By Joseph Lekarczyk

The Town of Lyons Board of Trustees (BOT) scheduled six public hearings on Monday night's agenda! Perhaps realizing that at that rate they might not get out of the meeting until after the July Fourth holiday on Wednesday, three of the public hearings were “opened and then continued” to either the July 16 BOT meeting, or the August 6 BOT meeting. P-H-E-E-E-W! I was planning to take off for Moab early Tuesday afternoon; I guess I won't have to alter my plans.

Lyons Substation Supervisor Sgt. Bill Crist was not in attendance, and Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen gave his report. She informed the Board that things went very smoothly during the one-day Good Old Days celebration on Saturday. Ditto in the parks during the last two weekends. Simonsen said that Sgt. Crist and his deputies will be gearing up for The Fourth of July holiday with extra patrols in the parks, and preparations for the RockyGrass Festival later this month are ongoing. And apparently traffic problems have been relatively benign, all things considered.

During staff reports, Flood Recovery Manager Richard Markovich was also not in attendance (maybe I'm not the only one going to Moab) so Simonsen also gave his report. The contracts for the McConnell Bridge project, the white water features at the Black Bear Hole, and Bohn Park Phase 1 are about to be closed out. The paving, lighting, and fencing for the wastewater treatment plant are about to get underway, and the restoration of the McConnell Ponds will go out to bid on July 9, and are expected to to be opened and awarded on July 16. Work should begin shortly thereafter. Also the bids for the river trails should be going out to bid this month. Director of Community Programs & Relations Kim Mitchell was present, and reported on the proposed flashing pedestrian beacons. It seems CDOT wants the data on how many pedestrians have been hit (none) at the four locations that have been suggested for the beacons. There was also talk of doing a traffic/speed study now that the requisite nine month period after the installation of the Stone Canyon traffic light has passed. Despite the fact that the Town is not asking CDOT to foot the bill for the beacons, there seems to be some resistance on CDOT's part. So, just how many kids have to get mowed down on their way to school before CDOT will allow a pedestrian beacon in their right-of-way? Just asking.

Simonsen wants the business owners in town with historic building to be aware that some historic preservation grants are going to become available in the near future, and anyone who might want to spruce up their building facade should contact Town Hall about applying for these grants. She was also pleased to announce that the people conducting the audit for the 404-Buyout properties (of which, according to Simonsen, Lyons had more of than any other municipality in Colorado) were, “very pleased with the Town's organization and results.” So much so, that the planned two-day audit was wrapped up in one day, with a favorable result (a gold star and two Hello Kitty stickers).

Four people spoke during audience business. LaVern Johnson gave the crowd a rundown on her part in the Good Old Day celebration (see her column in this edition for details), and invited everyone to stop by the museum to check out the new exhibits. One person spoke to the need to bring all non-compliant ADUs into compliance, and suggested a moratorium on any new ADU applications until this has been achieved. And two young residents questioned the Trustees about when repairs to the skate park are going to be completed, and when this elusive public input session with the designers of the new skate plaza in Bohn Park is going to be scheduled.   

The first public hearing for an ordinance, concerning modifying the boundaries of the Restricted Outdoor Activity Overlay District, was opened and continued until the July 16 BOT meeting. A second public hearing for an ordinance, this one to amend and adopt various international codes (residential, building, mechanical, plumbing, energy conservation, swimming pool, electrical, etc.) was opened. Not too surprisingly, no one in the audience cared to comment on the multitude of codes. However, under questioning of the staff and building inspector by the Trustees, it became apparent that an “exception” in the ordinance to the installation of sprinkler systems in all new residential construction, and certain levels of renovations was being struck from the ordinance, at the behest of officials from the Lyons Fire Protection District. After much discussion it was decided to continue this item until the July 16 meeting with the hopes that someone from the district would attend and clarify some of the issues/questions. A public hearing to approve a resolution for the application of the Vasquez Plaza minor subdivision (Blue Mountain Stone is requesting that they be allowed to divide their lot into two parcels) also didn't get much play from the public, and was approved in a six to zero after a short discussion. (Mayor Connie Sullivan, in an over abundant act of caution, recused herself because her husband is a partner in a neighboring business.) A second resolution, this one having to do with the approval of a conditional use review for a detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) located at 408 Reese Street was opened and then promptly continued until the August 6 BOT meeting. Ditto a third resolution. This time Mayor Pro Tem Barney Dreistadt recused himself citing “a close personal relationship with the applicant.” As it turned out, Dreistadt had mixed up the order of the agenda items (he intended to recuse himself from the fourth ADU resolution) and when the mistake was noticed, the Mayor Pro Tem could not be found anywhere. (Elvis has left the building.) This resolution was to approve the conditional use review for a detached ADU located at 227 Park Street. 

