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Our Community News - Home Vol. 4 No. 2 - February 7, 2004

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Tri-Lakes Forum grapples with growth

View photos of the Tri-Lakes Forum Jan. 21

By John Heiser

More than 40 people attended the Tri-Lakes Forum on the evening of Jan. 21, proving that growth and concerns about its impact on the area is a topic that still attracts a crowd.

The forum, entitled "The Changing Face of the Tri-Lakes Area," was sponsored and hosted by the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Marylou Doehrman, the chamber’s executive director.

Panelists were Darryl Edwards, Mountain View Electric’s manager of member services, Monument Mayor Betty Konarski, Palmer Lake Mayor Nikki McDonald, and Woody Woodworth, owner of the High Country Store in Monument. Rick Blevins, of Monument Marketplace developer Vision Development, Inc., had to cancel at the last minute due to a family emergency.

Doehrman introduced the session saying, "We want people to have a voice in the changing face of the Tri-Lakes area." She expressed concern about the fragmentation of the area, e.g., Monument, Palmer Lake, Woodmoor, Gleneagle, and said the chamber is willing to create a task force to address problems.

Edwards presented a series of facts about Mountain View Electric (MVE):

  • The rural electric cooperative was founded in 1940 with 50 members. When MVE incorporated in 1941, it had 250 members.

  • The number of services (meters) has grown 95 percent in the past 10 years, from 19,000 in 1994 to a projected 37,000 by the end of 2004.

  • Two-thirds of the members are west of Calhan. There are 10,000 members in the Tri-Lakes area.

  • In the 1950s and 1960s, the members were 80 percent rural. Edwards said, "If there was an outage, they would send us a postcard." Now 80 percent of the members are urban and have higher expectations for reliability and power quality. Edwards later added that 80 percent of members are residential.

  • MVE serves an area of 5,500 square miles and employs 120.

  • Over the past decade, the capital investment in the plant has grown 195 percent, from $45 million to $133 million. The number of substations has grown from 14 to 20. During that time, five substations have been upgraded. MVE is planning to upgrade five more and build two new substations.

  • Since 1994, MVE has added 1,000 miles of power lines; 60 percent of those additional miles are underground. He said that although underground lines look nicer, they cost three times as much to install as overhead lines and have a 20-year life, half that of overhead lines.

  • MVE is planning to spend $30 million over the next two years for upgrades, replacements, and new construction. Edwards said, "It is a struggle financially." Due to potential delays obtaining easements and permits, he said MVE tries to remain five years ahead of predicted growth.

McDonald presented some background on Palmer Lake:

  • She has lived there 24 years and been mayor for 3½ years.

  • The town’s new well is scheduled to be on-line in February or March to help with the demand for water during the summer.

  • Thanks to a bequest, the town has completed a new town office and municipal center.

  • There are only 50 buildable lots left within the interior of Palmer Lake; other lots have a variety of issues, including access and utility service.

  • There are some new businesses including a photo studio and an Internet café on Highway 105. There is no application for a liquor store at this time.

  • The police department obtained a $72,000 homeland security grant.

  • The Willow Creek townhouses are finished. She said, "It is sad for a lot of us that have lived there a long time. It changed the look. When it was approved, we were told they would be good for the elderly. Now they are three stories and have steps to get to the first floor. It is a disappointment."

  • She said, "Think not about tomorrow but about 20 years from now. Some mistakes were made. Hopefully, we can correct some of those and continue to go on as we have and depend on our volunteers."

Woodworth discussed his involvement in the community and the state of the local economy:

  • He has been owner of High Country Store for the past eight years. Over that time, he said his business has changed from a feed store serving ranches and selling 10 tons of horse feed per week to more of a lawn and garden store serving houses and selling premium pet foods and 10,000 pounds of grass seed per year. He said he now sells 5 tons of horse feed every two weeks, and garden sales are 50 percent of gross sales.

  • Although he and his wife live in Colorado Springs near Manitou, they are heavily involved in the Historic Monument Merchants Association and other Tri-Lakes community activities. He said, "Even though this town is growing, it still has a small-town feel. This community is a good community for us. We aren’t planning on going anywhere. We are going to dig in our heels and survive."

  • Regarding the Home Depot expected to open in May or June, he said, "I don’t think we are overly concerned about it. We expect a drop in sales. We have to come up with ways to beat the big-box stores by providing better knowledge and service. It is a matter of getting to know who your customer is." He added, "The independent store is the backbone of America."

Konarski, mayor of Monument since Sept. 11, 2001, presented her vision for Monument and the area:

  • At their September 2002 retreat, the Monument board unanimously agreed that "Monument must become a full-service community where people can live, work, and play, or it will be gradually engulfed by Colorado Springs."

  • To achieve that vision, Monument must grow its services. There must be a consolidation of functions. The multiplicity of special districts must eventually disappear into one cohesive and financially effective organization. Citizens cannot continue to support the costs of all the duplication of infrastructure. Fire district merger and formation of a regional transportation authority are steps in that direction.

  • Monument must grow its boundaries while balancing such growth between residential and commercial growth to afford the expanded services.

  • Monument will have two hearts: The historic center west of I-25 with a regional park around the lake and small independent shops and restaurants drawing people from Denver, Pueblo and farther; and "New Town" east of I-25, with an athletic center, recreational fields open to the public, perhaps a new library, small performing arts center, movie theater, and affordable housing for teachers and the elderly. The two hearts would be connected through a system of roads, parks, and trails. There may be some subsiding of one part by another, but both must be healthy.

  • The voters must not be afraid of affordable housing or commercial or industrial development. Without a mix of housing and jobs, Monument will stay a largely bedroom community.

  • Avoid separatism: Elect people who represent the best interests of the whole area. Do not let boundaries keep you away from the process.

  • Create community by supporting collaborative efforts such as Sertoma, the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, and Tri-Lakes Views.

  • Support collaborative organizations such as the Palmer Divide Water Group and mergers of special districts and perhaps even municipalities. Maybe the area will become the "City of Tri-Lakes."

In response to a question about the feasibility of the consolidation of services, Konarski said, "You have to get a lot of egos out of the way. You need to see past all that. You the voters control all that."

Regarding the inefficiencies of overlapping and fragmented delivery of services, Konarski added, "People in Jackson Creek can afford to pay just so much in taxes. They are the most heavily taxed in our area."

Referring to budgetary limitations in Palmer Lake, Konarski said, "Nikki just said she is a dying municipality." McDonald replied that she had not said that, but acknowledged that having a largely residential tax base makes it difficult to fund services.

Emphasizing the importance of sales tax revenue, Monument landowner John Dominowski said Monument property taxes are $270,000 and the police budget is $600,000.

Woodmoor resident Benny Nasser said, "The thing that is going to drive this is water."

Konarski replied, "[Protect Our Wells] is scared spitless. They already have wells going dry. Parker drilled a new well and is getting miniscule water out of it." She suggested the Monument and Palmer Lake water systems should be interconnected to help with storage and in times of drought.

In response to a question as to the source of water for the Monument Marketplace, Konarski replied that the Triview Metropolitan District has adjudicated wells.

Regarding how to invigorate the downtown Monument area similar to the old town in Castle Rock, Woodworth said, "You can’t have empty lots. You have to have sidewalks, streetlights, and shops that are open consistent hours."

Maria Tillberry, owner of the Expectations salon in Monument, asked, "How many years have we been waiting for sidewalks?" Konarski replied, "Since 1991. It is why you need a ‘big box’ [store]." She added, "It is no good to beautify the downtown when nobody is open after 6 p.m. and half the lots are empty."

Dominowski added, "I have been going to [Monument] Board of Trustees meetings for 16 years waiting for sidewalks to be put in the budget." Despite that, Dominowski lauded the efforts of the board of trustees to balance competing interests. He said, "The future is bright for Monument."

There was a divergence of views on the turnout for the meeting. Doehrman asked, "How do we get the rest of the people to get involved? We want to see representation from every area we cover." Dominowski replied, "This many people is incredible. Compare it to the Board of County Commissioners with three people." He expressed concern that if future meetings are too big or too structured, people will not feel as comfortable expressing their views.

The consensus was that the chamber should plan to hold another forum in about two months and include representation of local special districts (e.g., fire, water, sewer).

**********

For more information, contact the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce at 481-3282.

View photos of the Tri-Lakes Forum Jan. 21

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Monument Board of Trustees meetings Jan. 5

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the proposed Kerr Annexation

By Jim Kendrick

At its first meeting of the New Year, on Jan. 5, the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) unanimously appointed George Case, from the Police Advisory Committee, to replace Doug Warner as trustee until the April election. The board endorsed the Comprehensive Plan Update passed by the Planning Commission in August and started the process of considering two separate annexation and rezoning proposals for a wholesale gift business and a 140-acre subdivision. They also amended town zoning and subdivision regulations concerning recoupment, downtown water, and parking, and commercial public land dedication. Trustee Byron Glenn was absent. There were 10 citizens in attendance for the regular meeting.

Special Meeting

Draft Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan: Monument Assistant Town Manager and Town Planner Mike Davenport reviewed the progress made to date on the draft Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan and discussed a related Greater Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant as well as future GOCO grant applications. The draft plan, prepared by graduate students in urban planning at the University of Denver’s Colorado Center for Community Development, was submitted to GOCO on Dec. 17 for final payment. . The draft plan also shows GOCO how future grants would help support fulfillment of the plan’s goals and specific objectives. Davenport proposed the following steps for review and adoption of the master plan:

  • Staff will compile citizen input from a survey included in the town’s December newsletter.

  • Staff will submit an edited and revised draft for a full review by the Monument Parks and Landscape (P&L) Committee.

  • Following a public notice, P&L would take public comment at its next regularly scheduled meeting, and then forward its recommendations, along with citizen comments, and the final draft to the Monument Planning Commission (PC).

  • The PC would hold a public hearing on whether the master plan should be incorporated into the town’s recently revised Comprehensive Plan, which the PC approved in August 2003 and the BOT endorsed on Dec. 15.

  • The PC would forward the final draft of the master plan and any recommendations and comments received to the BOT. The BOT would endorse the plan or send it back to the PC with recommendations for change.

Davenport summarized the history of the master plan’s development and reviewed its major recommendations. He said that a section on creating a park and recreation area around Monument Lake needs to be added to the plan. Mayor Betty Konarski endorsed the plan’s comments that Monument is the northern gateway to the Pikes Peak region. She said the plan’s philosophical stand on connecting east and west Monument by trails crossing I-25 should not be lost during BOT turnover after the April election.

Konarski also noted that a key feature of the master plan is the requirement for view shed analysis of any commercial development adjacent to I-25 to protect motorist sight lines of the Front Range. (A view shed is a zoning area where building heights are restricted to prevent scenic views from being blocked by new construction.) Davenport noted that the viewshed regulations are not often seen in master plans.

Trustee Dave Mertz asked Davenport if all wording and maps were consistent between the Comprehensive Plan and the master plan; Davenport said yes. Mertz added that the proposed timeline for master plan adoption was too optimistic; Davenport said it would probably take twice as long as his ideal forecast. Davenport also said the strongest citizen comment was a general dislike of using the Preble’s mouse as a town mascot/icon; otherwise, the response to date was uniformly positive. Konarski suggested a BOT work session to provide the PC with budget priorities for the plan, because implementation depends so heavily on grants and grant timing.

New GOCO grant application: Town Manager Rick Sonnenburg discussed the status of the town’s GOCO grant applications for the spring 2004 cycle. Applications for the various types of GOCO grants (open space, local parks, and outdoor recreation) are due the first three days in March. The town will ask GOCO to subsidize 70 percent of the cost of purchasing three parcels of Denver and Santa Fe Western Railroad land west and south of Limbach Park for park expansion and for parking spaces. One parcel would expand the park west to the railroad tracks, and one parcel would expand the park south to connect with another parcel dedicated to the town by the developer of the Monument Addition No. 5 subdivision. The third parcel between Mitchell and the railroad tracks, south of Second Street, would be used for off-street parking. Monument has the right of first refusal to purchase this land from the railroad. The contract being negotiated will delay payment to the railroad until early 2005.

Newsletter: After receiving comments on frequency and content of the town’s newsletter, Konarski said that monthly delivery would continue and asked that the mailing list–about 1,200 resident and business license addresses–be updated. She added that copies of the newsletter would continue to be distributed to seniors at the Monday and Thursday lunches.

Triathlon: Konarski then noted that a triathlon will be scheduled for Monument July 10-11, if Monument Lake can be filled in time—after Fish and Wildlife confirmed that there would be no restriction on holding the event’s swimming competition in the lake.

The special meeting adjourned at 6:20 p.m.

Regular Meeting

Warner Commendation: A resolution commending Doug Warner for his service as trustee was approved unanimously. Warner was unable to attend the meeting because of increased business obligations, which was his reason for resigning from the board in December. His service on the Parks and Landscape Committee and the Advisory Committee to the Regional Building Commission were also commended.

Case Appointed Trustee: George Case is a 13-year resident who served on the Police Advisory Committee for six years. Konarski reminded him that he would have to stand for election in April if he chose to continue serving. He was approved 5-0. Town Clerk Judy Skrzypek administered the oath of office and Trustee Case took his place on the board for the remainder of the meeting.

Police Advisory Committee Goes Dormant: The Police Advisory Committee’s number of vacancies increased from two to three after Case’s move to the BOT. Trustees cannot also serve on any of the three advisory committees. The committees each have five members. The Police Advisory Committee will now go dormant due to a lack of a majority for a quorum. The Public Works Committee (PWC) similarly went dormant when the number of vacancies increased from two to four after its July 2 meeting. Larry Neddo, the one remaining active PWC member after Mike Wicklund’s and Faye Elbaum’s terms expired, moved to the Planning Commission (PC) on July 21. Furthermore, the lone remaining active advisory committee, Parks and Landscape, has one vacancy due to the move of Ed Delaney to the PC on Oct. 6, with no volunteer to replace him at this time.

Annexation of Wahlberg Property: Davenport said that Steven Barr of Colorado Commercial Builders, Inc. requested, in a Dec. 31 fax, to appear before the BOT to make a presentation regarding possible annexation of 140 acres southeast of Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive. The property is listed in the August 2003 update of the Comprehensive Plan as a possible site for annexation. Barr is proposing mixed use, commercial and residential, development, of the parcel.

Davenport observed that while state law calls for annexation and rezoning in a sequential manner, the common practice is for there to be agreement in principle on the proposed development and the required zoning to implement it. He said the purpose of the presentation was to give the trustees an opportunity to ask questions of the developer in a public session, to preclude any controversy over direct contact by Barr with trustees prior to application hearings. Steve Shuttleworth spoke for Barr at this meeting and was accompanied by Chuck Schoeninger.

The development is called the Village Center at Woodmoor. Davenport noted that this was the first annexation action under the revised Comprehensive Plan and revised zoning and construction regulations.

Shuttleworth displayed a detailed sketch plan. The parcel is L-shaped, looking eastward along Highway 105, with a small cutout (lower left corner of the "L" on the northwest corner) that includes the Woodmoor Veterinary Hospital and the new modular Integrity Bank building. The northwest portion of the parcel would have commercial lots, the northeast portion patio homes, and along the southern boundary would be single family homes. The single direct access to Highway 105 would be aligned with the existing Mormon church entrance near Lake Woodmoor Drive. Another subdivision entrance would be on Knollwood, south of 105. The developer is negotiating with the owner of the property between the Wahlberg parcel’s Knollwood access and Jackson Creek Parkway for direct access to the parkway, as called for in the Comprehensive Plan.

Mertz noted that the Comprehensive Plan’s land use map showed community commercial zoning, which is different than what’s being proposed for this parcel. Davenport said that a different developer had suggested the use shown on the older map. He noted the new developer’s changed plans are consistent with the guidelines of the recently revised Comprehensive Plan, however.

