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Our Community News - Home Vol. 3 No. 6 - June 7, 2003

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Monument planning commission hearing on Marketplace proposal June 11

View the vicinity map and site plan for the marketplace

By John Heiser

Plans are progressing for a large retail center in the Jackson Creek area. Previously called the Monument Towne Center, it has been renamed the Monument Marketplace. Numerous changes have been incorporated in the plan. The revised plan will be heard by the Monument planning commission at its meeting on June 11, at 5:30 p.m., in Monument Town Hall, 166 2nd Street. At the same session, the planning commission will address the land use map in the proposed update to Monument’s comprehensive plan. Some changes to the comprehensive plan are needed to accommodate the current marketplace design.

The revised plan for the retail center calls for 658,150 square feet of building area and 3,937 parking spaces on 92.2 acres. The proposed site is between the eastern edge of I-25 and the northern extension of Jackson Creek Parkway (see vicinity map). It is about one-third of the way north from Baptist Road to Lewis-Palmer High School. The site is within the Town of Monument and within the Triview Metropolitan District, which would supply water and sewer services.

Monument Town Center, LLC, is developing the project. Rick Blevins, of Jackson Creek Land Company and Vision Development Inc., is the point of contact. Land planning and engineering is being done by CLC Associates, Greenwood Village, Colo.

The larger, taller buildings would be on the north and south sides of the parcel further from I-25. The plan incorporates two "big box" sites of 200,000 square feet and 106,400 square feet on the north side. There is one 102,000-square-foot site on the south side. There are 21 additional sites throughout the project, varying in size from 38,550 square feet to 3,600 square feet. Parking is predominantly in the center of the plan (see the site plan).

Blevins has indicated one major tenant is in negotiations. In earlier discussions, he said Home Depot and Lowe’s were among the companies that might be included in the project and a movie theater or theater complex might be an alternative to one of the big box sites.

There have been some major changes to the plan, which was shown on the front page of the April issue of OCN. The clock tower focal point has been moved to the western side of the project next to I-25, and the intersection with Leather Chaps has been moved south and connects to the primary entrance through the center of the project.

The revised plan shows six entrances from Jackson Creek Parkway. In a May 14 letter to the town, Janet Hruby, with Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH), the town’s traffic consultant, said, "Six full movement entrances to this site is excessive considering the arterial classification and projected traffic volumes along Jackson Creek Parkway." She recommended the number of entrances be reduced to four, only two of which would be full movement intersections: one at Leather Chaps and the other at the southern boundary of the project. She recommended the other two entrances allow only right-in/right-out turns.

A major concern with the project is the amount of traffic produced. The traffic analysis prepared by CLC estimates the site would generate 27,000 trips daily, with half entering and half exiting the site. This is roughly three times the estimated traffic generated by the proposed Baptist Road Wal-Mart.

In her letter, Hruby noted that CLC’s traffic impact analysis for the marketplace did not include traffic on Lyons Tail Road and was based on 625,550 square feet of development instead of 658,150 as now shown on the site plan. She also objected to a "shared trip" reduction factor used. When corrected, the latter two items will increase the trip generation estimate. Hruby also said the number and length of turn lanes is inadequate to handle the anticipated traffic.

The El Paso County Department of Transportation (DOT) is reviewing the project through a referral from the town. Paul Danley, engineering supervisor with the DOT, raised concerns about the effect on the Jackson Creek Parkway intersection with Baptist Road and on the segment of Baptist between Jackson Creek Parkway and I-25. He said, "The impact would be huge." The project will be discussed at the Major Thoroughfare Task Force meetings Friday, June 20, and Friday, June 27 (details below).

Hruby recommends the traffic report be updated to "clearly indicate what improvements are needed…what improvements the developer will provide and what will be provided by others…what additional improvements along Baptist Road are needed to support this site if the Wal-Mart, CDOT Interchange, and BRRTA Baptist Road improvements are not constructed first." She went on to say, "The study recommends widening Baptist Road from Jackson Creek Parkway to the I-25 Ramps…Clarify how the proposed widening will function with the existing bridge overpass laneage."

Blevins says $11 million for road building and other infrastructure improvements associated with the project will come from additional indebtedness by the Triview district. The Triview district, with about 560 occupied houses, has approximately $22 million in outstanding debt or about $39,000 per house. Revenue from the 3 percent town sales tax collected at the marketplace would be split evenly between the town and the district. The district’s portion would be used to help pay off the debt.

Mike Davenport, Monument’s assistant town manager and town planner, says it is customary for the cost of constructing arterial roads to be split evenly between the landowners on each side of the road and the government, with the government paying one-third. In this case, the proposal is that the entire cost of the offsite roadwork is to be paid for by Triview, the governmental entity.

Controlling drainage from the large project is another serious concern. The plan calls for storm water runoff to be directed to the drainage north of the property and to a detention facility on the south side of the project. GMS, the town’s engineering consultant, is reviewing the drainage plan.

Once the planning commission completes its review and makes a recommendation, a hearing will be scheduled before the Monument Board of Trustees. If the board approves the plan, the anticipated opening date for stores is the end of 2004 or the beginning of 2005.

**********

For more information on the project, contact Rick Blevins at Jackson Creek Vision Development, 385-0555, or rblevins@jacksoncreek.com.

The Monument planning commission hearing will be held Wednesday, June 11, 5:30 p.m., Monument Town Hall, 166 2nd Street. For additional information on this hearing, call the town planning department at 884-8017 or 884-8019.

The county Major Thoroughfare Task Force meetings will be held Friday, June 20, 10 a.m., at the County Department of Transportation’s Administration Building, 3460 Marksheffel Road, Colorado Springs; and Friday, June 27, 7:30 a.m., at the County Building, Planning Department’s Conference Room, 5th Floor, 27 E. Vermijo Ave., Colorado Springs. These are public meetings but not public hearings. For additional information on these meetings, contact Paul Danley at 520-6837.

View the vicinity map and site plan for the marketplace

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Rockwell Ready-Mix Concrete denied business license

View photos of the Rockwell Ready-Mix Concrete Plant Site

Web Site Exclusive: View photos of the appeal hearing

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Board of Trustees held a special public hearing May 12 on Rockwell Ready-Mixed Concrete, Inc.’s appeal of the denial of a business license by town clerk Anne Holliday. All board members were present. Town staff at the hearing included Holliday; Mike Davenport, town planner; Gary Shupp, town attorney; and Rick Sonnenburg, town manager. More than 40 concerned citizens filled the meeting room and the adjacent hallways.

Mayor Betty Konarski described the meeting’s narrowly focused agenda and procedures for presenting evidence. Shupp stated that the hearing and, most particularly, public comment were to be solely focused on business licensing procedures since concrete plants are an emotional issue. The hearing would not be about land use issues. He added that all testimony would be sworn.

Thomas Haskins III represented Rockwell Ready-Mixed Concrete and its owner Kalima Masse, who purchased the abandoned batch plant property at 704 N. Washington Street in April 2002 at federal auction. Konarski and the board had earlier reversed a decision to purchase the abandoned property, forfeiting the town’s $10,000 deposit. This cleared the way for Masse to purchase the property.

Haskins stated that his client was "not here to replay the Transit Mix litigation" and that "no affirmative testimony would be presented since this is an administrative hearing only"—an appeal rather than a presentation of new evidence. He presented a 10-exhibit portfolio of documents and a cover letter listing Summary of Arguments, Appellant’s Contentions, and Discussion.

Haskins then reviewed the history of the plant property, its use, and its zoning from when it first began operation in 1952. He restated his argument regarding Planned Heavy Industrial District (PHID) zoning, from his letter of May 12 to the board: "That zoning was reaffirmed and established by the Town Planning Department on July 17, 1984" due to the batch plant having qualified for a building permit under PHID zoning in accordance with zoning regulations passed in 1975. He claimed that this was sufficient reason to avoid a review under more recent planning regulations—passed after the building permit was issued in 1984—and that conformance with the 1984 land use plan was fully sufficient to, in effect, grandfather the property. He argued that this was a continuation of operations under current zoning and no change in planned future and previously permitted use, constituting sufficient compliance for reopening the plant without submission of new planning documents.

Haskins restated all three of the Appellant’s Contentions to the board. Quoting from his letter, he listed these contentions:

"1. The application of Town Code 5.04.080 by the Town Clerk is vague, ambiguous, and did not provide a sufficient standard for denial of the Business License Application and such denial was arbitrary, capricious, and without a rational basis.

"2. The Town Clerk’s denial of the business license is apparently based on the theory that new planning and site plan approval must be observed. This is wrong and exceeds her authority and jurisdiction. This is particularly true where the Town Clerk has failed to make any specific findings as to alleged violations of either the Town Code or applicable state law, failed to specify the nature of such violations, and failed to inform the applicant of the nature thereof as a basis for denial.

"3. The status of the zoning of the property is correct for the intended use and the business license should be approved. No new development has been requested and new planning submissions are not required."

Haskins presented Holliday’s letter to Masse that reads:

"After reviewing your business license application, I am unable to issue you a license. Pursuant to section 5.04.080 of the Monument Town code, the proposed use of the premises does not fully comply with the existing ordinances of the Town of Monument."

Haskins then discussed another argument from his May 12 letter, "Zoning rights run with the land." He asserted, "Rockwell did not propose to alter the historic use of the property in any regard." He also said the property’s zoning "did not expire by lapse of time or non-user [sic] of the operating facility." He said, "My clients can’t be required" to make new submissions, and the town "could not revoke, nor require re-certification for pre-existing uses." He stated Masse had to infer the denial was based on planning process issues and she could not proceed—as documented by 13 pages of correspondence with Sonnenburg and Shupp.

Next to speak was Holliday, who reviewed the history of the matter and the three-step process: her evaluation of the application form, police research, and a review of the planning materials required for a new business license. After confirming the requirement for planning documents with the town planner and the town attorney, and based on their separate determinations that this was a new use, she denied the application with the letter quoted above and returned the $50 application fee. The police inquiry was not done, she said, because there was no need for it since the application was already denied. She said she issued the denial based on the decision that new planning documentation was required.

Holliday then answered questions from local Monument resident and attorney Tim Schutz about procedures for issuing business licenses and the fact that business licenses cannot be transferred from one person to another. He asked, "Are you aware of any part of the code that allows an appeal?" Holliday replied "No." Haskins asked, "Are you aware of anything that bars an appeal?" Again, Holliday replied "No."

Holliday assured Haskins that she and other town staff had several discussions with Masse before, during, and after the denial, in addition to the letters in Haskin’s exhibit portfolio. Holliday said that Masse was well aware of the need for new planning documentation, per the changes in town code before Masse bought the abandoned property. She disagreed with Haskins’ repeated claims that she exceeded her authority.

Davenport spoke next, reviewing the planning steps required for a new business license. He discussed the differences between Planned Development (PD) and Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning. Shupp asked Davenport if limited vesting for use would apply for any commercial property abandoned in 1987, and Davenport said no. Davenport stated that any business of this type would have to do a PD sketch plan and a preliminary and final PD site plan supported by documentation such as traffic and drainage studies and undergo public hearings where the town and its citizens could ask questions about the impact of the business on the surrounding community. Davenport noted, "On several occasions, [the applicant] asked how they could circumvent this process." He added that heavy industrial use, "could be allowed provided all other planning requirements were satisfied." He added that regulations change from year to year because of changing conditions and to cover previously unforeseen situations, to adequately safeguard the public interest.

With regard to Rockwell Ready-Mixed Concrete, Davenport stated that the town is not attempting to re-zone this property from PHID. Rather, the plant’s current design may be obsolete, which the planning process would determine and correct if necessary to meet all current town, state, and federal requirements. Further, the expired 1984 building permit submitted is not applicable because of the extended lapse in use.

During extensive questioning by Haskins, Davenport verified that the zoning was not an issue. Davenport stated repeatedly that the absence of required planning documentation was the basis for denial of the license and that Masse was made well aware of the requirement during initial and subsequent conversations about the application. Other issues discussed were the six-to-12 month cessation of operation policies and the three-year vested right for a site-specific development plan, but Davenport repeatedly noted that these do not apply to the abandoned batch plant situation, which has not operated for well over a decade.

Konarski then opened the hearing to public comment. Joy Baldwin of Colorado Springs, who owns adjacent property to the derelict batch plant, recommended the board support Holliday’s decision. Jody Peterson, a Monument resident, said she also supported the clerk’s decision.

