Just as OCN was going to press, it was learned that Wal-Mart has submitted a revised site plan, traffic report, and other materials needed for the larger 206,000 square foot supercenter.
County agencies and the Town of Monument are reviewing the submissions. According to Carl Schueler, assistant director of the county planning department, the project may be considered at the county Major Thoroughfare Technical Committee at their meeting Friday, July 18 and by the county Major Thoroughfare Task Force (MTTF) at their meeting, Friday, July 25. A recommendation from the MTTF is one of the items needed before the project can be scheduled for a hearing by the county planning commission.
Planning commission hearings are held on the third and, if needed, fourth Tuesdays of each month, so the earliest the project could be heard would be August 19. Once the planning commission renders a recommendation on the proposed rezoning and preliminary plan, a hearing before the board of county commissioners will be scheduled. The county commissioners’ hearing could come as early as September.
Those interested in learning more about the project and organizing to oppose it are invited to the Coalition of Tri-Lakes Communities Wal-Mart Committee meeting July 24.
County Major Thoroughfare Technical Committee Meeting, Fri., July 18. 20, 10 a.m., County Department of Transportation’s Administration Building, 3460 Marksheffel Road, Colorado Springs. The Monument Marketplace and Wal-Mart projects are expected to be among the topics discussed. This is a public meeting, but not for public input. Normally meets the 3rd Friday each month. Info: Paul Danley, 520-6837.
County Major Thoroughfare Task Force Meeting, Fri. July 25, 7:30 a.m., County Building, Planning Department’s Conference Room, 5th Floor 27 E. Vermijo Avenue, Colorado Springs. The Monument Marketplace and Wal-Mart projects are expected to be among the topics discussed. This is a public meeting, but not for public input. Info: Paul Danley at 520-6837.
Coalition of Tri-Lakes Communities Wal-Mart Committee Meeting, Thu., Jul. 24, 6:30 p.m. Bethesda Building, 15475 Gleneagle Drive, The building is on the southeast corner of the intersection of Baptist Rd. and Gleneagle Drive. The driveway is on the east side of Gleneagle Drive. Drive to the entrance on the side of the building that faces Baptist Road. The meeting will be in the downstairs break room. Info: 488-9031, or visit www.coalitiontlc.org.
For more information on this project and to provide comments, contact Carl Schueler, Assistant Director, El Paso County Planning Department, 520-6300, CarlSchueler@elpasoco.com. Mail comments and questions to the El Paso County Planning Department, 27 E. Vermijo, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903-2208. Additional information is available at www.ourcommunitynews.org/top_stories.htm#wal-mart and www.CoalitionTLC.org/wal-mart.htm, or by calling John Heiser at 488-9031.
By John Heiser
At its June 17 meeting, the El Paso County Planning Commission unanimously recommended denial of the Struthers Ranch rezoning and preliminary plan. It recommended renewal of a communications tower and approval of the Oldborough subdivision final plat, Walden Pines preliminary plan, and service plans for the Forest Lakes and Pinon Pines special districts.
Web site exclusive: View the Struthers Ranch Preliminary Plan
The Struthers Ranch parcel occupies 105.3 acres and lies east of I-25, three-quarters of a mile south of Baptist Road, south of Chaparral Hills, west of Gleneagle, and north of the Academy View and Summer Glen Estates developments. The current zoning, RR-2—rural residential with 2.5 acre minimum lot size—would allow about 40 single-family lots.
Water and sewer service to Struthers Ranch is to be supplied by the Donala Water and Sanitation District, which serves Gleneagle. On Sept. 19, 2000, by a vote of 7-2, the county planning commission recommended denial of the Struthers Ranch request for a waiver from the county’s 300-year water availability rule. During the course of that hearing, Dana Duthie, manager of the Donala district, stated the district might have as little as 30 years and probably no more than 156 years of water available to be pumped. On Oct. 26, 2000, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved the Struthers Ranch developer’s request for a waiver from the 300-year rule. That action cleared the way for submission of the sketch plan.
On Jan. 18, 2001, the BOCC unanimously approved a sketch plan with 50 single-family lots on the north side of the parcel, 75 multifamily units on the south side of the parcel, 13.5 acres of office, and 30.2 acres of open space. The lots on the northern boundary were to be a minimum of one acre. A condition of the approval was that the lots on the north side of the project not be developed until an access north to Baptist Road was available. This requirement seemingly stalled the project.
On Jan. 2, 2003, by a vote of 3-2, the BOCC approved a revised sketch plan with a total of 180 dwelling units, with a minimum lot size of 6,000 square feet and an average lot size of 7,000 square feet. The plan also includes about 44 acres of landscape buffer, open space, drainage detention, and habitat conservation areas; about 6 acres for Struthers Road; and approximately 9 acres of Planned Business Center commercial use.
Representing Struthers Ranch Development, LLC, land planner David Jones argued that by taking advantage of the terrain and limiting some lots to single-story houses, the increased density would not significantly impact views from adjacent lots.
Jones said the economics of the project would not work with less than 113 lots in the north part of the parcel because the developer will be required by the county to participate in the cost of constructing three-quarters of a mile of Jackson Creek Parkway-Struthers Road north to connect to Baptist Road. He said, "We cannot pay for that off-site construction with 50 lots. Period. It is just impossible."
Jones’ calculation of the number of lots needed to pay for off-site construction was based on an assumption that county taxpayers will pay for a bridge over the Black Forest Creek drainage swale and mouse habitat that bisects the parcel. That bridge has been estimated to cost $1 million to $2 million.
Rezoning and Preliminary Plan
As the next step in the process, on June 17, the planning commission heard the developer’s request to rezone the parcel to Planned Unit Development (PUD) and approve the associated preliminary plan. The planning department recommended approval but noted that there remain density transition issues with the adjacent developments.
One of the conditions held over from the Jan. 18, 2001, approval was that no building permits would be issued for lots on the north side of the parcel until Struthers Road is extended north to Baptist Road or the financing to do that is obtained. Jones wanted that condition changed to "provide two suitable accesses." When pressed on what the northern access might be, he said, "We could feather into the existing [frontage] Struthers Road or Spanish Bit Drive." Paul Danley of the El Paso County Department of Transportation, replied, "We do not support changing that condition. We haven’t seen any reasonable alternatives [to extending Struthers Road-Jackson Creek Parkway north to Baptist]."
The planning department comments included the following: "It has been agreed that the developer is responsible for construction of four lanes of Struthers Road within the property boundary and that this would constitute the developer’s fair share of the Struthers Road construction." This is a substantial change from the prior implication that the Struthers Ranch developer would pay for a major share of the cost for constructing the road all the way north to Baptist Road. That was a central justification for increasing the number of lots from 125 to 180.
Opposition and Response
Several adjacent property owners spoke against the project.
Falcon’s Nest resident Carla Howerton said, "The proposal does not fit with Falcon’s Nest, Gleneagle, or Chaparral Hills. Our views would be completely, totally destroyed." She expressed concern for traffic safety and the danger to the many children in the area.
Dave Swanson, chair of the land use committee of the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO), said, "There remain transition issues to the adjacent developments. The proposed placement of one-seventh-acre lots close to 5-acre properties in Chaparral Hills is inconsistent with the Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan. Every time the plan is deviated from, the school and water analyses must be revised. Rezoning the Struthers Ranch increases the burden on our already limited water resources. There is no compelling need to deviate. I think they can come up with a better plan."
Sally Anderson, a Chaparral Hills lot owner, said, "I supported the original [125-lot] sketch plan with one-acre lots adjacent to Chaparral Hills. She said the revised plan is unacceptable because it places her 5-acre parcel next to a density of six or seven lots per acre in Struthers Ranch.
Gleneagle resident Ron Overson said all the property owners along the east side, except the Donala district, voted against the rezoning. He said the developer lacks concern for the forested areas,which include scrub oak and mature pines. Overson said, "It doesn’t make sense to have this kind of density. It is going to hurt the values of homes in the area."
Steve Sery, a member of the planning commission, speaking as a private citizen and owner of an adjoining Chaparral Hills lot, said, "It was my understanding in talking with the developer that it would cost $2 million to $3 million to build the road north to Baptist. They no longer have to do that." He added, "Adjacent landowners who checked were told it is zoned RR-2, 2½-acre parcels. The proposed rezoning does not fit the Tri-Lakes comp plan by any stretch of the imagination. Approving this would make a sham of zoning and the Tri-Lakes plan. It is not the role of the county to ensure that the developer makes a profit." Citing prior recommendations for denial by the planning commission, Sery said, "It was a bad plan when you denied it before. It is still a bad plan, even though narrowly approved by the board of county commissioners."
In rebuttal, Jones noted that the county’s comprehensive planning section said the plan is generally consistent with the comprehensive plan and is consistent with the approved sketch plan. He said, "It meets the bulk of the goals of the comp plan. Had the developer to the south done what we did, it would be a better community." He described the lot sizes at the perimeter as comparable to the adjacent developments. He added that 34 percent of the parcel is open space/mouse habitat. When the subject of adding trails to the project was suggested, Jones said the project includes 5-foot sidewalks on both sides of the streets and noted that federal law precludes allowing access to the habitat conservation area. He added, "We are in compliance with the approved sketch plan."
Discussion among the planning commissioners focused on how the developer was no longer required to construct any off-site portion of Struthers Road. That was a primary justification for allowing higher density in the revised sketch plan. Following that discussion, the planning commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of the rezoning and associated preliminary plan.
Communications tower renewal
The 75-foot pine tree pole stealth communications tower is located half a mile south of County Line Road, east of Beacon Lite Road, and west of I-25. It was originally approved in October 1994. The renewal for 10 more years was unanimously approved on the consent agenda.
Oldborough final plat
On July 18, 2002, the BOCC approved the rezoning to PUD and the associated preliminary plan for the Oldborough subdivision, formerly called the Phillips Ranch subdivision, on the 35-acre parcel at the corner of Roller Coaster Road and Higby Road near Fox Run Regional Park. The final plat to implement that rezoning and preliminary plan calls for seven residential lots ranging from 2.8 to 8.6 acres, with an average of 4.5 acres and 5 acres per dwelling unit gross density. No one came forward to request a full hearing, so the planning commission unanimously recommended approval of the final plat on the consent agenda.
