After devouring some hefty agenda items on their plates in late 2016, the Lyons Board of Trustees slimmed down to a lighter course of business Monday night in its first meeting of the new year.
The meeting lasted barely more than an hour, with most of that devoted to staff updates and follow-ups on business from prior meetings.
Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen presented a written report from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department, which is participating in the ongoing investigation of a recent house fire at 316 Evans Street. No cause has been officially identified yet, Simonsen said, but the fire’s origin is believed to have been near a couch in the garage, where heating pads may have been used to keep cats warm on a cold, windy night.
Boulder County deputies assigned to Lyons are also continuing to meet with residents in the Evans and Park Street areas to discuss traffic concerns. Possible means to address those issues may be considered at the January 17 BOT meeting.
Simonsen reported the good news that, unlike some other nearby communities, Lyons did not experience power outages from 80 - 90 mph wind gusts in December. The Town has tripled its tree-trimming budget since the 2013 flood, Simonsen said, which may well have helped limit windstorm damage.
Following up on major items from the BOT December 19 regular meeting and December 21 special meeting, Simonsen advised that the Town was able to enter into a contract with DeFalco Construction for the first phase of rebuilding Bohn Park. That contract was in jeopardy due to serious cash flow issues facing the Town as a result of delays in reimbursements on other flood recovery work.
The Town is continuing to work with State officials about a cash flow timeline that would give the Town more certainty in being able to meet its ongoing obligations. At long last (on December 30), the State did come through with a $3 million advance on flood recovery reimbursements. That advance, which had been promised for some time, was vital to beginning the Bohn Park project.
Phase 1 of Bohn Park construction (during 2017) will be primarily focused on the area along with St. Vrain River, including stream and bank improvements, a parking area, a restored trail and a children’s playground.
Other major Bohn Park amenities such as ballparks and a skatepark will be put off until the Town has adequate cash flow to enter into and perform expensive contracts for those items.
Simonsen reported good results from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs review of Round 2 of Disaster Recovery funding. A recent final review found no significant issues in the Town’s management of those projects, and only three minor items needing further attention, two which have already been taken care of and the third of which will be resolved soon.
Another aspect of flood recovery on the BOT’s radar is a revised floodplain and floodway map. Simonsen discussed the proposed new map, a large-scale, lot-by-lot, color-coded version of which is posted on the wall of BOT chambers. (The map is also available on the Town website, but reviewing the status of individual lots can be difficult.)
Simonsen urged residents to pay careful attention to the new map, which both moves some properties (including several lots in the Confluence area) out of the 100-year floodplain and puts others (including property at the intersection of Stone Canyon Road and Highway 36) into floodplain status for the first time.
It is possible, Simonsen said, that some other properties might be removed from the floodplain based on improvements to the McConnell and Second Avenue bridges, but that remains to be seen.
The BOT will need to decide whether to keep the existing floodplain map in effect in Lyons until the Federal Emergency Management Association’s official new maps take effect in 2019, or whether to go ahead and adopt a new local map. Permitting requirement for property owners will be affected, and Simonsen suggested two years was a long time for people to wait for FEMA action.
A general “Town Hall meeting” is scheduled for 7 p.m. on January 11 for a status report of 2016 events and a look at what the Town hopes to accomplish in 2017. Citizens are urged to attend and can take the opportunity to look closely at the proposed new floodplain map.
Other than consent agenda items, the Board of Trustees took up only two main agenda issues Monday night.
The first was a unanimously-adopted “inclusivity proclamation” declaring Lyons to be a welcoming, open place to people of all nationalities, races, religions, genders, and sexual orientations. The proclamation both states openness and inclusivity as Town policies and urges local residents to adopt such policies in their own interactions with other people in Lyons.
The inclusivity proclamation will be posted at Town Hall and on the Town website. Mayor Pro Tem Dan Greenberg, filling in for vacationing Mayor Connie Sullivan, stated that while words in a proclamation are fine, the words don’t mean much unless they are treated as a call to action.
As an example, Greenberg pointed to how the modern Tea Party movement did not limit itself to writing proclamations, but showed up at local, state and national political events and elections to successfully push its agenda and candidates.
“They showed up, got people to run and got people elected,” Greenberg said, “People need to take a page out that book and show up for democracy.”
The other item requiring a vote was a somewhat-belated resolution officially adopting the Lyons Recovery Action Plan. The LRAP was put together expeditiously after the flood, at FEMA’s urging, with many hours of community input in a series off meetings. On March 31, 2014, at a special meeting, the LRAP was officially adopted by a prior BOT when Julie van Domelen was still mayor.
However, though minutes of that meeting reflect adoption, no one could locate an actual resolution officially approving the LRAP. To clean up the Town’s records in that respect, a resolution was adopted Monday night “confirming” that the LRAP had been approved in 2014.
Trustee reports on Town Boards and Commissions were relatively sparse, due to the holidays. Trustee Mike Karavas reported on the Ecology Board’s recent review of fish counts in the St. Vrain. The fish population numbers were generally good, except for the part of the river flowing through Lavern Johnson Park. There is some concern that poaching may be occurring in that part of the river, with efforts being made to improve “catch and release” signage and to conduct some surveillance of possible poaching.
Trustee Barney Dreisdorf, liaison to the Arts and Humanities Commission, said AHC is in need of more members and urged local residents with an interest in the arts to consider volunteering to fill those vacancies.
The meeting was followed by an executive session at which Simonsen was to update the Board on ongoing negotiations with the City of Longmont regarding purchase of the former Longmont Waste Water Treatment facility on Highway 66. The Town plans to relocate the Public Works building on that property due to the lack of other options closer to downtown. Annexation of the property is contemplated after its purchase from Longmont.