Susan Grant, Tri-Lakes area resident and attorney for the Coalition of Tri-Lakes Communities, supported the decision as well and reminded those attending that Masse, as a president of GeoTech, had in April 2002 attempted to bypass the town’s planning approval process to convert this property into a recycling plant.

OCN reporter John Heiser, speaking as a private citizen, urged the board to support the clerk’s decision and noted that since no planning materials were submitted, there is no way to know the exact nature of the plant. He noted that the description in the business license application covers a variety of industrial applications including concrete batch plants, concrete recycling (grinding in a large tub grinder), and manufacture of Portland cement powder. To provide background for those recently elected to the board of trustees, he submitted a written statement summarizing some of the issues presented during the Transit Mix hearings.

Other citizens submitted written statements supporting Holliday’s decision or stated that their primary concerns were land use issues rather than licensing procedures.

Haskins and Schutz made closing arguments. Shupp observed that the town cannot issue a business license for a business that does not comply with the existing ordinances. He recommended the board deny the appeal on two grounds: lack of jurisdiction to hear the appeal and failure of the applicant to present sufficient evidence to overturn the clerk’s denial.

Trustee Byron Glenn made a motion to deny the appeal, which was seconded by Trustee Frank Orten. The motion passed unanimously by roll call vote.

View photos of the Rockwell Ready-Mix Concrete Plant Site

Web Site Exclusive: View photos of the appeal hearing

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Monument Board of Trustees meeting May 19

By Judy Barnes

Jim Thresher, a 10-year resident of Monument with a background in construction and civil engineering, was appointed to the planning commission to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Robert Burgess.

The board voted unanimously to accept the settlement agreement with Sally Beck for the town’s acquisition of the right-of-way through eminent domain for the construction of the Second Street extension.

April Financial Report

Town Treasurer Judy Skrzypek estimated an $11,000 decrease in sales tax for April 2003. She informed the board that Popeye’s Chicken is not paying sales tax to Monument. She plans to meet with the town clerk’s office to cross-check sales tax payments with licensed businesses. Trustee Glenda Smith noted that the interchange construction could continue to cause sales tax revenues to decrease.

Disbursements over $5,000:

GMS, Inc., $11,765.83(Various invoices)

Triview Metropolitan District, $11,780.25(Monthly sales tax payments)

Colorado State Patrol/1122 Program $31,667.54 (Two police Dodge Intrepids)

Broiler Room status: Skrzypek noted that a payment had been received in May. The remaining balance due is $4,500.

Audit status: Kyle Logan, from Swanhorst, Dragon & Cutler, will present the FY2002 audit at the board meeting on June 16.

Simpson Well: The board voted 6-1, with Smith dissenting, to approve a request for a domestic use water well by William Simpson. The town does not provide water to Simpson’s business property at 856 N. Washington Street.

Valley Ridge subdivision: Robert Burgess discussed the issues he raised at the May 5 meeting regarding the recent approval by the board of the proposed Valley Ridge subdivision. He noted that the board did not follow the town’s regulations by approving this application; that there are eight ordinances the town failed to meet. Smith felt perhaps the right decision had not been made in approving the development, considering the drainage concerns. Mayor Betty Konarski commented that a drainage plan for the town should be a high priority and is in the budget.

Liquor licence renewals: The board unanimously approved liquor license renewals for Eagle Wine and Spirits, Conoco, and the Broiler Room.

Enhancement grant: Town Manager Rick Sonnenburg said that all of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Government’s member governments are being asked to write letters of budgetary commitment for approved projects or submitted grant projects which, if approved, would be in the FY2004–2009 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The only project the town of Monument might have is the FY2004–2005 enhancement grant application for downtown sidewalks on Third, Front, and Jefferson Streets. The match the first year is $70,000; the match the second year is $69,955.

Staff civil engineer: The review committee has completed its review of the candidates, and Sonnenburg will begin negotiations with candidate Tony Hurst.

Annual contract with GMS, Inc.: Roger Sams, of GMS Engineering, Inc., submitted a renewal request for its annual agreement for services with the town. The company’s hourly fees have increased over last year’s contract. Sonnenburg foresees that, even with a civil engineer on staff, the town will still need the services of GMS. The motion to renew passed unanimously.

School district construction: The school district is constructing two new playing fields and an expansion of the bus barn at its property between Beacon Lite and Santa Fe at Jefferson. At the May 5 meeting, Faye Elbaum, a member of the Public Works Committee, asked the board about the construction, as no plans had been submitted to Public Works. Smith noted that according to state statute, the site plan for construction should have gone before the planning commission for review and comment, which did not occur. Town Attorney Gary Shupp noted the board of education is allowed to disregard the planning commission’s comments. Smith felt the process should have been followed in any event. She further noted that she drove by the site after a hard rain and observed that the drainage was questionable, and she expressed concern about future lawsuits.

Replacement of street signs: The FY2003 Streets Department Capital Budget contains $9,000 for the replacement of old street signs. The board approved a plan to retain the traditional street sign and pole in the historic downtown area, and to change all the other street signs to white lettering on a green background at a 7-foot height on a square, perforated, galvanized metal pole.

FEMA grant for March 18-20 snow removal: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared the March 18-20 blizzard an emergency, making funds available to reimburse towns, cities, and counties. The town of Monument could be reimbursed for 75 percent of the snow removal cost submitted to FEMA.

Hazardous intersection: Fred Jackson, of South Washington Street, expressed concerns about the danger of the intersection of Washington and Second Streets, where visibility is obstructed by parked cars. He was also concerned about drainage for the development at the corner of Washington and Lincoln.

At 7:58 p.m., at Smith’s request, the trustees went into executive session for legal advice on the pending Transit-Mix lawsuit.

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Monument Planning Commission meeting, May 14

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Planning Commission met on May 14 to consider approval of Monument Addition #5, proposed regulations concerning businesses in parking areas, and a proposed comprehensive update of zoning and subdivision regulations. The remaining five commissioners—Chairman David Mertz, Vice Chairman Kathy Spence, Bob Mooney, Tom Donnellan, and Lowell Morgan—were present, along with Town Attorney Gary Shupp, Town Planner Mike Davenport, and Assistant Town Planner Tamara Nazario.

Monument Addition #5

Dwayne Black, developer of Addition #5, briefly discussed his current approval status with the commissioners. Black said he had met with Woodmoor-Monument fire marshal Raymond Blake and would comply with the site plan correction requirements listed in his conditional approval letter of May 13 and would give each purchaser a copy of Blake’s list of the fire code requirements. He noted that he had water for eight of the nine taps and had built a detention pond on each of the lots, as inspected and verified by the town engineer, GMS, on May 12. Black then agreed to give the town a copy of the successful percolation tests for the development.

A lengthy discussion among the commissioners, Davenport, and Shupp regarding detention ponds ensued. The commissioners were concerned that current or subsequent owners of these lots would fill in these drainage areas and that nothing could be done to prevent them from doing so. Davenport said that, in order to strengthen the voluntary compliance of detention pond covenants now listed under conventional R-2 zoning, a regulation was needed that would require owners to be made aware that drainage areas must be preserved. Shupp said that adding the drainage requirement listing to the covenants was a requirement for approval, similar to voluntary compliance by homeowners’ associations to maintain subdivision common areas. Davenport then suggested a regulation be added that would give the town the option to demand that an owner restore a detention pond. Black said he would be happy to add language to that effect. Davenport replied that such comments should only be added to the site plan, not the plat—changes to which require town approval.

Black then said the 100-year depth is 7 inches but not normally more than 2 inches. Commissioners questioned the adequacy of these drainage areas, and one remarked that it seems we have frequent 100-year rainfalls. Davenport advised the board that, despite their recommendations to do away with detention ponds in the past, they were still valid solutions. In reply to Spence’s remark, "What about new houses diminishing another’s view?" Davenport said there is nothing in the R-2 regulations regarding views, though such an analysis is done for PD zoning. Spence also questioned Davenport about the need to inform owners about leaving the detention ponds unaltered; Spence then observed that there should be concern over children drowning in these ponds and over the threat of West Nile virus. Shupp noted that such moral implications are not part of land use. Davenport said the planning commission recommends to the board of trustees but cannot deny an application for using detention ponds until the regulations are changed.

After more discussion from Mooney, questioning whether some lots would erode next to the railroad track, and Spence’s complaint about the loophole allowing one-quarter of each lot to be designated a detention pond, Davenport said he would have the town engineer investigate fire lane erosion to determine if the railroad or homeowner should be asked to fix it. The commission voted 3-2 for approval. Mertz and Spence voted no, despite Black’s compliance, restating their disagreement with detention ponds because they are unattractive and unenforceable. Those voting favorably all expressed reluctance to vote yes, acknowledging Black’s compliance as well.

Comprehensive Plan Update

Davenport recommended the commission meet before the next three meetings (June, July, and August) to review and refine the comprehensive plan. The commissioners agreed to meet from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., prior to the start of each of those meetings. An agenda will be prepared for each session, to focus discussion and provide citizens with more notice.

Businesses operated from parking lots

Karen Evans, owner of A Chick and A Windshield, then presented her recommendation for licensing procedures for businesses like hers that operate primarily on a few rented parking lot spaces in shopping centers. The commissioners were grateful for her voluntary work in creating a table of requirements for four kinds of operations. She declined their immediate offer to fill a vacant commission seat, noting she is not a resident of Monument, though she does considerable business at the Monument King Soopers and Safeway.

Updated zoning regulations

The commission then reviewed and approved well over 100 pages, page-by-page, of consolidated and updated zoning regulations. They recommended Davenport draft possible revisions to conventional zoning regulations that would make them parallel to PD zoning, to give the town more control over issues such as drainage in developments like Black’s. The consolidation was unanimously approved and forwarded to the Board of Trustees.

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Monument Board of Trustees meetings, June 2

By Judy Barnes

Gary Barber, from the El Paso County Water Authority, gave a presentation to the board describing the Palmer Divide Water Group, an association of municipal water providers exploring cooperative ventures to develop regional infrastructure and reliable, long-term water supplies. Current members of the group are Donala Water and Sanitation, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation, Triview Metropolitan District, and the Town of Monument. Some Colorado Front Range water providers depend on tributary water sources, which can be inadequate in times of drought. Others depend on the non-tributary aquifers of the Denver Basin, which are nonrenewable. The mission of the group is to create an entity able to identify, procure, and distribute a reliable water supply to municipal providers along the Front Range.

The trustees examined the revised list of major capital projects over the next 20 years. They decided to proceed with the new well #9 on Old Denver Highway, as it is already in the budget. They also are investigating the feasibility of a new town hall complex.

A building cost estimate for a town hall, water administration, and police facility prepared by Town Planner Mike Davenport in November 2002 showed a cost of $2,099,620.90. Town staff prepared spreadsheets that project a water fund budget for 20 years. The general idea for the ballot question is, would the voters be willing to reassign approximately four-tenths of a penny of the penny of sales tax, approved by the voters in 1989 for water systems improvements and for a new town hall/police station/public works administration building. One spreadsheet shows approximately $186,000 per year taken out of the capital improvements portion of the water fund over 20 years if a referendum passes allowing use of a portion of the water penny to pay the bonds for the new town complex over the next 20 years. According to the first draft of the 20-year projection, the water fund would still have approximately $300,000 in reserves at the end of 20 years. Water rates could possibly increase in 2005 to help fund the new town hall; that will be decided in the budget cycle for 2004.

The trustees requested a more detailed cost estimate of a town hall facility and more detail about whether or not some of the water fund large capital items can be spread out over several years instead of lumped into a single year. They also wanted staff to research the feasibility for borrowing to spread out the cost in certain years so that there is not an occasional deficit year. They asked the staff to do additional research and update the initial draft of the 20-year projection in each of the next three or four board meetings.

The board voted against placing a lodging tax referendum on the November 2003 ballot. They also declined Forest Lakes Metropolitan District’s offer to participate financially in the district’s capital improvements, which include a water treatment plant, a storage tank for the treated water, and distribution lines to transport the treated water to sections of their development. It was determined that the only way for the town to benefit from the capital improvements at Forest Lakes is if/when they develop the groundwater and/or are willing to sell the town storage rights in the reservoir. None of the current plans afford the town the opportunity to transition any part of its water system to renewable water source instead of the current nonrenewable groundwater system. The town’s capital improvement plans have the potential to provide equal or better alternatives to those being offered by Forest Lakes. The town could choose to participate in future Forest Lakes improvements, as Monument has some surface water rights in Beaver Creek–around 220 acre feet per year–and has the right to one-third of the groundwater pumped by Forest Lakes if the town participates in the cost of drilling the well.