Walden Pines Preliminary Plan
The Walden Pines subdivision calls for seven single-family lots on 8.9 acres half a mile east of Highway 83 and south of Walker Road within the Walden development. The parcel is zoned RR-1 (rural residential, minimum one-half acre lots, minimum 1-acre lots with stables or corrals). No one spoke against the project. The planning commission unanimously recommended approval.
Forest Lakes Service Plans
The Forest Lakes Service Plans are available on the web at http://adm.elpasoco.com/planning/forest_lake.asp. Included is a revision to the service plan for the existing Forest Lakes Metropolitan District and service plans for three new districts, called Pinon Pines districts 1, 2, and 3. The Forest Lakes district would be a master district and the three Pinon Pines districts would be taxing districts with little say in how the tax funds are used.
Carl Schueler, assistant director of county planning, said, "This would not be a typical special district in that it would start as a developer-controlled district but would not evolve into one controlled by residents as development occurs. The legal boundaries of the Forest Lakes district would be limited to a small parcel to be perpetually controlled by the developers. Property owners within the Pinon Pines districts would receive services on what amounts to a contract basis. As proposed, they would have no representation on the district board."
Megan Becker, representing Forest Lakes, LLC, described the structure as needed to ensure low-cost funding, construction of the needed infrastructure, and long-term provision of services to residents. She said a similar structure has been used elsewhere, including Highlands Ranch.
Becker objected to a condition added by the planning department requiring formation of a citizen advisory council made up of directors of the Pinon Pines districts. The condition would require that the chair of the advisory council have full voting membership on the master district board. Becker wanted that seat to be nonvoting.
As to why so many districts are needed, Becker said formation of the Pinon districts will be tied to phases in the development. Districts 1 and 2 cover two phases of residential development. District 3 is for the commercial area that lies within the Town of Monument, south of Baptist Road just west of I-25. There is no requirement that the tax and fee structure be uniform across the districts. The structure could be used to have higher taxes and fees on completed developments subsidize lower rates on phases just entering development.
The Pinon districts’ property taxes would be capped at 50 mills, with a separate cap of 10 mills to cover operational expenses. Both of these caps are subject to automatic adjustment upwards as the Gallagher Amendment decreases the factor used to determine assessed values from market values. No limits on monthly water and sewer fees paid by residents are proposed.
Concern was raised that buyers would not find out about the unusual nature of the districts until ready to close on a property. Cole Emmons, assistant county attorney, drafted an additional condition requiring that a notice of the characteristics of the districts be recorded as part of the legal description of all the properties. He said a search by title companies would ensure that buyers were notified prior to closing.
Ann Nichols, manager of the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, cited her 25 years with Colorado Springs Utilities, and said the water and sewer fees charged must be based on the cost of service. Even in the worst case of very slow build-out, she projected that water fees would not exceed $13 per 1,000 gallons. She projected tap fees of about $13,000 per single-family lot.
The planning commission voted 8-1 to recommend approval. The lone dissenter, Commissioner John Heiser, objected to the "taxation without representation" inherent in the master district structure.
Some Future Items
Tri-Lakes items expected to be heard at future planning commission meetings include the Wal-Mart proposal and reconsideration of an expired variance of use to allow a 50-foot Qwest communication tower to be disguised as a cross at the Family of Christ Lutheran Church on Baptist Road, three-quarters of a mile east of I-25.
Planning commission recommendations are forwarded to the BOCC for a final decision.
The county planning commission normally holds hearings on the third and, if necessary, the fourth Tuesday of each month. The next hearing will be July 15. The agenda will be posted at http://adm.elpasoco.com/planning/Agendas/PC/PC-Agn.asp. The hearings begin at 9 a.m. in the 3rd floor hearing room of the county building, 27 E. Vermijo, Colorado Springs.
The planning consultant on the Struthers Ranch project is David F. Jones, Land Resource Associates, 9736 Mountain Road., Chipita Park 80809, (719) 684-2298, FAX (719) 684-8413.
Forest Lakes Metropolitan District Manager Ann Nichols can be contacted at the Schuck Corporation, 2 N. Cascade Ave., Suite 1280, Colorado Springs 80903, (719) 633-4500, FAX (719) 633-6528, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on these and other projects within the county, contact the planning department at 520-6300 or visit www.elpasoco.com/planning. You may submit comments or questions to the El Paso County Planning Department, 27 E. Vermijo Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903.
Web site exclusive: View the Struthers Ranch Preliminary Plan
By Jim Kendrick
The El Paso County Water Authority met at 9 a.m. July 2 in the County Office Building in Colorado Springs. The main agenda items were a review of a proposed U.S. Geological Survey study of aquifer levels for the next 20 years and a review of the upcoming conference of the Department of the Interior.
After approval of four routine expenditures, Pat Ratliff, lobbyist for the water authority, noted that the Colorado State Water Resource Committee would likely start work in August for the next session. There will be a western water conference in Gunnison in August as well.
Ken Watts, a Pueblo-based hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Service (USGS), briefed the authority on a USGS proposal to study water usage and aquifer levels along the Front Range during the next two federal fiscal years, Oct. 1, 2003, through Sept. 30, 2005. Currently, USGS monitor 44 wells in El Paso County. In the proposed study, 126 additional county wells would be monitored in a long-term ground water monitoring network, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of aquifer levels in explosive-growth areas and low-growth areas. Study parameters are well-defined, so the major issue in the next few months is securing matching funds from enough interested parties to cover two-thirds of the $95,000-$116,000 cost. If matching funds can be secured, USGS will cover the other one-third of the expense.
Dana Duthie, of Donala Water District, asked if the primary interest was in the Dawson aquifer. He also expressed concern about the ability of state water authorities to provide information about county wells, based on his review of recent state water reports. Watts said the main thrust of the proposed study was to analyze how the aquifers are being used up. Duthie noted that specific information on the water source for individual wells may be unreliable, because of a lack of specific data on actual well depth; he said some well-drillers just drill until they hit water. Watts also stated that a 10-year study would provide more reliable predictions than a two-year study, with the exception of Eastern Arapahoe area, since that area’s aquifers are more stable than those of the explosive-growth regions.
Watts concluded his briefing by saying that the major difficulty is finding funding partners for the study. He noted that projections will only be as good as the data obtained and the number of dollars available to capture them. Kathy Hare, of the Upper Black Squirrel district, endorsed Watts’ presentation and objectives as very appropriate to the situation in Falcon, for example.
Next to speak was water engineer Bruce Lytle, of Halepaska and Associates, who answered Duthie’s lead question, "Is this the right way to go?" He agreed in general with Watts, noting that small eastern county residential wells are so varied in drawing water from several layers of aquifers that data from them may be erratic. Duthie observed that a number of these "straws" were in the Denver aquifer. Lawyer Lowell Sisk said that the water authority may be the only entity that qualifies for cost-sharing as a USGS partner. Gary Barber, executive liaison consultant for the authority, said Douglas County is ahead of El Paso County in conducting its own long-term water study, but its report has not yet been published.
Barber then reported on a just concluded Department of the Interior conference called Water 2025, saying that no department secretary has ever given such high priority to water use issues. Colorado’s Front Range cities are in the red zone (worst rating) for most critical water usage concerns. The five trends that are the criteria for this rating are: growth exceeding 30 percent per decade, inadequate existing water supplies, over-allocated watersheds, aging water facilities, and the use of crisis management in dealing with water conflicts. Barber concluded by saying that there are no more large-scale programs expected—"no Hoover dams in the future." The primary constraint is agencies with conflicting agendas, which causes permit dilemmas that cannot be resolved in a timely manner.
Duthie then observed that a salary survey for all water authority members was in progress. The meeting adjourned at 10 a.m.
By Jim Kendrick
The Monument Board of Trustees held a busy regular meeting on June 16 at Town Hall. All members of the board were present, as were Rick Sonnenburg, town manager; Gary Shupp, town attorney; Mike Davenport, assistant town manager and town planner; Anne Holliday, town clerk; Joe Kissell, police chief; Tom Wall, public works superintendent; and Judy Skrzypek, treasurer. Mayor Betty Konarski called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m., noting that it would be a long session with many important topics. Christopher Lyon, of Boy Scout Troop 66, led the pledge of allegiance.
Sonnenburg introduced the new staff engineer Tony Hurst. Next, Joe Martin and Robert Burgess received certificates of appreciation for their service on the Monument Planning Commission.
Judge John Ciccolella presented an updated schedule of traffic fines. His guiding principle for traffic fines was minimal sufficiency for traffic offenses—meaning, the minimum fine that would sufficiently deter drivers from committing recurring offenses. He standardized these kinds of fines at $75, to be consistent with this principle and to simplify bookkeeping for staff and ticket writing for officers. Further standardization proposed was to double a majority of the fines in school and construction zones, where personal danger was implied by the violation. Speeding, however, will continue to be the primary enforcement issue for Monument police at this time. He also noted the Board should adopt for use the updated 2003 edition of the Model Traffic Code for Colorado Municipalities (as opposed to the 1995 edition of that code).
Next, Ciccolella introduced local attorney William C. Duven and recommended that the trustees appoint him to serve as an alternate judge in addition to Judge Herzberg. Ciccolella stated that Duven and he had closely aligned philosophies and courtroom approaches to ensure judicial consistency. Motions to approve the change in fines and to approve Duven as alternate judge passed unanimously.
Mary Russelavage, a town employee, took Jeff Hulsmann’s place on the agenda as representative of the fireworks committee. She asked the board to approve funds for the Fourth of July fireworks purchase. The amount normally spent had been $2,000, but the town’s check was returned because the event was cancelled due to extreme fire danger. She asked the board to consider allotting $4,000 this year, noting that none of last year’s $3,000 was spent. After a brief discussion of the issue, Trustee Christopher Perry suggested $3,000 for the committee, which was unanimously approved.
The last guest was Kyle Logan, of Swanhorst, Dragon, and Cutler, LLC, the firm that prepared the town’s 2002 external audit. Logan noted that this was the first time in many years that the audit had been completed in June. He said great progress had been made in improving accounting procedures and practices, and that there would be cash available for all this year’s obligations. The town has $9.1 million in equity and would expend $2.7 million against total revenues of $2.8 million. His only significant concern was that the general fund of $170,000 was below the standard benchmark of 10 percent of expenditures and should be closely watched. A lengthy page-by-page review of the audit report generated numerous questions from trustees, which Logan and Skrzypek answered. Logan summarized the audit as much smoother than prior years, thanks to Skrzypek.