Davenport discussed the overall annexation timeline. The BOT must next hold an eligibility hearing in at least 30 days to determine if the proposed annexation meets minimum state requirements; he suggested Feb. 16. If the proposed annexation is found eligible, the BOT must hold an annexation hearing 30-60 days thereafter; he suggested April 5. He said the BOT can and should also simultaneously review proposed zoning, platting, site plans, and the development agreement to expedite the annexation in a customary manner. He added that the site plan would go through the Planning Commission before the BOT had to make its final annexation and zoning decisions.

The current plan is for detached duplex patio homes, rather than apartment buildings, with prices starting at $175,000. A sit-down restaurant, drive-through bank, and office space are also planned. Shuttleworth pointed out the green open space on the sketch plan, but noted that this sketch was a "bubble plan" and not firm at this time. He added that he would need help from the town in securing Jackson Creek Parkway access.

Review of 2003 Update of the Comprehensive Plan: Davenport observed that although the PC has final authority on adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, per Colorado state statute, the commission’s policy is to seek endorsement of the Comprehensive Plan and subsequent revisions (to include the component Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan) from the BOT because the trustees must subsequently approve the funds to implement all aspects of the plans.

Davenport gave an abbreviated summary of the changes in the update and written comments received. He noted that the PC had decided against changing Forest Lakes Tech Center–the southernmost commercial area between I-25 and the railroad tracks, bordering the Air Force Academy–from light to heavy industrial (Planned to Mixed Industrial). The Schuck Corporation had requested the zoning change to allow a concrete batch plant to be built just east of the Monument Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility shared by the Donala, Triview, and Forest Lakes water districts. Davenport reviewed the concerns of possible height conflicts with the Academy’s auxiliary runway immediately south of this location and noted that the plan now requires Schuck to notify any developer of this parcel about runway noise and hazards before construction begins.

The Comprehensive Plan calls for annexations on a case-by-case basis, with two annexations pending: the Wahlberg and Kerr annexations. Discussion of the Kerr annexation was deferred until later in the meeting as a separate agenda item.

Also in the revision to the plan:

  • Downtown has been enlarged to extend from I-25 to Monument Lake.

  • Existing and future changes at the Monument Marketplace site are on the map.

A note regarding plans to add a park and athletic fields just south of Lewis Palmer High School, subject to variations caused by possible future school expansion, has been added, though the land use map has not been revised to show this change. The fields would be southeast of the intersection of Higby Road and Jackson Creek Parkway.

By resolution, the BOT (including Case) endorsed the revision to the Comprehensive Plan 5-1. Trustee Frank Orten voted no because the plan did not reduce the public land/open space dedication requirement for commercial development below 10 percent. He stated that this requirement is driving commercial development into nearby unincorporated county property, costing the town needed tax revenue.

Town consultant Community Matters, Inc. will now make all final corrections to the text and drawings and publish the finished revision in February.

2003 Comprehensive Update of Zoning and Subdivision Regulations: Konarski recused herself from this issue. Due to the absence of Mayor Pro Tem Glenn, the board unanimously appointed Mertz to be interim chair. The BOT has held several hearings on this issue, taken a number of comments, and returned the draft consolidated regulations to the Planning Commission for further review. The PC made new recommendations in November, which were incorporated. Davenport said that although the comprehensive update is not ready for BOT consideration, three regulation issues need to be addressed promptly for existing and potential development applicants: recoupment requirements, water and parking requirements in the downtown area, and commercial public land dedication requirements.

  • Recoupment: Costs should be shared among developers who benefit from public improvements, easements, rights-of-way, and "on-site oversizing required to facilitate utility services to adjacent areas." The first developer to build may have to pay for all the required public improvements, but would be reimbursed by other developers when they built. Recoupment would be paid on an "ability to serve basis" at the time of approval of the final plat or site plan.

  • Downtown Parking and Water: The sunset date on the variance for downtown parking standards for businesses was extended to Dec. 31, 2004. Another regulation was added that states, "The replatting of existing [downtown] lots will not cause a reduction in the assumed amount of water available if the lots had not been replatted. Where this provision is used, compensating water conservation measures shall be taken." Many existing downtown lots are smaller than would be required of a new subdivision and would not now meet existing water standards. This caveat prevents these small existing lots from becoming useless upon replatting.

  • Commercial Public Land Dedication: This requirement was increased from 10 percent to 20 percent in 2000 and is now proposed to be returned to 10 percent for nonresidential development. Davenport said the rationale for the difference is that residential and nonresidential development requires police and fire protection, but new businesses do not generate an additional need for schools, parks, trails, and open spaces. The requirement for nonresidential dedication ranges from 2 percent to 30 percent elsewhere in the region. The Planning Commission recommended keeping the requirement at 20 percent.

Board discussion focused on public land dedication. Orten felt that any land dedication was counterproductive to business development within the town. Mertz favored 20 percent. The other trustees favored 10 percent as a satisfactory compromise. Mertz reluctantly agreed to 10 percent, after suggesting 15 percent as a compromise. The three changes to existing zoning and subdivision ordinances passed by a vote of 4-1. Orten voted no, opposing the 10 percent dedication requirement for nonresidential development, and Konarski abstained. These changes to existing zoning and subdivision regulations will be incorporated in the final comprehensive revision.

Downtown Street Sweeping: On Dec. 15, Trustee Glenda Smith had voted no on the 2004 budget because downtown street sweeping was not included in the budget. At that time, she requested that Public Works Superintendent Tom Wall estimate the 2004 costs for sweeping downtown streets twice a month. At the January meeting, he said it would cost about $6,500 for the year—$3,500 for the first six months. Konarski asked Town Manager Rick Sonnenburg to add an agenda item for July where Wall will report actual expenses and compare them to his estimate for the first six months. At that time, the BOT will determine if downtown street sweeping will actually cost $6,500 for the year and then decide how to pay for this unbudgeted expense—either from unused Public Works funding, if available, or from the BOT contingency fund. The street sweeping proposal and July analysis were approved unanimously.

Floodplain Administration Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA): The IGA, between Monument and El Paso County, was first signed in July 1985 and is renewed annually. It passed unanimously. Kevin Stilson, county floodplain administrator, presented a plaque from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) honoring the county’s community rating improvement on Oct. 1, 2003, which significantly reduced flood insurance rates countywide.

Town Well No. 7 Contract: Water consultant John C. Halepaska and Associates received two bids to lower the pump in well 7 (Arapahoe aquifer) to protect it from sand, silt, and other solids. The new pump and motor are larger, requiring the diameter of the well to be increased. The winning bid was from AmWest for $61,995. The amount budgeted in 2002 under Water System Capital Improvements for well 7 was $75,000 and has been carried forward twice (from 2002 and again from 2003). Well 7 is located east of the Santa Fe Trail parking lot on Highway 105.

Town Well No. 9 Proposal: Wall noted that seven bids were received for the new well (to be called No. 9) and on-site water treatment plant, which was to be built at the south end of the Village of Monument subdivision (under construction southwest of Santa Fe Avenue and Old Denver Highway). He called the bids "cost of service estimates" and said it was clear that the original budget of $840,000 was not enough. "Based on the quotes received, it is likely the original scope of work could not be completed for under $1,100,000." He added that treating the water from well 9 at the well 8 treatment plant "has the potential to save over $100,000, depending on the level of in-house versus contracted services."

Town engineering consultant GMS, Inc. indicated in its letter of Oct. 10 that $620,000 could be saved by not building the well 9 treatment plant. However, GMS estimated this alternative would incur new costs of $206,100 for a new 7,360-foot transmission pipe from well 9 to well 8 at Beacon Lite and Second Street. Another $327,600 would be required to increase the water treatment capacity at well 8 to properly treat the average flow of 175 gallons per minute from well 9. Water from well 3 is already being pumped to well 8 for treatment.

However, the GMS savings indicated on Oct. 10 were based on the BOT making a decision by the end of October. GMS also said its cost estimates were "provided without the benefit of any detailed preliminary or final design or construction documents." GMS was the only company to offer to coordinate bidding for Wall’s revised concept. Wall proposed that he "redirect the engineering and design phases to the town’s existing consultants of John Halepaska and Associates, Inc., GMS, Inc., and/or the town engineer." These two firms are the town’s primary water and engineering consultants, respectively.

The board unanimously approved Wall’s revised water treatment concept for well 9, based on these very preliminary cost estimates.

New Method of Compensation for Water Department Employees: Both new workers who will operate and maintain the Triview Metropolitan District water system, along with four current Public Works water employees, will be trained to the higher standards required by Triview. Pay scales are to be revised upward to match the higher qualifications. Additional salary cost is $4,992 for 2004, $3,328 for 2005, and $3,120 for 2006. Training costs are already budgeted for the most part. Wall will prepare a final figure for approval as an expense over $5,000.

Disbursements over $5,000: Payments of $12,677.44 to GMS for engineering services, $5,729.79 to Halepaska for well 7 consulting, and $6,539 for well 6 pump installation were approved unanimously without discussion.

Planning Commissioners Reappointed: Ed Delaney, Larry Neddo, and Kathy Spence were reappointed through 2005. The appointment of Planning Commissioner Chairman Bob Mooney was extended through 2005 to ensure continuity.

Kerr Annexation: John Kerr, of Present Perfect Gifts, presented an annexation petition on Jan. 2 for a wholesale business to be located on the northeast corner of Second Street and Mitchell Avenue, west of the railroad tracks. Davenport recommended that the BOT schedule an eligibility hearing for the Kerr Addition No. 1 on Feb. 16. JKerr Properties, LLC is buying the 1.28-acre lot from Union Pacific Railroad Company. Davenport said the planning staff has advised Kerr "that the building, although a wholesale warehouse, must look like a downtown retail business to be in character for approval as a downtown business." Kerr plans to eventually open a small retail outlet in a portion of the building.

Part of the railroad land is the east half of Mitchell Avenue, which the town would not annex based on a 10-year-old policy of all or nothing on annexing roads. In all, 1.84 acres would be annexed. The board unanimously approved the Feb. 16 eligibility hearing date and will begin notification procedures for neighboring landowners and for the public hearing.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m. to go into executive session regarding a negotiation. No announcement was to be made following this executive session.

The next regular BOT meeting date was changed to Tuesday, Jan. 20, because Jan. 19 was Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the proposed Kerr Annexation

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Monument Board of Trustees meeting Jan. 20

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the "Park Lane" Access to Lakeside Manor Estates

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the Lake of the Rockies RV Storage Area

By Jim Kendrick

Ernie Bigg’s Lake of the Rockies campground dominated the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting on Jan. 20 that lasted well over three hours. The existing recreational park’s re-plat was approved but the sketch plan for Lakeside Manor Estates was withdrawn when it appeared the plan would be voted down. The application from the Chick and a Windshield repair business to operate in the King Soopers and Safeway parking lots was approved unanimously. Trustee George Brown was absent.

Because of heavy snow and traffic delays for a number of speakers, by unanimous vote of the board, the meeting agenda was not followed. Some agenda items were interrupted to complete others when some speakers arrived and had to leave as soon as possible. NOTE: This report arranges the events to correspond with the sequence of the published agenda for ease of understanding. – Ed.

Judge Ciccolella Reappointed: Town Clerk Judy Skrzypek administered the oath for the judge’s new term. Because his initial term was off cycle by one year from the two-year terms required by town code, the expiring term was for only one year. This new term now complies with code and runs to December 31, 2005.

Chick and a Windshield: Karen Evans requested a business license for her parking lot windshield repair operations in two Monument shopping center parking lots. Husband and business partner Tim Evans spoke for the applicant, who could not attend due to illness. She had written the recently adopted regulation for the town of Monument that applies to four types of businesses that are not located in permanent stick-built structures. Konarski asked why they hadn’t had a license in four years of operation. Town Planner Mike Davenport answered for Evans, saying that they had paid for a license each of the four years, but the town had never issued one because they didn’t know how to write one for a parking lot business until creation of the ordinance they had written for Monument. Karen and Tim Evans received no compensation from Monument for numerous hours of research and writing the regulation. Konarski asked Evans why they had not paid taxes in four years. Trustee Dave Mertz answered for Evans, reminding Konarski that there are no taxes for repair businesses. Davenport said there was no way to renew his license at this hearing because he had never been issued the four licenses he had paid for. Evans’ application for a "new" license passed unanimously.

Lake of the Rockies Master Plan Replat: Before the hearing began, Trustee Glenda Smith asked several questions of Trustee Byron Glenn. She asked Glenn if he was still employed at Manhard Consulting; he said no. He added that Manhard now serves as a consultant to his current employer. She asked him if he had referred Biggs, owner of Lake of the Rockies, to a consulting firm for this project, or Manhard Consulting in particular. Glenn said Biggs had approached him to ask if Manhard would do the consulting for these two actions. Glenn then introduced Tim Nelson of Manhard Consulting to Biggs as a potential consultant for Biggs’ replat and development of Lakeside Manor Estates before leaving Manhard. Smith then asked Town Attorney Gary Shupp if Glenn’s relationship to Nelson and Biggs created a conflict of interest problem. Shupp said it did not create an actual conflict of interest and could only create what might appear to some to be an appearance of one. Glenn then said he did not need to recuse himself from the discussion because there was no conflict of interest nor the appearance of one.

Konarski asked if the hearing on the replat and the sketch plan were separable because they involve the same parcel. Davenport said he had consulted Shupp and confirmed that they were different processes, covering separate parts of the parcel. The replat also concerns many irrevocable vesting rights while a sketch plan hearing is just a process to see whether or not the town would have significant problems with an applicant’s proposed usage of a property. The sketch plan application does not contain enough information to justify amending a PD site plan. Nelson said he preferred that the two agenda items remain separated. Konarski agreed to go with the agenda everyone else had agreed to follow before the meeting.

Glenn then said, "Because of the animosity implied by Trustee Smith’s questions and the people in the audience, I think it best to recuse myself at this time even though there is no need." Shupp prompted Glenn by saying "Based on a perception rather than a legal conflict?" Glenn said yes and left the hearing room.

Davenport gave a detailed overview of the controversial history of the ten years of changes made on the Lake of the Rockies property "…developed differently than the approved 1993 [master development] plan," often without town approval. The planning commission approved the master plan on April 28, 1993 and the BOT approved the master plan on May 10, 1993. The purpose of the replat application was to "revise the plan to reflect what actually has been developed on the site." Davenport then said that the Monument post office had just informed him that written notices had not been delivered to five neighboring property owners. Submitted neighbor concerns were:

  • Violations of the plan requirements in the past.

  • Moving of the RV storage area from the south to the north part of the site.

  • RV sites on the north end appear to be used as residences instead of for camping. The plan should specifically prohibit occupancy from Nov. 1 to Mar. 31, except in the caretaker’s residence.

  • Proposal for a go-cart track on the north. (Staff did not find this on the final replat plan.)

  • Trees and berm that have been created along the south side of the property are not shown on the plan; they contribute to flooding on neighboring properties. Biggs’ assertion that neighbors should have checked his plat before purchase are invalid, because the plat does not show the cause of the flooding, nor was building of the berm approved by the town’s engineering consultants.

  • Although numerous improvements are called for (horseshoes, shuffleboard, etc) the specific location of the improvements is not depicted.

  • Current one-way 12-foot roads are changed to two-way 24-foot roads.

  • The number of parking places in the southeast corner, next to West Oak Ridge Subdivision increases from 29 to 36. This change, along the perimeter fence, will create much more dust along neighboring contiguous backyards.

  • The 40-foot park lane access to the new subdivision is inadequate.

  • The year-round trailer park spoils the view and value of the lake as a recreational park.

  • Barbara Reed-Polatty commented "Can’t you just say ‘no’ to development once?"

The latter is related to the drainage report that was required by the planning commission on Dec. 10. The report was not available at this hearing. Most of the flooding occurs on the property of Bob Mooney, chairman of the planning commission.