Disbursements over $5,000

GMS, Inc., $11,265.27 (Various invoices; includes a credit of $916.74 for duplicate charge for LPHS Jackson Creek Parkway charges)

Layne Christensen Company, $17,276.55 (Pump Servicing)

Town manager’s report: The town received payment of $75,000 from Triview Metropolitan District for its share of the construction of Jackson Creek Parkway. Town staff met with school superintendent Ted Bauman to discuss the school district’s bus barn site. A drainage plan and report have been submitted to the town’s consulting engineers, GMS, Inc., for review. GMS is also reviewing the driveway radius. TransPlan reviewed the driveway onto Beacon Lite Road and found it to meet standards. They are also reviewing the possible need for acceleration, deceleration, and left-turn lanes onto Beacon Lite Road at the driveway. Sonnenburg will have updates at the June 16 board of trustees meeting, including TransPlan’s evaluation of the line of sight for Washington at Second Street.

The meeting adjourned at 8 p.m.

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Monument Parks and Landscape Committee

By Jim Kendrick

Meeting April 29

Two proposals for upgrading Monument’s historic district were presented at the Monument Parks and Landscape Committee meeting in Town Hall on April 29. The committee is developing a Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan for the town, with the assistance of the University of Denver’s Colorado Center for Community Development (CCCD). All members of the committee were present, along with Mike Davenport, assistant town manager and town planner, and Natalie Schubert, planning assistant.

Before the presentations were made, there was a brief discussion of a proposal by Public Works Superintendent Tom Wall on what kind of poles would be used for road signs in the historic district. It was decided that the proposal will be voted on at the May 13 meeting, after reviewing manufacturers’ specification sheets. A parks walk before the next meeting was also announced, and members of the public were invited to visit each of the parks with the committee.

Two University of Denver graduate students, who have undergraduate degrees in urban planning, presented the proposals for development of Second Street and the cross streets. Their proposals incorporated ideas put forward in the committee’s public meeting of March 11. Hsin-yi Chou and Victor Kusmin were introduced by their project advisor, Judith Bergquist. Each presented plans that would enhance Second Street as the "Main Street" of downtown Monument, comparable to the one in Littleton. Both proposals create three zones: new businesses between Highway 105 and Adams Street, improvements to the current business zone with modifications to Town Hall, and new paving and landscaping leading to Monument Lake. While the proposals differed in detail and emphasis, both were designed to attract attention and draw people from Interstate 25 to all three zones of a more inviting Second Street.

Highlights of Chou’s proposal included:

  • An eye-catching clock tower and attached civic building, between the school district building and the present Town Hall. It would attract drivers on I-25 in time to take the rebuilt Monument exits and would be a reassuring line-of-sight reference for all visiting and local pedestrians as well.

  • An equally striking stone archway across the full width of Second Street near Front Street and a treed boulevard median leading to Monument Lake. She also proposed adding low stone walls and a waterfall to set this zone apart from the enhanced business district. These new cues would draw the visitor toward an area that is visually appealing and clearly a transition to a different environment. Viewing areas for the Front Range and a park that expands to the lake would be natural attractions to pedestrians and drivers.

  • Flat-front retail stores, which she called The Villages, running the length of the first two blocks between Highway 105 and Adams Street.

Committee member Monika Markey asked what would happen to the existing storage units on the north side of Second Street. Davenport observed that full implementation of the master plan would make the land so valuable that the storage unit owner would probably tear them down to build more profitable retail stores.

Concerns were expressed about the protected mouse habitat to the south and east of the Second Street and Beacon Lite intersection—a topic that would spark discussion throughout the evening. Again, Davenport observed that a master plan of this scale typically includes evolutionary modification of existing regulations and policies, to meet a wide variety of desirable planning goals and evolving real-world restrictions.

Historic district business owner Jim Moore expressed concern about how Chou’s high-density retail strips could meet current requirements for dedicated parking places at each business and for far larger lots for each business than she had proposed. Chou replied that her plan included new parking lots, to include making Town Hall parking public (as Town Hall would be relocated), moving the Santa Fe Trailhead parking from Third Street to Second Street, and adding more side street parking on the cross streets, with appropriate paving and curbing. Davenport commented that the final plan will require adjustments in current regulations and policies, and that this process has been done in several other similar-size towns—a subject for future meetings. Chou noted that there are several planned new open spaces in both proposals, which would offset the increased average density of business water usage. She said planned parking would be more common in the first zone than in the current standard.

Chou’s proposal for 15-foot-wide sidewalks, which she called plazaways, sparked extended discussion. Ron Hendrickson, a local cyclist, questioned the mix of sidewalk café seating, outdoor sale tables, leisurely strollers, and bike lanes. Chou and Bergquist observed that this mix of pedestrian and bike traffic on such sidewalks has worked well in other towns. Bergquist noted that sidewalk cyclists are not typically performing aerobic exercise, but rather looking for a place to eat or shop. High-speed cyclists would probably opt for the Santa Fe Trail or less-used streets for exercise.

Moore had concerns about where 15-foot sidewalks would come from in the historic business district. Chou explained that the existing buildings would retain their zero lot line. In both proposals, Second Street would be narrowed but not enough to make drivers in RVs uncomfortable. Rather, a narrowing of Second Street would make drivers more aware of pedestrians and parallel parked cars, contributing to the "safer feel" Chou was proposing. The existing Town Hall is demolished in her plan, to be replaced by a setback restaurant. Angled parking by Town Hall would also be eliminated, to provide space for the south plazaway.

Victor Kusmin’s presentation embraced the same general themes, but offered alternatives that generated similar amounts of discussion and interest. His proposal for the new retail area on the east end of Second Street showed clusters of stores rather than a single-row unit. In both the new and existing business areas, he proposed more parking behind the stores to the north of Second Street and similar amounts of new on-street parking on the cross streets. But his suggestions for theme statues throughout the area generated the most discussion.

Kusmin suggested adopting the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse as a sort of town mascot. "Why not take credit for the habitat you’ve had to set aside?" he said, adding that the mouse could become a symbol of the town’s progress in harmony with nature. He cited other towns that have done this successfully with their local endangered species. He said one very large mouse statue could serve as the same visual reference that the clock tower would, and there could be several smaller mouse statues throughout the parks and perhaps along the streets.

Kusmin proposed 10-foot sidewalks with patio and garden strips. His dedicated bike lanes were in the roadway between parallel parking and the traffic lane. Use of contrasting pavers for pedestrian crosswalks and extensions of sidewalks and curbing outward along the cross streets and inward to the intersections would promote a feeling of security for those traversing Second Street. He also proposed slightly more elaborate viewing areas, with benches and kiosks with viewing scopes in the open spaces on the south side of Second Street and a mural on the Beacon Lite well building.

The last hour of the meeting was dedicated to laying out both plans for all to inspect more closely and to discuss. Specific likes and dislikes were noted and placed on the drawings for all to see. Addition of a theater was discussed briefly. Several good suggestions were brought up for the next round of proposals. The CCCD presenters were commended for the high quality of their work and the stimulation their ideas provided.

Responding to various concerns, Davenport stated again that changes in parking standards and relaxation of water requirements, due to smaller business lot sizes, would be necessary to move forward and that a number of existing buildings would need to be torn down.

Meeting May 13

The Monument Parks and Landscape Committee met May 13 to evaluate the Monument Marketplace Preliminary Plan/Final PD Site Plan and the Town’s Landscape and Open Space Regulations. Discussion items included New Standards for Street Signs and the Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan.

Prior to the meeting, the committee had visited each of the town parks and the cemetery to provide direct comments to Town Planner Mike Davenport. There was consensus on suggestions at each stop, and Davenport said that completion of the town’s new comprehensive plan would enhance the town’s ability to be selected for grants.

Bruce Rau, landscape architect for CLC Associates, reviewed the primary features of the proposed shopping center—to be located on the extension of Jackson Creek Parkway between Baptist and Higby—and its specific landscape plans. He commented on each of the items needing attention after Davenport’s review of the plan. They included: adding a certification statement regarding the plan and maintenance; showing connecting points with trails; notes on location and type of irrigation system; adding landscape data to the legend; specifying the type of lighting and shielding; and notes on open space dedication, type of landscaping, and corner vision triangles.

Rau discussed a variety of planning alternatives his team had considered and why they had made the choices shown on the plan. His principal challenge is to make the facility look good on opening day, with all new plantings, and to keep it looking good with minimal watering and hardy plants and trees that can fight heat, drought, and de-icing chemicals while enduring foot traffic and vehicle abuse. Rau noted that most of the specifications Davenport wanted listed on the plan are already listed in Design Guidelines, which are provided to the first tenants of each of the buildings as they work with the developer to finalize each building’s design. He said he would add them to the plan.

The committee reviewed and approved the updated draft Landscape and Open Space Regulations.

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The next public meeting for this committee is June 17 at Monument Town Hall at 6:30 p.m.

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Palmer Lake Town Council Meeting May 1

By Judy Barnes

Water restrictions: The Palmer Lake Town Council voted to relax its water restrictions, including the $10 surcharge on water bills, following Trustee Chuck Cornell’s report that the reservoir is full. The new outdoor watering schedule allows residents of physical addresses ending in odd numbers to water on Wednesdays and Fridays, from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m.; even-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. At the suggestion of Palmer Lake resident and landscape consultant Sue Coons, the town approved the use of drip irrigation systems at any time.

Friday the 13th Dance: Monument Hill Sertoma, Pinecrest Event Center, and the Town of Palmer Lake are sponsoring a Friday the 13th Dance, a benefit for Palmer Lake’s fire engine fund. The dance will be held June 13, from 7 p.m. to midnight, at the Pinecrest Event Center at 106 Pinecrest Way. The Blues Fossils with Kaye Book will provide music. The cost is $10 per person, with a cash bar available.

Fire district merger agreement: Trustee Scott Russell and representatives from the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District will present a pre-merger contract between the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Protection District and the Woodmoor-Monument district to the council at the June 5 workshop. The council will vote on the contract at the June 12 meeting. If the council approves the contract, then the two fire protection entities will begin the process for inclusion, creating a new fire protection district. The issue requires approval of the voters in November. If the new district is approved, Palmer Lake’s fire department would no longer fall under the jurisdiction of the town. The new district would request a cap of 8 mills, but would start by requesting 7 mills.

Grayson’s Pineview Inn: Paula Johnson received a business license for Grayson’s Pineview Inn, a bed and breakfast that will also sell local artisans’ crafts, at 50 Middle Glenway.

Sunderman subdivision: William Sunderman’s request was approved for a minor subdivision in an R1E zone (2.5 acres) to allow for two lots of 2.08 acres. The reduced acreage resulted from a boundary dispute involving the south end of the property at 133 Suncrest Road.

Extension of Meadow Lane: The trustees approved the extension of Meadow Lane in the Elephant Rock Acres subdivision. The first home on the new Meadow Lane is under construction.

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Palmer Lake Planning Commission Meeting May 14

By Judy Barnes

Sign ordinance: Following requests by Palmer Lake business owners, the commission recommended that the town council amend the sign ordinance to allow A-frame and backlit signs for businesses in speed zones of 35 mph and higher. Illumination of backlit signs will be restricted to business operating hours, to reduce light pollution at night. The town council will also consider a separate ordinance for banners to promote special events. A permit fee of $25 will be required for banners, which can be displayed for seven days, with a limit of 15 permits per year. The town council will vote on the amended sign ordinances at the June 12 meeting.

Daycare: Sherry Rodermund requested a business license for a child daycare center at her property at 459 Virginia Road. Several residents expressed concerns about traffic and parking, resulting in the request being tabled pending further investigation. Town Clerk Della Gins and Roads Supervisor Bob Radosevich viewed the area in question and found that the parking would be adequate for six cars, as Rodermund claimed. Virginia Road is a main thoroughfare and is regularly maintained by the town. People breaking traffic laws by speeding or going the wrong way on a one-way street are not the responsibility of a business owner and cannot be used as a basis to deny an application. Rodermund purchased the property and built the house with a daycare center in mind, and designed the house layout in accordance with the state’s recommended guidelines for a daycare center. Planning commissioners will visit Rodermund’s property an hour before the June 11 workshop.