Trustee Glenda Smith noted that money in the Traffic Impact Fee Fund had been collected in part from homeowners living in developments along Old Denver Highway, and that none of the money had been used to upgrade any portion of that road.
Financing options for extension of Jackson Creek Parkway
Ron Simpson, manager of the Triview Metropolitan District, proposed an alternative to Triview fully funding new construction for Jackson Creek Parkway between Baptist and Higby, as is currently required. The road will cost approximately $5.1 million, not including the portion north of the creek. Simpson estimated an additional cost of $7.5 million for infrastructure necessary to breach the creek. He noted that the state and the county recognize that this is more than a local road, but neither has money to contribute. Simpson suggested using sales tax generated from the Marketplace (the new shopping center under consideration) to help pay the $12. 6 million, asking that Monument consider foregoing any receipt of tax money from Monument Marketplace for the first four to five years of its operation. This would allow Triview to use all of the 3 percent sales tax receipts, helping the district more easily meet its obligation to finance all of the parkway construction costs. He noted that all previous discussions and build-out scenarios assumed al-Mart was in place and paying 3 percent to the district through a public improvement corporation.
Simpson suggested that quick resolution of the funding issue was essential, in order for Triview to be able to assure the first, currently undisclosed, potential Marketplace tenant that infrastructure will be in place in time. This tenant wants to make a decision regarding building by August, in order to begin store construction in January 2004. No other potential Marketplace tenants have been identified to date. Simpson asserted that the town’s interest should be more than simply collecting taxes as the Marketplace transitions from construction to operation. Simpson also said that building the parkway would more quickly ensure a build-out of commercial businesses along the full length of the road, a rich source of sales tax revenue for Monument and Triview.
Triview would borrow the money initially. Smith asked about a guarantee that the bonds would be paid off. The debt on the district would be supported by a letter of credit from a commercial bank, and financing would be based on assessed valuation within the district. This would give them a rate of around 5.5 percent. Smith asked who would maintain the parkway. Simpson replied that Triview would. The trustees agreed to meet with Triview’s board on July 7 to discuss Simpson’s proposal.
The next topic was the board’s findings concerning a complaint from former planning commissioner Robert Burgess regarding drainage in the proposed Valley Ridge development adjacent to his property. Earlier this year, the board approved a minor plat and final PD site plan for Valley Ridge. No copy of Sonnenburg’s interim response was available for Burgess, but he agreed to receive a copy of the incomplete report after the meeting. Burgess stated that modifications in the development plan have resulted in the main 18-inch pipe opening into an area where natural drainage has been eliminated due to revised grading for mouse habitat mitigation. Burgess also believes the main drainpipe outflow must flow uphill in all directions and may eventually flow through many private properties. These and several other concerns were initially presented in Burgess’s letter to the board at its March meeting. Davenport said they will need more time to resolve the engineering issues.
Monument Addition #5
Davenport reviewed the preliminary and final plats for the proposed Monument Addition #5 subdivision, consisting of nine single-family homes at the southwest corner of First and Washington streets, transfer of water rights for the ninth tap from another parcel, and a tract proposed for dedication as parkland. There were no public comments.
The developer, Dwayne Black of Black and Associates, proposed detention ponds for each of the nine individual lots within the development. The town’s consulting engineer, GMS, Inc., indicated the drainage complies with town regulations and that the drainage report meets the town criteria for approval; GMS recommended approval of this development. Black proposed dedicating to the town the parcel at the northwest corner of the intersection of Front and Lincoln streets. Because this is less than the 20 percent dedication requirement, the balance would have to be in the form of cash in lieu of land.
Davenport added that Police Chief Kissell was concerned about lot 7 appearing to be landlocked and served only by an alley. Lot 7 is a proposed "flag lot"–what appears to be an alley is actually a private drive (the "pole" of the flag lot) that serves only lot 7. Additionally, the revised preliminary plat has added an emergency fire lane along the back of lot 7.
The town’s consulting engineer for water rights indicated the proposed site does not have sufficient water rights for the proposed amount of development. The applicant’s proposal to transfer of rights to this development from another property requires specific approval by the board of trustees.
The Public Works Committee noted a need to adjudicate town water rights and that the developer should be held responsible for long-term drainage impacts to railroad right-of-way, and it expressed strong objection to "on-lot" storm detention.
The planning commission, at its May 14 meeting, voted 3-2 to recommend approval requesting that proper noting be added to the plat regarding the requirement for owner and/or builder to not modify the detention ponds (which has been met). Those voting against the application had strong reservations about the proposed method of storm detention. The planning commission subsequently recommended a regulation change to not allow individual lot detention ponds.
Trustees expressed numerous concerns, including what they called overuse of the land, which required transfer of water rights to the town from another parcel, the use of individual detention ponds on each lot (and the resulting difficulties of enforcing this drainage method), and the absence of elevation drawings for the proposed $250,000-$300,000 houses. Also noted was the fact that the transfer of water rights from one parcel to another has been done in the past—in Santa Fe Trails, for example—and will be required in the future for projects like the renovation of Second Street. Shupp noted that no water transfers had been considered since the regulations were changed after the Santa Fe Trails transfer.
Shupp suggested the board separate the issues and vote on water rights first, then on the number of lots. The vote was 2-5—Konarski and Frank Orten voted yes on principle that water rights transfer is an acceptable method for meeting requirements—denying the applicant’s request to transfer water rights from one parcel to the ninth development lot, based on the difficulty of writing a water rights agreement that protects the town’s interests regarding the other parcel.
Although the board wanted to reject Black’s proposal as well over lack of home elevations and obstruction of views, Davenport said again that R-2 zoning regulations don’t require these. Shupp stated that it was more reasonable to simply table the plat issue. Davenport said the board should give Black guidance on how to improve his proposal, although Black had left the meeting after the first vote rejecting his water rights proposal.
There was consensus on the suggestion to turn lot 7 into a development detention pond in lieu of it being a long, narrow flag lot with its longest border contiguous with the railroad tracks. This would solve both the tap and drainage issue. Shupp also observed that the trustees need to change the conventional R-2 regulations if the board wished to preclude recurrence of this type of situation. Shupp also stated that Black should not be required to go through the entire planning process again. A motion to table the plat issue for 30 days was passed 6-1; Orten voted no.
Businesses in parking areas
Although businesses operating out of vehicles and door-to-door sales (part of an evolving class of businesses that aren’t "sticks and bricks") are undergoing a comprehensive review by the town planner and town clerk, the board was ready to move on a specific regulation for businesses operating in a few parking spaces on a business parking lot. Such businesses have been given exceptions to the building requirement in the past. There have been three complaints in the past 30 months. Concerns include lack of water and sewage connections, appearance, safety, traffic flow, and loss of available parking spaces for other businesses. Countering these concerns are lowered entry costs for new businesses, convenience, and established alternative methods for providing restrooms for kiosk customers by cooperative agreements with other storefront tenants.
Several people spoke during the public comment period. Mike Natvig, a carpet store owner, was concerned that a competitor could have a wide array of carpet samples in a minivan, undercutting him on overhead expenses. Paula Lyon, owner of the Baptist Road Subway sandwich store, said a peddler could undercut her sales by working only peak hours, while she needed to retain 15 employees—in order to run her business from morning through late evening—support the building, and sponsor local activities such as the Subway chess club.
Karen Evans, owner of A Chick and a Windshield, which operates locally in the King Soopers and Safeway parking lots, spoke next. She is the primary author of the regulation. She noted that she, too, is involved in supporting the community, having raised $30,000 for the fire department’s new infrared viewers, sponsored a local dance club, and more. "The competition issue exists for us all," Evans noted. She said any business has to stretch and grow, and that her business "has stretched and grown." She presented her recommendations for public comment three previous times, and she emphasized that her type of business is a win/win situation for the owner and the customer, not to mention the town, which collects the standard commercial tax. She noted that no one wants shanties or businesses at the side of the road creating a traffic hazard. She said her efforts to create and adhere to a professional standard are evidenced by the requirements to obtain a letter of permission, a contract, liability insurance, and a license; and also by her membership in the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Council.
A.B. Tellez, operator of Rosie’s Diner, spoke in support of the regulation and Evans’ business as a role model for the regulation. Merrill Austin spoke about the town needing to support the kind of business that lets people get started with a minimum of capital. Linda Snyder, owner of a local graphic design company, noted, "There are no guarantees that you won’t have competition in any business." She said that it would be very bad business for Natwig’s shopping center owner to allow a minivan carpet business to set up shop on the same lot. Lowell Morgan, planning commission member, said the commission supported these types of businesses to encourage competition and entrepreneurship, spending three meetings on development of the concept that was approved unanimously. Lee Kilbourn, of the Tri-Lakes Economic Development Council, recommended some revisions to make one standard for traffic flow study on parking lot ingress/egress safety.
During the board’s discussion, there was concern that Warner might have a conflict of interest or the appearance of same. Warner’s brother, who lives with him, made one of the three complaints and is also in the windshield business. Warner agreed to abstain from the vote. The motion to approve the parking lot business regulation with the changes suggested by Kilbourn passed unanimously.
Next, Roger Sams, from GMS, presented the Final Water Systems Master Plan and a recommendation on contract awards for some parts of the plan. The motion to accept the plan and the recommended contract awards passed unanimously.
Skrzypek then presented the May financial report. Amidst the long list of figures was the note that two unmarked police cars declared excess will be auctioned once proper public notifications are made. A motion to accept the financial report passed unanimously.
Next, Konarski asked the board for input on the submitted proposals for a new town logo. Three proposals stood out. Samples for various applications of these logos—such as on stationery, cars, and a web site—will be requested for these three before a final decision is made.
Tom Wall announced that a Gazette article ranked Dirty Woman Creek Park third best park for a picnic. Garden of the Gods was rated first. All joyously endorsed this news.