Nelson reviewed completed corrections requested by town staff and the planning commission. Several of the trustees reiterated citizen concerns. Nelson acknowledged these concerns saying he had only been associated with this replat for a short time. He and the trustees agreed that a grading plan rather than a full drainage report would be sufficient to resolve the flooding issue.

Local attorney Tim Schutz addressed the board, recommending approval of the replat, saying that what has been done in the past ten years is hard to reverse. Konarski said, "I’m shocked. I’m surprised." However, he asked that the town vigorously enforce the replat’s constraints, particularly those regarding occupancy of RVs when the trailer park is closed. Mertz said that the replat simply legalized a decade’s worth of deliberate violations by Biggs, which made him angry. He noted that some RVs were decorated with illuminated Christmas lights throughout the holiday season. There was agreement among board members that this is an enforcement issue. Nelson also said that the town should enforce its ordinances. Mertz added that town ordinances should be reviewed "to see if we need a new one."

After the meeting Chief Kissell discovered that there is no ordinance prohibiting permanent occupancy and no way to ask the RV occupants to leave even though the park is closed. Shupp was asked to research the legal definition of permanent residence to facilitate drafting an ordinance to preclude occupancy while the park is closed.

Trustee Mertz extensively questioned Nelson about the wooden screening fence along Mitchell Ave., noting it was not an adequate size to screen most of the RVs in the storage are. Davenport expressed concern that it would deteriorate over the years. Mertz added that it might become as ugly as the RV storage along I-25 by the weighing station and give a trailer park appearance to what the town hopes is the entrance to a Monument Lake park that would become the major tourist attraction in the north end of the county. He asked that more buffering be required to help hide the unauthorized storage location. The replat was approved with these conditions, 5-0, Glenn abstaining.

Lakeside Manor Estates Sketch Plan: Early in 2003, Monument obtained a right-of-way for a 40-foot dirt road leading to the lake along the northeastern edge of the RV property. The "park lane" separated/isolated a portion of Biggs’ property. This proposed subdivision of six residential lots is on this separated portion. Trustees were concerned about the inadequacy of the park lane access for a permanent residential subdivision. For example, a moving van could not negotiate the 90-degree turn encountered at the edge of the lake when approaching from Mitchell Avenue. Schutz said he had strong concerns about "horse-trades" of land in the condemnation negotiations that were never reviewed at a public hearing, precluding neighboring citizen comment about the park lane’s size or apparently inadequate configuration. He expressed concern that negotiations to obtain land for appropriate curve radii along the park lane would be done with similar "horse-trading" that again precluded public comment or review. Several trustees expressed concern that unauthorized actions would be taken by Biggs in the future, given the record since 1993. Konarski asked if Biggs would be willing to have flood plain and Preble’s meadow jumping mouse assessments done before sketch plan approval. Nelson said it would be cost prohibitive to do so without assurances of approval of the sketch plan ahead of time. When it was apparent the trustees were going to reject the sketch plan because of all the unresolved issues, Nelson agreed to withdraw the sketch plan.

Meeting location schedule: Town Clerk Skrzypek recommended that all BOT meetings be held in Town Hall until after the trustee election in April, due to lack of attendance at Creekside Middle School sessions. The board approved unanimously.

Lease-purchase for public works trucks: Glenn asked if it was a necessity for the four newly purchased pickup trucks to be all four-by-fours and why they were all to be Chevrolet "Silverados." Public Works Superintendent Tom Wall said two trucks were for the two new water employees that would be working at Triview Metropolitan District, taking over day-to-day water operations from Donala completely as of Feb. 1. The other two trucks are replacement trucks. Wall added that although "Silverado" was a luxury model of pickup in the past, the brand name now means four-wheel-drive. The board approved unanimously.

Annexation policies: Davenport gave an overview of procedures for annexation of two parcels that was identical to those given to the parks and landscape committee and the planning commission. (These procedures are reported on in articles about those meetings and not repeated here.) Notification of annexation for the Wahlborg property was approved unanimously with the eligibility hearing date set for Mar. 1.

Health care: The maximum reimbursement limit for one year for a town employee was increased from $2,500 to $7,000. Also, due to new hires, medical insurance payment authority was increased from $14,000 to $15,000 per month. The board approved unanimously.

December financial report and disbursements over $5,000: Both were approved unanimously.

Monument Police Department statistics for 2003: The police department handled 1,103 cases: 460 criminal, 97 traffic accidents, 164 incidents, and 382 supplemental actions. Total number of summons issued was 482.

BOT election schedule: Skrzypek is the town election official. She distributed a seven-page schedule that lists numerous ballot requirements to help trustees and staff stay on schedule. The option of a mail-in election was rejected previously as too costly. Voting will take place at Town Hall and Creekside Middle School on Apr. 6.

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the "Park Lane" Access to Lakeside Manor Estates

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the Lake of the Rockies RV Storage Area

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Monument Board of Trustees meetings Feb. 2

By Jim Kendrick

El Paso County Department of Transportation Director John McCarty and County Commissioner Wayne Williams solicited support from the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) on Feb. 2 for the joint El Paso County-Colorado Springs proposal to institute a countywide regional transportation authority (RTA.) This RTA would be larger, but similar to the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority; the same Colorado statute defines both. McCarty also discussed using a special county 1 percent sales tax through 2015 as a way to raise additional tax revenue for funding specific countywide road and bridge building and repair projects as well as expanding city-county transit service. A permanent 0.45 cent sales tax dedicated to the RTA would remain in effect after 2015, when the one-cent sales tax sunsets.

The regular BOT meeting was comprised mainly of awards ceremonies and routine approvals of payments for services. All trustees were present.

Special Meeting

Mayor Betty Konarski opened this meeting, at 5:30 p.m., by saying that McCarty had asked the town for time to present the RTA proposal. He will also brief every other town and city in El Paso County, other than Colorado Springs, over the next few months. His purpose is to help each of these towns and cities think about the RTA proposal and prepare for meetings and administrative actions needed prior to the November ballot. Williams accompanied McCarty for the presentation, also urging the town’s support of the RTA and one-cent county sales tax ballot initiative. McCarty gave what he said was essentially the same information as the briefing presented at the Community Summit on Transportation in Centennial Hall on Jan. 14. He noted, for clarification, that the paper copy of the briefing slides he distributed was the version used in a preliminary briefing to gain approval of the County Commissioners and City Council on Dec. 29 for the slightly different slide presentation made at the press conference on Jan. 14 in Centennial Hall.

The details of the RTA proposal are not repeated here in this article as they are unchanged from those reported in the related OCN article on the Jan. 14 transportation summit, page 27.

McCarty said, "In order to make it an attractive ballot issue, the RTA ballot language would provide a high level of certainty on how revenues would be expended." The ballot language will give detail on which projects will be done and how much money will be allocated to each. These features are included due to lessons learned from the defeat of the water bond issue (Referendum A), which he said resulted from lack of specifics on where water projects would be initiated. The RTA board would meet at the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) building, since most of the RTA board members would also be on the PPACG board. PPACG staff would perform administrative services and funds distribution at very low cost since they are already familiar with, and involved in, the planning of these projects. The RTA board would be a "weak board" that would not set policy, but simply carry out the directions of the ballot language. McCarty promised that neither the city nor county would reduce current funding for road and bridge building and repair projects or transit service not paid for by the RTA.

However, McCarty said the options to also include a $10 vehicle registration fee and a 2 percent visitor’s tax had lost significant support since the Jan. 14 presentation and most likely will not be part of the final wording of the ballot proposal. The Colorado statute that permits creation of rural/regional transportation authorities allows these two options. While the sales tax is projected to raise about $60 million per year, the Jan. 14 presentation asserted that the vehicle registration fee would raise $6.5 million per year and the visitor’s tax would raise $1.2 million per year. He said many other revenue options allowed by the RTA statute were rejected as unattractive to voters, but did not discuss them.

If the BOT votes to participate in the RTA, the town would have one representative on the new RTA board if the vote in November were favorable. If the BOT does not agree to join the RTA, Monument residents would not vote on the ballot issue and the town would not be able to collect a share of the 35 percent of additional sales tax revenue for road and bridge building and repair. The town’s repair funding would probably be over $140,000 per year, according to rough calculations made by McCarty and Town Manager Rick Sonnenburg. Alternatively, the town could form its own regional transportation authority with one or more county towns, for example Palmer Lake and/or Peyton. A Monument RTA could levy its own 1 percent sales tax, keeping its share of all the revenue for construction and transit, as well as repairs. Konarski pointed out that the upgrade of the Baptist Road corridor, the top in priority of five projects for the county whether the RTA passes or not, would be completed whether or not Monument participates in the November ballot. There was no discussion on whether or not Monument residents would likely vote for a one-cent sales tax increase under either scenario. McCarty added that there is also a provision in the Colorado RTA statute that would allow Monument to join the countywide RTA after it is created, by carrying out the same hearing and ballot process in a subsequent year.

Several board members expressed unease about the present lack of specificity of the proposal since there is currently no draft of the ballot language. However, they acknowledged McCarty’s and Williams’ statements that this is the only practical way to raise revenue to meet the imminent county transportation crisis. Williams also noted that the joint RTA precludes the possibility of the county or the city forming their own RTA ahead of the other, reducing the likelihood of passage of the second RTA. He added that while the county can demand that developers build streets and collectors within a development, the commissioners cannot demand that developers also build arterials. The RTA is the only agency that keeps up with the demand for arterials, given current TABOR and Gallagher Amendment constraints. Trustee Glenda Smith asked if BRRTA would go away with passage of this proposal, adding that BRRTA was quite unpopular with citizens. Williams said BRRTA will go away in any event once all the houses in Jackson Creek are built, since there would be no more road use fees to collect. He added that BRRTA’s unpopularity was a reason the RTA proposal language is going to be so specific in setting limits on the RTA’s authority.

Trustee George Brown expressed concern about cost increases in the first projects draining all the available money before the final projects could be started. Williams said that while they can fluctuate, sales tax revenues often rise more rapidly than inflation in a good economy, which would help prevent Brown’s scenario from occurring. Related projects are also grouped together as "corridor projects" to make sure there is a high likelihood a corridor project is completed. For example, five separate Baptist Road projects have the top five priorities on the current county capital improvement list, making the Baptist Road corridor the top priority corridor. Furthermore, Williams noted, Baptist Road is being widened to six lanes right away at the Jackson Creek Parkway intersection, rather than widening to only four lanes now and then to six lanes five years from now. This avoids Baptist Road always being under construction, like Woodmen Road.

Sonnenburg asked how often population figures would be updated to recalculate Monument’s proportion of road maintenance revenue, noting that Monument is the fastest growing town in the county. The current population of Monument is 3,500, and the county has roughly 500,000 residents. Monument’s share is calculated by dividing 3,500 by 500,000 or 0.7 percent. Sonnenburg said Monument’s share should rise significantly each year through 2015. No decision has been made on how frequently town and city shares would be recalculated.

McCarty said the RTA issue would consist of three separate questions, possibly written in a way so passage of at least two would mean passage of all three. The questions would separately ask for authorization of the RTA, the one-cent sales tax, and specific "de-TABOR-ing" of the RTA revenue. McCarty will be soliciting all towns and cities, other than Colorado Springs, to provide their final comments and recommendations on the issue by April 1 so the statutory three-hearing sequence required of each participating town or city can occur prior to the November election. McCarty also noted that there are other proposals being made, such as delaying the tax sunset past 2015 to at least 20 years so the funds could be partially or completely bonded. However, Williams noted that the alternative proposals all make the RTA issue less attractive to voters. McCarty assured board members that PPACG administrative costs would be very low because they would need no significant staff increases to process revenue checks received from the states and disbursed to the towns and cities. The RTA would reimburse PPACG for staff time as its accounting consultant.

The special meeting adjourned at 6:27 p.m.

Regular Meeting

Minutes for Jan. 20 BOT meeting: The draft minutes for the regular BOT meeting of Jan. 20 were not approved, as several trustees noted omissions of their comments in the second half of the meeting. Dialogue that was said to be missing centered on opposing comments made regarding the unauthorized actions taken by Ernie Biggs during the past 10 years at the Lake of the Rockies campground. Several trustees noted that their comments opposing the sketch plan for Bigg’s proposed subdivision development on the north shore of Monument Lake were also missing from the minutes. Sonnenburg noted that the last two of the three tapes used to record the three hour and 30 minute meeting on Jan. 20 were found to be blank when Deputy Clerk Irene Walters was transcribing the minutes and that affected trustees should contact her to provide additional content. A motion to defer approval of these minutes until they could be completed passed unanimously.

Scheduled Guests

Plaques presented to Intel: Intel Corporation donated over $3,000 worth of protective equipment including decontamination goggles, gloves, NOMEX suits, and boots that will be used by Monument police in securing and investigating suspected methamphetamine labs. In December Sergeant Steve Burk and Master Patrol Officer Rob Stewart completed Drug Enforcement Association training at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Va., for these types of drug labs. Stewart assisted Police Chief Joe Kissell in presenting a plaque of appreciation to Dan Robbins, Intel’s facility maintenance manager (and also a Monument Police Department Chaplain), and Judy Cara, Intel’s public affairs officer. Cara said the Monument plaque would be displayed in the main lobby of the Intel plant on Garden of the Gods Road.

John Stearns joins Police Advisory Committee (PAC): Stearns, lending manager and bank officer for TCF National Bank, was approved unanimously, becoming the third active member of the committee—in effect, replacing George Case, who resigned to become a trustee in January. Stearns’ appointment reactivates the PAC because if all three current members attend there will once again be a quorum for the five-person committee. He has over 15 years’ experience in emergency services, including 10 years of medical, firefighting, and law enforcement in the Air Force, and currently volunteers in the Fire Marshall’s Office of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Volunteers for the other two PAC positions are still being sought.

Monument Villas Townhouses: Ted Whitman, association manager for Mountainside Property Management, Inc., represented the homeowners of Monument Villas Townhouses, speaking for eight residents in attendance. They are requesting street maintenance for the private roads in this development, Villa Grove and Paula Circle. Trustee Glenda Smith noted that she was on the BOT when this development was initially approved and said the town staff would have to do some research on whether or not these roads meet standards. Whitman said the town plows all the neighborhood streets except the two private roads in Monument Villas, adding that adjacent roads appear to be of similar width and construction.

Trustee Byron Glenn asked why a developer usually asks for approval to build private roads in a development. Town Planner Mike Davenport said that usually private roads are approved but not accepted for municipal ownership because they are too narrow and/or their construction quality does not meet town standards. Case said that the PAC recommends against private roads. Davenport confirmed that the town discourages private roads, but they are not prohibited. Trustee Frank Orten asked if this was really a request for Monument to take ownership of these roads; Whitman said yes. Smith said the board should not vote until staff could ascertain the maintenance history of the roads. Konarski asked if they met specifications. Public Works Superintendent Tom Wall said the townhouses only had 7-foot setbacks so the developer could make more money and did not know if the roads’ quality met town standards.

Konarski said, "We’re being asked to maintain these roads forever." She asked what compensation the town would receive for taking on this responsibility. Orten asked if a waiver was required to accept them.

Monument Planning Commissioner Lowell Morgan asked to speak from the audience. He noted that he was a trustee when the board approved this development in 2000. He said that Mayor Si Sibell and the trustees were adamant that the roads would have to be private because of the setback issue and that the roads were only 35 feet wide as he recalled, far less than the prevailing 60- and 50-foot requirements in force at that time for plow maneuverability and safety. Konarski asked again for compensation to warrant taking on added costs for maintenance. Orten said he would need to review a list of all private roads in town before voting. Trustee Dave Mertz agreed, saying the BOT should not risk setting a bad precedent without more information. The item was continued, pending further staff research on all the questions raised.

Glenn Receives Plaque: Rolf Philipsen of the El Paso County Regional Building Department presented a plaque to Byron Glenn honoring "two years of service on our governing board." Glenn filled the rotating position given in turn to each town in the county. Green Mountain Falls will now provide a board member to replace Glenn.