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Triview metro board approves Wal-Mart deal

By John Heiser

The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors held its regular monthly meeting May 28. Bondholder Tom Phelan, of Colorado Structures, and Grant Nelson, of Goldberg Property Associates were in attendance.

Triview’s anticipated revenue from Wal-Mart deal cut in half

Ron Simpson, manager of the Triview district, reported the results of negotiations with Goldberg Property Associates. Goldberg represents Wal-Mart for this proposal. Following are the differences from what was presented when the Public Improvement Corporation (PIC) was authorized by the Triview board Aug. 28, 2002:

Terms

Aug-02

Current plan

Retail sales fee

3% for the life of the store

3% until bonds are paid, then 1.5%

Triview’s fee until bonds are paid off

1.50% 0.75%

Triview’s fee after bonds are paid off

3% 1.50%

At the Aug. 28 meeting, Peter Susemihl, attorney for the district, said the proposed Wal-Mart PIC would "receive a 3 percent retail sales fee basically in perpetuity from sales at the store." It would use half of the fee to pay off the infrastructure bonds and would pay the other half of the fee to the Triview district. When the infrastructure bonds were paid off, Susemihl said Triview would receive the entire 3 percent. He estimated that approximately $3 million in bonds would be needed to make the improvements to Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway and that the bonds would be paid off in three to five years. Simpson later raised that estimate to five to seven years.

The revised plan cuts Triview’s anticipated revenue from the store in half.

Simpson estimated that with this plan, Triview would realize about $300,000 per year until the bonds are paid off in four years and then $800,000 to $960,000 per year thereafter. He said later that these estimates assume no decrease in the 3 percent local sales tax currently being collected at King Soopers and the other businesses in the district. Triview splits those taxes 50-50 with the Town of Monument. Since the Wal-Mart site lies outside the town, the town would not receive any sales tax revenue from the store.

Susemihl said to the board, "We could ask for the full 3 percent and risk them backing off. Do you want to run that risk?"

Simpson said, "I’d just as soon start the revenue stream now."

Simpson and Susemihl recommended approval of the plan.

Rick Blevins, of Jackson Creek Vision Development, was the sole voice of dissent. He said, "One thing we fear is that with Wal-Mart, there could be some cannibalization of uses within the district. It may change the whole appearance of the [Monument] Marketplace. There will be some decrease in sales tax revenue coming out of the Marketplace and the other retail areas. You are going to lose something at King Soopers. That is a reason for wanting the full 3 percent. It would maybe be better for the district if [Wal-Mart] located in the Marketplace. I don’t think Wal-Mart would walk if you don’t approve this deal."

Nelson said, "If this is not approved as proposed, [Wal-Mart] will close on the property and wait until there is a [Triview] board in place that will approve the deal." He noted that this is just one of 68 sites Wal-Mart is currently considering.

Blevins added, "This deal gives [Wal-Mart] a 1.5 percent edge over King Soopers." Simpson noted that the 1.5 percent retail sales fee applies to all sales, whereas the 3 percent local sales tax applies only to taxable items.

Kathy Walters said, "This is not the deal we started out with, but it is a fair deal."

The board voted unanimously for approval of the plan.

Jackson Creek Parkway and the Monument Marketplace

Blevins reported that in connection with the Monument Marketplace project, the district is looking at $15 million in annually adjustable variable-rate debt. The first year rate would be about 4.5 percent, which he said is roughly half of what is currently being paid for the privately placed bonds held by the Phelans. He said this new debt would require an increase in the Triview district residents’ property tax mill levy cap to 40 or 50 mills. Blevins said that statutory adjustments would allow the currently permitted rate to go as high as 32 mills. Susemihl noted, "Lenders are used to seeing caps of 50 mills. It is going to put more debt out there, but it will open up the whole parkway for development."

Blevins’ $15 million figure is three times higher than previous discussed estimates to build Jackson Creek Parkway as a four-lane divided road from Baptist Road to Higby Road. He said in a phone conversation later that the $15 million consists of $11 million in roadway and utility construction, $1.5 million to pay off some existing utility bonds, and $2.5 million in reserves. He said any excess reserves could be used to pay off some of the existing bonds that carry high interest rates.

Simpson said the financial plan would be presented further at the next board meeting, June 25.

$75,000 payment

Simpson said that two years ago, the district committed to pay $75,000 toward construction of the two-lane segment of Jackson Creek Parkway from Highway 105 south to Higby Road. The road has been constructed, but the district has held up payment to the town because of differences over the proposed update to Monument’s comprehensive plan.

Simpson reported that the district received a letter in response to his January letter, which raised issues with the proposed updated plan. He said the town has been cooperating and urged the board to approve payment of the $75,000 saying, "They are recommending aspects that don’t jeopardize existing zoning. I think we have held their feet to the fire long enough."

Director Jim Perry said, "This is a throwaway road." Blevins agreed, saying, "It is not to our standards. There is less asphalt and no curb and gutter. The road is not in the district and not the district’s responsibility." However, he noted that the town has agreed to consider financial support of the parkway and said that a 25-75 tax split, instead of 50-50, was discussed at the Monument board of trustees’ work sessions to pay off the road more quickly.

The Triview board unanimously approved payment of the $75,000.

Water and wastewater rates and fees

Simpson distributed copies of the rate and fee study final report from Rick Giardina and Associates. A final walk-through will be held at the June 25 board meeting.

Walters Estate petition for inclusion

Susemihl related the history of the agreement with the estate of Vern Walters. The 1987 agreement gave the district a tank site in exchange for reuse water for a proposed golf course, 10 free water taps, and rights to half of the Dawson aquifer water. A subsequent revision included elimination of the free reuse water and provision of combined water-sewer taps at a reduced cost of $5,000 each. A revision approved April 25, 2002, gave another site and access road and released the water rights to the district in exchange for extending the reduced tap fees to 2012.

Susemihl said the remaining 80-acre parcel was always anticipated for inclusion in the Triview district. He said, "It is in the best interest of the district."

Directors Gary and Kathy Walters are personal representatives of the estate. Kathy Walters said, "We have had discussions with developers, but nothing is final." She said they are weighing whether to annex the parcel into the town of Monument or process development through the county planning department.

The board unanimously approved the inclusion, with the Walters abstaining.

Silt removal

Simpson reported that a 500-foot section of drainpipe along Jackson Creek Parkway is as much as 70 percent blocked with silt. Bids to clean it range from $16,000 to $38,000. Simpson added that a detention pond in the Homestead area adjacent to mouse habitat is also filling with silt and needs cleaning. The board unanimously authorized up to $20,000 to perform the silt removal.

Jackson Creek Filing #5

Simpson presented a subdivision improvement agreement and other documents for Jackson Creek Filing #5, an 89-lot multifamily complex combined with a commercial strip and two separate commercial pads north and east of King Soopers. The board unanimously voted for approval.

Susemihl presented a resolution authorizing a Public Facilities Authority (PFA) to construct infrastructure for the project. The improvements planned include constructing roads and drilling a well. By being authorized by the district, the PFA can sell tax-exempt bonds to fund the improvements. Susemihl said the debt would be paid off as the developer sells lots.

Even though the funding is through the PFA, Simpson said, "We are going to put the well in and control the well."

The resolution authorizing the PFA was unanimously approved. Susemihl noted that in the resolution, the names of the members of the PFA board of directors were left blank. Speaking to the Triview board members, he said, "You appoint the [PFA] board. It is better if [Triview board members] don’t serve. [The developer] will fill in the names."

Bond payment

The board unanimously approved an interest-only payment of $503,000 to the bondholder.

Voluntary water conservation plan

Simpson noted that some residents are watering every day. The board approved a plan of voluntary restriction to watering three days a week. Residents with odd addresses are to water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Residents with even addresses are to water only on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Simpson added, "If there is no change, we will try something else." A description of the plan will be included with billing statements.

Billing

District administrator Dale Hill reported that the district is going to rent a $32,000 mini-mobile meter interrogator for three days a month for $250 a month. The district will take over billing starting June 1. The Donala Water and Sanitation District has been handling Triview billing under contract to the district.

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The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors normally meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month, at 4:30 p.m., at the district office, 174 N. Washington St. The next meeting will be June 25.

For further information, contact the Triview Metropolitan District at 488-6868.

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Heights at Jackson Creek vote to amend the covenants failed

Recently, residents of the Heights at Jackson Creek voted on an amendment to the covenants. The amendment would have allowed for a dues structure for the neighborhood. The dues would have been initially set at $89 annually. To approve the amendment, 213 yes votes were required; the results were 146 (68 percent) yes votes and 69 (32 percent) no votes. There were approximately 98 non-responses. With this result, the covenants remain unchanged. The board plans to re-evaluate the amendment and consider holding another vote.

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For further information, contact Chad Randis, president of the board, at 719-481-4178.

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Wescott fire district to hold election on inclusion of 16 square miles east of Highway 83

View Wescott FPD Meetings

By John Heiser

The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District held two meetings in May.

May 15 public hearing on the proposed election

The purpose of the meeting was to hear from residents regarding the proposed election for inclusion into the Wescott district of approximately 16 square miles bordered on the south by Hodgen Road, on the east by Black Forest Road (Highway 189), on the north by County Line Road (also known as Palmer Divide Road), and on the west by Highway 83. The developments of Hawk Ridge West; Walden 3, Filing 6, Phases 1 and 2; and Walden 3, Filing 7 are excluded from the proposed inclusion because the Tri-Lakes district is already serving them. The eastern boundary of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District is the western boundary of the area proposed for inclusion.

Wescott Chief Bill Sheldon presented an historical perspective on the Wescott district and fire protection in the area proposed for inclusion, and gave reasons why the inclusion was being proposed. He said, "We have served your area for 30 years for no cost. If you want improvement to your service, you are going to have to be in a fire district." Peter Obernesser, attorney for the district, added, "This area is the only part of the county that does not have a fire district mill levy."

Resident Hal Goldback said he was two weeks into construction of a house in Wissler Ranch when his insurance was canceled over concerns about fire protection. He said, "It is critical to move forward very quickly."

Wescott President Bill Lowes acknowledged that improved service to the area is needed. Sheldon added that, "You need a satellite station." He identified possible sites near Kilmer elementary, Black Forest Road, and in Elk Creek. Lowes said, "The best location for a station needs to be worked out with homeowners. We can’t do that until you are in the district. We want to bring you into the district and then work together to best serve you."

Resident Daniel Mihelich estimated that property tax revenue from the area for inclusion would amount to $110,000 per year. For a $1 million station, he calculated it might be up to 10 years before Wescott could build a satellite station east of Highway 83. Lowes disagreed. He said, "We have all the equipment we need." He said planning could begin immediately and estimated a satellite station could be built for as little as $250,000 to $300,000, including the land.

In response to a question, Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District President Charlie Pocock, who was in the audience, said station 2 at Roller Coaster and Highway 105 could be operational by summer 2004 if they get approval from the county.

Walden area resident Charles Mutka said Tri-Lakes station 2 is two miles from Walden. He said to the Wescott representatives, "I can’t imagine your station being any closer."

Wissler Ranch resident John Andrew said, "We are looking at a bird in the hand of a station ready to break ground versus a promise of substations. If Westcott had a plan, it would give me more assurance." Obernesser replied, "It doesn’t make any sense to plan a station until there is a commitment from residents to pay."

Obernesser said, "Nobody is trying to ramrod anything. This is a democratic process. We would like to afford you the opportunity to be included in the Wescott district. If the vote comes back negative, then Tri-Lakes could look at inclusion. This is not a competition. Both districts are trying to improve service."

Elk Creek resident Brenda Eberhardt said she was concerned about having the quickest medical response. She said, "Going into Tri-Lakes is a better idea."

Board meeting May 21

Election on inclusion

Lowes distributed copies of a letter objecting to the proposed inclusion. Following a short discussion, director Brian Ritz moved to approve the resolution calling for an election on the inclusion. The motion was unanimously approved. Lowes said the resolution would be forwarded to the judge to set a date for an election, to be held within 75 days.

Fire district merger joint working group (JWG)

Lowes described the April 22 JWG meeting and said, "We would have liked them to go to a fire authority and not proceed in such a rapid fashion as the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District set out." Ritz added, "The way it was going, it was a fire authority or nothing." He suggested a fire authority with a time limit would provide some permanence while the departments work toward a merged district. He said, "We have to be able to prove we can work together. I firmly believe we need to get back together with the ultimate goal of a unified district." Sheldon agreed, "This has to happen." The board unanimously passed a motion for the Wescott district to take the lead in restarting the JWG meetings using an independent facilitator.