Sonnenburg reported on the following items. He had written a letter to Sherre Ritenour, director of Springs Transit, regarding the board’s concern about having a stop in Monument for the planned bus route between Colorado Springs and Denver. She informed Sonnenburg that a stop is currently planned for Monument. Davenport and Sonnenburg are still working with GMS, TransPlan, Ted Bauman, and the School District 38 consultants regarding issues related to the new bus barn. The town’s enhancement grant application with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) through the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) received a "medium" ranking from the Transportation Enhancement Subcommittee. The CDOT regional panel conducts its independent ranking and only refers to the PPACG ranking if a tie needs to be broken. Orten asked what the motivation would be for the three logo finalists to go to the additional trouble, time, and cost of submitting additional logos for cars, stationery, and the like.
Final public comments
John Dominowski said he is willing to give shopping certificates to the second- and third-place logo finalists for their efforts. He also commented on Monument considering participation in funding of Jackson Creek Parkway. He is concerned about the sales tax revenue being used by Triview for five years. He said he does not see a problem with competition from Monument Marketplace. He cited Castle Rock and how its downtown is thriving, despite all the other large businesses like Wal-Mart. He is concerned about curbs and gutters not being funded for at least another five years if Simpson’s proposal to contribute to the parkway is endorsed. He said he has already been waiting for curbs and gutters for 13 years. He contends that if the town is going to dump the revenue into road expansion, and not curb and gutter work, the downtown may fade away, notwithstanding fire code difficulties, which may put him out of business. He asked when the downtown will get its improvements.
The meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.
By Jim Kendrick
The Monument Parks and Landscape Committee met on June 10 to consider Monument Marketplace plans, Regency Park development and zoning plans, and a report on the pedestrian/bicycle underpass at I-25. Vice Chairman Linda Pankratz, Ed Delaney, and Toni Martin were present. Chairman John Savage and Monika Marky were absent.
CLC Landscape Architect Bruce Rau spoke first about Monument Marketplace. Discussion of the Monument Marketplace preliminary plan/final PD site plan item focused on verifying that the changes requested at the May 13 meeting had been made. A motion recommending approval passed unanimously.
The next proposal was for Regency Park, the third amendment to the development and zoning plan. The amendment incorporated changes to the plan that had been previously approved by the Monument Board of Trustees; a correction to show Monument Marketplace and the shifting of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps Road; and a change that shows the planned mixed use zone included in the latest update of the Monument comprehensive plan. Town Planner Mike Davenport discussed the changes to the Regency Park Zoning Plan, including the proposed shopping center, mixed use zoning, mouse habitat, and realigned roads. He also explained the update of the mouse habitat areas on the new zoning plan and how the Parks Trail and Open Space Master Plan would help create parks since the Regency Park Open Space is now mouse habitat. A motion recommending approval passed 2-1, with Toni Martin dissenting.
Judith Bergquist, project manager, and Jeff Server, intern, of the Colorado Center for Community Development, have developed a proposal to convert a box culvert under I-25 into a pedestrian and bicycle underpass. The culvert is located at Teachout Creek, between the Baptist Road and Highway 105 exits. Davenport reviewed the proposal, and Pankratz asked about a timetable if the proposal is approved.
Davenport noted that the town would apply for a construction grant and undergo a federal review because of its location in protected mouse habitat. Delaney and Martin requested reappointment to new terms, as their terms of office would be up for renewal in July 2003.
By Jim Kendrick
The Public Works Committee of the town of Monument met in Town Hall on July 2. Committee members Mike Wicklund, Faye Elbaum, and Larry Neddo and Public Works Director Tom Wall were present. Chris McKay was absent. The vacancy created by the death of George Bell has not been filled. Chairman Wicklund declared the presence of a quorum and called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
The final PD site plan for the Integrity Bank and Trust building, lot 3 of Valley Vista Estates filing #3, was reviewed for comment. This lot is just southeast of the Woodmoor Veterinary Hospital on Highway 105, east of Jackson Creek Parkway. The committee’s primary observation was the lack of discharge and natural flow information in any of the depictions of the detention pond. Wall characterized the detention pond as a "retention pond" as drawn, which is not permitted. A significant number of minor discrepancies in Robert J. Maixner’s architectural drawings will also be listed in the committee’s comments forwarded to the Monument Planning Commission.
Wall then presented his proposal on changes to water rate structures, which he described as a "restrictions and ramifications" approach. Wall observed that is difficult to come up with an equitable rate restructuring that addresses the few customers who overuse or abuse the water supply system. He is proposing the addition of more graduated water restriction levels than the current two levels of voluntary restriction, in force between May 15 and Sept. 30, and complete prohibition of watering. Under this proposal, a first offense would result in a "warning" notice; a second offense would result in a "violation" notice and a $100 fine; a third offense, a "shut-off" notice and a $200 fine; and the fourth violation, a shut-off notice, a $400 fine, and a summons to appear in court. In the latter two occurrences, water would remain shut off until the fine and the reconnect fees were paid to the Water Billing Department at Town Hall.
Discussion by the committee centered on wording of the proposal. Concerns have been expressed within town staff about using the word "fine." Wicklund observed that any of the words—fine, fee, rate, toll, or penalty—could be applied and would easily result in a lien that would readily transform itself from a listing on the water bill to a listing on the property’s tax bill to protect the town. He added that Colorado law allows late fees up to 25 percent and interest of 5 percent. He didn’t think it was appropriate to shut off water, as the fee would always be listed on a water or tax bill and would eventually be collected through a tax bill or lien collection if the property was sold. Water and sewer fees are always candidates for automatic and perpetual liens, he said. Wicklund also advocated two warning notices before issuing the violation notice.
This was the last scheduled meeting for Wicklund and Elbaum under their current committee appointments. Both indicated that they did not wish to be reappointed. (Larry Neddo is the only committee member remaining.) Both expressed the need for the Monument Board of Trustees to more aggressively solicit members for the Public Works, Police Advisory, and Parks and Landscape committees so they remain viable sources of citizen input. They felt the town’s ad in the local weekly paper had been insufficient, as evidenced by two of the five committee positions remaining vacant for most of the past year.
Wall then presented his monthly public works report. A main line break at Mitchell and Trumbull required the replacement of 20 feet of main line and re-tapping for four residences. He added that many homeowners are unaware that they are entirely responsible for lines from the curb to their homes and that it is very poor practice to run main lines under driveways and porches. He also observed that water usage is sharply reduced so far this summer compared to last, most likely due to the recent rainfall. He also noted that the Second and Third Street Santa Fe trail crossings and stoplights are now in place.
The meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
By John Heiser
Two major topics dominated the agenda at the June 11 meeting of the Monument Planning Commission: the update to the town’s comprehensive plan and the Monument Marketplace proposal.
Workshop on the update to the comprehensive plan
David Mertz, chair of the planning commission, announced that the purpose of this workshop was to review the revised draft land use map. The July 9 workshop will address the text in the plan.
Mike Davenport, town planner and assistant town manager, summarized the draft land use map. He said the map is a key component of the comprehensive plan and noted that the land uses shown on the map are intentionally different from the town’s zone district designations.
Forest Lakes industrial uses
Davenport noted that one of the changes to the revised draft map from the prior version was inclusion of Planned Industrial (PI) uses in the southern portion of the Forest Lakes property, south of Baptist Road and west of I-25. This was done in response to a letter from the landowner, the Schuck Corporation and Forest Lakes LLC. Davenport observed, "That area could be considered for heavy industrial uses since it is comparatively remote from residential areas." He added that the text of the comprehensive plan currently precludes heavy industrial uses.
Beverly Huffman, representing Forest Lakes LLC, noted that the area has been zoned industrial since 1987. She added, "[Heavy industrial] users have contacted us." She added that heavy industrial uses are not suitable anyplace else in the town.
Planning Commissioner Bob Mooney expressed concern that there is no access other than the loop road shown on the map. He said that with heavy industrial uses you expect large, heavy trucks. Davenport responded, "The roads would have to be engineered to handle the traffic."
Commissioner Kathy Spence expressed concern for the view corridor from I-25 toward the west. Davenport replied, "The heavy industrial uses would be near the sewer plant and not very visible." Commissioner Lowell Morgan said, "It seems like a logical place for heavy industrial."
Huffman said, "Our desire is to use the open space to segregate the heavy industrial uses from the business park uses to the north and to enforce stringent design guidelines regarding screening materials and so forth."
Landowner Ray Dellacroce said that in the 1950s one lure to bring the U.S. Air Force Academy was that the surrounding area would remain pristine. He said, "The heavy industrial would be visible from the academy. I don’t think that sort of thing is appropriate. I would expect some not-too-complimentary comments from the academy." He also raised concerns about adding heavy trucks to the congested Baptist Road interchange area.
Mertz suggested Forest Lakes consider reducing the size of the industrial area and address issues with traffic and conflicts with the New Santa Fe Trail. He encouraged them to consult with the Air Force Academy and with the county regarding the trail.
Property owner Sue Huismann objected to the draft land use map showing her entire property as open space. Her property lies just outside the town boundary. Huismann remarked, "It is really irresponsible for the town to be doing this. We have a house with frontage on Highway 105. We have a right to develop our property."
Davenport explained that land uses are shown for areas outside the town to indicate what zoning would be pursued if the landowner asked for annexation to the town. Gary Shupp, town attorney, said, "If the Huismanns were to apply to develop their property, the county could look at what the Monument comp plan says."
Morgan asked, "Is there anything wrong with leaving it off the map?" Davenport replied, "Either way is okay. We have little real leverage. I have no objection to removing it. We could remove the land use designation for all the outlying areas and just color code as potential annexation areas." Spence commented, "I would prefer to keep what the committee wanted and then negotiate upon an annexation request."
Lake of the Rockies Campground
Davenport referenced a letter from J. Ronald Voss and said, "The campground property has its own master plan adopted in 1993. The uses shown on the map allow a wider range of uses. The letter was based on a misunderstanding. I think they now understand that the intent is to give them more." Shupp agreed that the issue had been resolved.
The Olsens requested that their property at Third Street and Beacon Lite, currently shown as Single Family Attached, be shown with the Downtown land use. There were no objections.
Dellacroce vacant land at Baptist Road and Old Denver Highway
Davenport noted that the land, which is outside the town, is shown as Business Park. Dellacroce said, "We tend to hold land a long time. In this case, 51 years. We have held some land in town for 87 years. The land is zoned agricultural. We are considering landscape, lawn, and garden retail uses."
