In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.When is a light agenda not a light agenda? Whenever it contains an item concerning the proposed Commercial Eastern Corridor (CEC) zone. After grappling for months with issues like: uses by rights, conditional uses, nonconforming uses, grandfathered uses, big box stores, franchise restaurants, formula businesses, design standards, and definitions for phrases like: small-town character, quality of life, unique community values, and accessory dwelling, the Planning and Community Development Commission (PCDC) handed the CEC ordinance off to the Board of Trustees (BOT) Monday night with a favorable recommendation for first reading.
Things were rolling along quite smoothly until that point. Sgt. Kevin Parker gave a brief report, stating things have been quiet for the most part, and giving kudos to interim Public Works Supervisor Kyle Miller for his handling of the Stone Canyon “flood” earlier this month (it occurred a week after Larry Badker’s retirement party). Only former Mayor Nick Angelo spoke during audience business; he had some issues with the way his remarks about the smell of medical marijuana were portrayed in the BOTs’ May 2 meeting minutes (something similar would rear its ugly head later in the meeting) and suggested that the Board might want to look into a better sound and recording system, maybe even perhaps a “live streaming” of the meetings. Clerk Deb Anthony agreed that the quality of the audio record was the problem, and stated that she is not able to take down everything “verbatim,” She added that if she had only taken “action minutes” i.e. who spoke, whether they were for or against, etc., there would not be a problem.
Even the approval of three special event alcohol permits (one for the Lyons Outdoor Games, one for the Good Old Days, and a third to allow wine to be served at Lyons Arts and Humanities Commission functions held in Town Hall) went relatively smoothly. All passed unanimously except the third, when Trustee Ed Bruder voted against, and stated, “In light of everything that has just taken place in this town (presumably he was referring to the uproar over medical marijuana) I am worried about the reputation of our town, where seemingly every Town function has to have alcohol served.”
Mayor Julie Van Domelen then explained the “ground rules” for the first readings of ordinances. There would be no public input (that comes at second reading, during the public hearing) and she cautioned, just because something was passed at first reading, did not mean that the Board was inclined to vote in favor of it at second reading. An approval only kept the process moving forward, so that the Trustees could get public feedback and tweak various portions of the proposal before it goes to the public. That said, the BOT then spent the next hour and a half to two hours going over all the aforementioned “issues” that the PCDC has been grappling with. The Mayor and Trustees asked for clarification on certain points from Town Planner Danna Ortiz, Administrator Victoria Simonsen, and PCDC members Marty Hine and Roger Flynn. They also heard reports of how the Economic Development Commission and the Chamber of Commerce felt about various aspects of the proposal. And, it can be said, that the BOT is not of the same mind as the PCDC when it comes to some of the more restrictive suggestions.
Flynn was asked to explain the apparent redundancy of the phrases, “maintain and protect small-town character” and “quality of life,” throughout the ordinance, and he repeatedly said, over and over, again and again that, “yes the phrases might seem redundant, but they were put in to show that the Town wasn’t trying to restrict inter-state companies from opening businesses in Lyons, but rather to protect the quality of life and maintain the small-town character.” The Trustees seemed to think that perhaps mentioning just once in the “intent” segment of the ordinance would be sufficient to drive home the point. Some time around 9:30 to 9:45 p.m., Trustee Kirk Udovich was able to cobble together a motion that was reflective of the nuances of the previous two-hour discussion, and the ordinance was passed on to a second reading and public hearing, scheduled for the June 6 BOT meeting.
The first reading of an ordinance dealing with the Whipp annexation (the Lyons Farmette, just east of Stone Canyon) passed without too much fanfare. It too will have a second reading and public hearing on June 6. The consent agenda, consisting of the May 2 BOT meeting minutes and a declaration denoting May as Lyons Historic Preservation Month were passed. Trustee Ed Bruder asked that approval of the May 2 BOT meeting minutes be delayed while he listened to the audio record to verify their accuracy, and some of the positions taken by Town Attorney Tim Cox. This did not sit well with Van Domelen, who was reluctant to let Bruder (who has been pretty much of a different opinon than with the rest of the Board as far as his voting record goes on the medical marijuana debate, and whose “conflict of interests” has been called into question by members of the public at several open meetings) be the final say on what was said by whom during the medical marijuana debates. The Mayor strongly suggested that Simonsen have Cox review, for inaccuracies, any version of the minutes that Bruder came up with, before allowing it to be voted on and become “public record.” Van Domelen was also concerned that Bruder’s version might lead to the minutes again straying from the “action minutes” format the BOT had voted to adopt early last summer. Bruder pleaded “poor audio quality” as the reason for the delay, and apparently the rest of the Trustees were not as worried by the delay as the Mayor. They passed a motion to allow Bruder two more weeks in a 6 to 1 vote. No need to mention who voted against.
A resolution adopting the Boulder County Zero Waste Action Plan was approved. Town Finance Director Jody McClurkin gave a financial report. Things are looking better, sales tax revenues are up from last year. And the Board gave approval for the purchase of a new copier/printer for the Parks & Rec. Department. It was duly noted during Trustee reports that Bruder is the only one so far who has submitted a letter requesting his Trustee pay be cut in half (a cost cutting measure agreed to by the BOT). Anthony said she had been too busy in recent weeks to draft a form letter for everyone. The rest of the BOT clamored to “copy” Bruder’s homework so they too could formally make the request. During Staff reports, Simonsen informed the Trustees that she still had two full-time positions with benefits (one in Parks & Rec., and the other in Public Works) open, and asked that everyone tell their friends (consider yourself told). She also said that the Spring Clean-Up Days went very well, with 118 loads (just six less than last year) of junk processed. She also noted that because the volunteers were removing certain items for recycling, i.e. Ewaste, scrap metal, construction waste, etc., that only seven roll-offs were needed this year, as compared to thirteen last year. The meeting was then adjourned.