Additional paid staff

Sheldon reported that applicants for positions on the paid staff have taken a series of tests. He said, "Two people stood out. I would like to hire them. By July, that will give us three full teams 24-7." The motion passed, with Director Dennis Feltz the sole dissenter. He said he would have liked more time and discussion prior to making the decision.

Fire station expansion

Director Kevin Gould described plans for expanding the district’s fire station on Gleneagle Drive. The changes would add a double-engine equipment bay, administrative space, a boardroom, and storage space. The plans will be reviewed at the next board meeting, June 18.

Chief’s report

Sheldon reported that one of the district’s fire engines has been on loan from Colorado Springs since 1997. He said it accommodates a crew of five and carries 1,500 gallons of water. The city has offered to sell it to the district for $5,500, which he described as a savings of $50,000. The board unanimously approved purchasing the fire engine.

Sheldon reported that the district responded to 106 calls in April and 459 calls from January through the end of April.

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The Donald Wescott Fire Protection District board normally meets at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the district firehouse, 15000 Sun Hills Drive. The next meeting is scheduled for June 18. The July meeting will be held on July 9 rather than July 16.

For more information, call Chief Bill Sheldon at 488-8680.

View Wescott FPD Meetings

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Commissioners delay decision on TLFPD station 2

By John Heiser

At its meeting May 22, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) held a hearing on the request for a subdivision exemption for the proposed expansion of Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District’s station 2. Attorney Duncan Bremer, former county commissioner for the Tri-Lakes area, represented adjoining property owners opposing the project. Commissioners Chuck Brown and Jeri Howells voted in favor. Commissioner Wayne Williams voted against. Commissioner Tom Huffman was absent for the entire hearing. Commissioner Jim Bensberg was absent for part of the hearing. As a result, Huffman and Bensberg will register their votes within 30 days, after reviewing materials submitted and the audio record of the hearing.

The proposed building is a two-story manned fire station with 6,576 square feet total, replacing the existing 1,800-square-foot metal equipment shed on the 0.367-acre site on Roller Coaster Road near Highway 105. A residential program is planned, with four firefighters living at the facility while they complete educational programs.

On April 15, the El Paso County Planning Commission voted 5-4 to approve the location of the station. The request for subdivision exemption was recommended for approval also by a 5-4 margin. In accordance with state statute C.R.S. 30-28-110 (1)(a), the approval of the location by the planning commission was a final action. It will not be forwarded to the BOCC for a vote. The following are the conditions on the planning commission’s approval of the location:

"1. An access permit to Roller Coaster Road is required prior to construction of the fire station.

2. Prior to the Planning Department’s authorization for the issuance of a building permit, the applicant shall submit a Plot Plan in accordance with approval and Section 37 of the El Paso County Land Development Code. The plan shall address among other things grading, drainage, erosion control, landscaping, parking and lighting.

3. Landscaping shall include buffering (fencing and/or landscaping and vegetation).

4. Lighting shall be accomplished in a manner that would provide for it to be directed downward. All lighting shall be contained within the applicant’s property boundaries."

The planning commission’s recommendation for approval of the subdivision exemption was forwarded to the BOCC for final action. That was the subject of the May 22 hearing.

An existing subdivision exemption was granted October 14, 1982, with the following conditions:

"1. That neither this parcel nor structures thereon shall be inhabited.

2. That offsite well water shall be utilized for firefighting purposes only and specifically not for domestic use.

3. That the Site Map be recorded with the Resolution."

The purpose of the new request for subdivision exemption was to remove conditions 1 and 2.

County planner Mike Garrott reported that five adjoining property owners were notified; one is in favor, three are opposed, and one expressed no opinion. He said the biggest concerns were with architectural aspects and that the parcel is too small for future expansion.

Williams expressed concern that the building as shown in the submitted plans extends into the setback area. In response to a question from Williams, Garrott said that if the exemption were not approved, the project would have to go through the subdivision process or request a setback exemption from the El Paso County Board of Adjustments.

Garrott said, "We don’t have a fire station anywhere else in El Paso County on 15,000 square feet with well and septic."

Charlie Pocock, president of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District board, noted that the property has been dedicated for a fire station since 1982. He presented benefits of having a station at that location and the results of meetings with the neighbors, and he described some of the alternatives considered. He estimated the proposed station would handle about 300 calls per year. He said that even if the entire area develops to a density of 2.5 acres per lot, the station could handle it.

Rick Barnes, president of Barnes Architects, designers of the project, presented the design and some of the changes made to accommodate objections from the neighbors. Those changes include switching the residential area from the south side to the north side of the structure. He said the station would serve more than 3,000 property owners. He cited the need for improved response time. He said, "This is the ideal location. It complements our west station and the Donald Wescott station perfectly."

Pocock said that in the May 1996 general election, the district raised the mill levy in order to improve facilities. He said, "Arrowwood residents specifically want this to be turned into a manned station." He discussed the reasons that led the district to reject alternative sites.

Neighboring property owners David and Alyce McElhoes objected to the project, citing close proximity to their house, that other alternatives were not adequately considered, and that the architectural style of the structure is inconsistent with the area. David McElhoes used fire station photos from www.firestationdesign.com to illustrate more residential-looking buildings. Alyce McElhoes said, "The station was already designed by the time we saw a picture." She noted that the issues of grading, drainage, erosion control, landscaping, parking, and lighting—listed in the conditions of the planning commission’s approval of the location—are subdivision issues.

Bremer said, "A subdivision exemption should be used for an unmanned facility, not for a fairly major public facility. It is the wrong process. It should go through the normal process." He also called "highly debatable" the planning department’s statement, "This request, if approved, will ensure better fire protection coverage within the Tri-Lakes Fire District boundaries." He added, "Other fire departments oppose it."

Howells cited an instance where a school district (in this case, Mesa Ridge High School) overrode the county’s objections. She said, "They can do whatever they want."

County attorney Michael Lucas sidestepped the jurisdictional question. He said zoning establishes the ability to use land. In this case, he said the district is allowed to use the land as a fire station. He said "subdivision" is about whether the landowner is allowed to use the property "the way [they] want to." In this case, they want the station to be a manned station.

Brown said, "This is an expansion of a use already there."

Bremer said the proposed parking on the adjacent parcel owned by Great Divide Water Company has not been considered by the planning commission or advertised as part of this project. He said it is improper to make a land use decision for that parcel when it has not been advertised and the owner is not present.

Bremer summarized saying, "This is too complicated with too many pieces to be put together. The applicants have applied for the wrong thing, the wrong vehicle."

Barnes replied, "Subdivision exemption was recommended by the county planning department. We have followed your rules." He said that with the conditions on the planning commission’s approval, the proposal would go through a full site development plan. He said the McElhoes have used "blackmail" of the form, "If you let us design your building, then we will not say anything about your parking."

Garrott said, "Subdivision exemption was suggested so they could get under construction sooner."

Carl Schueler, assistant director of the county planning department, said, "This is a unique case since they already have a subdivision exemption. It also has a special use permit for emergency services."

Brown asked if the station would be a public use facility. Pocock replied that it would not have public meeting rooms and would house just three pieces of equipment. Due to the low density in the area, Pocock said there are no plans to expand the station later.

Williams said, "There is no compelling reason for an exemption. I am not prejudging how I would vote on the subdivision." He then moved that the subdivision exemption be denied. The motion failed for lack of a second.

Brown moved to approve the subdivision exemption. Howells seconded. The vote was 2-1 with Brown and Howells in favor and Williams opposed.

Huffman and Bensberg will register their votes after reviewing materials submitted and the audio record of the hearing. The final vote must be announced within 30 days. Once the vote is announced, the parties have 30 days to file an appeal in district court

At the time, OCN went to press, the final vote had not yet been announced.

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For more information on this and other projects within the county, contact the planning department at 520-6300 or visit www.elpasoco.com/planning.

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Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District board meeting May 22

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the meeting

By John Heiser

Plans for station 2 at Roller Coaster Road and Highway 105, the proposed Wescott inclusion of an area due east of the Tri-Lakes district, and a possible merger with other fire districts in the Tri-Lakes area were major topics of discussion at the regular meeting of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District Board of Directors May 22. Director Gary Morgan was absent. Six residents from the area proposed for inclusion in the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District attended.

Station 2

Board president Charlie Pocock reported the results of the May 22 hearing before the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners (see page ???). He said the results of the vote on the district’s request for a subdivision exemption might not be known for up to 30 days. Director Rick Barnes said if a full subdivision process were required, it would significantly delay expanding the station. He added, "We can override the county commissioners but we don’t want to go there."

Proposed Wescott inclusion of an area due east of the Tri-Lakes district

Pocock reported that the board of directors of the Wescott district voted to proceed with an inclusion election for approximately 16 square miles bordered on the south by Hodgen Road, on the east by Black Forest Road (Highway 189), on the north by County Line Road (also known as Palmer Divide Road), and on the west by Highway 83. The developments of Hawk Ridge West; Walden 3, Filing 6, Phases 1 and 2; and Walden 3, Filing 7 are excluded from the election. The Tri-Lakes district already serves them.

The inclusion was the subject of a May 15 public meeting. An article on the May 21 Wescott board meeting is above.

Resident and Tri-Lakes firefighter Morgan Cudney reported that the Wescott board refused to accept petitions presented at the May 15 meeting. The petitions were sent by certified mail the next day but were not acknowledged by the Wescott board.

Pocock related how "unprotected areas" of the county were assigned to various fire districts. The area proposed for inclusion was assigned to County One, which became the Wescott district. He said, "They have always had it as an assigned area and didn’t get a dime."

He said, "According to state statutes (C.R.S. 32-1-401, 402), there are several ways to accomplish inclusion. The board can petition a judge to hold an election. That is what the Wescott district is doing. Alternatively, 100 percent of the people in the area can petition the district board for inclusion. No election is required. The area has to be at least 25,000 square feet, about half an acre. A third way is for 20 percent or 200 people, whichever is less, to petition the board for an election. The petitioners must be taxpaying electors. If the issue is taken to an election, a simple majority determines the outcome."

Resident Steve Sutherland stressed the importance of Tri-Lakes station 2 to the area. Resident J. P. Derewicz asked, "What if station 2 doesn’t go in?" Pocock said there is another site at Walker Road and Highway 83. He noted that whatever site is picked must have access to a central water system or commercial well.

Barnes added, "We will build station 2 one way or another, regardless. If the county commissioners give their approval, we will start building this summer. We are ready to put this project out for bids."

Pocock added that more than 100 calls were handled by station 2 last year. He estimated that the number would go to 300 if the station were expanded.

Resident Lisa Frasca said, "My homeowner’s insurance doubles if the building doesn’t go up." Pocock said that with station 2, the existing Insurance Service Organization (ISO) rating of 9 or 10 would go to a 6 for some residents.

Pocock added that two-thirds of calls include emergency medical services. He said the district has three ambulances. One would be housed at station 2, and two would be kept at station 1. He said, "If all three are committed to other calls, the district has a mutual aid agreement with American Medical Response (AMR)." He noted, "Four of our paramedics are the instructor paramedics for Memorial Hospital. Medical is our strong suit."

Chief’s Report

Chief Robert Denboske reported that in the first four months of the year, the district responded to 348 calls. The staff totals 76, including board members and volunteers.

Denboske said 13 people took the Firefighter II written test. Two passed. Many others were close. All are preparing to take the test again. The chief reported that more paperwork for training and advancement has been submitted in the past year than in the three years before that.

Pocock added, "The department has made a lot of progress in one year. We have some young people who have taken ahold and done some great work."

The chief announced that volunteer Jim Ferguson has done an outstanding job on grant writing and is the recipient of the chief’s periodic Good Show Award for sustained superior performance.

EMS Report

Ron Thompson, assistant chief and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) coordinator, reported that the district has applied to the Emergency Services Association for a $2,000 grant to purchase CPR manikins to enable the district to resume teaching CPR classes to the public. He said the district has four CPR instructors now. He added that the number will soon grow to 8-10.

District merger issues

Pocock reported the Wescott board reversed its position as expressed at the April 22 meeting of the district merger joint working group (JWG), which consists of two representatives each from the Tri-Lakes district, the Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District, the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and the Wescott district.