Davenport explained that the Misty Acres parcel is shown on the draft map as a large area of Single Family Detached to the east of I-25 and just south of County Line Road. He said that was a mistake since the county has approved that project as a planned unit development with single family, multifamily, and commercial uses. He said the map will be corrected to reflect the approved uses.
Davenport said the map will be updated prior to the hearing Aug. 13.
Mertz opened the discussion by saying he is leaning toward continuing the hearing until the July 9 meeting. He said, "It is a humongous project. There are issues that need to be resolved."
Davenport described the project (for details, see the cover story in the June 7 OCN) and noted that it is isolated from adjacent developments. He said the area was annexed to the town in 1987. Prior to that, El Paso County approved a large shopping center proposal on the site.
Davenport reported that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the County Department of Transportation are reviewing the drainage report. The town’s engineering consultant GMS has recommended approval subject to some revisions being incorporated prior to the board of trustees hearing. Davenport noted that a letter of floodplain map revision is needed as part of the design of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps due to the crossings of Jackson Creek and Teachout Creek.
Davenport noted that the public works committee and Tom Wall, the public works supervisor, recommended approval. Wall’s specific response was: "No comments. Just do it! If we build it, they will come."
Davenport said the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District and the Monument Police Department have discussed with the developer locating a joint emergency services facility near the Marketplace.
Parks and Landscape
Davenport said the Parks and Landscape Committee recommended approval subject to incorporation of nine changes into the design.
Davenport reported that the town’s traffic consultant has come to agreement on all the points raised regarding the traffic impact analysis and traffic engineering for the project. The associated changes are to be incorporated prior to approval of the plan. Davenport noted that the changes reduce the number of full-motion intersections. He said, "We don’t want a North Academy situation with too many intersections too close together."
Mertz said, "This is one of the biggest projects this town will see in 10 to 20 years."
Rick Blevins, representing Vision Development, Inc., noted that some of the comments were received as late as the prior Friday. He said, "We are on a fast track on this project to get [Jackson Creek Parkway] built." Davenport replied, "The problem is on our side. We have a severe backlog. We and the consultants are overloaded."
Bruce Rau, a landscape architect for CLC Associates, described the layout and landscaping plan. He said, "One of the design goals is to make the side on I-25 as transparent as possible." He noted that landscaping is used to break up the large parking area into compartments.
Todd Whipple, a senior vice president of CLC, went into more detail on the access changes. He also displayed the changes needed to Baptist Road from Jackson Creek Parkway west to I-25, including an eight-lane section at the intersection, one additional lane in each direction over Jackson Creek, and additional lanes at the ramps. As to who would pay for the roadwork, he said, "Whoever goes first."
Mertz asked if this roadwork would have to be redone when CDOT is ready to rework the interchange. Whipple said, "All of it is reusable."
Spence remarked, "All of us Jackson Creek residents will go further in debt to pay for this."
Blevins replied, "This has been part of the service plan and natural operation of the [Triview Metropolitan] district since 1987. Yes, the district goes into debt, but you will have additional sales tax revenue to pay off the debt." Davenport added, "Once the road is paid for, tax revenue goes to other debt."
Commissioner Tom Donnellan asked if a new well would be needed. Blevins replied, "A new well would be needed about halfway through the project."
Spence observed that there are not many trees shown along I-25. Mertz agreed, "The I-25 corridor needs a lot more trees." Rau responded, "There are a lot more trees in the parking area. The parking area is elevated relative to I-25."
Mertz asked how close the clock tower is to I-25. Rau estimated it would be about 200 feet.
Morgan expressed concern about traffic flow and the existing congestion on Baptist Road, saying, "How are people going to get there? I like the concept. It just doesn’t make any sense." Whipple replied, "It is a phased development. It won’t all happen at once. People will come to accept certain things."
Morgan added, "The real thing that screws all this up is the Baptist Road interchange. Two years ago, it was going to be fixed in seven years. Two years from now it may still be seven years. Your best bet is to build Jackson Creek Parkway four lanes to Highway 105 since CDOT is working on 105 already." Davenport said, "The roadbed will be built four lanes wide. It will be paved when traffic requires it."
Blevins estimated the entire project would be completed in two to five years. Davenport added that a site plan and plat will be required for each building. Off-site impacts can be assessed as the project proceeds. Rau added that the initial phase will be the south big-box location along with three entrances and associated parking, drainage, and utility connections. Whipple let slip that the tenant for that site is Home Depot. That has not yet been officially announced.
Mertz voiced concern about the number of signs planned. He noted there are 12 along the east side of the project. Rau said, "The signs are very important from a business perspective." Davenport said, "The town’s sign regulations are pretty restrictive. CDOT has control over any signs visible from I-25." Rau said, "Nothing we have done allows us to exceed the town’s signage ordinance."
Morgan asked for a three-dimensional mass model so it would be easier to visualize how it all fits together. Rau expressed concern that a simple mass model could be misinterpreted and a more detailed model is expensive to create.
Mertz asked about the maximum height of the buildings. He also noted that the buildings are flat and not in keeping with the previously presented mountain architecture with peaked roofs, timber, and rockwork. Blevins said these issues would be addressed when site plans for specific buildings are submitted.
Spence objected to the vague language in the design standards. Mertz agreed, "If there is too much wiggle room, our hands are tied." Davenport noted the design standards call for higher quality than the town’s ordinances."
Commissioner Jim Thresher commented, "It is going to set the stage for development up here."
Mertz added, "This is warmly welcomed. It is something we want, something we need. We need to make sure it is done right. My deck overlooks this site. All I am going to see is this." He later added, "We can’t push this through too fast. It is way too important."
Mertz’s motion to continue the hearing to the July 9 meeting was unanimously approved.
Third amendment to the Regency Park zoning and development plan
Web site exclusive: Regency Park zoning plan
Davenport noted the revised plan reflects changes caused by the mouse habitat, the comprehensive plan, and approvals granted over the years.
After a discussion of some of the individual changes, the planning commission unanimously voted to recommend approval of the plan. The Monument Board of Trustees will make a final decision on it.
Mertz commented, "We have been seeing numerous applications with rezoning of small pieces. The battle has been over open space, parks, and trails. Before any more rezoning, one thing we want to see is a comprehensive plan for the entire Regency Park. We are looking for parks and picnic areas."
The Monument Planning Commission meets on the second Wednesday of each month at Monument Town Hall, 166 Second Street. The next meeting will be July 9. A work session will be held at 5:30 p.m., followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. For additional information, contact Mike Davenport at 481-2954.
The text of the comprehensive plan will be reviewed at the July 9 work session. A hearing for approval of the plan is scheduled for the Aug. 13 meeting.
For more information on the Marketplace project, contact Rick Blevins at Jackson Creek Vision Development, 385-0555, or email@example.com.
Web site exclusive: Regency Park zoning plan
The Monument Board of Trustees hearing on the Monument Marketplace proposal is scheduled for July 21, 6:30 p.m. at Monument Town Hall, 166 Second St. The Monument Marketplace proposal calls for 658,000 square foot of retail space on a 92 acre site south of Higby Road, north of Baptist Road, east of and adjacent to I-25, and west of and adjacent to a future extension of Jackson Creek Parkway.
For additional information on the project , contact Mike Davenport at 481-2954 or www.ourcommunitynews.org.
By John Heiser
The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors held two meetings during June: a special meeting June 12 and a regular monthly meeting June 25.
Special Meeting June 12
Marketplace funding plan
Ron Simpson, manager of the Triview district, said the infrastructure improvements associated with the Marketplace project total $12.4 million, broken down into:
These improvements are collectively labeled Phase G. Simpson noted that the work on the parkway is a key element to opening the planned commercial, office, and industrial (COI) parcels west and north of Jackson Creek. He said, "It has always been a district responsibility. By breaking the Jackson Creek barrier, we could do more residential. As it is, one more subdivision and then we are out of space." He added, "Opening up the COI would take the [tax] load off the homes."
Simpson noted that the wastewater treatment plant expansion is required even if the Marketplace does not go forward.
He said to the board, "If we say, ‘No, we don’t want to cross the creek,’ I don’t know how long it would be before another user will show up, maybe three to five years. I don’t know. This user wants to go now. Break ground in August and open doors by May 2004."
Sam Sharp, vice president of Kirkpatrick Pettis, a Denver bond agent, presented an approach for obtaining the funds needed to construct the improvements. He said for 1½ percent per year on the funds, the district could obtain a letter of credit (LOC) from A-rated Compass Bank guaranteeing the bonds. With that LOC, he estimated the district could obtain the funds at a rate of about 4 percent fixed for four years. The rate would be lower if the district were to accept an annually adjustable rate. In return, Compass Bank requires that $1.5 million in utility bonds with Mountain View Electric and Qwest be retired, the existing $22 million in developer debt be subordinated to the new bonds, and the mill levy cap be increased from the existing 32.5 mills to 54 mills. He suggested the existing developer debt also be capped at the current property tax rate of 25 mills.
Director Jim Perry said, "We made a big deal of capping the mill levy. We need to honor that commitment."
Simpson said at the current 9 percent rate from the developer, "We are digging a hole." He said the new lower cost of borrowing at 5.5 percent would save the district about $500,000 per year in interest costs.
Simpson presented five scenarios. His pessimistic projection assumed revenue from Wal-Mart and one other big box store, slow house sales, and no inflation. He said, "It is not a problem meeting the new debt. The problem is the old debt." His projections show a shortfall of $447,000 in meeting the Phase G bond costs the first year. After that, the surplus over the Phase G bond costs would rise gradually to $961,000 by the fifth year. In the meantime, much of the interest cost of roughly $2.2 million per year on the existing $24 million in developer debt would be accumulating. In Simpson’s pessimistic case, by the end of five years, the total developer debt would reach about $37 million. Rick Blevins, representing the bondholder, Jackson Creek Land Company, and Vision Development, added that the target is to refinance all the debt at a fixed rate at the end of three to five years. It is not clear that would be possible in the pessimistic case.
Blevins said that if the district board does not approve the proposed credit-enhanced funding, then additional developer debt at 9 percent or more might be required. He said if they do not want to approve the credit-enhanced funding, "you need to back up and rethink the [district’s] future." He added approval of the Marketplace plan by Aug. 1 is a critical point. If the town does not approve the plan, the current user, widely thought to be Home Depot, may abandon the project.
