City Council Regular Meeting – 19 December 2017 – STAMP, Preliminary Project Plan and LIFT

Littleton City Council Regular Meeting.      19 December 2017.     Citizen Minutes

Public Comment –

Linda Knufinke presented council with two different scenarios for paying for fire service through South Metro and how much each of the scenarios will cost the property owners in Littleton. The added expense is significant. She asked the council to begin that discussion.

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City Council Study Session – 12 December 2017 – Mineral Station Master Plan & Preliminary Project Plan

Littleton City Council Study Session               12 December 2017.     Citizen Minutes

All council members were present.

Id#-17-345    Overview of Mineral Light Rail Station Area Planning Project

In 2013 Littleton received a grant from RTD, DRCOG and the Federal Transit Admin for the Station Area Master Plans for the Mineral Light Rail Station and the Downtown Light Rail Station. (Littleton contributed a portion of the coss for the market analysis of what might work in the way of development in the two areas – all options were to be transit oriented development (TOD) or high density.) Continue reading

Citizen Minutes – City Council 4 December 2017 – Fire Unification

City Council Regular Meeting and Study Session         4 December 2017          Citizen Minutes

Karina Elrod and Patrick Driscoll were absent.

Public Comment

John Brackney asked council to appoint a council member or a representative to his Metro Energy group.

Pam Chadbourne expressed her concern over the recognition of four individuals that spoke about their organization more than they recognized the new council members at the last council meeting. These four individuals had contributed in significant amounts to Kyle Schlachter, Karina Elrod and Patrick Driscoll and her concern was the special access that this special interest group had to council. Even though it was well intentioned it was out of order. All groups should have equal access to address council. She said the city clerk tried to exclude an Englewood city councilmember from speaking right after the four men. She wanted council to consider their rules for access to council by groups, non-residents and citizens. Continue reading

City Council Study Session 28 November 2017 – Fire

28 November 2017                City Council Regular Meeting            Citizen Minutes

Item ID 17-329 Fire and Emergency Medical Services Discussion

Littleton Fire Protection District notified the City that they would be terminating their contract with the city effective January 1, 2019. Highlands Ranch Metro District notified the City that they too would be terminating their contract with the City effective January 1, 2019.   At the time of this discussion Highlands Ranch had not submitted their termination letter – apparently they were meeting at the same time but this morning they did make their intentions known.

The study session was to focus on options for the provision of fire services and emergency medical services to the citizens of Littleton.

Mark Relph said the process for decision-making would be data driven and there would be alternative approaches analyzed.

Option – A partnership with West Metro – not an option

Option – Contract for service with South Metro or Denver

Option – Unification merger with South Metro

Option – Stand-alone fire department with emergency medical services

Option – Stand alone fire department with emergency medical services contracted

There are short term and long term alternatives that need to be analyzed as well.

Staff has not done any real work on estimating the costs associated with unification.

For the stand-alone department there were three scenarios presented.

Scenario 1 – Full fire operations at stations 11, 12 and 19 and EMS service

Scenario 2 – Full fire operations at stations 11, 12 and 19

Scenario 3 – Full fire operations at stations 11 and 12

(All scenarios include fire prevention, dispatch which is contracted out to South Metro and emergency operations.)

Relph presented two graphs showing their estimates of costs in dollars and in a mill levy for three different scenarios. But he reinforced more than once that the numbers were going to change one way or the other – they just really didn’t know at this time what the costs would be with each of the three scenarios.

There are other issues requiring further discussion –

-Separation of building and apparatus ownership (the City and the LFPD co own rolling stock and buildings)

-Future EMS revenues – how are they shared or are they shared?

-Disposition of current capital leases

-Contractual agreements with Lockheed and Meadowbrook (the City is providing Lockheed fire service for $300,000 per year with a 2% increase each year for 15 years)

-Metro Fire Training Center

-Administrative fee/Overhead costs

Relph recommended they hire a consultant to help with the complex issues. There are consultants that have experience in this type of situation and an unbiased critique of information of the alternatives is needed. Staff does not have the expertise or time to work though the issues. Relph would like to have a consultant hired by January 1.

There was a discussion of mutual aid – other fire departments responding to another department’s emergencies. Armstrong said the biggest issue is when aid is given it is expected to be received in equal amounts. Why would South Metro customers want to use their resources to respond in Littleton? (However, we have an agreement signed by numerous fire agencies (South Metro, Littleton, Littleton Fire Protection District, West Metro included) to provide mutual aid signed in 2002. The Chief presented the issue of mutual aid as something that is not obligated for the other agencies to provide to Littleton if we were a stand alone department but that appears not to be the case based on the 2002 mutual aid agreement.)

Relph talked about how difficult it will be to determine how the buildings and apparatus ownership will be divided. There could be deep financial implications and possible litigation. With the departure of the Littleton Fire Protection District we will no longer receive the $750,000 revenue that they pay to Littleton for providing their services. We will loose 53 fire fighters. (There are 190 FTEs with 160 line personnel. With the departure of Highlands Ranch there will be more than the 53 fire fighters leaving the employ of the city.)