Franchise Audit Proposal: Treasurer Judy Skrzypek introduced Jon Brown of Mark V Professional Consultants, who is offering expertise for auditing the town’s franchise contract with Adelphia, Inc. Brown’s written offer is on the letterhead of ARK Professional Consultants. Sonnenburg then solicited a competitive written proposal from Revenue Recovery Group, Inc., the only other firm in the area that does this kind of work. Skrzypek recommended that Brown perform the audit if the BOT wants to consider his proposal. Trustee George Brown asked how far back audits of Adelphia, Qwest, and Aquila would go. Jon Brown said it would depend on the length of the contracts and when major technological changes occurred in each industry. George Brown asked if he had done these kinds of audits before. Jon Brown said he had recently retired from a full career of negotiating franchise agreements for these types of companies, but had not performed an audit "from the other side of the bargaining table." He was offering his services because he felt that small towns and cities bargained ineffectively, not getting what he thought was a fair return and using contract language that had not changed in decades. George Brown asked Skrzypek to check Jon Brown’s references. Orten noted that this kind of consulting is relevant to any large company or town using franchise services and is well worth doing. Citizen John Dominowski endorsed the proposal for Brown to review contracts and town ordinances. A motion to have Brown review the town’s contracts and ordinances passed unanimously.

Definition of Permanent Resident: A controversial issue regarding Lake of the Rockies deliberations on Jan. 20 was the plat restriction of "one permanent residence" on the recreational vehicle (RV) park property. Citizen Tim Schutz and several trustees expressed concern at that meeting that people were living in RVs at Lake of the Rockies year-round, making the RV facility a de facto "trailer park," in violation of zoning regulations. He pointed out that Lake of the Rockies is closed November through February, yet citizens have observed the display of Christmas lights on RVs in Lake of the Rockies throughout the holiday season. Some trustees said that approval of the replat of Lake of the Rockies at that meeting legalized 10 years of violations by owner Ernie Biggs, then voted for the replat’s approval. There is no town ordinance prohibiting RV occupancy when the park is closed, because there is no effective way to define what constitutes permanent residency. Town Attorney Gary Shupp was asked at the Jan. 20 meeting to research the issue in order to advise the BOT about how to write such an ordinance.

Shupp recommended that the BOT leave the permanent residence issue alone for now, saying there is no good case law or example of an ordinance from another town or city that adequately spells out "intent to become a permanent resident." Case law regarding homeless people in large cities was discussed, showing that legal definitions regarding the location of a residence have become too ambiguous to predict how any Monument ordinance might fare in court. Federal Housing and Urban Development requirements for mobile homes have similarly made it difficult to define permanent residency with respect to the type of mobile dwelling that would qualify as a potential permanent residence. After much discussion, the board continued the issue, asking for further research by the staff to avoid devising an ordinance too bureaucratic and difficult to enforce.

Fee schedule: The town’s 2004 fee schedule was approved unanimously. There were only minor changes made to some cemetery fees, notary fees, and park reservation fees. The specifics of the changes were not discussed.

Emergency Snow Routes: The emergency snow route list was amended to add the Second Street extension, the Beacon Lite extension, and Jackson Creek Parkway. The three additions passed 6-1. Smith voted no because McShane Place was not included as an emergency snow route.

Additional items: The following agenda items were all approved unanimously, with only brief discussion:

  • At no cost to the town, AIG insurance will be authorized to provide employees with investment portfolio advice for a fee paid solely by the employee.

  • A final payment of $15,053.07 will be made to XKE Contractors, Inc for the Mitchell Avenue Bike Lanes Project.

  • A contract for up to $20,000 will be authorized for Halepaska & Associates to design town well 9.

  • A contribution of $3,500 for police department membership in the Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team (DVERT) may be made from the department’s current discretionary budget.

  • A change order reducing excavation expenses for mouse habitat at Monument Lake Dam by $967.50 due to work done by town staff will reduce the final authorized payment to Aquatic and Wetland Company. The final payment is $8,534.78. Both actions were authorized.

  • A payment of $7,213.02 will be made to GMS, Inc. for engineering services.

  • Creekside Middle School will be used again as a second voting location in the November election, in addition to Town Hall.

  • The planning staff is approved to allow a contract with a landscape architect to perform final design for the Monument entry sign at Second Street and Highway 105. Mertz asked that more evergreens be included than shown in the preliminary sketch plan for year-round color. He also asked about water and electrical service; Davenport said the landscape architect would finalize these aspects of the project.

Staff Reports

Batch Plant Lawsuits: Shupp reported that the town’s two batch plant litigations, with Transit Mix and Ready-Mix, were moving forward toward trial because, as expected, no pre-trial settlements could be reached.

Home Depot: Glenn, who is also president of BRRTA, asked Davenport if Home Depot, currently under construction at the Monument Marketplace, would be allowed to open on July 1 if U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mouse habitat reviews delays widening of Baptist Road from Jackson Creek Parkway to I-25. Davenport said the town could waive the restriction on Home Depot operation without road widening up to six months, based on traffic studies by several consultants. Glenn asked about whether a six-month extension would be compromised by winter weather; Davenport said no, because there was no expectation that mouse delays would be significant.

The one-week delay in trenching from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2 was caused by the Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT, not Fish and Wildlife, according to developer Rick Blevins’ statement at the Triview Metropolitan District board meeting on Jan. 28. He said CDOT wanted a week to review the Fish and Wildlife authorization paperwork before letting Baptist Road trenching begin.

The board unanimously agreed to change the next meeting to Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. due to the President’s Day holiday on Monday. The meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m.

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Monument Planning Commission meeting Jan. 14

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the Parish Education Center

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Planning Commission (PC) reviewed proposals for Jackson Creek Market Village and its goals and schedule for 2004 at its Jan. 14 meeting. Chairman Dave Mooney and Commissioner James Thresher were excused. Commissioner Lowell Morgan chaired the meeting.

Regency Park 4th Amendment: Monument PRD, LLC requested rezoning of the 5.8 acres east of the King Soopers shopping center, which is managed by Regency Corp., from residential to light (area) commercial (PCD). This proposed PCD rezoning is less dense commercial zoning than the rezoning that would be required for a big-box store like a Wal-Mart supercenter on the parcel directly across from King Soopers.

Monument PRD’s shopping center land is part of a 10.1-acre parcel formerly called Academy View. It borders Baptist Road and Lyons Tail, west of Leather Chaps. The remainder of the parcel, adjacent to Lyons Tail, would still be zoned PCD-10, which is residential with a maximum density of 10 units per acre. Although Monument PRD is not related to Regency Corp., the proposed shopping center will look like an expansion of the existing retail facility. The new center will use the existing eastern access and right-in/right-out connection to Baptist Road. No other entrance is planned. Considerable excavation will be required to attain an elevation that can use the eastern access lanes. This dirt will be used to create a slope up to the townhouses.

Miles Grant and his engineering consultant, Wendell Ayers of Paragon Engineering Consultants, Inc., represented the property owner. They made no formal presentation but did display a different alignment for the eight townhouse buildings than had been provided in the pre-meeting review packages, as requested by the town planning staff. Town Planner Mike Davenport described the new building arrangement as "more interesting" in terms of available open space and views for residents.

Commissioner Kathy Spence was concerned that the center proposal included drive-through businesses that were not shown in previously submitted drawings. She asked how the town would benefit from an even denser, more profitable land use requiring more garish and larger signage. Davenport said that increasing the number of stores would make the two centers more "resilient" if the Wal-Mart proposal is approved by the county. He added that there is no restriction in the proposed PCD zoning that precludes drive-through businesses.

Spence said the kids in the 40 proposed townhomes "would have no place to play." Davenport replied that the new layout of the townhouse buildings would permit much more open space between the buildings.

Spence reiterated her concern with last minute changes that increased density. Commissioner Tom Donnellan suggested rezoning the residential to PRD-8. Town Attorney Gary Shupp interrupted the discussion to say that public meetings are not the place for zoning negotiations and that the PC could only vote yes or no on the printed proposal. Davenport added that townhouses located well above the roofline of the two shopping centers were an excellent transition for the rest of Jackson Creek. Grant expressed a desire to work with the town to have a pleasing set of proposals that would be well received by the community.

There was a brief discussion about the drainage issues involved. Slopes and landscaping will be used instead of a 30- to 40-foot vertical retaining wall, so there are significant elevation differences between the shopping center and the townhouses. The 4th Amendment rezoning was unanimously approved, with the condition that the staff’s proposed changes, per the town’s engineering consultant GMS, be incorporated prior to Board of Trustees review and final approval.

Jackson Creek Market Village Preliminary Plat and Site Plan: In conjunction with its rezoning proposal, Monument PRD, LLC proposed preliminary specifics for its shopping center and townhouse developments, consistent with the split in zoning, noted above, on this 10.1-acre parcel. The county highway department had turned down the developer’s request for modification of the existing right-in/right-out access to the Regency Corp. property. The county requested the name change because another development already uses the name Academy View.

Grant noted that the new stores would be about 12 feet below the current ground elevation, on average, and that the lowest foundation of the townhouses would be at least 35 feet above the roofline of the shopping center. At the request of town staff, the townhouses have been realigned on the 4.3-acre residential portion of the property to maximize views for all residents. He said the maximum slope for the new shopping center is 4 percent, to make it look like a continuation of the Regency Corp. property.

Spence asked how townhouse residents would walk to the stores, considering the slope. Grant said it was a design challenge not to have steps that descend into what appears to be an intimidating alley between the two shopping centers. Spence said she didn’t want a McDonald’s drive-through with huge light-polluting arches, reminding Grant that the 40- and 50-foot fast-food signs on Highway 105 were built before the town restricted new signs to 25 feet. Grant replied that there would be a single sign on the southwest corner of the retail property, comparable to the existing Regency sign to make the two centers look as one. He noted that fast-food stores on Highway 105 are negotiating to move to these two pads.

Davenport said the townhouses were much lower density than the maximum permitted for residential housing, which is a plus. Grant added that commercial sales revenue was another plus as revenues from Highway 105 stores decline. Spence asked if the townhouse design would be acceptable to the patio home owners across Lyons Tail. Davenport said stonework and gables would make the townhouses more attractive than the patio homes, rather than detracting from the neighborhood. Grant agreed, saying to allay Spence’s concerns he will provide specific illustrations for PC review before construction begins. Spence asked if the new shopping center’s lighting would be as inoffensive as those in the King Soopers center. Grant said it would be quite similar for continuity and equally unobtrusive. The plans were approved unanimously.

2004 Schedule: Davenport reviewed the draft PC goals and schedule for 2004. Morgan noted his surprise that there was no reference in the schedule to the PC reviewing the addition by St. Peters Church of elementary school classes on church grounds. Davenport said discussions were too preliminary to have prepared formal documentation, but a K-3 program was being discussed for the current three-story parish education center, which would grow to K-6 over the years. Morgan emphasized the need to use new procedures to solicit widespread community review and comment. The demise of two of the town’s citizen advisory committees makes it harder for citizens to voice concerns, he added. Spence said the PC would need all the town’s documentation regarding the original approval of the parish education center for review well in advance of the hearings. Morgan concurred, saying the history of that approval was complicated. Several waivers to existing restrictions on a building that size in a residential neighborhood were approved at that time. All agreed that neighbors’ comments must be solicited and considered before approving a heavier use of the building.

Spence asked what changes would be made if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service changes the protected status of the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse. Davenport said it would open the possibility of requiring Triview Metropolitan District and the Jackson Creek developer to build the "field of dreams" sports field originally planned near Creekside Middle School before the mouse issue emerged. Davenport reminded the PC that another sports field complex just southeast of Lewis-Palmer High School is also being proposed in the pending draft Parks, Trails, and Open Space Plan, and that mouse issues would not hold up this other field complex.

The meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m. The next meeting is Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the Parish Education Center

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Monument Parks and Landscape meeting Jan. 13

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the Monument Parks & Landscape Committee meeting Jan. 13

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the proposed Kerr Annexation

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Parks and Landscape (P&L) Committee reviewed proposals for Jackson Creek Market Village (formerly called Academy View), Limbach Park expansion, and annexation of the Wahlborg Property and the Kerr Addition on Jan. 13. Some items from the Dec. 9 meeting were also reviewed because there was not a quorum at that meeting. All members of the committee were present.

Highway Signage: Linda Pankratz asked Town Planner Mike Davenport to clarify the Dec. 9 minutes’ listing of sources for funding for signage at exit 161 on I-25. Two signs that say Tri-Lakes and list Monument, Woodmoor, and Palmer Lake will be built on the shoulders of I-25 by the Highway 105 bridge. A separate sign for Monument only will be constructed at the southwest corner of the intersection of Highway 105 and Second Street. Each of the three signs will have two banner poles. Additionally, a separate GOCO grant is being sought for trees to be planted along Second Street between Highway 105 and Beacon Lite Road.

Jackson Creek Market Village: The preliminary plan and related Regency Park 4th Amendment rezoning request from Monument PRD, LLC, were briefed to the committee by Davenport. This is the fourth rezoning action within Regency Park since its creation in 1987. It follows the recent 3rd Amendment, which was the comprehensive rezoning included in the new Monument Comprehensive Plan approved in August by the Planning Commission. The proposed Market Village project is a five-store retail strip mall with two drive-through pads to be built east of the King Soopers shopping center along Baptist Road, across from the church.

Considerable earth moving is required to make this new retail facility look like a continuation of the existing Regency Corp. property. Hence, much more of the property’s existing scrub oak will be removed to hollow out the current topography. However, Davenport noted that the retail facilities’ plans exceeded town standards for landscaping and open space. Monument PRD, LLC will make the Market Village stores look architecturally similar to the Regency stores. The existing right-in/right-out Regency center driveway off Baptist Road will be the sole entry.

A 40-unit townhouse subdivision will also be built between this new shopping center and Lyons Tail in Jackson Creek. Davenport noted that the developer, Miles Grant, is working with the town in leaving a landscaped slope between the townhouses and the shopping center rather than building a 30- 40-foot vertical wall behind the new stores as Wal-Mart has proposed across Baptist Road to the south. So the housing will be on top of a landscaped hill, rather than perched on a sheer wall. He noted that the townhouse proposal is only a preliminary plan; there were no specific placements for the eight residential buildings, no building elevations, and no landscape plan for the P&L committee to review. The final site plan will show these features as well as how sidewalks and trails will connect to adjacent facilities. The rezoning request and sketch plans for the residential and retail portions of the proposed development were forwarded to the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees without comment since neither included landscaping and open space plans at this early stage of review.

Limbach Park Grant Request: The town is preparing a GOCO grant request that would provide approximately 70 percent of the purchase price of three parcels of railroad land south and west of Limbach Park. The committee reviewed the long-term vision and goal for the park, which would be listed in the grant request. The draft park plan identifies a band shell or stage, upgraded permanent restrooms (to replace the single portable toilets currently installed), and increased parking as possible future improvements if the town receives the grant. The land between the west park fence and the tracks is needed to provide room for the band shell and the restrooms. The land between the tracks and Mitchell Avenue is needed for parking for summer concerts. The railroad parcel south of the park will connect the park to the open space donation from Wayne Black for Monument Addition No. 5. This subdivision is currently under construction further to the south. The proposal to buy the railroad land in 2005 and seek the GOCO grant were approved unanimously.

Previously drafted P&L committee goals for Limbach Park were discussed and reviewed for completeness before being incorporated into the draft grant request. The finalized draft goals include: adding a gazebo, keeping existing playground equipment close to the multi-use stage so parents can watch their kids and the performance at the same time, installing automatic sprinklers, constructing a separate pedestrian railroad crossing to the new parking lot west of the tracks, and adding a picnic table pavilion for shelter.