Director John Hildebrandt described the JWG’s efforts as, "eight months achieving nothing." He expressed concern that some in the JWG view volunteers as not as good as paid staff. Another major sticking point was the use of the Tri-Lakes district’s ambulance service. Hildebrandt said, "I am not willing to give up on the ambulance service." He later added, "In the event of a merger, I was very worried about gerrymandering of voting blocks. I was not willing to allow another board to vote us out of the ambulance business. Tri-Lakes would lose out."

Hildebrandt said, "Information used by people who are trying to obstruct station 2 came from other departments." Pocock added, "Words from the [2002 Emergency Services Education and Consulting Group (ESECG)] study were taken out of context." Barnes said, "We know they are out there working against us, not trying to consolidate. It is phenomenal how the study has been used against us." Hildebrandt asked, "Why is the study’s recommendation for a fire authority not biting the others?"

Gillespie emphasized the importance of focusing on the needs of Tri-Lakes district residents. He and Hildebrandt urged consideration of an intergovernmental agreement with the Wescott district to handle calls in the southernmost part of the Tri-Lakes district including Jackson Creek and Twin Valley/Green Mountain Estates.

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The Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District board normally meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the district firehouse, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley). The next meeting is scheduled for June 19.

For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312.

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the meeting

Correction

On page 3 of the May 3 issue of OCN, the article "Fire district merger working group reaches an impasse" said, "1. The Tri-Lakes district would require the use of volunteers, a property tax rate not to exceed 7 mills to fund the Tri-Lakes ambulance service, and the construction of a station at Roller Coaster Road and Highway 105." This should have read, "1. The Tri-Lakes district would require the use of volunteers, a property tax rate not to exceed 7 mills, use of the Tri-Lakes ambulance service, and the construction of a station at Roller Coaster Road and Highway 105." The maximum of 7 mills and use of the Tri-Lakes ambulance service are two separate requirements.

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JWG moves forward without the Tri-Lakes district

By Jim Kendrick

The fire protection district merger joint working group (JWG) sidestepped the impasse on method of consolidation at its meeting June 3, but did so without participation by the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District.

During a phone conversation, Charlie Pocock, President of the Tri-Lakes district board said they declined to send representatives because the agenda called for agreement by all parties on items some of which the Tri-Lakes district has repeatedly said they cannot accept such as the requirement to stop work on their station 2 and to leave the decision on use of the Tri-Lakes district’s ambulance service up to the board of the merged district.

Bob Ricketts, communications officer of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, moderated the discussions June 3 among Russ Broshous and Tom Conroy, representing Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District; Scott Russell and Susan Miner, representing the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department; and Bill Lowes and Brian Ritz, representing the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District. Recorder for the meeting, held at Wescott’s Sun Hills facility, was Ginnette Ritz. Also in attendance were Holly Williams—representing her husband, County Commissioner Wayne Williams—and a number of firefighters from each of the three districts.

The representatives of the boards of the three districts achieved unanimous agreement on all agenda items except 1.3, regarding relocation of the Woodmoor-Monument station, which was deferred. The agenda items were

"1.1 Does each delegation agree to proceed with unification based on the inclusion method?

1.2 Does each delegation agree that the elected board of directors of the "merged district" will have representation across the district, based on population?

1.3 Does each delegation agree to forego the siting of the proposed Roller Coaster Road station, in favor of the ESECG study recommendation for RT 105 station location. Specifically, does each delegation agree to implement the ESECG study recommendation that the WMFPD station be moved approx. 2 miles east…thereby deferring the capital and operating costs of an additional station at this point in time?

1.4 Does each delegation agree on the concept of a combined professional and volunteer staff manning/operating plan, per the assumptions provided to the JWG in the "Merger Considerations" document presented and reviewed by Russ Broshous at the 4/8/03 JWG meeting? Assumptions can be revised in further discussions, as vote is on the concept of this idea.

1.5 Does each delegation agree to permit the board of directors of the merged district to go to the voters to seek the mill level required to support the proposed staffing and operational plan, with appropriate contingencies when required?

1.6 Does each delegation agree to permit the board of directors of the merged district to evaluate the provision of ambulance service, with the goal of providing the most effective level of service at the most competitive cost to taxpayers?"

2 Any delegation voting no on ANY of these conditions concludes the meeting participation for that delegation.

3 Only delegations who have voted YES on all items in agenda item #1 and are interested in concluding a merger on this basis continue the meeting to review a proposed Pre-Merger Agreement and Timeline.

4 Appointment of a JWG public information officer (PIO) if necessary.

5 Next meeting, next steps."

Russ Broshous distributed the proposed agreement to members of the JWG, saying "This is an attorney/client document." The name of the new organization would be the Palmer Divide Fire Protection District, with Woodmoor-Monument being the "including district" for Donald Wescott and Palmer Lake. All debt for each of the three districts would become the debt of the new district, with similar rules for real property and equipment. The merged board would have seven members, if Tri-Lakes participates. Pension funding would be level, with each district required to be fully funded prior to the merger. Volunteer staffing would be distributed evenly. Areas to be resolved in future meetings are in-house versus contract ambulance service or a split service mix.

Further discussion centered on setting a timetable that would allow for all three districts to meet deadlines for the November election. Each district has somewhat different issues to present to their respective voters. Palmer Lake board members wanted the lawyers for the three districts to meet right away so a presentation could be made to the Palmer Lake Town Council at its June 12 meeting. Peter Obernesser, Wescott’s counsel, agreed to take the lead on doing this legal review in time for that meeting.

Tom Conroy, of Woodmoor-Monument, agreed to be the PIO for the JWG. Bill Lowes and Brian Ritz, supported by Wescott Fire Chief Bill Sheldon, will work on a parallel timetable to study lessons learned from the Durango fire district consolidation, using the results of that inquiry to educate their board and voters. Conroy also agreed to lead the next meeting, as all parties agreed the moderator had been very effective but was no longer needed, based on the success of this meeting in setting goals and reaching consensus. They unanimously thanked Bob Ricketts for his service.

The next JWG meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 24.

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Nov. 4 election will select 3 L-P school board members

Web Site Exclusive: View LP School District Map

By Steve Waldmann

Lewis-Palmer School District 38 has approximately 5,200 students and an annual budget of about $55 million. The district gets its direction from five school board members. On Nov. 4, an election will be held for three of those positions.

On May 22, the district held a workshop for citizens interested in running for those positions. The workshop was conducted by four of the current board members: Dr. Jeff Ferguson, Tommie Plank, Bob Manning, and Jes Raintree. Also giving instruction to potential candidates were Assistant Superintendent Dave Dilley and Joanne Jensen, secretary to the superintendent. On July 1, Dilley will replace Ted Bauman as superintendent.

At the workshop, Manning offered advice on how to run a successful campaign. He stated that it was important to have a strategy and that name recognition was crucial. During the campaign, he answered questionnaires from various groups throughout the community, interviewed with area organizations in an attempt to obtain their endorsements, talked to school principals and district administrators, and attended PTO and school accountability meetings. Manning related that although this is an unpaid position, he spent around $1,200 on his campaign.

In response to a question about the good and bad points of being a board member, Plank stated that the people she worked with in the district were extremely talented and dedicated, but that a board member had to make tough decisions and possess a thick skin.

Raintree, the newest member on the board, stated that the job requires a time commitment of about 25 hours per month.

Jensen, whose job responsibilities include providing information to candidates and managing the election process, suggested that anyone interested in becoming a candidate should view the web site of the Colorado Association of School Boards (www.casb.org). It is a treasure trove of information about serving on a school board.

All of the board members present were willing to discuss the job with anyone interested in running. Their telephone numbers are: Ferguson, 262-3228; Plank, 481-2665; Manning, 481-3883; and Raintree, 488-8300. Jensen can be reached at 488-4700 or jjensen@lpsd.k12.co.us.

District 38 is divided into five districts. The election in November will be for the positions in Districts 2, 4, and 5. Currently, Ferguson represents District 2 and Plank represents District 5. However, both are prohibited from running in the upcoming election because of term limits. Raintree represents District 4, and it is expected she will seek reelection.

Candidates must have lived and been registered to vote in their districts for the 12 months preceding the election. All 15,000 voters in District 38 are eligible to vote for each of the districts. In Colorado, school board elections are held in November in odd years. Board members are elected for a term of four years. The last election was in 2001, for Districts 1 and 3.

Web Site Exclusive: View LP School District Map

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Woodmoor Improvement Association’s May meeting

View a photo of the Woodmoor Water South Filter Plant

By Chris Pollard

The composition of the Woodmoor Improvement Association (WIA) Board of Directors is continuing to change. Bonnie Hawkins’ position as forestry director has yet to be filled, though there are hopes of a volunteer for the future. John Haines, architectural control director, announced that he would be resigning because he is leaving the area. Mike Smith, who has served on the Architectural Control Committee, will replace him.

The Great American Clean Up, held last month to clean up the common areas in Woodmoor, was a great success with good volunteer turnout. Two large dumpsters were filled, mostly with trash. Some common areas will need more volunteer help in the future.

John Haines and various members of the board are continuing to hold meetings with the developers of the Walters property, otherwise known as the South Woodmoor Golf Course. In general, progress has been good, and a review of their standards for construction showed that they were mostly in agreement with the current rules. Two issues remain: the type of roofing material to be used and the size of cuts required in grading the property. Discussion has also continued on the proposal for a conservation easement for the land not being used for buildings.

Paul Lambert, director of public safety, had serious concerns over the recent accidents at Furrow Road and Highway 105—the last, on April 18, having resulted in a fatality. He was instrumental in having a flashing light put up at that intersection. This junction is particularly easy to miss when headed south on Furrow Road. It is hoped that further improvements will be made.

Concerns were expressed over the construction of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation building, known as the South Filter Plant, in South Woodmoor. This is supposed to blend in with the adjoining properties, but with concrete block walls and an office building shape, it is not thought likely to fit in. At the next meeting of the WIA, plans are being presented by Woodmoor Water for landscaping the area around the plant.

Plans are being made to put up new Woodmoor signs at appropriate entry points to the community, but many areas are still under discussion because of ongoing roadwork.

View a photo of the Woodmoor Water South Filter Plant

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Letters to Our Community

Ignorance

In the May 21 edition of the Tri-Lakes weekly newspaper, editor Kenyon Jordan’s attack on this newspaper and me reveals his ignorance of the constitution, OCN, and local issues.

He apparently needs to be reminded that all citizens have a constitutionally protected right to address the government and express their concerns. In the case that bothered him so much, I appeared before the Monument Board of Trustees to note that the vaguely worded description in the Rockwell Ready-Mix business license application could include a variety of industrial applications including concrete batch plants, concrete recycling, and manufacture of Portland cement. Since some members of the board were recently elected, I submitted a statement summarizing some of the issues residents raised during the Monument and Palmer Lake Transit Mix concrete batch plant hearings.

Mr. Jordan, their third editor in as many years, reveals his short time at the paper, general ignorance of town issues, and lack of attention to detail by not knowing the Monument Transit Mix hearings were held in 2000, not 2001.

He says the Coalition of Tri-Lakes Communities publishes this newspaper. Not true. It is published by Our Community News, Inc. as stated on the front page of each issue. The coalition has nothing to do with this newspaper. Many of the volunteers who contribute to this paper have never been involved with the coalition and many coalition members have never been involved with this paper. He apparently felt no need to educate himself before voicing his opinion.

He claims OCN stories are biased, yet does not provide a single shred of evidence. If he is looking for bias, he need look no further than his own publication. In 2001, Steve Lencke, manager for the company that owns Mr. Jordan’s paper and now the acting publisher, acknowledged to concerned local residents that the paper had published numerous one-sided, biased articles. He vowed to correct the situation. OCN was started in response when little seemed to come of those promises.

So what is really bothering Mr. Jordan? In an early conversation, he said to me, "Competition is good." It seems he has now changed his mind and has decided it is easier to make unfounded accusations about the efforts of our volunteers than to improve his own paper.

John Heiser

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Letters from Law Enforcement: Following municipal code: Community responsibility

By Joe Kissell, Monument Police Chief

Monument Municipal Codes are designed as enforceable provisions to preserve peace, promote health and safety, and serve as consistent laws applicable to all the citizens of Monument. Through compliance, the codes—or ordinances, as they are commonly referred to—also help to preserve the appearance of the town and maintain property values. Chapter 8.24 of the Monument Municipal Codes directly deals with appearance and property values. It is entitled "Refuse Accumulations" and defines what constitutes refuse and what is considered a code violation.