A major question on the financial plan is whether Monument will be willing to forgo all or part of the initial sales tax revenue from the Marketplace. Simpson said, "The logic is there, but then there is the emotional factor." He said he heard some of the town trustees say, "Why should we help Triview?" Peter Susemihl, attorney for the district, said, "They don’t pay until revenue starts from the Marketplace. A small investment on their part." Sharp added, "It is a zero risk proposition: no money out of their pocket." Simpson agreed to present the topic to the Monument Board of Trustees.
A decision on Phase G funding was postponed to the June 25 meeting.
Simpson said Wal-Mart is planning to submit the plans for the 206,000 square-foot store in one to two weeks. Susemihl reported that articles and bylaws for the Wal-Mart Public Improvement Corporation (PIC) and operating agreements with the district had been drafted.
Blevins noted that the Marketplace proposal is ahead of Wal-Mart. Simpson said, "Wal-Mart is not the panacea."
Blevins reported that the district received bids to do the detailed design of the parkway and the design of the gravity sewer interceptor needed to serve the Marketplace site. The parkway design bids ranged from $125,000 to $247,000. The sewer design bids ranged from $25,400 to $38,200. Once the design is completed, construction is estimated to take six to nine months. The board unanimously approved the $125,000 bid for the parkway design work, subject to approval by the developer and arrangement of a developer loan to pay for the work.
Regular Meeting June 25
Simpson said, "The project is going back through redesign with a new architect. The plan is for the project to be heard by the Major Thoroughfares Task Force in July and the [county] planning commission in August."
Simpson reported that irrigation system wiring was cut and there was damage to directional signs on Leather Chaps. He estimated the repair cost to be at least $1,000.
Blevins said the proposal will be heard for the second time by the planning commission on July 9 and by the board of trustees on July 21. The schedule is to break ground in August.
Rate and fee study
As reported in the May 3 issue of OCN, Rick Giardina, of Rick Giardina and Associates, has prepared a utility rate study for the district. Giardina concluded that in order to make the water, wastewater, and water reclamation systems self-sufficient, the revenue collected from the water system would have to increase 9 percent for 2003 and then remain at that level. The revenue generated by the wastewater system would have to increase 25 percent in 2003 and then an additional 7 percent each year from 2004 through 2008. The revenue from the reclamation system would have to increase 151 percent in 2003, 10 percent in 2004, and then remain at that level.
The board unanimously approved Giardina’s recommendations, which were as follows:
A question was raised as to what fees apply to projects that are in review. Giardina said, "It is not unusual to grandfather those in the review process. Alternatively, you could adopt a hard line that the fee is the fee when you pull permits." Simpson said, "The big boxes can pay the difference. Jackson Creek Filing #5 is the issue." The board decided to make the fees effective October 1.
Phase G financing
Sharp summarized the proposal presented at the June 12 special meeting.
Blevins reported that the bondholder agrees to subordination of the developer debt and to paying off the utility bonds but is unwilling to a fixed 25-mill cap. The existing arrangement allows up to 32.5 mills. That limit will increase in response to the action of the Gallagher Amendment.
Blevins apparently surprised Simpson by saying, "If we don’t use all the $12 million for infrastructure, use the leftover to pay off the old debt."
Director Martha Gurnick said, "I don’t think we want to borrow to pay off the bondholder. It is like paying off a credit card with a lower-rate credit card."
Sharp said, "There is a credit limit on that second card. Due to the bond fees [approximately $240,000] and so forth, it is not cost effective to do it more often than every three years. How much do you need in the first year?"
Simpson said, "A lot is needed to serve one big box." He said that the current user insists Jackson Creek Parkway be constructed four lanes wide from the Marketplace to Baptist Road.
Director Linda Jones said, "With what the Fed is doing, this is a very good time to do this. We need to do this now. It isn’t going to be like this for long."
Blevins said, "The developer will know in a year how the center is going."
Susemihl said, "Do the whole $12 million."
Gurnick moved that the district agree to the proposed term sheet and seek the full $12.4 million in Phase G funding. Jones seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.
Palmer Divide Water Group
Simpson reported that the district must pay $5,000 to cover its portion for the rest of the year. Susemihl said, "The idea is to get a pretty powerful group. It is too early to tell where the group is going to end up." Simpson said the group is funding a $24,000 study by Halepaska and Associates. The board unanimously approved the expenditure.
The board unanimously approved $20,500 for preparation of a letter of request for a floodplain map revision needed for the parkway design. The cost is to be paid using another developer loan.
An additional $27,000 was authorized for interceptor easements.
Simpson noted, "It will cost $150,000 to $250,000 before we are finalized on go-ahead on the Marketplace. The longer we wait, the longer it stops the parkway."
The Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors normally meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month, 4:30 p.m., at the district offices, 174 N. Washington St. The next meeting will be July 23.
For further information, contact Triview at 488-6868.
By Judy Barnes
Villa Pasta Company: A change in ownership was approved for Cynthia Fevig and Gary Wood. The business, located at 581 County Line Road, manufactures pasta and sells pasta and gift baskets.
Sundance Mountain Medical Research: Ann Schmechel will provide medical research and informatics service.
Kathy’s Cuts: Kathy Coria will provide hair services at 84A Highway 105.
Healing Hands Massage Therapy: Sarah Whaley will provide massages at An Escape Day Spa in the West End Center, 755 Highway 105, Suite O.
Edward Jones Investments: Jack Fry and Leasha Larson will offer financial services–investments and insurance–at the West End Center, 755 Highway 105, Suite M.
Affordable Carpet Connection: Thomas and Martha Roddam will sell floor coverings at the West End Center, 755 Highway 105.
The council approved the 2003 Model Traffic Code and a new fine structure that took effect July 1. Traffic fines increased. For example, speeding fines that were previously $50 or $60 went up to $75. Fines of $35 went up to $50. The council also approved the appointment of Bill Duven as a substitute judge.
Trustee Susan Miner reported that the fishing derby on June 7 was a great success despite the cold weather. An 11-inch carp was the prizewinning fish.
Miner sought the trustees’ opinions concerning a previously owned modular building that might be available for purchase by the town and could be a source of revenue for the town. She was thinking of placing it at Centennial Park near the gazebo, perhaps for rental of various recreational equipment. Even though the comprehensive plan calls for rebuilding an eating house at that location, Miner did not want to compete with local restaurants. Town Clerk Della Gins suggested putting the modular building at the maintenance shop to use for storage. Trustee Cindy Allen said that if placed near the gazebo, the building should be attractive and wondered what improving its appearance would cost, noting the town has no money to spend. Trustee Eddie Kinney suggested that a building at Centennial Park should look like a train depot. Planning Commissioner Gary Coleman noted that the park is in a 100-year flood plain and would require a flood study.
Kinney suggested that Jim Fitzgerald, owner of the old barn housing Calvary Capital Management and Coldwater Media, be given 30 days’ notice to move his dirt pile or the town will move it for him. The pile, which has been there for three years, was for an acceleration/deceleration lane required by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Fitzgerald disagreed with CDOT on the need for such a lane, which has not yet been constructed.
The town’s tree/slash chipper is available for on-site use by residents within the town limits. The chipper can handle limbs and trees with a maximum diameter of 6 inches. Residents may sign up for the chipper at the town offices at 42 Valley Crescent. The cost is $25 for two hours of use, and the slash must be at the roadside piled in one direction. If residents need more than two hours, they can sign up again.
Citizen Ron Thompson thanked the council for the nice job the town had done beautifying the town center. He suggested that business owners might be willing to help fund a railroad depot, as it would benefit their businesses.
Sue Coons, of Meadow Lane, appeared before the council to seek remediation of a drainage problem on her property. Apparently, the problem was caused by runoff from the new Elephant Rock Acres subdivision. Randy Jones, a Palmer Lake trustee, extended Meadow Lane and is building two new houses there. Jones installed a culvert under Coons’ driveway, and that culvert filled with runoff from the construction site, causing water and sand to drain onto Coons’ property.. A town water truck was sent to flush the culvert. Jones reinstalled the culvert so it would not clog again.
Jones asked the council if he was required to pave his section of Meadow Lane with asphalt. The council has spent a great deal of time over the past year considering the pros and cons of gravel and asphalt. Regardless of the comparative costs and benefits, the town’s roads budget cannot support the maintenance needed for asphalt roads. After some discussion, the trustees unanimously passed a motion allowing Jones to use gravel instead of asphalt and requiring Jones to be responsible for dust control on his extension of Meadow Lane for two years.
Alan Bockhaus described the $13,000 grant Mickey Campbell received for flood mitigation and drainage. They are required to conduct a study on other hazards, and they plan to map past hazards in the area, including tornadoes, floods, massive erosion, hailstorms, fire, train derailments, and other transportation hazards. Bockhaus and Campbell are donating the time they spend on the project.
Fire district merger
The trustees discussed some of the pros and cons of merging with Woodmoor-Monument Fire Protection District to form a new fire district. The general consensus was that the merger would be in the best interests of the citizens of Palmer Lake, the town council, and the fire department.
The next meeting of the town council will be a combined workshop/meeting on Thursday, July 10, at 7 p.m.
By Judy Barnes
Paula Johnson received a sign permit for Grayson’s Inn. The sign will be approximately 3 feet square with ground lights and will face Middle Glenway.
Brian Jennison of Gamer’s Haven, 797 Highway 105, requested a backlit sign that he’d like to keep lit all night. The proposed sign was bigger than allowed, and the planning commissioners decided the sign had to be turned off at 2 a.m. Jennison was advised to bring the new sign design to the meeting the following week, but didn’t, so his request was denied.
Sherry Rodermund, 459 Virginia Ave., appeared at the workshop to discuss her request for a conditional use permit for a child daycare facility. She thanked the commissioners for visiting/inspecting her property prior to the meeting. She noted that she was trying to accommodate the neighbors, "which seems impossible." Jim Mitchell, who lives behind Rodermund, at 222 Clio, addressed the commission, stating he represented some of the other neighbors who were on vacation. He voiced his concerns about Virginia being a one-way street and noted that children use Clio as their playground. Mitchell also was concerned about children from Rodermund’s daycare getting on the trampoline, into the pond, or in the way of the horses on various neighbors’ properties. Rodermund noted her intent to fence in her backyard, which would eliminate those possibilities. She is licensed for six full-time and two part-time children. Town staff saw no problem with parking six vehicles on the property.
