By Joseph Lekarczyk
A chorus of citizens repeated the same refrain over and over at Monday night's Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting; support live outdoor music in Lyons! At issue was a public hearing to amend certain sections of an existing ordinance pertaining to the Outdoor Activity Overlay District, which includes both sides of Main and High Streets between Third and Fifth Avenues.
The current ordinance is a hodgepodge of “open, limited, and restricted” zones, which limit or restrict, among other things, the playing of acoustic or amplified music during various times of days, and during various days of the week. The need for these amendments came about because certain businesses and prospective businesses in the district desired to have outdoor
seating with entertainment, and were not able to do so under the current ordinance. Plus, as Mayor Connie Sullivan explained, certain well established and well intentioned businesses have been operating outside the parameters of the ordinance as it is currently written (with no registered complaints from the public). Sullivan explained that the Board just wanted to simplify and unify the ordinance for current and future business owners.
No fewer than eight business owners, former business owners, musicians, singers, festival producers, and Lyons Area Chamber of Commerce members either spoke or submitted letters voicing their support toward not enacting anything that would further restrict area businesses from being able to provide outdoor music. It should be noted that none of the Trustees wanted to add further restrictions either. They were more interested in simplicity and uniformity. In fact several were open to expanding the hours of permitted music during the summer months.
Trustee Jocelyn Farrell said of the proposed ordinance, “It's confusing, doesn't match the map, and doesn't fit the needs of our community.” Trustee Mark Browning suggested that might be less arbitrary is it was “decibel” based, and added that he would be in favor of expanding the hours to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Trustee Juli Waugh felt that the amended ordinance was causing a lot of confusion for both the citizens and the Trustees and agreed with upping the hours during the summer months. Trustee Michael Karavas definitely wanted to “simplify” and intoned that, “The neighbors will let us know if there is a problem.” Trustee Wendy Miller agreed with Browning's the 9 to 9 from Memorial Day to Labor Day suggestion, but was not in accord with a set decibel level, citing the difficulties at Riverbend coming up with an acceptable level. Mayor Pro Tem Barney Dreistadt offered that, “Limiting music in Lyons just doesn't feel or sound right.” Sullivan also had reservations about trying to establish an acceptable decibel level, and was on board with “seasonal hours.”
In the end, the Board continued the matter until their November 5 meeting, and asked staff to rewrite the proposed amendments to the Outdoor Overlay District using the information and suggestions gathered during the public hearing and Board discussion.
Sgt. Bill Crist of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office informed the Trustees that his people were “gearing up” for the annual Halloween Parade. Finance Director Anna Cañada gave the monthly financial update. Revenues continue to outpace expenditures for the month of September, the third quarter, and year-to-date in all funds with the exception of the water fund and the sanitation (wastewater/sewer) fund. Both of those continue to operate in the red because of loan payments for purchased property east of town, and the need for increased rates, which if and when enacted will go into effect in January of 2019. Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen reminded the Board that public works will be testing the Town's 125 fire hydrants between now and the end of December, so the citizenry might see some turbidity in their faucets. She was pleased to notify the Trustees that the DOLA staffing grant for the recovery team was fully extended through 2019 to ensure that their efforts will continue to move forward.
During audience business, a concerned young citizen and student at Lyons Elementary School, charmed the BOT and those present with her observations of “cars zooming past,” and she added, “I want more cross walks!” A slightly older citizen, and former student at Lyons Elementary School, reminded the Board that the museum was now closed for the season, but would celebrate its 40th anniversary next year. She used the remainder of her allotted minutes to caution the Trustees about the dangers of a possible shooting range “just over the hill from the proposed affordable housing project.”
Sullivan then appointed seven people to the newly revived Revolving Loan Committee; they are Lora Gilson, Megan Walsh, Julie Karavas, Chrystal DeCoster, Marc Mayo, Lorena Medina, and Mike Porter.
A second public hearing, this one for a resolution to conditionally approve an ADU located at 227 Park Street was held, but only the applicant spoke to the Board. He spoke about the history of development that has been allowed along the alley over the years without regard for fire protection, vehicle access, distance to hydrants, etc., and the delays in the process because of FEMA's still unspecified requirements for the alley's access/egress if certain modifications are needed for the replacement of the Second Avenue Bridge.
