by Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.
You move into the community, you work hard, you’re industrious (some might even say, “eager”), you build your dream home, right on the river, you start a family, then suddenly there’s talk around Town Hall of “blowing up” or “tearing down” all your hard work. Such is the plight of modern-day beavers when they build without a permit in Lyons.Pressure valves, a presentation, paid parking, and beavers; that’s really all that was on the agenda for Monday night’s Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting; however, the discussions went on until 10 p.m. The consent agenda, consisting of the minutes for the March 7 BOT meeting, fairly flew through the process with a quick 5-0 vote (Trustees Kirk Udovich and Kathy Jacobson were not in attendance). Then it was on to a resolution to approve a rebate program for the installation of pressure reducing valves in individual homes. About twenty years ago these valves (which reduce water pressure from the main [about 200 p.s.i.] to a more manageable 80 p.s.i. inside the house) became part of the adopted building code, but most homes in Lyons built before the early 90’s don’t have them. Town Engineer Jim Blankenship proposed a rebate program of $125 for residents who installed these valves. He estimates that it will cost about $200 to purchase the valve and have it installed. With the rebate, it costs the homeowner approximately $75, which Blankenship says will be paid for with lower water usage, and longer lasting equipment (faucets, etc.) in the home. This proposal was batted around for a bit, before it passed in a 4-0 vote (Trustee Kathy Carroll abstained because of her connection to a local plumbing business).
Next up was a power point presentation by Steve Simms of the Tree, Weed, & Landscaping Commission. Simms outlined some of the commission’s priorities for the coming year, talked about the state of the Town-owned trees (good), the proliferation of noxious weeds (bad), and segued right into the next agenda item, beavers. These little creatures have taken up residency and built a dam in the river near the ponds just west of McConnell Bridge. Their impressive engineering (even Blankenship was awed) has created a potential flooding threat for nearby residences if the anticipated high water during spring run-off should cut through the bank and spill into the existing ponds. Parks & Rec. Director Dave Cosgrove noted that his crews have been “wrapping” the trees to protect them, and have been keeping an eye on the riverbank for erosion. He also added that he has been in preliminary discussions with someone from the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) about possibly “relocating” the beavers and removing the dam.
Although, everyone thought the “idea” of having beavers in the river was nice, and if not for the potential flooding threat, probably all would prefer to leave them alone. When the discussion turned to blowing up the dam with dynamite, things broke along predictable “party” lines. The “boys” (Trustee Ed Bruder, Cosgrove, and Simms) thought it would be cool to blow it up! While the “girls” (Trustees LaVern Johnson, Sandy Banta, Kathy Carroll, and Mayor Julie Van Domelen) wanted to save the little family. In the end, Cosgrove was instructed to get more information about relocation from DOW, and in the meantime, if the riverbank starts to become compromised during high water, Administrator Victoria Simonsen was given permission to take appropriate emergency actions (remove the dam).
The next item of business was a discussion about paid-parking in Bohn Park. The three options discussed were: an arm/gate which rises to allow exit from the park after the fee has been paid (either by coin, bills, or credit card), a kiosk/meter (similar to the ones in downtown Boulder) which would issue a timed ticket to be placed on the dashboard of your car after paying, and an “honor” system (similar to what is now in practice at Meadow Park) where the driver would put the money in a slot that corresponds to the parking space he/she is occupying. The pros/cons and costs for the three options were discussed, with each idea seemingly having a different champion among the five Board members (good thing two members were missing, or we’d still be there). But when the Trustees did finally manage to come up with an option that four of them could back (plan two) Cosgrove said he felt the Mayor’s argument (economics and cost return) for option three, made the most sense. At this point, everyone’s brain was turning to oatmeal, and the Board directed Cosgrove to (you guessed it) gather more information, and report back to them in two weeks.
The Trustees and Mayor gave their reports, the Mayor appointed a couple of people to some boards or commissions, Administrator Simonsen gave her report, and the meeting was adjourned.