Kerr Addition and Wahlborg Property Annexation: Davenport briefed the committee on the upcoming proposal by John Kerr, of Present Perfect Gifts, which they will need to review at the Feb. 10 meeting. Kerr proposes to build a warehouse for a wholesale gift business on the to-be-annexed Kerr Addition, which is a 1.28-acre parcel between the railroad tracks, Second Street, Mitchell Avenue, and Mountain Farmer Landscaping. Kerr is purchasing the land from the railroad, contingent on rezoning and annexation approval by the town. The warehouse may eventually include a retail outlet. Davenport said the town "will want to make sure the building and its landscaping are in character with other retail businesses in historic downtown." He also briefly discussed the mixed-use subdivision that is proposed on a 140-acre parcel called the Wahlborg Property, located southeast of Highway 105 and Knollwood. He reviewed the narrow time-constrained sequence of events for separate but overlapping annexation, rezoning, and development plan approvals the committee and town will need to complete for both these projects.

Goals and Schedule for 2004: A draft schedule for the next 11 meetings was approved. Included were upcoming development projects to be reviewed, park and cemetery planning and visitation, and a number of grant applications for parks, trails, and open space improvements.

The next regular P&L meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 10 at Town Hall.

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the Monument Parks & Landscape Committee meeting Jan. 13

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the proposed Kerr Annexation

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Triview metro board meeting Jan. 28

By John Heiser

At its regular meeting Jan. 28, the Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors made preparations for the May 4 election of three members of the five-member board, approved a variety of contracts, and discussed expansion of the Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWTF). The WWTF is jointly owned by the Triview district, the Donala district that serves Gleneagle, and the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District that currently does not have any users. Director Linda Jones was absent. Aside from directors Martha Gurnick and Steve Stephenson, no other Triview district residents were present.

Monument Marketplace status

Rick Blevins of Marketplace developer Vision Development, Inc., reported as follows:

  • The project is on schedule and within the $7.5 million construction budget.

  • The drainage structures are being finished now.

  • Bids on the roadwork contract came in substantially over budget and the low bidder, Rocky Mountain Asphalt, responded with a number of additional conditions. The work will probably have to be rebid. Blevins added that the work must wait anyway for warmer weather in April or later.

  • TR Construction submitted a bid for $1.45 million to construct water, sewer, reuse, and storm water inlet facilities. This is about a $1 million savings compared to the bids received prior to the redesign work on these facilities by consultant CLC Associates.

  • RE Monk offered to perform additional riprap work for $188,942. This was substantially less than the next lowest bidder. The board unanimously approved amending the existing RE Monk contract.

  • The county recently approved a permit for the street work associated with the sewer line serving the Marketplace site. Arapahoe Construction has already commenced the sewer line construction.

  • CLC Associates design drawings for the changes to Baptist Road are being reviewed to determine what is required for the Marketplace and what is required for Wal-Mart.

  • Colorado Structures, Inc. is scheduled to complete the construction of the Home Depot in May. Store opening is expected no later than July 1.

  • Wells Fargo Bank is under contract to occupy a pad next to Jackson Creek Parkway. Construction is scheduled to start in late summer or early fall, with opening planned for early 2005.

  • A verbal approval has been received from Kohl’s for one of the store sites near the Home Depot. Opening of that store would probably not occur until 2005 or 2006.

  • The parties are nearing agreement on two drive-through restaurants including a Sonic. The restaurants would be on the southeast corner of the Marketplace site.

  • There has been considerable interest in the in-line shop space. In response, the developer is accelerating development of the shop space on the east side of Jackson Creek Parkway opposite the Marketplace.

  • Sierra Properties is marketing the smaller pads near I-25.

  • Although discussions have been held with several large box retailers such as Target, Costco, and Wal-Mart, there are no new developments regarding the 200,000 square foot pad site on the north side. Blevins said, "We need another large user."

Condemnation proceeding

Peter Susemihl, attorney for the Triview district, said the Marketplace sewer line easements across the properties owned by the Watt family, including the property being leased by Foxworth-Galbraith, have been obtained through negotiations. Foxworth-Galbraith will receive $5,000 for the cost of moving their outdoor storage. The district has agreed not to block their entrance during business hours. Susemihl said the previously scheduled condemnation hearing has been cancelled.

WWTF expansion

District engineer Chuck Ritter of Nolte and Associates reported Donala’s engineering firm GMS, Inc. has confirmed that the WWTF will reach its limits in late 2008 so construction must start in 2007. He said that means prior plans to start design were six to nine months earlier than actually required.

Ritter reported that Donala has organized site visits in early March to comparable plants that use the proposed new process called Sequencing Batch Reaction (SBR). The plants are in Salida, California near Sacramento and Fallon, Nevada near Reno. Ron Simpson, manager of the Triview district, said he is most interested in the Fallon plant since it is more comparable in terms of climate and elevation. Simpson noted that Ritter and Triview board member Steve Stephenson will be going on the site visit trip

Simpson added, "Our biggest concern is what it puts on the operational side. What the plant management has to do."

New Wells

Ritter described a $30,000 plan to connect raw (untreated) water from the new well A4 in the Arapahoe aquifer to the reuse system rather than connecting it to the potable water system. He said the water would be used for irrigation to relieve some of the summertime demand on the potable water system. Simpson said, "We need A4 especially in summer months. We irrigate seven out of 12 months. October was the [Creekside Middle] school’s biggest month."

Ritter noted that piping the raw water from A4 to water treatment plant B for use in the potable system would be more expensive. He said that in about 2007, water treatment plant C will be constructed next to A4. Simpson added that the cost for WTPC would be about $1.5 million.

Stephenson asked why well A4 was drilled now if it is not needed for the potable system. Simpson replied that it is needed for construction water and for the Marketplace.

Blevins expressed surprise that the water from A4 would not be sent to treatment near-term. Ritter replied that with the addition of the D7 well into the Denver aquifer, the potable water system has plenty of capacity for the present needs of the Marketplace.

Water consumption

Ritter reported the results of the district’s water consumption analysis. District tap fees are based on the calculated number of single-family-equivalents (SFEs) associated with the size of the water line connection.

Ritter said the district planned for 240 to 270 gallons per day per SFE, but actual use stands at about 190 to 200 gallons per day per SFE. He said average residential use works out to about 158 gallons per day; but water use by some commercial, office, and industrial customers such as King Soopers and the Shell station car wash has been "larger than we expected."

Simpson added, "King Soopers is doing 84 SFEs. Not even 2 percent to 5 percent comes from irrigation. I don’t know what he is doing in there. If we had charged King Soopers for 80 SFEs, it [the tap fees] would have cost as much as the store. They wouldn’t be here." Simpson said he would contact the King Soopers management to "Find out why they are using so much."

At a Monument board of trustees meeting several years ago, it was mentioned by staff that at that time a similar local car wash was using about 500,000 gallons per month during the summer. Without revealing any consumption numbers for the Shell car wash, Ritter noted that it is improving its water recycling percentage.

Wal-Mart and the mouse

Simpson said a meeting is scheduled with the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in mid-February to discuss the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat issues on the Wal-Mart site.

Simpson has been looking at properties that could be used as part of habitat conservation plans (HCP) to satisfy FWS requirements for the Wal-Mart site, the expansion of Baptist Road, and the extension of Jackson Creek Parkway. He reported that another property has been found that could satisfy the HCP requirements for the Baptist Road expansion but it is not large enough to satisfy the Wal-Mart site issues. He said the property is about one-third as expensive as some of the other properties they have considered and is currently under a conservation easement.

A new development

Simpson reported that a "tax exempt use, a school, church, or something" is interested in a possible development in the northwest corner of the district west of I-25, south of Highway 105, and north of Dirty Woman Park. Since no Triview facilities are near the site, Simpson said other entities might be used to provide services to the site.

Agreements with Monument

Simpson presented intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) with the Town of Monument for street sweeping within the district and operation and maintenance (O&M) of the Triview district’s water and wastewater systems. The maximum cost for street sweeping is set at $32,000. The O&M agreement sets an annual cost of $162,500. Donala is being paid $22,000 for a one-month transition of the work to the town. Simpson said the town will take over full time at the end of January. He said the town has two people working full time on the project. Simpson said, "We feel very good about the way this is going." The board unanimously approved the two IGAs.

Contracts

The board unanimously approved the following:

  • A $10,645 contract for Supervisor Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) equipment to let Monument remotely monitor and control Triview’s plants. Simpson said, "Probably none of this would be thrown away when Triview goes independent."

  • A $54,960 contract with Timberline Landscaping for 2004.

  • A contract with ASAP for road repair.

  • A $48,875 contract with Colorado Structures, Inc. (CSI) for snow removal during 2004.

  • A cost plus contract budgeted for 2004 at $60,000 with CSI for general maintenance during 2004. Simpson said, "They are acting as staff for us."

  • The 2004 Nolte master contract, with hourly rates for engineering work budgeted at $88,000.

  • A 2004 contract with Ayers Associates for drainage analysis.

  • A $23,180 contract with Rick Giardino for utility rate analysis during 2004.

  • A $78,000 contract for Ron Simpson’s services during 2004.

Snow routes

Simpson asked the board if they wanted to designate snow routes. He said that although it has not created particularly large problems for the snowplows, School District 38 has complained that cars parked along bus routes create problems for bus drivers during and after snowstorms.

Simpson said that if the district designates snow routes, it must post signs at a cost of $250 to $275 per sign. The police can then write citations for any cars parked on the snow routes. He noted, "It causes hard feelings."

Susemihl said, "It ain’t going to work unless they can tow ‘em." He suggested sending a letter to residents highlighting the problem and asking them to park in their driveways. Simpson noted that Jackson Creek covenants already forbid overnight on-street parking.

The board directed Simpson to write a letter to the residents.

Streetlights on Lyons Tail

Simpson said that four streetlights are to be installed along Lyons Tail in the area of Jackson Creek filing 5 at a cost of $13,579. He said the Jackson Creek filing 5 Public Facilities Authority will pay for streetlights within filing 5.

Mountain View undercharge

Simpson reported that Mountain View Electric discovered they undercharged the district by more than $50,000. Mountain View has agreed to waive about half of the undercharge and is asking the district to pay $23,524 in installments over the next year.

May 4 election of three board members

Simpson noted that three four-year positions are open. Kathy and Gary Walters, both of whom are term-limited, and Steve Stephenson who was appointed in July to complete Jim Perry’s term occupy the positions. Gurnick and Jones, the other two directors, were elected in 2002. Their terms end in 2006.

The board designated Creekside Middle School as the polling place with the district office as an alternate if the school is unavailable. Dale Hill, Triview district administrator, was designated the election official.

**********

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 held Feb. 25.

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

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Palmer Lake Town Council meeting Jan. 8

By Judy Barnes

Liquor store polling area: At the Nov. 13 meeting, the liquor licensing board approved a 3.2 percent beer off-premises liquor license for the Country Store and Deli. The canvassing area for that license was a radius of 1,500 feet from the store. Following a question from the town clerk about the possibility of a liquor store coming to town, the board voted unanimously at that same meeting to define the canvassing area for a future retail liquor store as being the boundaries of the whole town. At the Jan. 8 meeting, trustee Ed Kinney commented that he thought a radius of 1,500 feet, instead of the whole town, was an adequate canvassing area for a liquor license poll. He said a proposed store’s immediate neighbors are the ones who would have to live with it; distant residents shouldn’t be able to control the decision. Meanwhile, town staff reported that no further interest in opening a liquor store in Palmer Lake has been expressed.

Committee reports

Parks and Recreation: Trustee Cindy Allen, representing the Parks and Recreation department, said that in the spring a guardrail would be installed to replace the split rail fence at Glen Park. In the past, the fence has been knocked down several times a year.

Water: Trustee Chuck Cornell, representing the Water Department, noted that the building for the new filter plant is up.

Police: Kinney, representing the police department, reported that the police department is down to two vehicles due to an accident on Dec. 22 in Red Rock Ranch. The officer, Mike Brennan, was out due to injuries, and the vehicle was totaled. There were 126 calls for service in December.

Mayor: Mayor Nikki McDonald announced that a Casino Night and Silent Auction to raise money for the new fire truck is scheduled for Feb. 13 at Pinecrest Event Center. She also reported that she has been elected treasurer of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments. McDonald noted that five seats on the town council will be open for this year’s election. Randy Jones and Cornell are the only trustees whose terms do not expire this year, and the others are not seeking reelection. Nomination petitions will be available at the town office by the end of February.

Emergency Services: Trustee Susan Miner reported that she and Julie Lokken attended a preliminary meeting in December, held between Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District (W/MFPD) and American Medical Response (AMR) about having an AMR ambulance at the W/MFPD station on Woodmoor Drive. Currently, AMR provides ambulance service for W/MFPD, and the closest AMR ambulance is at the Donald Wescott station on Gleneagle Drive, about 6 miles away. Another option would be for W/MFPD to purchase its own ambulance. A van-type vehicle would cost around $56,000 plus the cost of equipment.

Oath of office: Bill Duven was sworn in as associate municipal judge, and Julie Lokken was sworn in as fire chief. Chief Lokken reported that the department had a new $60,000 brush truck they acquired for $2,000, with grants paying the rest of the cost. The department recently received a grant of $15,000 from the El Pomar Foundation.

New business license: G. Marshall and Amy Clark received a license for Marshall Clark Photography at 88 Highway 105. They specialize in portrait photography and custom framing.

Vacation of a utility easement: William Johnson requested, and the council approved, vacating a common lot line utility easement between lots 3 and 4, creating one lot for a single-family home at Block 2 of Lakeview Heights Subdivision.

Approval for grants: Police Chief Dale Smith reported on two grants available to his department. The Victim Assistance and Law Enforcement (VALE) grant of $7,600 will be used for an emergency call box that would be installed in front of the water bill drop box at the police station, 54 Valley Crescent. One button will call 911, which will connect the caller to the county sheriff’s office. The second button, for non-emergency use, will also connect to the sheriff’s office. A security camera will monitor the call box to discourage vandalism or misuse.

The other grant, $72,000 from the federal Homeland Security Office, will fund overtime pay and travel expenses for staff to participate in training exercises during their time off. Smith plans to have one of those exercises relate to the town’s water system. The council unanimously approved both grants.

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Palmer Lake Planning Commission meeting Jan. 21

By Judy Barnes

At the Jan. 21 meeting of the Palmer Lake Planning Commission, there was considerable discussion about a manufactured home proposed to be placed on Lower Glenway and about the proposed child and family development centers at 40 Columbine and 90 Pie Corner.

Request to vacate the common lot line utility easement between lots 7 and 8, Block 2, Lakeview Heights Subdivision: The commissioners voted unanimously to recommend that the Town Council approve this.

Request for a conditional use in a CC zone for a single-family residence at 0 Lower Glenway, Moroni Subdivision: After seeing a photograph submitted by Michael Brennan of the proposed manufactured home, Commissioner Denise Hammond referred to the comprehensive plan that recommended the creation of a pleasant visual environment appealing to residents and tourists. It also recommended encouraging the historical nature of the town, Victorian and Western. Hammond noted that the lot abuts the town green and doesn’t fit in.

Chairman John Cressman commented, "Unfortunately, we really don’t have architectural codes. The comp plan is a guideline…it [the proposed home] is ugly, but we really don’t have the teeth to do anything."

Kathy Bremmer, who lives across the street from the lot, commented, "This looks more like a trailer than a house, especially with the end [not the front of the house] facing the street." She added that the neighborhood has worked hard to make the area look nice, and that this would have a negative impact on property values. Hammond added, "It’s not fair to the rest of the neighborhood to throw something so incongruous into the neighborhood."

A motion to recommend that the council approve the conditional use with significant aesthetic improvements to fit better with neighborhood properties, including the streetside view, passed unanimously.

