City Council Meeting 21 February 2017

City Council Regular Meeting                Citizen Minutes                   21 February 2017

Public Comment

Isaac Ehrinstein, an 8th grader at McIntosh Academy, told the council that Colorado had a great state flag. He went on to tell the council what made a great looking flag and used the example of a poorly designed state flag that had been flown upside down for 10 days over the capitol before anyone knew it was upside down. He provided council with several of his own designs for a Littleton flag.

Mayor Bruce Beckman informed the audience that Littleton did have a flag – colors in purple and gold (as in Littleton High School) with the motto: A modern city in a western tradition. The Littleton flag is housed in the police department.

Carol Brzeczek talked about the subdivision exemption (SDE) code that states it is to be used to divide one large parcel of land into not more than two. She said there were numerous examples of the SDE code being used to combine parcels and/or erase lot lines on the city’s Project Activity list.   She asked the council to take a look – the SDE can only mean one thing – to divide – so why is it being used to combine parcels thus avoiding a public platting process.

Deanna Cook addressed the perceived mistakes made by the city staff with regard to Littleton Crossing and said that staff needs to correct zoning violations. She reminded council that there are penalties of fines and jail time up to a year for violations of the city’s zoning codes and it appears that violations were made with Littleton Crossing.

 

Pam Chadbourne asked council to take up the B2 zoning again. She was aware of the challenges that face city council and thought the DRC from years past (no longer in existence) should be resurrected. She asked council to study the parking incentive provided by the Historic Preservation Board for inclusion into the district. It is doing more harm than good.

 

David Mitchell, chair of the Building Board of Appeals, told council that it has been years since they have heard an appeal. They have been told that they cannot meet without staff present. They are not hearing appeals because staff is dealing with the appeals circumventing the board. If a citizen wants to connect with a member of the BBOA – good luck. The city does not include their contact info on the website – the citizen is directed to staff rather than the board. The hairs on the tail are wagging the dog!

 

Consent Agenda

  1. a) Motion to change the start time for the council’s meetings on 2/27, 2/28 and 3/1 to 5:30. Passed 7/0

 

  1. b) Resolution authorizing the approval of the 2016 Arapahoe County community Development Block Grant Program Subgrantee Agreement for the Littleton Sidewalk Improvements Project. There was a question about the indemnification clause – does it violate the state constitution. Motion was made to table until 3/7 so legal work could be completed before considering. Passed 7/0.

 

Certification of the 2/7/2017 regular meeting minutes was passed on a 6/1 vote with Clark dissenting.

 

Ordinances on Second Reading and Public Hearings

 

Ordinance to add a new definition of minutes to the city code.   The definition of minutes was changed on March 18, 2014 to mean a video recording of the meeting. Since that time there have not been written minutes. (This is one reason why Doug Clark has voted “No” to approve the minutes since he was re-elected in 2015. He has stated numerous times that he believes it is important that a written record of the meeting be kept and that each councilmember having read the written account vote on the approval of same.) The new definition of minutes will now mean “action minutes” which will include the actions taken, who made the motion, the seconder and the vote. If any citizen addresses the council their name and their stance will become part of the record.

 

Doug Clark moved to approve the Ordinance with Jerry Valdes seconding. Clark immediately amended the motion to strike out the following: “In case of conflict or need for clarification between the action minutes and the video recording, the video recording shall be consulted for interpretation.”   And “to provide clarification of action minutes hen needed.” Peggy Cole seconded.

Bill Hopping thought Clark’s motion would foreclose council’s ability to change and provide clarification to minutes. Phil Cernanec thought having video minutes retained would allow for a review and that a video recording would be the record used in case of litigation. The amendment was passed 5/2 with Debbie Brinkman and Hopping dissenting.

A discussion about action minutes versus summary minutes that provided the reader with more insight and detail into the positions of councilmembers took place. Mark Relph, acting city manager, told council that if they were interested in summary minutes staff could see what the impact would be. Main motion passed 5/2 with Cole and Hopping dissenting. It was decided they would revisit this in 6 months or so to see how it is working.

Interceptor Transfer Agreement between the city and Roxborough Water and Sanitation District regarding ownership of a gravity interceptor sewer, terminating easements to Roxborough Water and Sanitation District and granting an access easement to Roxborough Water and Sanitation District. This has been discussed in a previous council meeting and a study session. Passed 7/0.

General Business

Motion confirming hiring range for city attorney recruitment. Brinkman moved to approve a hiring salary range of $142,200 to $184,800. Motion passed 7/0.

Reports

Hopping mentioned that a house had been torn down in the downtown area that day and that not every house in downtown needed to be saved. He expressed his concern over the two different zoning areas in downtown.

Valdes would like to see the Littleton flag pulled out of hiding. He would like an update on Littleton Crossing and on the Building Board of Appeals.

Clark said he asked about the Subdivision Exemption code two weeks ago and expressed his concern with the current interpretation for a couple of reasons. He said the code was intended to divide one parcel into not more than two and not for combining. The logical result of this interpretation is to cut the public and the Planning Commission out of the platting process, which is well defined. Littleton may be different and we are different than Frisco. Littleton has a lot of citizen involvement and they value their ability to be involved and it is important to be included. Cole asked Clark to clarify what he wants staff to come back with. Clark said he expected staff to come back with how they will interpret the code going forward.

Relph said that was their intent and to come back with some historical information.

Brinkman commented that it was time for council to start working on some of the major decisions that are in queue right now due to the city manager situation.   She wanted council to provide clear direction to staff – decisions need to be made on the Station Area Master Plan (STAMP). Other areas that need action are the downtown STAMP, the Subdivision Exemption Code, the Zoning Update, the Capital Improvement Infrastructure Master Plan, the need to look for other revenue sources, and an incentive policy for new development and redevelopment. The bottom line for her is that they are going backwards and undoing past decisions. They spend a lot of time reacting rather than planning. She mentioned untold hours and dollars that have been spent on The Grove and Littleton Crossing. She suggested an all day work session. Cernanec and Hopping agreed. Cole said she did not think they were going backwards but the staffing changes had been difficult. She agreed that if the visions, goals and objectives needed to be changed it was time to do so.

Relph said he would welcome direction – now is the time before budget season arrives. Beckman requested to have staff come back and facilitate that discussion. Relph said he wanted to give it some thought and discuss with his staff.   Clark mentioned a past practice of preparing a study session schedule for the year (at the first of the year) and staff worked into that schedule items important to the council. That practice was dropped in favor of looking at what we want to accomplish and have staff work on it. We need to get the list down to something reasonable – what can staff actually accomplish?

Valdes mentioned their study session on goals and objectives when some council members brought pages – something impossible for staff to accomplish. He suggested 3, 4 or 5 goals – we need to get our act together. Finances are #1 and the zoning issues are huge and have to be done. The Complan has to be done.

Brinkman wanted to have a short list brought back – code revisions, STAMP and revenue streams. At the end of 60 days make decisions and get staff moving to implement then council hold a retreat in 90 days.

Cernanec wanted to look at the codes and zoning. He said there are some issues with their processes. They haven’t seen anything on the STAMP and they need to look at the downtown plan. All will require council intensity and we need to be doing a lot between now and June. Staff is clamoring for direction.

Relph said the department heads would be very excited. He understood what he was hearing and he too was excited.

Clark said they haven’t given staff direction on code revisions. The recommendation to eliminate PDs is not trivial. To fix code is a broad statement – he suggested they take one item – zoning and the SDE code. He is not sure the code is obsolete – there are problems that do need to be fixed though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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