One thorny issue, the first reading of an ordinance repealing and reenacting a portion of Town Code for the purpose of increasing the service rates and charges for wastewater utility service, creating a high strength waste (high BODs) surcharge, and enacting other miscellaneous amendments to the wastewater utility service was pulled from the consent agenda for further discussion later in the meeting. The rest of the consent agenda: the Lyons Library District's annual report, the October accounts payable, and the October 1, BOT meeting minutes was approved with a quick seven to zero “yea” vote. Upon further/later review of the “thorny issue,” the Board directed Town Attorney Brandon Dittman to separate the three-pronged ordinance (rate increase, high strength waste surcharge, and miscellaneous amendments) into three separate (so as to not be “held hostage” if one or more items were to get bogged down in lengthy discussion), but simultaneous ordinances to be presented as a first reading at the November 5 BOT meeting.
Under general business, the Trustees heard from a representative of the Dave Miller Ditch Company who was asking that the Board consider a lease agreement to relocate the intake/diversion gate and construct a new solar voltaic array for their pump on Town owned property (the abandoned water treatment plant near the Rainbow Bridge at upper Apple Valley Road). It turns out the Dave Miller Ditch Company has been around since before (1876) the Town of Lyons (Who knew?), and supplies irrigation water to about fourteen Apple Valley residents, which has been interrupted since the 2013 flood. The ditch company still needs to get permits/permission from Boulder County, and is under a bit of a looming deadline (April of 2019) to spend their grant money. Everyone on the Board expressed a desire to help, but Browning, the ever-vigilant watchdog of the taxpayers purse, reiterated his desire to have all unused Town owned property valued so the Board, and the public, would know exactly what monetary value was being talked about. Sullivan was more skeptical about the timeline for getting all the ducks in a row when dealing with the Boulder County permitting process. Tustee Miller expressed a desire to “walk the property” before making a decision, and wanted to ensure that the solar array would not adversely impact the view of the beautiful span bridge. It was decided that a walkabout of the property would be scheduled and the issue would be readdressed after the ditch company talked further with Boulder County.
In another general business item, Browning and Sullivan had opposing views on whether sales tax information from Planet Bluegrass festivals should be shared with the BOT. Browning cited a 1999 agreement with Planet Bluegrass, which stipulated that vendor/festival sales tax information would be presented to the “town” within ten days after the events, and would then be reported to the BOT by the Town Administrator within twenty days thereafter. He was adamant that the Board needed this vital information to administer their fiduciary duties for the taxpayers, and to accurately anticipate revenues to prepare the next year's budget. He maintained that it was part of the original contract agreement and was therefore exempt from state privacy laws that protect specific/single businesses from having this information made public. He insisted it was, “contrary to legislative function” to not have access to these numbers. Sullivan felt that “town” meant town staff, i.e., Simonsen, and was uncomfortable with the Board “getting out of our lane.” She countered that the Board handled “policy” and the staff was in charge of “procedure.” She was confident that Simonsen and staff could adequately apprise the Board of “sales tax trends” when the annual budget was being put together. In the end, the Mayor's position seemed to carry the day with the rest of the Trustees, and no further action will be taken on the matter.
The third matter up for discussion during general business was Boulder County's proposed shooting range at a quarry on the CEMEX property adjacent to the Loukonen Stone Yard off of Rte. 36. Sullivan reminded everyone that this is totally a Boulder County project, and suggested that since the county has shown little or no interest in getting public input from the citizens of Lyons (who will be most affected by this project), that the Town of Lyons create a survey for its citizenry to help clarify how residents might feel about the idea, the location and what, if any, concerns they might have. Some Board members had concerns. Farrell wanted a much more comprehensive sound test conducted, and she hoped that a large part of the town's population would be informed about what day, what time, and what kinds of guns, and how many, so that more people than just seven Trustees might be involved. Miller and others had some reservations now that the county seems to have backed away from their “green ammunition” (non- lead bullets) promise. She also felt that if the proposed closures to random shooting on public land in and around Lyons were not going to be put into affect, then what was the point of creating a shooting range? Dreistadt was “very, very disappointed with the county” in their lack of promised public engagement, as well as several other promises that they now seem to be back peddling on. Sullivan was very wary of how such a “high impact use” would negatively impact future use/development plans for adjacent properties, which are in the Lyons Primary Planning Area and therefore subject to intergovernmental agreements with the county. It was decided that since the county is not engaging the Lyons public on this, the Town would create a survey with a “neutral” factual history of the proposal, and find out what residents feel about the creation of a shooting range at the site.
The Trustees then conducted three separate executive session to discuss negotiations and strategies regarding leasing agreements with three individual entities: Paul Frysig, DBA Western Stone; 4196 Ute Highway, LLC, DBA Spirit Hound Distillery (Mayor Sullivan recused herself from the Spirit Hound discussion); and Lon Lee Clark, DBA Clark's Hardware. After which, the meeting was adjourned.