Request for a conditional use in an R3 zone for a child development center, 90 Pie Corner: Denise Hammond recused herself and took a seat in the audience. Becky Albright reviewed the activities and issues of her proposal so far. Then Ti Mix, a real estate agent for Prudential, addressed real estate values near the Tri-Lakes Community Preschool at 85 Washington St., in Monument. He claimed that values were unaffected by the preschool. Albright’s attorney, Tim Schutz, also spoke, citing excerpts on R3 zoning from the Palmer Lake Municipal Code supporting the conditional use.

Denise and Frank Hammond, Carl Goodwin, and Lynn Glassburn spoke in opposition to the project, citing drainage and traffic issues and concerns that the proposed centers would not fit with the character of the neighborhood. They also raised questions about whether the family development center might actually provide medical services, not just educational services.

Cressman read the response of the town’s attorney, Larry Gaddis, to questions about the conditional use. Gaddis stated that a day care home is an appropriate use; that a day care home is a family care home. He noted that the town doesn’t have a definition for a family care home or a day care center.

The commissioners agreed that the proposed center for family development was an educational center. Denise Hammond pointed out that in the municipal code there was no definition of "education." Cressman stated that the definition of "educational institution" in the code was just about requirements, that there be 100 feet of frontage and 50 feet between the principle structure and the neighboring lot line.

After scrutinizing the site plan, Cressman discovered that there was less than 50 feet from the proposed family development center to the lot line of the proposed childcare center. "It’s nonconforming to the definition we have of an educational institution," Cressman declared. Upon advice from Schutz, Albright withdrew her application and the meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

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Palmer Lake Citizens for Community Awareness Jan. 29

By Kim Makower

The recently formed Palmer Lake Citizens for Community Awareness (PLCCA) is a committee of concerned citizens that, according to its mission statement, is "to act as a conduit and a source of information between the government of Palmer Lake and its citizens." The committee has met on several occasions since summer 2003, most recently on Jan. 29. Six members were present: Jaqui Parker, Gary Coleman, Travis Coleman, George Reese, Frank Hammond, Ann Sparks, and Donna Arndt.
Prior to the start of the meeting, Town Clerk Della Gins told members about the upcoming fund-raiser for the fire engine fund. The Casino Night and Silent Auction is scheduled for March 5, 7 p.m. at the Pinecrest Events Center. Admission is $5 at the door; call Gins for information at 481-2953. Gins also informed the group that four of six town trustee seats and the mayor’s seat will be up for election in April. Gins then left to attend to other matters.

When the committee last met Oct. 30, Parker was informally elected to be the meeting facilitator. She assumed this role again by opening this meeting with remarks related to the growth pressures on the Tri-Lakes region. "We [Palmer Lake] are being pushed from both Denver and Colorado Springs, and this committee has developed a good foundation to help us better determine our own future as a town," she said.

The discussion focused on two issues. One was the scheduling of an information gathering "field trip" to the various city departments such as water, police, roads, parks and recreation, and economic development—to learn what they do, how they do it, and what their limitations are. Arndt agreed to contact the various town departments to schedule a time and day for the field trip sometime in March.

The other issue was the recruitment of more community representatives. Parker stated, "It is now time to put the much-discussed charter of the PLCCA into action. We are seeking committed volunteers who will gather information regarding the status and future of Palmer Lake via town meetings [planning commission and/or council meetings], local newspaper reports, posted information at the post office, town hall, etc., then participate in disseminating this information quarterly through neighborhood meetings. Hopefully, the output of the neighborhood meetings will result in communication back to our council members of the thoughts and concerns of their constituents." She identified three vehicles for this recruitment process: flyers distributed door-to-door, e-mail distribution of the minutes of the PLCCA, and articles written in the local press.

Hammond spoke about the dubious state of the town’s zoning ordinances. He said that these laws are poorly written and easily manipulated by people seeking to do business with Palmer Lake. He would like to see the committee help rewrite these laws and strengthen the town’s comprehensive plan. His involvement with the committee began with the divisive debate concerning the land use issue of a day care and learning center in his neighborhood. He was able to unify the thoughts of his neighborhood by going door to door to collect over 30 e-mail addresses and phone numbers to help disseminate information to his neighbors. Hammond volunteered to create and print flyers for recruitment of neighborhood representatives to join the PLCCA.

Parker suggested keeping meetings to one hour due to the time constraints of the average prospective committee member. The next meeting’s agenda is: 1.) recruiting neighborhood representatives; 2.) developing a template for neighborhood informational meetings; and 3.) determining the best day to schedule the PLCCA monthly meeting.

Sparks said she was "pleased with the progress [of the committee] tonight" due to the ability of the group to focus and move forward with definite action items. The next meeting will be Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Palmer Lake Town Hall; all are encouraged to attend. For information call Jaqui Parker, 487-7434.

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Donald Wescott FPD Board meeting Jan. 22

View photos of Ice Rescue Training in Gleneagle

By Jim Kendrick

This regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) was held at Station #2 on Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. Director Kevin Gould was excused. The board announced positive progress on merger discussions with Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District (W/MFPD) and Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD). The board changed its policy and will no longer be the primary emergency responder in the portion of Black Forest covered by the recent November inclusion election. The Gleneagle Drive station will be renumbered Station #1, from Station #3, to reflect its status as operational headquarters.

Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer Dennis Feltz reported that the end-of-year budget transition had gone smoothly, with more than adequate reserves for last-minute expenses. The district’s financial position is strong, helped by not having to build a new station to serve Black Forest, for which about $125,000 had been budgeted. Expenditures for 2003 exceeded forecast by just $281 in a challenging year where there were several new hires—expanding the full-time workforce to provide 24/7 coverage for the first time—as well as unexpected election expenses. Cash on hand at the end of the year was $418,651.29, placing the district in a sound position to perform the upcoming $264,000 Station #3 expansion as well as move forward with merger talks with W/MFPD, which is also financially sound.

Policy Change on Black Forest Coverage: The November election resulted in an area of Black Forest no longer being covered by DWFPD. However, attempts by President Bill Lowes and Chief Bill Sheldon to contact homeowner associations (HOAs) in the election area to alert them to the change in coverage have produced no responses by phone or mail. The Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) cannot help with notification because none of the area HOAs is a member of NEPCO. A few subdivisions in the un-included area have presented unanimous petitions for inclusion by Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District (TLFPD) in the past four months. They were all approved by the Tri-Lakes board on a case-by-case basis.

The board considered three options regarding service to the Black Forest election area:

  • Discontinue responding to this area as the primary responder.

  • Charge a fee per call, per fees accepted by Pikes Peak Chief’s Forum.

  • Continue responding on calls in the area until those homeowners join another district.

Sheldon noted that the majority of calls in this area are medical calls for which DWFPD could not submit bills. The eastern half of the inclusion ballot region is well outside the five-road-mile coverage of the Roller Coaster station that is to be built by TLFPD. He said these citizens could also petition Black Forest Fire and Rescue District for inclusion. Falcon Fire Protection District is too distant to provide anything other than mutual aid coverage. Sheldon recommended that DWFPD focus on its own district’s projects while continuing to provide only mutual aid, if requested. Director Brian Ritz asked if mutual aid calls could be billed. Sheldon said no, because mutual aid is reciprocally given to DWFPD, when needed, by other fire districts. Only the primary district can bill. Lowes agreed with Sheldon that service should be limited to mutual aid only.

Peter Obernesser, attorney for DWFPD, recommended that a notice be published stating that Wescott would no longer be the primary provider, as there are long-standing written or verbal agreements with developers of a few subdivisions in that area. "Notice is required to be fair to all homeowners in that area, even though the majority voted against providing any revenue to Wescott for its services." He recommended a newspaper notice so "there is no continuing expectation of response to emergencies by DWFPD." Ritz asked about the 150 votes for inclusion. Obernesser said they were not in the majority. Sheldon said Westcott’s decision is cost-driven. This is the second time this area has voted not to be taxed for fire protection, so DWFPD should focus on its taxpayers, who approved a mill levy increase to pay for full-time service.

The board voted 3-1, with Ritz voting no, to terminate primary service to this Black Forest area with a 30-day notice. Sheldon said he would notify El Paso County Sheriff’s dispatchers to change their 9-1-1 rosters and prepare the newspaper announcement for immediate publication in the Tribune.

Architect contract: The DWFPD architectural consultant, Architect’s Office, will prepare a standard American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) contract to define the scope of work the consultant will perform in developing forms for proposal requests for Station #3 expansion. Director Gould, who is an architect, will have the legal firm Oberring and Wurth review the $7,500 contract with Architect’s Office before it is signed. Sheldon requested authority from the board to manage the day-to-day details of executing this standard AIA contract, based on his previous experience with this type of standardized contract. The board approved both actions unanimously.

Executive Session: There was a short executive session to let the board receive legal advice on a negotiation. There were no announcements regarding results of the session.

Merger Discussions Update: Lowes and Sheldon first discussed ambulance service in the region. TLFPD’s threat on Dec. 10 to rescind ambulance coverage for Palmer Lake has resulted in accelerated negotiations with American Medical Response (AMR) by W/MFPD, Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD), and DWFPD to add ambulance service at the Woodmoor Drive station. DWFPD will also continue working with W/MFPD and PLVFD to develop a merger agreement that is beneficial to all three departments. Differing mill levies is a primary source of concern. The mill levies for DWFPD, W/MFPD, and PLVFD are 7, 9.2, and 0, respectively. Palmer Lake voters have rejected a mill levy for fire service in the past. Another alternative to a full merger might be a looser fire authority relationship, though this option was rejected in previous preliminary discussions. The number of ambulances on call in the region might also be an item for negotiation, due to TLFPD having its own ambulances at its home station and projecting another full-time ambulance at the Roller Coaster Station. (A rule of thumb is that an ambulance must make one billable transport per day to pay for itself and it is unclear if there are enough such calls to finance round-the-clock ambulance service by four fire stations.) Lowes will work on scheduling a working group session in March.

Chief’s Report: Sheldon noted that two large fires that generated mutual aid calls from the county were instructive in relearning lessons about command dispatch decisions. A fire on Teak Road in Falcon on Jan. 15 resulted in 32 pieces of apparatus and 65 firefighters—from as far away as Green Mountain Falls and Fort Carson—responding ineffectively to an "all call" from the Sheriff’s office dispatching center for the entire county. The building burned to the ground and traffic jams were created that might have precluded re-dispatching these fire vehicles to other emergencies. Sheldon said Assistant Chief Vinny Burns "correctly chose not to have DWFPD provide mutual aid 44 miles away when there was already too much equipment on the scene to be used." The next evening, a similar-size fire on Greenland Road in Larkspur was also handled by mutual aid, this time involving only five trucks. The fire occurred in an area that had no close water or fire hydrants, requiring a water shuttle. Although this house was lost, Burns’ use of vehicles was effective and efficient. Sheldon noted the expertise of the North End Group in responding appropriately to this Larkspur emergency and praised Burns on his decisions regarding these two calls as well as proper on-scene calls by the firefighters in carrying out the water shuttle.

For 2003, DWFPD had 572 calls, plus 1,047 automatic and mutual aid calls for a total 1,619. Often, more than one vehicle responded to a call. Types of calls for the year were: Medical-related alarms (excluding AMR alarms) 524 (32 percent), AMR alarms 867 (54 percent), fire-related alarms 175 (11 percent), other alarms 53 ( 3 percent).

An Insurance Service Organization (ISO) compliance inspection of areas with hydrants will be conducted Feb. 17-19. The district has an ISO rating of 6 and hopes to lower that rating for the benefit of district taxpayers. A lower rating would lower fire insurance rates. The decisive issues in the rating are water supply, manning, and equipment, in that order.

Policy & Procedures Update: Sheldon said the preliminary copy of the policy and procedures manual has been given to the firefighters for questions and comments. The only remaining policy question is how to handle unused vacation/sick time at the end of the year. The board decided to temporarily let unused time roll over to the second year, while assessing commonly used accrual alternatives by other fire organizations and also asking the district’s accountant and auditor to analyze current trends for unforeseen impacts on the department.

Other items:

  • Discussion of the board’s goals for 2004 was deferred to the next meeting after the directors exchanged copies of lists of suggested goals they had prepared.

  • Ritz noted that Sheldon has given the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Training Academy two sets of expired bunker gear to assist them in training police officers in the use of tasers.

  • The department held ice rescue training in Gleneagle on Jan. 17, certifying 12 firefighters. Twelve more will be certified in February.

  • Palmer Lake’s Police Department has received a grant for $72,000 for training on weapons of mass destruction. DWFPD will participate in this training.

The meeting adjourned at 9:55 p.m. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 18 at Station #2 on Sun Hills Drive.

View photos of Ice Rescue Training in Gleneagle

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Tri-Lakes FPD Board meeting Jan. 15

View a photo of the TLFPD board preparing for Station 2 groundbreaking

By John Heiser

At its meeting Jan. 15, the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District Board of Directors approved inclusion of two subdivisions east of Highway 83, approved a 3 percent across the board pay raise, discussed plans for Station 2 on Roller Coaster Road near Highway 105, and made preparations for the May 4 election of two members of the board.

Inclusion hearings

Hearings were held on petitions for inclusion of the Walden Pines Subdivision (10 lots) and Elk Creek Filing #2 (29 lots). Both inclusion petitions were signed by 100 percent of the property owners. The board unanimously approved both inclusions.

Dispatching problems

Chief Robert Denboske reported that when the sheriff’s office converted to a new dispatching system, some of the geographic information was lost, resulting in dispatching the wrong emergency services agency for some properties along Highway 83 between Hodgen Road and County Line Road. Denboske said, "We are working with E911 to update the maps. We need to get it corrected as soon as possible."

The chief also noted that when Station 2 is operational, he intends to coordinate coverage in the Highway 83 and County Line Road area with the Franktown department.

Financial Report

District director and treasurer John Hildebrandt reported that, as of the end of December:

  • The district had received $835,799 in property tax revenue, all but $1,353 of the property tax revenue it is due for 2003.

  • Specific ownership taxes at $121,000 for the year were $13,244 over budget.

  • Ambulance revenues were $54,900 over the budgeted amount of $115,170.

  • The net result: revenue $108,779 over budget.

  • Expenses were $37,481 (3 percent) over budget. $32,811 of that was expenditure of a $35,000 grant the district received that was not in the budget. Another portion was prepayment of 2004 contracts and special district association dues.

  • The net increase in the fund balances during 2003 was $66,151.

Hildebrandt concluded, "The state of the finances is good. We have been prudent and have an increase in the fund balances."

Board President Charlie Pocock said, "We didn’t anticipate coming out quite as well as we did so we did not budget a pay increase. Since the budget came out better than planned, we have looked again at a cost of living increase." The board unanimously approved a 3 percent across the board increase to base and overtime pay but not incentive pay. The increase is retroactive to Jan. 1.

Chief’s Report

Denboske reported that during 2003, the district responded to 1049 calls vs. 882 last year. There were 418 medical calls, 295 traffic accidents, 223 fires, 90 public assists, and 23 involving hazardous materials. 376 people were transported to area hospitals.

Pocock said, "There are differences in the way departments report call statistics. We report all calls, in district and mutual aid. We treat each as a single call regardless of the number of apparatus. Some districts treat each apparatus as a call."

EMS Report

Ron Thompson, assistant chief and emergency medical services (EMS) coordinator, reported that the district received a grant from the Emergency Services Association for a 12 lead EKG simulator. He added that the district has applied for a variety of state grants.

Thompson reported that the Tri-Lakes district and the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District had 12 to 14 students in recent base EKG training. Training on 12 lead EKG will be held next month. Thompson thanked the board for providing the TV/VCR, and PowerPoint projector that have been very helpful during training.

Thompson noted that the department has been working with local ham radio operators for coordination in emergencies. An antenna may be added to the station as part of this effort.

Thompson recommended donation to the Elbert Fire Department of a heart monitor the department is no longer using. The board unanimously approved the donation.