However, the fourth resolution, this one to approve the conditional use review for a detached ADU located at 310 Fifth Avenue (owned by Randy and Georgie Pollard, and the item Dreistadt apparently intended to recuse himself from) was opened, and the public was definitely heard. A half dozen people spoke to the issue, and all but one supported the Pollards' request for approval, citing that Town codes had been followed, accommodations had been made, and their general good feelings for, and the trustworthiness of, the applicants. The lone dissenter was neighbor Dr. Joe Meckle, of Lyons Chiropractic, who told the Trustees that, “this situation was avoidable.” He lamented the fact that he has “lost his views of the mountain with the fourteen foot cathedral ceiling.” And he spoke passionately about the need to, “protect old town Lyons so this doesn't happen again!” After much discussion, about loop holes, procedures, precedence, and water pressure, Trustee Mark Browning said, “the Town created this problem” and “the PCDC has known about this for over a year.” However, he was reluctant to approve because of the precedence it would be setting for future ADU applications and wanted to delay the vote to give the PCDC a chance to rework the ordinance to fix the loop holes. Trustee Michael Karavas agreed, and also cited his concerns about water pressure across the town as it pertained to fire suppression. Trustee Juli Waugh and Sullivan acknowledged the concerns of Browning and Karavas, but felt that the Pollards had followed the code as the ordinance currently reads, and should not be penalized or delayed because of the need to make changes in the ordinance. Trustee Wendy Miller admitted to being “very sympathetic to both sides of the coin,” and was “on the fence” about which way she would vote. When the tally was taken, Karavas and Browning voted “no,” and Sullivan, Waugh, Miller, and Trustee Joycelyn Farrell voted “yes.” The measure carried four to two.      

The consent agenda, consisting of the July accounts payable; the May 2, BOT meeting minutes; the June 18, BOT meeting minutes; and a resolution approving a pole attachment license agreement with Unite Private Networks, LLC was approved without nary a comment from the Trustees. One other item, a resolution awarding the bid for a grading project at the new public works facility east of town to Zak Dirt Inc., was pulled from the consent agenda, and was approved later in the evening after a short discussions to clear up a couple of minor points.

Prior to the evening's regular meeting, which began a 7 p.m., the Trustees met in executive session “to determine negotiating positions and strategies and instructing negotiators regarding the selection and appointment of a Town Attorney and terms of any related professional services agreement.” The only item under general business was a resolution to select a law firm to be appointed as Town Attorney, and direct staff to negotiate the contract. In a move that was a bit of a surprise, the Trustees voted to go with the legal firm of Kissinger & Fellman, rather than to continue with the services of Michow, Cox, & McAskin, who have been serving, in one form or another, for the last thirteen years. Sullivan expressed her appreciation for all the work during the flood recovery, and long service to the Town that Michow, Cox, & McAskin has provided, and said, “that it was just time to use the skill set of the new firm in moving forward.” Marcus McAskin thanked the Board for their business over the years, and assured them that his firm “would be happy to help with the transition” over the next few weeks. 

Simonsen gave the Board an update on the latest information concerning housing. She said she has been having weekly phone calls with Summit (the firm working on the affordable housing project near the high school) who has been working on the purchase/finance side of the equation. Simonsen also said that Summit was now thinking that only twenty-nine units would be likely at the site, and they are still in the talking phase concerning the Van Cort property (next to Eagle Canyon), and that a public meeting to gather more input will be scheduled for sometime in July..

The Trustee reports were brief. A summary of action items was relayed to staff, and the meeting was adjourned. Hope everyone had a safe and happy Fourth of July. 

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