Planning Commissioner David Cooper, who lives in the area, counted 19 vehicles driving on Virginia Avenue between 6 and 9 a.m. He noted that he came from a neighborhood with home care centers, and they caused no problems at all. People will drop off their children intermittently, he observed. The commissioners discussed traffic and snow-day issues. The planning commission voted to recommend approval of the daycare center to the town council.
Palmer Lake Trustee Susan Miner addressed the commission about signage on Highway 105. Miner noted that the town does have jurisdiction over signage on the state highway, and that the current set of rules does not serve the business population from the bowling alley to the West End Center. She suggested low signs, 4½ feet high, for better visibility to passing motorists. She also suggested a "Welcome to Palmer Lake Business District" sign to alert people to the businesses there.
Miner sought commissioners’ opinions about a previously owned modular building that might be available to the town. She envisioned the building as a facility catering to recreational activities on the land across from the art center, near the gazebo. Her hope is that the facility would generate income for the town. Commissioner Denise Hammond suggested a canoe rental, candy shop, and train memorabilia shop.
Planning Commission Chairperson Jan Bristol retired at the June 18 meeting after serving on the planning commission for seven years. Her day job had become increasingly demanding, and she felt she wasn’t able to put enough time into planning commission business. John Cressman took over the chair, and Ken Trombley took over vice chair from Cressman. Two vacancies now exist on the commission. Anyone interested in serving on the planning commission can pick up an application at the town offices, 42 Valley Crescent.
The planning commission will not meet in July.
By John Heiser
Plans for station 2 at Roller Coaster Road and Highway 105, the proposed Wescott inclusion of area due east of the Tri-Lakes district, and possible merger with other fire districts in the Tri-Lakes area were again major topics of discussion at the regular meeting of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District (TLFPD) Board of Directors June 19. Director Gary Morgan was absent. Vacationing director Rick Barnes was excused. Several residents from the area proposed for inclusion in the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District attended.
Board president Charlie Pocock announced that the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 to deny the subdivision exemption needed for the project to go forward. Commissioners Jim Bensberg, Tom Huffman, and Wayne Williams were opposed; commissioners Chuck Brown and Jeri Howells were in favor. Pocock said, "We could have been ready to go [to bid] in 30 days." According to Pocock, the primary complaint from Williams, who represents the Tri-Lakes area, was that subdivision exemption was not the right process to use. Pocock itemized alternative actions the district could take:
In a subsequent phone conversation, Pocock said the district has decided to pursue alternative 2. Since most of the needed materials have already been prepared, this process could be expedited through county planning. The water rights for the well owned by Great Divide Water Company should be sufficient to satisfy county requirements. The road access issues have already been resolved. Pocock said, "Unfortunately, this decision by the county commissioners has already cost district taxpayers about $50,000."
Chief Robert Denboske reported that during May the district responded to 81 calls. There were 32 medical calls, 19 fire, 21 traffic accidents, and 9 public assists. During May, 31 people were transported to area hospitals. The staff totals 73, including board members and volunteers.
Denboske said five people passed the Firefighter I written test.
Denboske proposed some changes to the policy manual addressing training and education issues and implementation of the Health Information Protection Act (HIPA). It was noted that the chief and assistant chief are to participate in at least one call per week to ensure they retain currency and qualification. The changes were unanimously approved.
Ron Thompson, assistant chief and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) coordinator, reported that the district just received a defibrillator from Memorial Hospital. He said, "Had we had it on the truck last week, we could have used it."
Thompson said the district received a $1,000 grant from the Emergency Services Association to purchase CPR mannequins that will enable the district to resume teaching CPR classes to the public. He said he and Tom Mace have been recertified as CPR instructors.
Thompson thanked the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club for the $2,700 grant to purchase ice and cold-water rescue equipment.
Proposed inclusion of area east of the Tri-Lakes district
Residents Steve Sutherland and Amy Hughes submitted petitions from property owners for inclusion in the Tri-Lakes district. The board will hear the petitions of 20 property owners on Thursday, July 10, 7 p.m. at TLFPD Station 1. The properties are within the area subject to an election Nov. 4 to determine if they will be included in the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District.
After summarizing the history of the merger effort, Pocock said, "I think we should let things sit for a couple months."
Oscar Gillespie, board vice chair, reported that the district had some issues with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) regarding the explorer program at the station. The district has decided to continue the cadet program but without sponsorship by the BSA. He said the cadets will have full insurance coverage as members of the district. Gillespie said he will serve as an adult adviser to the program. Chief Denboske, a former explorer member of the district, said, "The program hasn’t changed, just the sponsorship changed."
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 July 17.
A special hearing on inclusion of 20 properties east of Highway 83 will be held Thursday, July 10, 7 p.m., at the firehouse.
For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312.
By Jim Kendrick
The Board of Directors for the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District met June 18. Attendees included directors Bill Lowes, Dennis Feltz, Joe Potter, Brian Ritz, and Kevin Gould; Assistant Fire Chief Vinny Burns; and recording secretary Ginnette Ritz. The meeting was brief and relaxed, a change from many earlier sessions.
There was no public comment, as only reporters attended the session. Lowes presented the treasurer’s report. Although the 7-mill levy has not taken effect yet, the budget is in good shape, with no problems expected for the rest of the year. Potter commended Fire Chief William Sheldon for purchasing the loaner truck from Colorado Springs for $5,500. Ritz was happy to learn that the title to the truck was finally in hand after a very long time.
Lowes then called for an executive session, closed to the public, to discuss a report from the district’s attorney.
After the executive session was completed, the public session resumed. Potter said he was pleased to note that as of July 1, Station 2 would be an around-the-clock operation with paid personnel, as promised to the voters. Two new full-time hires of current volunteers were announced: Curt Leonhardt on July 1 and Jim Biskner on August 1.
Lowes reported that fire district merger Joint Working Group (JWG) Public Information Officer Tom Conroy had left a voice mail asking for proposals for the JWG to consider. Lowes said he had left a voice mail reply for Conroy saying that the Wescott board still had not been able to discuss any further suggestions regarding inclusion. Earlier in the week, Wescott’s board had decided to withdraw from the JWG, citing concerns about having to raise the mill levy to match Woodmoor/Monument’s rate of 9.92 mills and the haste required to present voters with an election ballot this fall. Tri-Lakes has already withdrawn from the JWG.
Gould, a registered architect, presented a preliminary floor plan sketch he had drawn that showed two options for an additional bay. The two options were bay designs that could hold one or two trucks. Both options included new administrative offices for four people, as well as additional storage and room for exercise equipment.
Burns presented Chief Sheldon’s report, saying a review of safety and personnel policies and procedures was underway.
The board felt progress on getting a ballot to the voters east of Highway 83 via the district court was proceeding satisfactorily.
The meeting adjourned at 8 p.m.
It was subsequently learned that the inclusion election will be held Nov. 4 in conjunction with the general election.
By Tommie Plank
Hugh Eaton, vice-president of the Board of Education, presided over the Lewis-Palmer Board of Education June meeting in President Jeffrey Ferguson’s absence. Dave Dilley acted in his new role of superintendent of District 38.
Alex Magerko, a fourth-grade student at Lewis-Palmer Elementary School, demonstrated his Sandwich Robot, which he built as an independent study project in the gifted/talented program.
The board adopted the fiscal year 2003-2004 budget. (As required by state statute, it had been presented preliminarily at the May 15 board meeting, and public notice was published in the May 28 issue of the Tribune.) The total budget is $51,609,189, with $32,357,282 appropriated to the general fund.
Maryann Wiggs, director of curriculum, made presentations on the annual review and goal-setting report of the gifted/talented program; revisions of curriculum guides for 5th-8th Grade Language Arts; K-8th Grade Science, K-5th Grade Social Studies, 6th Grade Ancient Civilizations, and K-12th Grade Art; and several textbooks for immediate adoption so they can be ordered and received in time for the beginning of school.
The board voted to oppose the proposed Ridgeview Acres development of approximately 73 acres into 13 single-family lots on the southeast corner of Black Forest and Hodgen Roads. The developer has not contacted the school district regarding the impact it would have on school facilities or resources. Further, the board is concerned that the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners has not addressed the impact of new development on existing well water reserves in light of the ongoing drought in Colorado. Each house in the proposed development would have a separate well.
Keith Jacobus, principal of the high school, recommended that graduation requirements be increased for the incoming freshman class from 22 to 25 credits. This change would require students to complete 83 percent of the possible credits offered in order to graduate and would align the district more closely with other successful schools in the area. Jacobus also is concerned about the increased number of students choosing to graduate early since the implementation of the trimester schedule. Prior to the schedule change, 15 to 20 students opted for early graduation; after adopting the trimester schedule, an average of 69 seniors have graduated early. He is concerned that most of the students have no real plan to further their education before entering college the following year with their class, and that few are able to find jobs in this economic climate. It was suggested that counseling, which would include input from students who had previously taken this option, be available to all students and their parents considering this step. Jacobus agreed, and the board approved the graduation change.
An addendum to the Monument Academy Charter School Contract allowing an increase in the number of students from 510 to 575 was approved.
The board approved the posting of a public notice of a school director election on Nov. 4. The notice will be posted on Aug. 6, the date petitions can be given to potential candidates. Joanne Jensen was appointed the designated election official for the district.
The next regular meeting of the school board will be Aug. 21.
By Chris Pollard
The main item of concern in all the recent Woodmoor Improvement Association board meetings has been the planned development at the south end of Woodmoor. The lots, shown shaded in the attached map, are destined for around 200 units of multifamily housing. A meeting is planned at the Woodmoor Community Center (the Barn) on Thursday, July 10, at 7 p.m. to present information regarding the development.
Several meetings have already been held with the developers, and progress has been made toward ensuring that they meet the association’s architectural rules.
The other major concern has been with the status of the areas next to those scheduled for development. These are the fingerlike open areas that are directly attached to the shaded areas. Some of these carry the name Woodmoor Greens and have been represented to buyers of adjacent lots as potentially the site of a future golf course, making this a sore issue. The hope is that this land can be put under a conservation easement, with a local foundation in charge of maintaining it.
