hurting anyone – live and let live. Seems like a no brainer to him.

Pam Chadbourne – Congratulated the council on an interesting session – there seems to be a positive change. She thanked them for their vote on disassembling urban renewal – it is time to do it. She asked council to have both sides of the marijuana issue as part of their discussion. And asked the council to revisit the approval of The Grove, as there were several code violations pointed out prior to the approval and she is afraid that it will be used as precedence in the future.

Pat Cronenberger – said she sent an email on Jan. 23 with several questions about Clark’s use of his private email address. She is still hoping that she will get a response. Now she would like to add a question to the others, if Clark or others do not use the city’s email system how are the CORA requests handled?

Comments / Reports

- stated he was elected to represent the citizens regardless of his own beliefs. He moved to have a study session on recreational marijuana and to look at the expanded sales in the existing establishments. Valdes seconded.

 Brinkman said the marijuana advocates were misrepresenting the previous three votes on marijuana. The first vote was asking the voters to approve a constitutional change that would allow municipalities to determine for themselves how they would handle marijuana. The vote on the sales tax for marijuana, the way she understood it, was they had one shot at imposing a tax.

- wants the conversation to take place only after the staff has provided the council with information. He wanted to understand their ability to tax, what measures do we have to determine impairment, and the handling of edibles. The schools have expressed their reluctance and he has had a lot of calls from both sides. Motion passed 4/3 with Brinkman, Cernanec and Hopping dissenting.

Valdes reported that he watched the Planning Board meeting last Monday and the quality was very poor. City Clerk told him that it was a Comcast problem and the broadcast that evening was scratchy. She said there are three back ups.

 Cernanec asked the City Manager to comment on Columbine Square – Penny said there is no application on file for Columbine Square.

 Hopping thought the meeting had been very interesting and he hoped the rejection of the streetscape plan was because of idiosecries. He asked the city manager to contact each council member to learn why each member rejected it. (Not sure why he would ask the city manager to do so and don’t think the city manager should do so without the vote of the majority.  We shall see if Penny follows through.)  It is important to Littleton – the plan is about bringing the future into the present and planning now. If we don’t plan we have to take what comes. Community culture doesn’t happen by accident. He wants the plan reconsidered.

According to Roberts’ Rules to be reconsidered it would take one council member that voted No to ask for reconsideration.


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