Section 8.24.010 defines refuse as "grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, manure, shavings, excelsior, paper, ashes, rubbish, containers, boxes, glass, cans, bottles, garbage, waste and discarded building and construction materials including, but not limited to, plaster, broken concrete, bricks, cinderblocks, stones, wood, roofing material, wire or metal binding, sacks or loose, discarded or unused material; all rubbish of any nature whatsoever, and any other material commonly known as rubbish or refuse of any kind character or by any means known."

The code covers a wide variety of items that are not allowed to accumulate.

Section 8.24.020, entitled "Accumulation of refuse prohibited and declared nuisance," states, "Any accumulation of refuse on any premises, improved or unimproved, in the Town is prohibited and is declared to be a nuisance."

Section 8.24.030, titled "Abatement," outlines provisions allowing the town to clean up the refuse and place a lien against the property until the cost of cleanup is paid back to the town. Violators of the code can be summoned into court as well.

The Monument Police Department enforces the codes. Recently, violations have become more apparent. In an effort to alleviate the problems, the police department will be contacting property owners who violate the code and serving notices that the removal of refuse must be completed within a stated time frame or else official action may be taken.

The police department is asking everyone to clean up any accumulated refuse and take it to an approved drop point or landfill.

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High Country Highlights: The Principles of Xeriscape Gardening, Part II

By Woody Woodworth

Last month, OCN presented the first three principles of xeriscape gardening: planning and design, practical turf areas, and appropriate plant selection. Here are the remaining four principles: soil improvement, use of mulches, efficient irrigation, and appropriate maintenance.

Principle 4: Soil Improvement

Soil improvement is critical in any garden, xeric or not. Preparing soils properly allow for better absorption of water and good aeration and water-holding capacity in the soil. Plants are always much more robust when the soil is well prepared with compost and soil minerals.

Xeric native plants benefit from good soil preparation. Their ability to withstand drought stress comes from deep extensive root systems. The plants’ roots must be given the chance to establish before they are left to fend for themselves. Be careful not to overprepare the soil: Some plants thrive in conditions that kill others. Know the specific needs of what you are planting.

Organic matter and other amendments provide beneficial nutrients to plants. Always test the soil to determine the correct amendments and amounts needed and improve the soil prior to planting. Contact local resources or your local nursery for more information about soil testing.

Have soil in different areas of your yard analyzed to determine if the improvement needs are consistent throughout your garden area. Add organic materials, such as compost, peat, or grass clippings to increase plant growth and help your soil to absorb and hold water. Adding organic matter makes it easier for water to penetrate deeper, for roots to grow longer, and for plants to survive prolonged dry spells.

If you bring in topsoil, be sure it is of high quality. There are many grades of topsoil and you must make sure that what you’re bringing in meets your needs. Native plants are naturally adapted to local soils that may not be similar to what you bring in—especially store-purchased bagged soil.

Also keep in mind that weeds and pests can easily be brought in with any new topsoil. Again, always use reputable suppliers of soils who can verify their soil quality and source.

Principle 5: Use of Mulches

Mulches cover and cool the soil, decrease evaporation, reduce weed growth, and slow erosion. Mulches also reduce weed growth and help the soil capture rain and snow moisture, thus helping the water to soak in and not run off. Using organic mulches such as bark chips or wood shavings, or inorganic mulches like rock and gravel is recommended for your Xeriscape garden.

Newly planted plants should always be mulched, especially during the critical period when they are being established in a new area. Existing flower beds, roses, shrubs, and trees should be kept mulched as well. Re-mulch as needed. Many communities offer mulch and compost through county or local waste management programs.

Don’t use black plastic sheeting as a weed barrier under mulch since it prevents air and water exchange. Use rot-proof woven weed barrier cloth instead. Check with the supplier to determine the source of organic and inorganic mulches.

When planting, use coarse compost that can be dug into the soil. Annuals and perennials need one to two inches of mulch. Shrubs and trees need two to three inches. Excessive mulch depth can smother plant roots and be as harmful as none at all. Some plants have been shown to do better without mulch, but it’s always better to err on the side of using it.

Principle 6: Efficient Irrigation

Many gardens often receive two to three times the water they can realistically use for healthy growth. This waste is counterproductive and costly. Overwatering tends to promote weed growth and increases plant disease and insect problems. If your soil is predominantly clay, excess water will simply run off and not soak into the ground. Water sprayed carelessly and frequently on driveways, sidewalks, and roads is wasteful.

Design your irrigation system using water-wise concepts. Properly maintained sprinklers are good for larger areas, while soaker hoses effectively irrigate gardens and ground covers. Learn when your plants need water: Drooping or dropping flowers or buds are signs that the plants need water. Do not fall into the habit of a regular schedule that doesn’t consider rainfall or plant indications. When you water, do it thoroughly and not as frequently.

If you have an automatic sprinkler system, turn off the timer, adjust it, and turn it on as needed. Many people are accustomed to using a timed system for their lawns and allow that to carry over to their gardens. Hopefully, you planned your garden around your irrigation system and do not have to water your lawn and garden as one.

Group plants according to their water needs, so your sprinkler system can use water more efficiently. Sprinkler heads that spray work the best for lawns. Drip, bubble, and micro-sprinklers are more appropriate for gardens. Drip irrigation is the most effective system for watering your garden and is easily added to an existing system. These low-volume drip systems put the water directly into the root zone, reducing evaporation and runoff.

Remember to water early in the morning or in the evening, to lessen water loss through evaporation. During the heat of the day, water loss is higher than during cooler hours. Watering can taper off gradually as fall arrives; in the spring, it gradually increases.

Principle 7: Appropriate Maintenance

While it’s true that a Xeriscape garden tends to require low maintenance, that does not mean zero maintenance. Weeding, pruning, mulching, and irrigating are required to keep your Xeriscape garden healthy and beautiful; fertilization and pest control are necessary as well.

Regular maintenance preserves the beauty and vigor of your garden while saving water. A properly maintained yard also is hardier and better able to withstand drought, freezing, and pest problems.

Check woody plants such as trees and shrubs annually for pruning needs. Flowering perennial plants benefit from frequent pruning to stimulate blooming and, once they have gone dormant, to keep a neat appearance.

Create a composting area and use it. Yard waste can be recycled into high-quality compost that minimizes the load on landfills and provides you with a ready supply of compost.

Many native plants do not need fertilizer since they are adapted to natural soil conditions, but plants such as non-native grasses need additional nutrients for healthy growth.

Avoid the use of chemicals to control pests since they destroy beneficial insects along with the harmful ones. Organic pest control like insecticidal soaps, ladybugs, and beetles are a better choice to control pests. Hand pulling weeds is always better than using herbicides, which not only harm healthy neighboring plants but also leech into the soil.

Woody Woodworth, owner of High Country Store, is a member of the Garden Centers of Colorado and the Green Industry.

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: Bet you’re a Broupie, Part II

By Judith Pettibone

You might be a broupie—a book groupie, or more precisely, an author groupie—if you have a passionate interest in reading every book your favorite author writes. In April, I discussed a number of mystery writers who avidly engage many of us. This month, we’ll look at non-mystery writers whose fans patiently wait for the next book. Some of these authors write series; others create a new adventure with each new book. Like looking forward to a long lunch with an old friend, getting one’s hands on the latest from your favorite author is well worth the wait and enormously satisfying.

Ken Follett

If you know Follett’s work, it might be due to his Eye of the Needle, which was made into a successful feature film starring Donald Sutherland. Many of Follett’s books are in the World War II intrigue genre, with his latest being Hornet Flight. However, even within this genre, he creates unique worlds. For example, Night over the Water takes place during the war but deals almost exclusively with one trans-Atlantic flight. It is a fascinating book. Breaking completely from his prior books is Pillars of the Earth, an epic tale of the building of a cathedral in 12th-century England. Spanning a century or more, the book is filled with intrigue, faith, and ambition and is a wonderful explanation of the complexity of cathedral architecture. It’s a terrific read.

Diana Gabaldon

Gabaldon is hugely popular, evidenced by all of her books becoming New York Times best-sellers. The first, Outlander, sets the stage and the name of the series; The Fiery Cross is the fifth and latest. Magically thrown back in history from post–World War II England to 1743 Scotland (with its warring lairds and all the intrigue of the time), Claire Randall now has two lives. Fans praise Gabaldon’s historic detail and enjoy the romance of a woman in conflict between two times: her own and the one she has adopted. Each book continues the saga.

Joanne Harris

An author who is unpredictable in subject matter but never disappoints in ability is one who creates quite a following. Harris debuted with Chocolat, a frothy concoction that also enchanted theatergoers with its movie adaptation. Her second novel, Blackberry Wine, happens to be the favorite Harris novel of two of our customers. Her third is Five Quarters of the Orange—according to the cover, "her most complex and sophisticated work yet, an unforgettable tale of mothers and daughters, of the past and the present, of resisting and succumbing—an extraordinary work of fiction limned with darkness and fierce joy." It is a pleasure to watch this author grow.

Jan Karon

One knows that a book or series holds special sway for readers when the book’s tag line is "the beloved Mitford series." A guaranteed instant appearance on best-seller lists greets each new addition. A kind, gentle story line with captivating characters and engaging plots keep readers standing in line for the next book about Father Tim, the Episcopalian priest, and all the villagers of Mitford. There are gift books for the holidays as well as a book of Father Tim’s quotes called Patches of Godlight.

Barbara Kingsolver

Kingsolver is a favorite author of our esteemed owner and probably nears the top of each of our lists. She is just a flat-out amazingly talented writer, with an incredibly versatile range. One can begin with the appealing and memorable southwestern-flavored Bean Trees and move on to Pigs in Heaven, where Kingsolver chronicles the tender story of footloose Taylor Greer and her inherited Native American orphan Turtle. Poisonwood Bible (on the New York Times best-seller list for over a year) thrusts the reader into the Belgian Congo of 1959, chronicling a missionary family’s life as the area explodes. In this tour de force, Kingsolver employs a complex literary technique of using the voices of the mother and her daughters to tell the story. Prodigal Summer is an atmospheric Appalachian love story with strong environmental themes. Also a well-regarded short story writer and essayist, Kingsolver is not to be missed.

Ann Patchett

Patchett made her splash with Bel Canto, a surprise hit after three well-respected novels. Like Harris and Kingsolver, Patchett can only be described as an excellent writer. Bel Canto captivates as it intertwines several love stories, along with the power of music, via a hostage situation. Her other novels—The Magician’s Assistant, Taft, and The Patron Saint of Liars—are unique and well worth exploring.

Jeanne Ray

Following in her daughter Ann Patchett’s footsteps is Jeanne Ray. She came onto the literary scene in 2000. I heard about her first book when a librarian friend of mine told me that she stayed up until 2 a.m. finishing Julie and Romeo. While I didn’t lose sleep over it, I very much enjoyed her novel of two 50-something florists involved in a family feud. Her novels are witty, charming, and wise. Her second book is Step, Ball, Change, about sisters, weddings, and tap dancing—also charming and funny and wise. Her latest is called Eat Cake and, not surprisingly, has been described with the same three adjectives.

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TLCA Profile: Marshall Clark, Portrait Photographer

By DeAnn Hiatt Green

Dark brown eyes peer up through a spray of bangs and an impish grin smiles at the lens of Marshall Clark’s camera. The final product is a touching black-and-white portrait full of all the heartwarming charm only a seven-year-old girl can render, in the richness and depth only Clark’s classic archival techniques can capture. Her parents will cherish this portrait long after school pictures find their way to the bottom desk drawer.

While Clark’s portfolio is filled with nostalgic black-and-white images from Colorado’s eastern plains and the rocky landscapes of northern New Mexico, these expressive portraits are his true passion and a good outlet for what his wife calls his perfectionism. Controlling the lighting and mastering the wide variety of black-and-white films and processing techniques are what push him "to capture a timeless classic image," says Clark.

Clark started his photography career at the University of Pittsburgh as photo editor for the student-run newspaper, The Pitt News. Working with hard deadlines that required four cover-quality photos a week proved challenging. "It took a lot of time I should have been giving to my studies, but it was what I loved to do…and I did graduate eventually."