By John Heiser
Some in our community have wondered why so many residents are opposed to the Wal-Mart proposal while few objections have been raised to the Monument Marketplace proposal, which in terms of retail square footage is more than three times the size of the proposed Wal-Mart.
Here are a few aspects of the two proposals that account for the different response:
Based on these considerations, it is clear why the Marketplace proposal has not drawn the kinds of outspoken objections the Wal-Mart proposal has. Even so, the Marketplace is not without some significant issues. In particular, Jackson Creek residents should be asking why Triview is taking on the entire cost to construct the infrastructure for the Marketplace—estimated at $12 million to $15 million— when the district already has a staggering existing debt of $24 million to $25 million. According to Mike Davenport, Monument Assistant Town Manager and Town Planner, it is customary for the costs of a major arterial road such as Jackson Creek Parkway to be shared one-third each by the landowners on each side of the road and one-third by the governmental entity, in this case Triview. The rather unsettling situation here is that the landowner exerts tremendous control over the district and its actions because the landowner is also the district’s predominant bondholder and developer: Tim and Tom Phelan and their corporate entities including Colorado Structures, Centre Development, Jackson Creek Land Company, and Vision Development.
Jackson Creek taxpayers should also be asking what would happen if the Marketplace fails. The Tri-Lakes population at this point is insufficient to support an additional 650,000 square feet of retail space, so perhaps 80 percent of the customers must be people from outside the area who are willing to brave the local traffic congestion and shop at the Marketplace. Will they do it in sufficient numbers? It is anyone’s guess. If not, the Jackson Creek residents will be looking at a total of $37 million in debt, roughly $62,000 per house—growing each year as the income to the district continues to fall short of the interest charges.
In light of all this, why is it that the latest Triview district board meeting—at which the decision was made to go forward to obtain the $12 million to $15 million to construct the Marketplace infrastructure—attracted only one Jackson Creek resident other than the two Jackson Creek residents on the board?
Both these proposals ignore deep underlying issues. They are both "big box" projects. Many small towns like Monument have lost their historic districts and many of their small businesses to such developments. It is the sort of topic that should have been addressed as part of the update to Monument’s comprehensive plan. Even though many attendees at the public meetings on the plan expressed a very strong preference for maintaining a small-town atmosphere, the plan as it now stands does little to ensure that. Many other small towns have implemented store size limits as one means to encourage local entrepreneurial businesses. I suggested that for consideration early in the process, but it just never quite made it on the agenda. Now the entire area is likely to suffer the consequences.
By Woody Woodworth
A perennial is a plant that endures more than two growing seasons. Generally, flowering perennials are herbaceous (nonwoody) plants that die to the ground each fall and re-grow the following spring from the same root system. If a bare winter garden is not your idea of beauty, evergreen perennials maintain their leaves year-round, offering an attractive border or ground cover. Some perennials, such as delphiniums, can be short-lived and may last only three years, while others, like peonies, can live for decades if given the care that they need.
Perennials are available for almost any type of growing site. Texture, color, form, and fragrance are some of the features that are added to a garden when perennials are planted. Coordinating the season of bloom with the unlimited range of colors keeps gardeners happily preoccupied with the landscape. The size of a perennial can range from a few inches—which would be a very low, creeping ground cover—to several feet tall and wide.
Caring for a perennial garden is not a very complicated task. Knowing garden conditions, temperature, light, soil, slope, and drainage, and planting accordingly will produce the most successful garden. It is best to plant perennials in spring and fall, except in cold areas, where they should be planted at the end of summer to allow them time to become firmly rooted.
Here are a few suggestions to help stimulate your imagination for planning a perennial garden. When choosing perennials for a flower garden, select varieties with medium to long stems and a succession of bloom times. Foliage and flower shapes are equally important, to maintain interest. Use your favorite colors and include fragrance, to add your own personal touch. Roll your landscape with small hills and boulders. Curve pathways of mulch and flat stone to achieve a relaxing flow through your garden paradise.
Get a jump-start with some late spring and early summer bloomers that are sure to get early cuttings from your garden. Oriental poppy, bearded iris, foxglove, lupine and salvia will all combine well with the branches of late spring flowering shrubs and trees. Plant plenty of these "sure bets," too: columbine, Siberian iris, painted daisy, allium and coralbells.
You’ll see a dazzling exhibition in midsummer when garden perennials are at their best. Nonstop blooms and growth patterns are impressive, to say the least. Use agastaches, liatris, delphinium, Russian sage and penstemon to obtain sharpness and contrast. Shasta daisy, purple coneflower, monarda, valerian, and yarrow will soften the bouquet with round-shaped petals.
In your new garden, remember to add fillers like ornamental grasses and boulders for contrast. Garden fillers take your eye away from seeing only flowers and soften the landscape. Use three of the 5-foot "Karl Forester" ornamental grasses in a cluster, then border them in a semicircle with smaller clumps of "Elija Blue" fescue. The contrast is amazing when the short, blue clumps send their plumes up in midsummer against the green, bushy, taller grass.
Some medium-size perennials used in clusters are "Brilliant Red" dianthus, soapwort, "Goblin" gaillardia, gazania, and spurge. Use them against boulders or small rock walls and ledges. Plant them in numbers, by each other, to achieve the color and effect you want.
Remember to use sedum in your hot, dry areas. They take a lot of neglect and will reward you with yellow, pink, and red flowers. Sedum tolerate poor soil and are perfect for filling in between rock wall areas and along pathways. Acre, dragon’s blood, bronze carpet and autumn joy are only a few of the common sedum. They are available in variegated, short and stubby, and fernlike shapes that are as bulletproof as the most common of varieties.
Eventually summer will blend to autumn, and the change in the season will bring the fall colors to your garden. Mums, fall asters and autumn sedum are great for this elevation and will provide a different crop of flowers and color pallet. We’ll talk more about fall plants in an upcoming issue of OCN.
Woody Woodworth owns High Country Feed & Garden and is a member of Garden Centers of Colorado and the Green Industry.
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 6 feet in length, with a maximum diameter of 8 inches. No stumps, roots, lumber, ties, dirt, household trash, or weeds are accepted, and all loads must be covered and tied. Hours of operation are 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursdays, and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Sept. 14. Mulch is available Saturdays only: in July, 8 a.m.-noon; in 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.
Residents of Palmer Lake can have their slash chipped on-site by the town’s new chipper. The cost is $25 for two hours. Town employees will run the chipper. Slash must be stacked at the roadside with all limbs pointing in the same direction. Call the town office at 481-2953 to arrange an appointment.
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 Friday and Saturday, July 18 and 19 at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11 p.m.
Monument Hill Sertoma Club is selling tree-ripened freestone peaches from Palisade. An 18-pound box costs $24. Prepaid orders must be received by Thursday, July 31. The peaches will be available for pickup on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2-6 p.m., at Lewis-Palmer High School. All proceeds from the sales go back into our community. To order, send a check payable to Monument Hill Sertoma to P.O. Box 102, Monument, CO 80132. For information, call Mike Hoskinson, 488-8182, or Glenn Scott, 488-8808.
The Fifteenth Annual Rocky Mountain Storytelling Festival returns to Palmer Lake on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1 and 2. Festivities kick off Thursday, July 31 with an evening concert at the Douglas County Event Center in Castle Rock. The activities move to Palmer Lake Elementary School on Aug. 1, with registration at 8 a.m. Participants can enjoy workshops over the two days in beginning and advanced storytelling and puppet making. A concert Aug. 1, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., will feature storytellers Joe Hayes, Lois Burrell, Mark Gardner, and Kate Lutz. Preregistration cost for the entire festival is $55, or participants can pay for individual events. For information and a preregistration form, call John Stansfield at (303) 660-5849 or visit http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~jbowles/festival.html.
The chamber’s annual golf tournament will be on Friday, Aug. 8, 8 a.m., at King’s Deer. It’s a four-man scramble with a $125 per person entry fee. If you are interested in sponsoring, playing, or helping the committee, please call Lee Kilbourn, 495-1995.
The Palmer Lake Historical Society has scheduled a guided tour of Estemere, the grand Victorian mansion, on Saturday, Aug. 23. This is a great chance to see how Roger and Kim Ward have restored and renovated their landmark estate. It’s also an opportunity to meet interesting people and hear stories about local history. Watch for more information in the August issue of OCN, or phone PLHS President Sam DeFelice at 481-8623.
A Lions Club chapter is being formed in the Tri-Lakes area. The Lions Club is a nonprofit service organization of volunteers who serve their community by providing services such as vision screenings for preschoolers, eye exams and eyeglasses for the needy, sponsoring handicapped campers for the Lions Camp in Woodland Park, sponsoring Boy Scout troops, and much more. All of the funds raised by the Lions go back into the community. For additional information, call Ralph or Karyl Thies at 488-1201.
• The Monument Homemakers Club will hold its annual rummage sale at Monument Town Hall, 166 Second St., on Saturday, July 12, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Always good stuff!
• The Pleasant View Community Garage Sale will be held Saturday, July 19, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. From I-25, take Baptist Road east (uphill) until you enter the tree line; then follow the signs. For information, call Doris Gumino at 487-8387.
• The All Woodmoor Garage Sale Weekend will be held Friday, Aug. 1 and Saturday, Aug. 2 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. To participate in the sale and be placed on the garage sale guide map, call Walt or Susan Marty, 785-1279. Garage sale guide maps will be available for shoppers on July 28 at the WIA office, 1691 Woodmoor Dr., and the Prudential Professional Realtors offices, 1860 Woodmoor Dr., Suite 200.
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.
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 and owns Tidewater Experiential Training Associates, which runs adventure-based challenge programs. Wood is also a Wilderness First Responder and a past Outward Bound instructor.
Sat., Aug. 2, 7 a.m.: Summit Pikes Peak from the west side (Craggs). Beautiful trail with wilderness views; 7 miles, challenging.
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.
For information on any of the hikes, contact Sue Buell (719) 481-2474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s business expo, "Expose Your Business," will be held Tuesday, Sept. 16, at the Pinecrest Event Center in Palmer Lake. For information or to reserve a booth, call the chamber at 481-3282.
Contact us at (719) 488-3455, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or P.O. Box 1742, Monument, Colorado 80132-1742.
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