Jerry Valdes asked if the consultant would be hired to work for the city or for the partnership. Relph said the city. Carol Fey asked what sort of consultant would be hired, as consultants don’t always excel in all areas. Relph agreed that they might need two – one for the complex issues and another for the public engagement.

The level of service is another subject that will be discussed at a later date. The consultant should be able to help with what that will look like with either the stand-alone department or a merger. Relph said there is a consultant he would like to engage but there are others and another meeting is needed to determine the scope of work for the consultant(s).

Karina Elrod asked about a timeline. Relph would like to have the consultant hired by Jan. 1 and be well on our way by midyear with what we are doing. Time is not on our side. Elrod asked if the three partners could get together to negotiate with South Metro. Brinkman said that’s the goal. Relph said there was value in all three going together with the assets and not having to argue about that. Fey asked if they wanted to do that at any cost? Relph said no.

Item Ordinance 35-2017 – Review of the ordinance of the City of Littleton amending Title 3, Chapter 9, Sections 3-9-1-2,n3-9-3-2, 3-9-1-10 and 3-9-6-12 of the city code, enacting and implementing standardized sales and use tax definitions.

City Attorney, Steve Kemp, explained that the legislature would like for all home rule cities to adopt a standard set of definitions for sales and use tax. He said it was absolutely critical that they adopt the definitions. If council did not the legislature will say – they need to take back the authority from the cities to collect sales tax. This will not change our tax policy. Relph said if the state should take over the collection of our sales tax the city would be at a disadvantage.

Board and Commission Liaisons

The mayor has the authority to assign all council members to the boards that they will serve as a liaison. They are:

Brinkman – Littleton Fire Rescue Board, Metro Mayors Caucus, UDFCD (Urban Drainage and Flood Control), ACMMC (Arapahoe County Mayors/Managers/Commissioners), and South Platte Working Group

Valdes – Housing Committee, Planning Commission, Alternate for UDCFD

Cole – CML Policy Committee, Library Board

Elrod – DRCOG, Arapahoe County Transportation Forum

Schlachter – CDOT, Museum Board

Driscoll – HDLM (Historic Downtown Littleton Merchants), LIFT

Fey – Fine Arts, Highline Canal Working Group

Council Breakfast MeetingsBrinkman wants to reduce the number so they will only have one every other month. The key stakeholders that she thought should be on the list are:

LPS, Historic Preservation Board, Planning Commission, South Suburban Parks, Tri Cities, South Metro Housing Options, Marketing Group, Senior Services, Aging Well Resource Center and Immigrant Resource Center.

There will be a breakfast meeting Thursday, November 30 with the fire partners.

 Brinkman announced a council retreat on Friday February 2 at the Falls Event Center. The same facilitator from the last retreat will facilitate their meeting. There’s a lot of work to be done and they will work on their goals and priorities. Brinkman will meet with each council member to get his or her goals and priorities. They will go through their protocols and legislative procedures. There will be a conversation about the Vision, Complan and Zoning Codes. This council needs to get it done!

Brinkman will resume providing dinner for the council members, courtesy of the taxpayers, before each study session.  (A practice she started when she was mayor a few years ago.) She said they work full time, traffic is bad and it can be difficult to get home and have dinner before the meetings.  Snacks and drinks will be provided for them behind the dais at regular meetings and Becky Phye would be contacting them to find out what their favorite snacks and drinks are so they would be available for them.





City Council Study Session 8 August 2017 – Town Hall, Incentives and Sandwich Boards

City Council Study Session                  8 August 2017                      Citizen Minutes

Telephone Town Hall

Kelli Narde, Director of Communications, informed the council that the telephone town hall has been scheduled for September 20, 2017. It will be held at the Falls Event Center. There will be people in the audience and people watching and able to participate by phone. Mark Relph, city manager, will screen the calls. Kelli said it is exciting and terrifying at the same time. It will come with a cost of about $10,000.

Sewer Utility Status and Financial Plan Update

A report was provided to council about the future financial needs of the sewer treatment plant. There will not be a rate increase next year and future increases are projected to be under 2% per year through 2022. We are only using 50% of our capacity.   There is a cash balance of $25,000,000.

Economic Incentives

Denise Stephens, Economic Development Director, asked the council if the city should adopt an Economic Incentive Policy. Bill Hopping suggested that we use incentives to steer a developer from the “highest and best use” of the property and suggested that we not use them as standards but as a cultural impact. Phil Cernanec said a cultural change is more difficult and not economically sustainable. Everyone wants open space and parks but we can’t do that. The evaluation needs a good understanding of economic impacts. The character of the neighborhoods is important but how do we deal with revitalization? Housing should be considered and we do not currently have a housing plan.

