By Joseph Lekarczyk
People came from near and far to have their say on several topics at the Monday night Board of Trustee (BOT) meeting. The first thing one noticed upon entering council chambers was the front of the dais, where the six Trustees and the Mayor sit, had removed seemingly so the microphones/sound system could be replaced or at least improved. It worked. LaVern and this reporter may no longer have to strain and lean in to hear what is being said. Well done. The sound quality is much better. Apparently they also made some changes on the toggle switch that allows Mayor Connie Sullivan to illuminate the “yea” (green) or “nay” (red)
lights in front of each Trustee that determine which way everyone has voted. It seems there was a bit of a toggle switch learning curve. Sullivan's old toggle went up and down; the new one goes left to right. This led to some confusion throughout the early votes. Fortunately, there were numerous motions and amendments to motions that needed to be voted on. By the end of the night Sullivan found her footing and things were humming along like a well oiled machine.
Lyons Substation Supervisor Sgt. Bill Crist of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office gave a very brief report (he's probably an Eagles fan and wanted to catch the end of the game). Beginning in 2019 the new schedule for municipal court in Lyons will be on the third Thursday of the month. There were a couple of small hiccups during the Parade of Lights, but overall, things went smoothly.
Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen informed the Board that the bids for construction of the new Public Works building east of town were opened last Friday, November 30. She was pleased to announce that the McConnell Bridge contracts have been closed out, and she expects reimbursements from FEMA ($1.3M) and CDBGDR ($180+K) shortly. Simonsen added that the nearly $1.5M in funds “would go a long way toward easing cash flow problems.” FEMA has also approved the design plans for the Second Avenue Bridge, so that project should get underway in the new year. The environmental and cultural studies for Bohn Park Phase 2 have been submitted and Simonsen expects approval within three to four weeks, with a start date by early spring. As an example of just what Town staff has been dealing with during the past five years of recovery efforts, Simonsen reported that FEMA does not want the old buried water main in Apple Valley (which goes under the river) to be dug up and removed when the new permanent one is installed. Nor will they pay for it. However, Boulder County, in order to issue a permit for the work on the new line, requires that the old pipe be removed. Can you say rock and a hard place? There may have to be a bit of horse trading between Lyons, Longmont (also has water main issues) and Boulder County on this one. Finally, Simonsen wanted everyone (businesses and residents) in town to be aware of a snow removal ordinance, which requires removal within twenty-four hours of the end of the storm. She said tickets will be issued!
Two gentlemen, one from Lakewood and the other from Colorado Springs, extolled the virtues of tiny homes during audience business. They were happy that Lyons was discussing the issue and were confident that the permitting of tiny homes as an option would help solve the affordable housing crunch locally.
LaVern Johnson espoused her reluctance to have a shooting range so close to a populated area, and urged the Board to use caution in their discussions with the county. Nick Sowders felt differently. He opined that the possible impending closure of over 224,000 acres of National Forest land to recreational sport shooting made the creation of a structured shooting range all the more necessary. He reasoned, “a projectile” (bullet) fired from the range toward town would have lost so much energy by the time it got to Lyons that it, “would be no more dangerous than hail.”
Former Mayor Nick Angelo reminded the Trustees that the bollards at the bottom of Stone Canyon continue to be hit by trucks and cars, and he quipped, after a few more dings, they will soon be horizontal. On a more serious note, Angelo cautioned the Board against being too restrictive with their amendments to the Lyons legislative policy. He feared that restricting the length of time, and the number of times a Trustee can speak on an agenda item would only inhibit their ability to do the job they were elected to do.
The first public hearing concerned an ordinance to create definitions for large and small accessory structures, and create a conditional use permit requirement for large accessory structures in some low-density residential zones. The conditional use would come into play if the structure was two or more stories, had sewer or water hook ups, or was separated from the main structure by established distance. (See Amy Reinholds column in this edition for more details.)
The second public hearing had to do with the amending the outdoor activity overlay district (Main and High Streets between Third and Fifth Avenues). This came about because the current district is a checkerboard of three designations (open, limited, and restricted) each with different parameters about outdoor dining and the playing of music.
Under the current configuration the front part of one business is in the open designation, while the rear part of the building is in the restricted. Another parcel spanned three different designations.
The aim was to expand the hours, eliminate the conditional use, and simplify the overlay district to help businesses expand and thrive, while at the same time not adversely affecting the neighboring residential areas, nor businesses that already provided outdoor dining and music.