Station 2

Rick Barnes, board member and architect for Station 2, reported that the construction contract for the station will be ready for bid by the end of January. He said he anticipates three or four bidders. Groundbreaking is scheduled for March 1.

May 4 election

Denboske was designated the election official for the May 4 election. The election will fill the board positions occupied by Oscar Gillespie and Gary Morgan, both of whom are term-limited.

The board discussed possible ballot measures including raising the mill levy. Pocock said, "I think 7 mills is enough. An increase is not justified or fair to the citizens. I don’t think we should accumulate money in the bank. Spend it for the taxpayers’ benefit." Barnes said, "I don’t think we need any more money."

Pocock said, "The problem for special districts is finding people willing to run and serve." Gillespie made a motion to include a ballot measure to exempt the district from term limits.

Custodian of Records

District administrative assistant Paula Robbins was designated the custodian of records.

Executive session

The meeting ended with an executive session to discuss strategy for negotiations.

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

For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312. The Tri-Lakes district has a new web site: www.tri-lakesfire.com.

View a photo of the TLFPD board preparing for Station 2 groundbreaking

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Woodmoor/Monument FPD Board meeting Jan. 26

By Jim Kendrick

The Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District Board (W/MFPD) began negotiations for contracting full-time ambulance service at its Woodmoor Drive station at the board meeting held on Jan. 26. All board members were present. Mark Bruning, Vice President of American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance service operations for the Rocky Mountains/Plains Division, and local citizen George Reese, owner of Palmer Lake Motors on Highway 105 attended. Associate Chief James Rackl and Acting Fire Marshal Tom Eastburn also attended. There were no public comments.

Chief’s Report

Chief David Youtsey noted that the terms of three board members expire in May. He asked those three–Bob Browning, Si Sibell, and Tom Conroy–to fill out a self-nomination and acceptance form by Feb. 27. If no others seek nomination, an election will not be necessary.

Written testing for firefighter candidates will be administered to 12 applicants on Feb. 21. Their physical agility testing will occur on Feb. 28. They will be selected from a list of approximately 100 applicants. Rackl said the closing date for being added to the list is Feb. 16. Applications are held for one year. Conroy asked how many spaces have been filled recently. Youtsey said 19 spaces were filled in the past eight years, eight in the past three years.

The district has been sending postcard survey forms to residents who have had emergency service and comments have been uniformly positive.

Calls in December and the totals for 2003 were:

Structure Fire             5      100
Medical                     37     340
Traffic Accident         3       73
Wildland                    0       21
Hazardous Materials  5       29
Public Assistance       0       26
Other                        4        41
Total                         54     630

Medical runs were up 54 percent and traffic accident runs were up 12 percent in 2003. Conroy asked Youtsey to determine the number of ambulance dispatches to an emergency scene and the number of ambulance transports to a hospital that would have occurred in 2003 if W/MFPD had an ambulance on 24/7 call at the station. Youtsey gave a preliminary response of 340 fire calls and 73 traffic accidents for dispatch.

Attorney Tim Schutz is working for the district to recover unclaimed funds from the Fireman’s and Police Pension Association (FPPA) "old hire pension program" of $348,744. This program was discontinued in 1984 by the state fire pension board. One firefighter under the program died without heirs and the policy proceeds have remained invested with FPPA since then. Six others left the fund before they were vested. These six collected their own contributions for transfer to new pension programs. However, the district’s matching contributions for these six remained invested with FPPA.

The FPPA refund can be used by the district for current expenses, half to pay current pension contributions and social security taxes for current employees and half for other fire fighting requirements. The amount will be higher than expected because of about $14,000 in interest and dividends that accrued throughout 2003 that was not previously reported to W/MFPD by FPPA during its negotiations with Schutz. The refund can be turned over to the district’s investment banker, yielding 4 percent, until used for the purposes noted above. Money can currently be borrowed at 2.6 percent. The 1.4 percent difference would yield $4,900 in one year on $350,000. Other options Youtsey proposed were paying off vehicle loans or refinancing vehicle leases. The board agreed unanimously to use a portion of this money to pay off loans on the Quint 2130 fire engine, to purchase the new Suburban that is replacing the 1997 Suburban used by Chief Youtsey, and to invest the remainder. The 1997 Suburban will be sold via sealed bid auction.

Conroy led a discussion of average times needed to roll trucks after dispatch and average times to drive to an emergency scene, reflex and response times respectively, as recorded by stop watch. Goals for reflex and response are one and six minutes. These times have improved dramatically in the past year. The accuracy of logs published by the county dispatchers at the Sheriff’s Office is also improving due to the high interest in errors by several departments over the past several months. Youtsey will continue to audit the logs for ways to further improve these department times and prepare a report on runs that take longer than the desired goals of one and six minutes. The whole board congratulated the firefighters for this important improvement.

In other matters, Recording Secretary Donna Arkowski was appointed district election official. She will be responsible again for all administrative actions regarding the May board member election. Election notices will be posted at the W/MFPD fire station, the Monument post office, and Monument Town Hall.

Joint working group update: The merger counter-proposal from Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) to W/MFPD was received minutes before the meeting, so there had been no review of it by board members. Plans are being made to meet also with the board of Donald Wescott Fire Protection Board after February.

Inspection Process Investigation Report: Secretary Bob Harvey reported that most issues had been resolved. Rackl is prioritizing a list of buildings in the district that ranks them from highest to lowest risk. President Bob Browning said that merchants no longer see a problem with the way inspections are performed, thanks to Eastburn’s positive approach to resolving the issue. Harvey cautioned that there are a few building owners who will never believe in the building inspection process or accept negative findings as legitimate. Sibell said the problem had been isolated and eliminated and that "Eastburn is doing one (heck) of a job." Conroy proposed a discussion at the next meeting on how to proceed with regard to a permanent fire marshal nomination since funding for the position expires in June.

AMR Negotiations: Treasurer Russ Broshous noted that the district’s ten-year plan has always called for having 24/7 ambulance service by 2005. Browning added that this was still just an option and the board will determine what is best for the taxpayers in the district.

The board then went into executive session at 9:30 a.m. to discuss a personnel issue and conduct negotiations with AMR’s Bruning about a possible contract for 24/7 ambulance service. No announcement was made after the executive session and no decision was made regarding AMR. The next board meeting will be on Feb. 23 at 8 a.m.

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Lewis-Palmer School Board meeting Jan. 15

By Tommie Plank

The board was presented with proposed new school calendars for the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 school years. The school calendar has remained basically the same for several years. These proposed schedules differ in that the goal is to have school finished by Memorial Day. In order to accomplish the earlier ending while still maintaining the same number of contact days for students and teacher workdays, some of the school year vacation days will need to be eliminated. The board will review the proposed variations and expects to adopt a new calendar at the February meeting.

 School district parents Steve Fillo and Darrell Bryant presented a comprehensive report requesting the addition of competitive ice hockey at the high school level. A lively question-and-answer session followed the presentation. The board expressed appreciation for the professional quality of the presentation but, given the amount of time needed for the high school growth issue, felt that they were not in a position to take on another time-consuming project. The matter was tabled until the board reaches a decision on the high school.

The student accountability report focused on the upcoming Battle of the Bands. The issue of affordable healthy food choices was raised for the second time. The students plan to meet with high school administrators to see if there are alternatives available.

Dr. Pete Heinz, chairman of District Accountability (DAAC), reported that interest in the committee’s work has kept attendance at meetings at a high level. The DAAC will visit Kilmer Elementary for their Feb. 10 meeting.

The district is evaluating the gifted and talented program. Mary Anne Wiggs, executive director of Learning Services, has hired a consultant to conduct surveys of students, teachers, parents, counselors, and administrators as a part of this evaluation.

The district is also evaluating the way grades are reported at the elementary level. A standards-based approach to teaching is now used district-wide, and the current manner of reporting progress and learning does not reflect this approach. A committee of parents, teachers, and administrators has been formed to research the issue. They intend to pilot a new report card format for some schools and grades next year with the intention of fully implementing the program the following year.

The elementary social studies curriculum has been the focus of the ongoing evaluation and revision of district curriculum for this year. The result is a recommendation for a new text and learning materials. Mrs. Wiggs presented for the board’s consideration the Social Studies Alive program from the Teachers Curriculum Institute, which meets the Colorado Model Content Standards. The board heard from teachers Sid Hough, Char Wahlborg, and Melissa Bent, three of the 21 teachers to pilot programs for the evaluation. They were very impressed with this particular program and highly recommended it to the board. The board took materials about the study with them and will consider approval of the program in February.

The first reading of a new parental involvement policy was heard. The board took the policy under advisement and it will be scheduled for a second reading, discussion, and approval at a future meeting.

The board approved several routine consent agenda items related to students, personnel, finances, and land use requests.

Tom Battle was recognized for his extensive help with the new Grace Best Elementary School playground. He received a commendation certificate from Board President Jes Raintree

The next regular meeting of the Lewis-Palmer Board of Education will be 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at Grace Best Elementary School.

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Woodmoor Improvement Association Annual Meeting

By Chris Pollard

Attendance was slightly lower at this WIA meeting Jan. 26 than in previous years, with around 60 to 70 people. The most recent controversial issue, the Walters Commons town home development proposed near Lewis-Palmer High School, was presented to the El Paso County Planning Commission and approved by them unanimously a few days before, on Jan. 20.

The first major item of business was the announcement of the winner of the Vincent J. Elorie Citizenship Award, given each year to significant long-term contributors to Woodmoor and the local community. Father Robert Jaeger of St. Peter Catholic Church read the introduction and made the presentation to Jim Taylor. Last year, Jim’s wife, Marian, received the award. They have been very involved with the WIA over many years, and Jim has also been a key contributor to many Sertoma programs.

This year, three directors’ terms expired, Nona Overcast, in charge of the community center; Paul Lambert, public safety director; and Bryan Clark, treasurer. The three new directors are:

  • Allan McMullen (328 votes). A resident for 1½ years, he has two children and came from a similar subdivision in Sante Fe, N.M. He wants to work on adding more community events and is interested in improving the aesthetics of the area.

  • Susan Shields (327 votes). A resident for 12 years, she is a local realtor and is concerned about the effects of growth on Woodmoor and wants to be involved with planning for future building projects in the area.

  • Michael Varnet (360 votes) A Pikes Peak Library District employee, he has been in accounting for many years and has served on a large number of boards.

Susan Cooley, current president of the WIA board, gave a short overview of the past year in Woodmoor. The major portion of the speech focused on an assessment of the Walters Commons project. At a previous board meeting, concerns had been expressed about whether the conservation easement on the part of the Walters property not being used to build townhomes was actually going to happen. The concern was that this would mean additional houses in that area. At this meeting, Cooley sounded more confident that the easement would go through. She and several other Woodmoor residents made presentations to the El Paso County Planning Commission, raising concerns of traffic and safety issues. The commission expressed an interest in helping to solve the traffic issues but voted to approve the project.

Some progress was made in establishing a walking trail along Fairplay, though the county officials responsible for approving the plan were not forthcoming with their concerns. Later in the meeting, a number of residents raised other concerns with the trail. A few objected to the possibility of having to remove a substantial amount of scrub oak at points along the planned route.

In the case of another long-term project, Woodmoor entrance signs, visible progress should be seen shortly. New signs were scheduled for sandblasting last week and for installation in the next two weeks.

The WIA was active last summer in its West Nile mosquito abatement program and planned to continue this effort in the future while the threat remained.

For the coming year, Cooley said she hoped work would continue on evolving the rules for multifamily developments. Deficiencies in the rules were found when the Walters Commons project was reviewed and it was felt that with several areas, particularly around Woodmoor Lake, still undeveloped but zoned for multifamily, that an attempt should be made to rectify these deficiencies. She also hoped that some improvements could be made in developing a trail system.

She thanked a number of the board members and the office staff for their help during the past year and made special note of John Ottino’s contribution, as WIA vice president, in assisting with the annual Great American Clean-up.

In Paul Lambert’s outgoing report as public safety director, he noted continuing improvement in the reduction of criminal activity and animal complaints. At the same time, he was concerned about a recent spate of problems with loose and aggressive dogs. In the past year, the patrol was operational for 13,000 hours, driving 85,000 miles and performing 17,000 vacation checks. He noted that two replacement patrol vehicles, silver Jeep Liberties, had been ordered and would be due shortly. He thought they offered a balance between four-wheel-drive capabilities and better fuel consumption than the present vehicles.

Mike Smith, director of the architectural control committee, noted in his report that the majority of applications were now for major additions and renovations rather than new home construction.

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For information, contact the WIA at 488-2693.

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County studying crash sites

In 2003, there were 19 fatal car accidents in all of unincorporated El Paso County. Eleven of the accidents were due to driver error, drunken driving, or excessive speed for the conditions. The El Paso County Department of Transportation (EPCDOT) examined the remaining eight sites to see what kinds of safety improvements might be made.

In the north end of the county, four locations that could benefit from safety improvements were cited:

Highway 83 and Shoup Road intersection

Two accidents involved inattention to stop conditions. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is responsible for this intersection, which is scheduled for major redesign/reconstruction this year. 

Highway 83 and County Line/Palmer Divide Road intersection

One accident involved inattention to stop signs. CDOT is also responsible for this intersection. In 2003, CDOT installed flashing beacons and bigger stop signs. 

Highway 105 and Furrow Road intersection

One accident involved inattention to the stop sign southbound on Furrow. The intersection is in CDOT jurisdiction. CDOT has installed larger stop signs and flashing beacons on the north and south approaches on Furrow Road. Additionally, CDOT will begin an intersection improvement project this summer. These improvements will include left-turn lanes on Highway 105 and should be completed in the fall. The county recommends that CDOT consider crosswalk striping and pedestrian-signal timing improvements. 

Vollmer Road

Two accidents, including one car leaving the roadway and one at the intersection of Burgess Road where the driver failed to yield to traffic on Vollmer. Field investigation identified trees that may be contributing to unsafe conditions. Also, sight distance at the intersection is limited by "road geometry" that can be mitigated by additional warning devices. County recommendations: (1) clear trees within the right-of-way of Vollmer Road, as well as on the east and west approaches of Burgess Road; (2) consider reinstalling rumble strips on Burgess approaches; and (3) consider installation of 48-inch stop signs at Burgess and Vollmer. EPC DOT, in cooperation with Mountain View Electric, has begun an extensive tree-clearing project in the vicinity of Burgess and Vollmer. Prior to tree removal, a survey to identify trees within the clear zone will be performed on the northerly portion of Vollmer. Guardrails may be an option.

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PPACG hosts transportation planning open house Jan. 13

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the PPACG transportation planning open house Jan. 13

By Jim Kendrick

The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) held an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 13 to solicit public comments on its four goals in updating the 2030 Regional Transportation Plan. This plan lays out funding priorities for area governments in three counties for federal and state grants used for road improvements, new roads, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and transportation system management activities. PPACG manages this long-range 25-year plan as well as the short-term six-year transportation improvement program (TIP) for the Pikes Peak Region. The latter plan affects ongoing improvement programs for Powers Boulevard, Woodmen Road, and other major arterials. Rob MacDonald, newly appointed executive director of PPACG, and several of his planning staff greeted citizens in attendance.

The transportation plan’s four proposed goals are:

  1. Mobility. Provide a safe and efficient regional transportation system to meet present and future mobility needs. The objectives are to support economic vitality within the region and provide the safest and most effective, efficient system.

  2. Environment. Provide a regional transportation system that is compatible with natural and human environments. To that end, objectives include: meeting air quality requirements for the region; choosing solutions that have the fewest impacts on the natural environment and on neighborhoods and areas that are or will be identified for cultural or historical preservation; and promoting transportation system strategies and/or actions that are supported by the community in which they are planned.

  3. Accessibility. Provide a multi-modal regional transportation system that meets the accessibility needs of all by encouraging the development of multi-modal options and promoting expansion of accessibility choices throughout the region.