Photography, his career of choice, was detoured as he entered the lucrative software design industry of the ‘80s—first in Lancaster, Penn., then the Denver area in 1992. He moved his family to Monument in 1998 to work in Colorado Springs. The struggling electronics climate of recent years gave Clark the opportunity to redirect his energy. "Living in a small town had been my fantasy. The house with the front porch, the short walk to downtown shops… When I thought about whether I could stomach going back to the corporate world, the answer was, probably not."

With a desire to join a community of solid small-town businesses, Clark opened Marshall Clark Photography in a studio space at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. Marshall Clark Photography is currently equipped for black-and-white portraits and will soon be expanding to color. Clark is optimistic the area’s families will enjoy his heirloom quality portraits for years to come.

DeAnn Hiatt Green is a local freelance writer and head of Shameless Self Promotions

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Special Events

Black Forest slash-mulch site is open

The Black Forest Slash-Mulch program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling program of the El Paso County Solid Waste Management Department. The site accepts slash up to six feet in length, with a maximum diameter of eight inches. No stumps, roots, lumber, ties, dirt, household trash, or weeds are accepted. All loads must be covered and tied. Hours of operation are 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, and 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 14. Mulch is available Saturdays only at the following times: June and July, 8 a.m.-noon; August and September, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The mulch loader fee is $3 per bucket. Those bringing their own tools may load mulch free of charge. A donation of nonperishable food will be distributed to nonprofit Black Forest organizations.

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Palmer Lake offers slash-chipping for residents

Residents of Palmer Lake can have their slash chipped on site by the town’s new chipper. Call the town office at 481-2953 to arrange an appointment. A donation to the town’s fire truck fund is requested.

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Registration beginning for summer art classes at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts June 7

Open registration for summer art classes at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts will be held Saturday, June 7, at the center, from 9 a.m. to noon. Course offerings for children include weaving, stained glass, and clay sculpting, as well as classes presenting a cross section of painting, pastels, collage, and papier-mâché.

Adult classes include stained glass, sculpting the body in clay, jewelry making, oil painting, watercolor, and seven different drawing classes, from life to landscape. Classes are offered over several weeks or in weeklong sessions. Some classes require a materials fee. Discounts are available for members.

All classes are taught by professional artists and art educators. For additional information and a complete listing of class offerings, call the center at 481-0475, or visit the Web site, www.trilakesarts.com.

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Tri-Lakes Views art show opens June 7

Tri-Lakes Views is a new nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the arts, promoting a sense of community, and preserving the history of the Tri-Lakes region. The group’s first juried art show opens with a gala reception on Saturday, June 7, at 7 p.m., at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, in Palmer Lake. The gala will feature works of art with a local theme; the five-piece jazz ensemble, Balance; hors d’oeuvres catered by the Villa World Bistro; and a performance of the nationally acclaimed Body Packaging, choreographed by Lindsay Ray. Matted and framed historical photos will be on exhibit and available for purchase, as will a new series of historical note cards with 10 scenes from the Tri-Lakes area. Proceeds benefit the Lucretia Vaile Museum in Palmer Lake. Tickets are $30 at the door or $25 in advance from the arts center, Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, The Folk Art Gallery, Covered Treasures, and Petal Pushin’.

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High Meadow HOA Multi-Family Garage Sale June 14

Saturday, June 14, 8 am—3 pm. Take Baptist Road east then trun right on Tari, go 1/4 mile then turn right on Glengate Lane. For information, call Heidi at 594-6473.

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Library Channel Airs Local Program June 20 and 21

Adelphia cable channel 17, the Library Channel, will air Tri-Lakes Today, a 30-minute public affairs program featuring news and information about the Tri-Lakes area, on June 20 and 21 at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11 p.m. The Treasure of the Cripple Creek Mining District, a one-hour documentary about the history of Cripple Creek, will air on June 30 at 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 p.m. Local historian and artist Jim Sawatzki produced the film.

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Join in an archeology survey June 21

Have you ever thought it would be fun to learn about archeology? Here’s your chance! The Friends of Monument Preserve is doing an archeology survey of the Monument Preserve, the 1,000 acres of Pike National Forest that surrounds the Fire Center. This area was home to a U.S. Forest Service tree nursery from 1907 to 1965. The Forest Service has asked the Friends organization to do this survey in order to record what is there. If Historical Site Designation can be obtained for this area, the group is eligible for grants to help preserve it.

This will be just a surface survey, with no digging. No experience is required to do the work, although experienced people are also needed. The first workday is planned Saturday, June 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers should meet at the Fire Center off Mt. Herman Rd. Drive down to the parking lot and come to the classroom on your right. The Forest Service archeologist will give a short review of surveying. Inexperienced volunteers will be paired with experienced ones. Bring lunch, water, and good hiking shoes.

Call Mary Carew, 488-9402, for information and to sign up to help.

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Car show planned June 22

Tri-Lakes Cruisers car club is presenting its Second Annual Car Show Sunday, June 22, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., in the parking lot of Rosie’s Diner, Highway 105 in Monument. Cars from the early 1900s through the 1970s, classics, street rods, customs, and others will be on display. The show, which will include DJ entertainment, is free. Interested participants may pick up registration forms at Rosie’s Diner. Door prizes and trophies will be awarded to registered entrants. The show is sponsored by Gleneagle and Woodmoor Peoples Banks, Rosie’s Diner, and Palmer Lake Motors. For more information, call Mike at 488-2142 or Bill at 481-2465.

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Lewis Palmer High School is location for musical June 26-28

Web site exclusive: View a photo of some of the cast members

Around 1890, a series of events occurred within the Pikes Peak region that rocked the small, staid community of Colorado Springs. These incidents began with the discovery of long soughtafter gold deposits on the far side of Pikes Peak along a small stream called Cripple Creek. The finder was a cowboy prospector, Robert Miller Womack, who had acquired the unflattering title "Crazy Bob" because of his insistence that there was gold along the creek. There followed an extraordinary period in the town’s history. Tradespeople became wealthy almost overnight as the hills and valleys around Levi Welty’s old ranch poured forth their streams of gold.

Now there is a musical based on the events surrounding the discovery of gold at Cripple Creek. The work was written and composed by the fatherson team of George Douthit III, a local artist and writer, and his son, George Douthit VI, Lewis Palmer High School choir teacher. The musical has been in the process of development for more than 10 years.

"Bobby Womack and the City of Gold," consisting of 16 original songs, will be performed in the Lewis-Palmer High School auditorium at 8 p.m.. June 2628. Karen Kennedy, the school’s theater teacher, is the director; the younger Douthit is music director; and Woodmoor resident Tim Miller is the musical arranger. The production is a collaboration that joins students from the school’s theater department and adult actors from the Springs community.

The work had its origin during a fishing trip the two Douthits took in around 1992. Their subject concerned Womack’s search for, and eventual discovery of, gold in Welty’s cow pastures. The prospector later sold his claim for $500 and died penniless in 1909. This provided a classic theme, the Douthits say. The two caught no fish that day, but George Sr. went home and wrote the lyrics to "They Laughed at Robert Womack." The words were based on comments by some Springs residents in 1890 who doubted the stories told by the hard-drinking Womack. A few days later, the younger Douthit set his father’s words to music. Fifteen more songs would eventually be written.

Months later, a few of the songs were played for Nancy Derby, a local choreographer. She introduced the Douthits to Sandra Womochil Bray, a teacher at the Colorado Springs School and a local director. Bray brought in performers, and years of writing, reading, editing, and rewriting a script followed. Encouragement along the way included a standing ovation from attendees—including the late Bea Vradenberg and history writer Charles Leland Feitz—at a public reading in around 1996.

That reading included Scott Leonard, a longtime member of the "Legends and Legacy" cast. Scott is an English teacher at Woodland Park High School. He will play Bob Womack in the June production.

In addition to Womack, there are brief appearances and references to renowned Springs notables from the past. The characters in the story live, love, dance, and sing in a variety of settings—ranging from quiet mountain meadows and the plush Little London (El Paso) Club in Colorado Springs to the interior of Ma Duffy’s saloon in Cripple Creek.

"I believe Bob Womack was a blocked artist," the senior Douthit says. "I don’t think the prospector cared as much about the gold after he discovered it, as he did the journey."

City of Gold Productions will produce the musical in collaboration with members of the theater department at Lewis Palmer High School.

Tickets for the musical are available at the Covered Treasures Bookstore, 105 Second Street, Monument, or by calling (719) 5385630.

Web site exclusive: View a photo of some of the cast members

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Tri-Lakes Celebrates Independence Day Celebration

July 3

3:00 p.m. Kids Karnival, barbecue supper, barn dance

Si Sibell’s barn, Front Street, Monument

Info: Dorothy Sibell, 481-3382

July 4

Buses will run continuously 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. from the parking lots of Palmer Lake Elementary School, Lewis-Palmer High School, and Lewis-Palmer Middle School.

8 a.m. 22nd Annual Palmer Lake Elementary Four Mile Race

Starting point: Palmer Lake Santa Fe Trailhead

Info: Becky Yoder, 481-1747

9 a.m.– Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce Street Fair

3 p.m. Second Street, Downtown Monument

Stage show: noon–3 p.m.

Info: Bonnie Biggs, 651-1946; Tri-Lakes Chamber, 481-3282

9:30 a.m. Monument Hill Sertoma Kid’s Parade

Downtown Monument

Info: Gov Vaughn, 231-1573

10 a.m. Monument Hill Sertoma Independence Day Parade

Theme: "Freedom–Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow"

Downtown Monument

Info: Gov Vaughn, 231-1573

1:30 p.m. Kiwanis Fun Day

School District 38 Administration Building grounds

Info: Kord Kelley, 481-1474

3 p.m.– What a Blast! Outdoor Concert

Dark Backyard of Salon 105, 47 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake

Info: Kaye Book, 488-0105

4 p.m. Arts & Crafts Show & Barbecue

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Hwy 105, Palmer Lake

Info: TLCA, 481-0475

Dark Palmer Lake Fireworks Spectacular

Palmer Lake

Info: Town of Palmer Lake, 481-2953

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Annual Rummage Sale July 12

The annual rummage sale sponsored by the Monument Homemakers Club will be held at Monument Town Hall, 166 2nd St. on Sat., July 12, 9 a.m.—2 p.m. Always Good Stuff!

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Woodmoor plans garage sale August 1 and/or 2

The All Woodmoor Garage Sale Weekend will be held Friday, Aug. 1 and/or Saturday, Aug. 2, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. All homeowners are invited to participate one or both days. The Woodmoor Improvement Association and Susan and Walt Marty of Prudential Realtors are jointly sponsoring this garage sale weekend. Call (719) 7851279 if you plan to participate, so your home can be included on the directional map.

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Friends of Nature Adventure Club Events

Sat. June 14, 8 a.m., Bike Mt. Herman Road, Limbaugh Canyon, and Forest View area, approx. 10 miles, challenging Leaders: Pam and Steve Kirby 719-488-2848, pamkir@adelphia.net

Sat. July 12, 5:30 a.m., Climb Mt. Yale all the way or take off on the path to Brown’s Cabin. moderate – Brown’s Cabin, Difficult – Mt. Yale, Contact: Sue Buell 719-481-2474 or suebuell@earthlink.net

Sun. July 27, 5:30 a.m., Hike/climb three Fourteeners in one day! Bross/Lincoln/Democrat, strenuous/challenging. Leader: Garsha Wood, who has summited these peaks three times already! Owns Tidewater Experiential Training Associates, which runs adventure-based challenge programs for all kinds of groups and individuals. She is a Wilderness First Responder and a past Outward Bound Instructor. Contact: Sue Buell 719-481-2474 or suebuell@earthlik.net

Sat. Aug. 2, 7 a.m., Summit Pikes Peak from the west side (Craggs). Beautiful trail with constant wilderness views, 7 miles, challenging. Contact: Sue Buell 719-481-2474 or suebuell@earthlink.net

Sat. Aug. 9, 8 a.m., Hike National Forest Trail 715. This trail has many points of return for those who do not want to hike the whole trail. moderate. Contact: Sue Buell 719-481-2474 or suebuell@earthlink.net

The Friends of Nature Adventure Club had 15 hikers summit Mt. Herman during the May 18 hike led by Frank Bittinger and Keshia Hicks. Four brave cyclists reached the plane crash site about 6 miles northwest of Palmer Lake with the May 31 bike ride led by Jim and Mary Zalmanek. Congrats to all for their leadership and healthy choice of adventuring!

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