Doug Clark recognized that if we are going to give away tax dollars we should have a policy but he did not see why they were discussing incentives.   Stephens said Littleton is a place of interest and right now they have not had to use incentives but if things change and we are in a redevelopment cycle we may have reason to use incentives.

Clark said we have had an economic policy in Littleton for 40 years that did not use incentives. (Clark is referring to Economic Gardening that went by the way side shortly after Michael Penny was hired. It is a much lauded approach to economic vitality that originated in Littleton but Chris Gibbons (the man behind the Economic Gardening plan) is no longer with the city.)   King Soopers and Breckenridge Brewery did not get their incentives until after they had their projects approved.

Stephens said it would be better to have a plan with stringent requirements than not to have a policy in place.

Hopping said that a city that can chose the type of development they want and can mildly incentivize the development making the city better.   Stephens said they would not advertise the fact that the city offers incentives but if it happens and we are asked we have a response.

Randy Young, acting city manager, asked the council if there was consensus to do incentives as there was no reason to go on with the discussion. Peggy Cole said someone can come and request an incentive but that doesn’t mean they will get it. Littleton is desirable! Bruce Beckman asked if the council was in favor of going forward. Appeared that Clark was the only one that had a strong objection to using the taxpayer’s money to incentivize development so the conversation continued.

Jerry Valdes asked if it was possible to have a policy then not use it? Steve Kemp, city attorney, said yes.   Beckman said it was a professional approach to development to have a policy in place but he can see reasons not to do it but if a developer does ask we have an answer. Kemp said if the council codifies the policy council will make the final decision.

Debbie Brinkman, who was in favor of incentives, said we could set the bar high. It was time for Littleton to grow up and participate – it is just part of the new world. We need a fair way to evaluate requests.

 Portable Signs for Zero Lot Merchants

This is a fancy way to introduce the subject of the downtown merchants being allowed to use sandwich boards in front of their shops to advertise their business. Randy Young asked if there was interest in this subject.   Phil Cernanec said there was supposed to be a study on the impact of sales done by the merchants and he did not see the report. Hopping said it was a hot issue for the merchants – they can’t put a number on sales that don’t happen. But some of the merchants play with it and when they put out their notices they see a significant difference. The displays bring customers into their shops.

Stephens said they tried to eliminate clutter when the sidewalk signs were outlawed. However, merchants feel that the signs are critical to being noticed. Staff was suggesting that the merchants in a zero lot line situation display their outdoor signs with certain restrictions.

Done by permit

The sidewalk is still ADA compliant

The city can set the style and restrict the placement of the signs.

And merchants have liability coverage

Brinkman said she was deathly sick of this issue – it never stops. She did not think the sandwich board signs add to the safety and mobility of downtown. She said the merchants are important to the economy and the vitality of downtown and she wants to support them and would like them to understand that they are not putting the signs on their property but on the city’s property. She thinks the signs add to the conflict and chaos of downtown for the aging community, those in wheelchairs, young families with kids that wander and don’t look where they are going, strollers, dogs, and bikes. She wanted to restrict them to doing something that is safe – we are responsible for the safety. She did not want to regulate the style of the signs but the number of signs and the size. We don’t need bunches of signs. We need to tell them where they can be and they can only be out during the operating hours of the stores. The core issue is safety.

Cernanec agreed with Brinkman. He thought one sign per building should be the limit. He also wants it to be self-policing by the merchants association.

Valdes said he hasn’t seen people tripping and we have always had older people in the community. The merchants needed this in 2015 and they need it now. Let’s get out of the way.

Kemp said he had heard enough to come up with something more simplified. He would address the ADA issue, the liability concern, content can’t be regulated but we can regulate the size and staff can come up with a simplified permitting process.

Cole wanted the signs to be removed on festival days.

Budget meetings will be Sept. 11, 12, and 13.



City Council Study Session – 25 July 2017 – Dispatch Mediaiton

City Council Study Session.       25 July 2017.     Citizen Minutes

1.  Ordinance review of minor clarifications to Title 11, Subdivision Code, Chapter 9, Administrative Plat and Replat.  In May 2017 council approved changes to the subdivision exemption code (This change was triggered by The Grove approval – this was one of the codes that was violated when it was administratively approved.  The exemption required property to be divided not combined but it was used to combine parcels in the case of The Grove.)  When council approved the changes in May a citizen pointed out language that was not clearly written and would be subject to a different interpretation than intended.  This change will clarify the confusing language.  The word “less” will be changed to “more.”  A second clarification will be included in the Ordinance – a clarification to what is meant by adequate water and sewer facilities.  A Will Serve letter will fulfill the requirement. Continue reading

Letter to Council from Fire Union Saying They “Will Not Sit Back and Watch”

10 July 2017

Council members,

To those of you voting yes in favor of merging our dispatch with SMFR,
thank you!!

To those of you voting no, we are more than disappointed in your decision. Continue reading