by Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.
It was a long day, and night, for most of the Board Of Trustees (BOT) on Monday. The Lyons Sustainable Futures Commission (SFC) brought in Jonathon Todd, of Jonathon Todd Ecological Design, to give a presentation on his “EcoMachine” (a
wastewater treatment system that naturally, and ecologically treats and recycles sewage and industrial waste to re-use quality). The day began at 8:30 a.m. at The Stone Cup,with presentations by SFC Chair Diane Dandeneau (welcome), Town Engineer Jim Blankenship [overview of current wastewater treatment plant (WWTP)], Utilities and Engineering Committee Chair Steve Wratten (WWTP feasibility study options), Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen (eastern corridor possibilities and constraints), and finally, Todd himself (EcoMachine background). Then it was time for Q & A with those in attendance (about two dozen). Next up, it was off for a walking tour of the Town’s current facility, CEMEX, and the decommissioned water treatment plants to the east of town. At 5:30 p.m., everyone reconvened at Town Hall, and did it all over again at the BOT workshop. Like I said, it was a long day.
The idea of having an environmentally friendly, odor-free, low-energy, low-maintenance wastewater treatment system for the town one that would use wetlands, gren houses, and a host of bio-diverse plants and natural bacteria to take care of the waste, is an intriguing idea. Especially since it appears that the present system, at best, needs an upgrade, and, at worst, might need to be replaced and relocated (a third option is hooking into Longmont’s system). All of these options could be coming down the pike in the next ten or so years, so the Board is looking into all their options now. But as always, money will probably be the deciding factor. Despite all the presentations, the Board didn’t come away with any “hard” numbers for the “EcoMachine.” But Todd promised to use the data he had gotten during his walking tours, and get back to the Town. There will be obstacles to get over, but it is intriguing.
During the regular meeting, the Board made short order of the consent agenda, consisting of only the minutes from the October 3 meeting, and the public hearing for an ordinance to approve the annexation of the Madhava property east of town (no one spoke except Eben and Michael Grace, the prospective buyers). The two items passed 6-0 (Trustee Kirk Udovich was not in attendance).
Things got a little bogged down (as they usually do) when the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Boulder County came up. The BOT listened to staff and Planning and Community Development Commission (PCDC) recommendations and hammered out what Mayor Julie Van Domelen categorized ats “word-smithing.” When it came to the crux of the document (who would have veto power and how much), concerning the expansion of the Lyons Planning Area (LPA) and the annexation of certain properties within the LPA into the Town of Lyons, the Board, PCDC, and Staff were split. The Mayor wanted to take a softer line, only asking for things that were “reasonable and easily defensible.” Others didn’t want to give up any ground before “negotiations” began. Most of the “hoo-ha” centered around agricultural land that the Town has no intention of ever annexing, and a section of the CEMEX property (where the plant currently sits) that might someday (if an IGA can be reached) be zoned commercial or light industrial, and be annexed into the Town. The PCDC, Simonsen, and Trustees Ed Bruder, LaVern Johnson, and Kathy Carroll (although she touted the arguments of both sides during the discussion) took the hard line of leaving the PCDC’s suggested language intact, while Van Domenlen was only able to muster the support of Trustees Sandy Banta and Kathy Jacobson. When a vote was taken, a 3-3 tie, as Johnson pointed out, resulted in a failed measure (where is Udovich when you need him?). Van Domelen said she will represent the Board’s wishes and position in the IGA negotiations with the County.
The Board then heard a presentation from Deputy Clerk Jacque Watson about the Main Street Program, which will take place on Thursday, October 27, and they okayed Simonsen’s looking into the contracting of someone to do several electric service projects for her. Since the hour was now approaching 10 p.m., and everyone was exhausted, the Trustees and Staff ripped through their reports, and everyone left in the audience (just me) went home.