May 29, 2017

Ward 2 Special Election Candidate Forum – the details

I said I would post the final details when I got them, so here they are:

The forum is scheduled for Monday April 10 at the Shelton Elementary School gymnasium (420 Crawford Street) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

For more information you can call Sandy Algermissen at 303-279-3281. The forum is sponsored by a diverse cast of characters including the Leadership Golden Alumni Association, the Golden Transcript, the Voice of Golden, and the Golden Good Government League.

Final Candidate List for Golden's Special Election in April

This just in from the City Clerk's office . . . the final list of candidates for the April 25, 2006 Special Election:

Joe Behm
Brian Bookmyer
Karla Conner

I imagine this will be a colorful campaign. Be sure to attend the candidate forum, which I believe is scheduled for April 10. I'll confirm and provides details when I get them.

Final Candidate List for Golden’s Special Election in April

This just in from the City Clerk's office . . . the final list of candidates for the April 25, 2006 Special Election:

Joe Behm
Brian Bookmyer
Karla Conner

I imagine this will be a colorful campaign. Be sure to attend the candidate forum, which I believe is scheduled for April 10. I'll confirm and provides details when I get them.

Five Days Left to Apply for the Historic Preservation Board

We’ve still got one opening on the Historic Preservation Board, so if you are interested be sure to get your application in by March 31. Interviews are tentatively scheduled for the evening of Thursday April 20 at City Hall. The only hard and fast requirement is that you are a resident of the City of Golden. Otherwise, the main requirement is that you care about preserving Golden’s historic character and are willing to put some time into Historic Preservation Board’s efforts to do just that. I served on the Historic Preservation Board before being elected to the City Council and have a high regard for their mission and their efforts.

You should direct any questions to Steve Glueck, the city’s planning director (303-384-8097).

City Council Packets Now Online

In both of my City Council campaigns and during my year on Council I’ve pushed for and supported efforts to make city government more transparent and more accessible to people in the community. The latest step is the posting of the complete City Council meeting packets online on the city’s web site. The packets include all of the proposed resolutions and ordinances plus all the background material that City Councilors get every week. They are frequently lengthy, often 5 to 6 MB (meaning long download times unless you have a very fast connection). Packets are scheduled to be posted the Friday evening before the following City Council meeting.

Also, in April we begin a trial program of taping and broadcasting City Council meetings. I have no idea what that will be like but it’s something that I and others on Council have long supported and I look forward to the experiment. Both study sessions and regular City Council meetings will air live on Comcast channel 8, and web casts will be available on the Saturday following the meeting at www.cityofgolden.net.

If you have any questions or suggestions about improving citizen access to City documents, you can each call the City Clerk’s office (303) 384-8015 or let me know.

Ethics Complaint Update

As you may know, Marion Olson filed another round of ethics complaints against sitting City Councilors, former City Councilors, the City Attorney, and the City Manager. I’m not among those Ms. Olson alleges to have violated the city’s ethics code but the situation is made more complicated because so many folks are. The long and short of it is this: our code is really unclear regarding the process we are supposed to follow when a citizen claims that someone on Council or with the city staff violated the ethics code. Given that, it seemed prudent to first take a step back and figure out, as best we can, exactly what process we should follow. To that end, last week I proposed that City Council hire a credible, independent special counsel to review our code, the minutes of the City Council meetings where that code was discussed and adopted, and any other relevant documents in order to make a recommendation about what process we should follow. After some discussion at our meeting last week, City Council voted 4-0 (the other three had recused themselves) to adopt my proposed resolution. The next step will be a proposal to Council for selecting an independent special counsel. I’ll write more on this as the process unfolds.

I haven’t figured out how to upload my memo to City Council or the resolution to the blog we adopted but am happy to email those documents to anyone who wants them.

Community Development Block Grants: More Info

Here is a National League of Cities news release I found on the issue I wrote about yesterday – the Bush Administration’s proposed one billion dollar cut to the Community Development Block Grant program. The release has some other info about the conference as well.

Community Development Block Grants

I’m writing from Washington, D.C. this evening after my first day at the National League of Cities conference.  It is impressive, with thousands of city councilors and mayors from all over the country sharing stories and lessons.  It is interesting, though perhaps not surprising, that so many folks in other communities face challenges similar to those we face in Golden, and I’m asking everyone about their experiences, what’s worked and what hasn’t.

Community Development Block Grant funding is one priority issue for the National League of Cities.  The program provides annual grants to communities across America – including Golden – to help low- and moderate-income folks and neighborhoods. Golden applies for funds in conjunction with Jefferson County, Edgewater, Mountain View, and Wheat Ridge and since the beginning of the current Community Development Block Grant program in 1993 we have collectively received and spent more than $1.3 million on things like improving and constructing sidewalks in lower-income parts of town, Jefferson County Housing Authority programs, and handicap accessibility improvements.  President Bush proposed cutting the program by $1 billion, more than 25 percent of the program, on top of a 15% cut over the past two years.  Most everyone here is lobbying their delegation about the importance of at least maintaining current funding levels, and that will be among the things that Mayor Baroch and I bring up when we meet with the Colorado Congressional delegation over the next couple of days.

Proposed Senior Housing Exception to the 1% Growth Limit

As you may know, Golden is governed by a 1% annual limit on residential growth. The process (found at Chapter 18.70 of the Municipal Code) is structured so that at the beginning of every year we calculate the number of available building permits and then – more or less – issue them through the year until we run out. The limit affects actual building permits, not the plats and subdivisions, such that City Council may approve projects with more units than can be built in that year. When that happens, the builders have to wait until the next year (or possibly longer) until the pool of available permits is replenished. In this way we are guaranteed – unless we use the exception I describe below – that we won’t build new residential units at a rate faster than the 1% limit.

The 1% growth ordinance gives Council the ability to grant exceptions to these limits to provide for senior housing, and we’ve received a request to grant just such an exception. The owners of Clear Creek Commons at Washington and 11th are planning to convert up to twelve of their two-bedroom units into one-bedroom units and studios. Because all the units are leased to qualifying senior citizens, this exception would be permissible under the 1% growth ordinance but requires Council approval.

There is a second major issue involved in this Clear Creek Commons request, and that is their proposal to amend the development plan to allow some of these new units to be built without kitchens. Their argument is that residents of these new, small units will be able to use the building’s meal service (to be provided out of the former Café Touche space) and can rely on a small refrigerator and microwave for any other needs. I confess I’m skeptical that this is a good idea but I’m happy to hear their presentation and any other public comments on whether this is appropriate.

On March 9, City Council will hold the first hearing on the proposed growth limit exemption, and on April 13 we are scheduled to hold a hearing on both the proposed exemption and the proposed changes to the development plan.

I welcome your thoughts on whether we should approve this.

Closing the Hesteds Deal

The big news in Golden today is the closing of the Hesteds deal downtown. The project, dubbed Gateway Station, will begin with the remediation of the PCE (also known as perchloroethylene,
tetrachloroethylene, PERC, and perclene) contamination in the old dry cleaner’s building. When that’s finished – probably late spring or early summer – we’ll see asbestos abatement, demolition, and then construction of the new mixed-use development. I understand the concerns and share the apprehension, but after being vacant for a quarter of a century I think this project will be a really good thing – a well-designed mixed-use infill development – for downtown Golden.