This proved to be a tough nut to crack that has involved months of discussion, multiple workshops, the PCDC, the BOT, and Town staff. A bevy of amendments were made to the original motion concerning: hours of operation (4 p.m. to 9 p.m., 10 a.m. to 9 p.m; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.), additional days (Saturday and Sundays are allowed) of the week allowed (Monday through Friday; Thursdays and Fridays; Fridays and Mondays), times of the year (winter season; summer season, Memorial Day to Labor Day; just during festival weeks.), number of exemptions allowed (four per quarter; four per year), how many days constituted an exemption request (one or multiple days); which parcels in which blocks would be designated which way.
Some amendments passed, some failed, some died for lack of a second. One might have thought that these options would have been “worked” out during the “workshops.” In the end, the measure was passed; Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Memorial Day to Labor Day, and four (one day) exemptions per year. I think, if I got all the amendments straight. Check with Town Hall if you really need to know.
The consent agenda, consisting of a resolution approving the fourth amendment to a disaster recovery services agreement with DHM Design; a resolution determining the legislative history of professional services by Ripley Design, Inc. on Meadow Park change order 4, and final legal settlement; a resolution approving a covenant for limitations of resale and buyer income for affordable housing at the Park and Second subdivision; a resolution accepting public improvements for 341 Park buyout restoration and closeout of the construction agreement with L4 Environmental, DBA L4 Construction; and the December accounts payable, was approved in short order.
Two other items from the consent agenda were pulled and approved later in the meeting. They were the first reading of an ordinance to allow tiny homes as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU), and the second was a resolution awarding the contract for the relocation of a potable water line through Apple Valley to Murray Smith, Inc., and approving a professional services agreement with the same entity.
Trustee Juli Waugh said because her husband operated the tiny homes at Wee Casa as a hotel and not as ADUs, she felt she could discuss this subject without bias, and be fair and objective. Mayor Pro Tem Barney Dreistadt reminded Waugh that this was a first reading, and therefore there would be no discussion. Oops, never mind. (See Amy Reinholds column in this edition for more details.)
Boulder County employee Gary Sanfacon and County Commissioner Deb Gardner presented the Board with an update on the proposed shooting range that they would like to see created in a soon to be abandoned CEMEX quarry along Rte. 36, just over the ridge from town. Sanfacon gave a brief background of the proposal, the objectives, the selection process, and the future process.
According to Sanfacon there will be closures to recreational sport shooting in national forests, but not unless or until Boulder, Larimer, and Gilpin Counties create alternative shooting ranges in each county. It turns out there will need to be two shooting ranges in Boulder County because of the amount of closures; one (a gun club in North Boulder) to serve southern BoCo, and the other (the purposed quarry site) to serve northern BoCo.
Not many of the closures in Boulder County will be in the Lyons vicinity (most between Boulder and Nederland), just a little along Rte. 7 outside of Lyons, and some up near the Rte. 7 and the Peak to Peak intersection. Both Sanfacon and Gardner said the process was still in the discussion stages, and no letter of intent to purchase with CEMEX has been signed yet.
Until then, the county won't allocate funds to do the necessary studies, i.e., traffic, environmental, noise, land use, etc. After a letter of intent is signed the county will begin the process of developing a draft site plan. Once that has occurred, “the county will convene a community meeting with the Town of Lyons to solicit feedback from residents.” If either of the locations are “deemed feasible, they will have to go through Boulder County's Special Use Review application process.”
This process requires public hearing before the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners. Sullivan expressed her concerns about the potential negative impact on adjacent mixed use properties that are within the Lyons Primary Planning Area. There were questions about enforcement of closed areas, enhanced noise testing, traffic studies, etc., and Trustee Mark Browning questioned why with all the Boulder County Open Space, this is the “best” place to site the project. Sanfacon basically said that a shooting range was not compatible with open space use, and the county would have to buy the land back from Boulder County Open Space with money from the county's general fund, and only after it was voter approved.
The Board then discussed and decided to workshop (on December 17) a resolution to approve legislative procedures. They then passed, in a six to one vote, a resolution, with several amendments, approving a social media policy. Browning was the lone holdout.
Despite making most of the amendments himself (most having to do with discussing issues via social media with an added disclaimer that the opinions stated were not in an official capacity as a Trustee but rather as a resident, and all the first amendment and Colorado sunshine law implications that might then arise). He was very worried that in the not too distant future the only way that the public may interact with, and get information from, elected officials may be via social media platforms.
The Trustees gave their reports and then went into executive session for the purpose of determining positions, strategies, and instructing negotiators and for legal advise regarding the Town's energy cost-savings contract with Honeywell International, Inc. for the new wastewater treatment plant.