  4. Maintenance. Maintain the regional transportation system, which includes maintaining the physical infrastructure of the system and providing an acceptable level of system operation.

These planning goals and objectives are meant to be broad enough to include the full scope of subsequent detailed planning, yet specific enough to be measurable.

You can read about these two plans at www.ppacg.org or by contacting PPACG at 471-7080.

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the PPACG transportation planning open house Jan. 13

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Community Summit on Transportation Jan. 14

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the Community Summit on Transportation Jan. 14

By Jim Kendrick

Representatives of El Paso County, Colorado Springs, and the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) offered a list of possible solutions for solving $1.319 billion of unfunded regional transportation during the interval 2000–2015. The solutions were offered during an 80-minute presentation at a press conference held in Centennial Hall downtown on Jan. 14, moderated by the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. Six options for solving the local metropolitan area’s traffic congestion, considered the worst of 14 small cities (population 100,000 to 500,000) along Colorado’s Front Range, were presented.

The presentation concluded by advocating the sixth option: establishment of a regional transportation authority (RTA) for El Paso County as the single best solution. (Note: a regional transportation authority is a variant of a rural one under the state law that allowed formation of the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority or BRRTA.) The RTA would be governed by a board of directors made up of three county commissioners, three city council members, and one elected official from each of the other cities and towns in El Paso County that also belong to the PPACG Board of Governors. However, the RTA Board is not to be an agency of PPACG even though it would meet at PPACG’s office building. All authority for managing county transportation funding would rest in this undefined and unspecified committee of representatives from affected government entities. The RTA issue is expected to be on the ballot in the November 2004 election. Ballot language would specify which projects the RTA would fund as well as the specific prioritization of this limited number of projects. How this RTA would work with BRRTA is yet to be determined.

The countywide RTA would raise over $65 million per year through a one-cent sales tax that drops to a permanent 0.45 cent tax after 10 years, a $10 vehicle registration fee, and a 2 percent visitors’ tax. Only 10 percent of needed funds, $147 million in taxes, will be collected during the next decade under current tax schedules. One problem noted was that sales tax fluctuates with economic conditions, and the solution may not raise enough money for long-deferred and new projected maintenance and construction. Most of the summit speakers expressed dismay that taxpayers had voted down several different tax initiatives in recent elections—each implying, if not directly stating, that citizens had created the funding shortfall with their "no" votes.

During the first 10 years of the proposed RTA, 55 percent of revenues would be used for road construction and 35 percent would go to road/bridge/curb/gutter repair or reconstruction. The other 10 percent would go to expanding transit bus service, $132 million over the next decade.

Of the top 25 projects in its County Capital Improvements list, El Paso County’s top five priorities for this funding are: 1) widening Baptist Road east of I-25 to Desiree Drive; 2) widening Baptist road west of I-25 to Hay Creek Road; 3) building the Baptist Road railroad crossing overpass; 4) building the Baptist Road–Hodgen Road connection; and 5) upgrading Hodgen Road to connect Highway 83 to Interstate 25 via Baptist Road. No funding is planned, however, to deal with Baptist Road’s gradient of more than 10 percent near the Donala water tanks, between Desiree and Tari that far exceeds 5 percent to 6 percent limits for an arterial, and where icing often makes the road impassable for hours at a time.

Transportation problems to be solved by the proposed RTA are replacing crumbling roads now "too costly to repair due to years of neglect," replacing dangerously decaying bridges, servicing newly created roads "donated" by developers, widening existing roads, and expanding public transportation for an aging population. Videotaped news segments from every local TV channel were used to illustrate the "daunting scale of failure" by regional government to maintain existing transportation infrastructure, coupled with the city and county governments’ acknowledgement of their inability to maintain new roads that will be "donated" to the city and county by developers over the next 11 years.

The current backlog for road and bridge repairs and reconstruction is $472 million. Most will deteriorate to the point of having to be completely replaced, even though they could be repaired now at a small fraction of the replacement cost. The funding shortfall due to projected growth through 2015 for El Paso County is $494 million to $518 million, while the comparable Colorado Springs’ shortfall is $825 million. These figures are based on a presumed growth of 130,000 people and 162,500 autos countywide during the 15-year period, as well as a 39 percent increase in vehicle trips and 54 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled.

Rapid growth in El Paso County will continue unabated, according to presentation projections. Most of the population growth results from families already living here. The growth caused by people migrating into the county is a small part now and will remain constant over the next decade, becoming an insignificant percentage by 2015.

The five other funding options that were dismissed were to: reduce other programs and shift funds to transportation; increase state gas taxes; increase property taxes; establish a city sales tax and a county road and bridge mill levy; and do nothing.

The briefing summary predicted catastrophe if voters do not approve the RTA and the three related regional tax increases in November. The conclusion was that citizens will have no one to blame but themselves for the gridlock that is inevitable if the ballot issue fails.

**********

For additional information on regional transportation issues, visit:

www.ppacg.org 
www.adm.elpasoco.com
 
www.adm.elpasoco.com/transprt/baptist_rd.asp
 
www.springsgov.com
 
www.interstate25.com
 
www.woodmenroad.com
 
www.thepowerslink.com

Web site exclusive: View a photo of the Community Summit on Transportation Jan. 14

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Letters to Our Community

Thanks from Sertoma

We would like to thank all of the residents of the Tri-Lakes area who made this Salvation Army Christmas holiday bell ringing a huge success. It is good to see that this area has not forgotten how to care about people less fortunate than themselves.

You, the men, women and children of the Tri Lakes area, opened your hearts and pocketbooks to an amazing amount of over $30,600. This was over $4,400 more than last year.

We would also like to thank the managers of Safeway (Russ Novotny and Jeremy Lauser) and King Soopers (Ken Howell and Butch Quigley). They made all this possible by allowing the Monument Hill Sertoma to ring bells at their locations.

Also thanks to the members of the Monument Hill Sertoma, Lewis Palmer High School Serteens, and five local area volunteers. They contributed 486 hours of bell ringing.

We would also like to thank Sam De Felice and Mike Wicklund, who each day picked up the contributions, counted the money, and deposited it in the bank. Your help was deeply appreciated. Again thank you all!!

Eddie L. Kinney, Chairman
Stan Schneider, Vice Chairman
Monument Hill Sertoma
2003 Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Drive

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Response to Leon Tenney’s letter ("Lies", OCN Jan. 3)

What makes Mr. Leon Tenney so afraid of preschool and kindergarten children? Most people in a community are pleased to have these programs available for their little people, regardless of religious affiliation.

Mr. Tenney’s letter seemed primarily to exude hatred of all things "Roman Catholic"—a term with which he peppered his short letter. Will other religious groups be his next targets? Will small "Roman Catholic" children be safe to walk the streets of Monument while Mr. Tenney is on this crusade?
Anna Paul

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In response to the highly dishonest letter written by our former mayor, Leon Tenney ("Lies," OCN, Jan. 3, 2004), I would like to clarify the subject of his letter. In regard to the St. Peter Catholic Education Center, Mr. Tenney knows that the facility was always designed as a school, for he personally congratulated me, the architect, for its successful design. He also congratulated the church for phasing its use from Pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarten schooling to its future use as a parochial school. With several years having passed, now is the future for the facility.

For the record, the St. Peter Education Center is a community resource that is performing just as it was intended. It provides valuable meeting and educational space for the church and the community. It was designed per the Uniform Building Code for a public school and was always intended to accommodate just such a use, when the time and conditions were right. I would welcome the public to review the lengthy public record on this facility’s planning process and design.

Before condemning the Roman Catholic Church throughout America, I strongly suggest our recalled former mayor, Mr. Tenney, look in the mirror. There appears to be only one party that is lying about this issue, and that is Mr. Tenney.

Brian Bucher

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Fire district folly

In the fall of 2001, the fire districts agreed to participate in a joint study to determine if merging the departments would be feasible. A company specializing in advice to fire departments, Emergency Services Consulting Group, was selected to conduct the study. Their conclusions were reported in May 2002. They said it is feasible. The plan was for the districts to convene an "intergovernmental council," its mission being to hammer out a plan for coming together in some organizational form that would accomplish the broad goals of cooperating, establishing a regional vision for the delivery of services, to engage in intergovernmental agreements and, ultimately, to move to a unified service.

The timetable called for this new unified service to go into effect in January 2004. So where are we in this process? Well, the idea was for any restructuring to have been voted on in the November 2003 elections. I didn’t see anything to vote on. Did you?

As well intentioned as the directors of the boards may have been, the main mission has not been achieved. They met many times. They accomplished some coming together, such as a common chart of accounts, common personnel policies, common pay plans and some other more or less easy-to-achieve sharing. But the guts of a broad-based, grand scheme for delivering service to the entire north end area have escaped them.

Why? One can only speculate, using evidence garnered from what appears as a result of their inaction. Something has happened to queer the deal. One district or the other—maybe all—didn’t want to give on something. One of them found fault with the other and wasn’t willing to compromise to get to a resolution. How many times have we seen good intentions go to hell when stubborn people hold sway? How easy it is to lose sight of a goal that will result in "the greater good"?

These board folks are well intentioned. They have to be or they wouldn’t have volunteered for the job. But it’s like they become saturated with such a heavy dose of team spirit that they lose sight of the major objective and turn into provincial despots. They forget the big picture.

Take the ambulance service for example. There are enough resources right now to run an ambulance service for the whole area if those resources were managed appropriately. Assign the paramedics to three locations, along with the existing three ambulances, and we could enjoy a five-minute response time for our next heart attack! Can’t do that now. All the ambulances are at one station. The paramedics are spread out unequally. And now there is talk of starting a completely new ambulance service when sufficient resources are already available to do the job. Fantastic!

These board people have got to get a grip. We need them to go back to the table. We need them to put aside the petty stuff and reason together for the greater good of these essential services. You don’t mess around with life-and-death matters. You make good, sound decisions, having the welfare of the people being served always at the forefront of your thinking. Our hearts and our properties depend on quick response in an emergency. We ain’t getting it as well as we could be.

Glenn Scott

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Art is a journey: Donna Arndt


Photo provided by the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts

By Pat Yorke

Editor’s note: Donna Arndt is a multitalented sculptor who works in sand-blasted glass and bronze and lives in Palmer Lake with her husband, Steve, and young daughter, Julia. Donna has bachelors and masters degrees in speech/language pathology from the University of Northern Colorado. Her work is currently available at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts gift shop. Pat Yorke recently met with Arndt to learn more about her artwork.

I met Donna Arndt in early January. She and her dog, Chica, greeted me as I walked into her home. From every window, I could see the majestic mountains framing Palmer Lake. Arndt and her family hike in the mountains, where she says she often gets ideas for her sculptures. She showed me the drapes and the stained-glass window piece she made. I was awestruck, as I hadn’t known she also did stained glass. The piece had Colorado pinecones and wildflowers to match her décor. It was simply gorgeous. "I did this piece for the window above the bathroom sink because, although I love the light, it was too intense and I needed some diffused light," Arndt explained.

Her studio is a large room with lots of natural light and a sliding glass door that leads to a walk-out patio. One side of the studio represented her glass art; the other, her sculpture molds and tools. A large table, which Arndt made and where she creates her art, stood in the center.

As I admired her sculpture pieces in various stages of completion, Arndt explained the complicated 11-step process of bronze casting, starting from an original drawing, then sculpting and wax chasing, to the final stages of lost wax sculpture and patina. I took some pictures, and we headed back upstairs to the kitchen table to talk.

Arndt has lived in Colorado since early childhood and grew up appreciating the beauty of the mountains and the wildlife. "I have always enjoyed creating art," she said. She sees sculpture as being created from the "inside out." Her knowledge of the anatomy and structure of her subjects is evidenced by her work and make her pieces believable. Arndt explained, "Design principles are the difference between a good sculpture and a great sculpture. Understanding and being able to direct tension, space, and visual movement in that subject is what can give the piece its own life, presence, and emotion. I like to sculpt pieces that express life and tell a story."

Arndt’s sculpture and glass pieces have won many awards, and she has shown her work in New York, Arizona, New Mexico, and throughout Colorado, including the Colorado Springs airport. She may be reached through the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts Gallery Gift Shop and by phone at 487-9316.

The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts Gallery Gift Shop will present a sample of Donna Arndt’s sculptures and glass works as part of the "February Fantasy" photographic show that opens Friday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m., and runs through the month. For more information about the arts center, visit www.trilakesarts.com, or call 481-0475.

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Myers receives award

View a photo of Myers and the Service to Mankind Award

By Rich Lybolt

Dorothy Myers has received the Service to Mankind Award from Monument Hill Sertoma. This follows on the heels of being named volunteer of the year for Congressional District 5 by the Colorado Association of Partners in Education, in recognition of her 16 years of service.

An avid reader, Dorothy saw a void in the local community when it came to reading, and has strived to instill in the youth of the community love for the written word. Since 1987, Myers has volunteered at the Lewis-Palmer Elementary School library, where she has performed a variety of tasks. In addition, she has been facilitator for the "Junior Great Books" program at the school for 12 years. She also organizes the "Battle of the Books," in which students read 50 selected books and then compete in teams to answer questions about the books. She has coached the Lewis-Palmer Elementary team and has served as judge within the Pikes Peak region. She also serves as a volunteer tutor and "book buddy," working with children to improve their reading skills.

For the past 15 years, Myers has also participated in the Golden Nutrition (Senior Meals) Program, serving more than 12,200 meals at the Monument Town Hall. She is currently site manager. Dorothy Myers’ many volunteer efforts and service to others help make the Tri-Lakes area a better place to live for all in our community.

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Photos from The 2nd Annual Health and Wellness Fair, Jan. 17

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Williams named Sertoman of Year

View a photo of Williams and the Sertoman of the Year award

By Dexter Peak

Sharon Williams has been chosen by the Monument Hill Sertoma club as its Sertoman of the year for 2003. Williams, a Certified Massage Therapist and life member of Sertoma, joined Tri-Lakes Sertoma in 1993, serving two terms as club secretary and two terms as club president. After Tri-Lakes disbanded in 1999, she sought membership in Monument Hill Sertoma, becoming the club’s first woman to be installed.

Over the years, her contributions have been many and varied. She introduced and oversaw what has become one of the club’s major fund-raisers, the Empty Bowl dinners, which has generated nearly $50,000 for Tri-Lakes Cares, one of the club’s sponsorships. She also founded another fund-raiser, the Fourth of July Flag Sales, which raises more than $800 annually for charity.

Her contributions extend into the community as well. She coordinated the Salvation Army Holiday Kettle Bell Ringing from 1995 to 1999 and has rung bells for the effort; she raised $300 to help the Lewis Palmer High School Serteens with their Christmas gift-wrapping project; she helps prepare food baskets for the Tri-Lakes food drive; she provided massage therapy to workers at the Hayman fire; she has helped secure prescription drugs for those unable to afford the medication; she coordinated the Teddy Bear project for the Monument Hill Police Department; she planted and maintained the vegetation around the historic Chapala Building; she was Trail Maintenance Coordinator for Barr Trail on Pikes Peak. And the list goes on. Other volunteer work has extended to the numerous boards she has served on in the community.

Williams has received a number of well-deserved plaudits from Sertoma and the community. Among them: in 2002, the American Massage Therapy Association Meritorious Award for contributions to community and profession; also in 2002, a nomination from the American Red Cross and Better Business Bureau for the Community Heroes Award for Courage for her work in New York City during and after 9/11.

Williams’ leadership and professional skills are recognized locally and across the nation. In the words of another Sertoman, "The American Red Cross, American Massage Therapy Association, and the Mayor of Colorado Springs see fit to recognize Sharon for her community service; why not Monument Hill Sertoma?"

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Salvation Army receives record donation from Sertoma

View a photo of Monument Hill Sertoma President Rich Rima presenting the check to Salvation Army Major Joseph Hoogstad

On Jan. 17, the Monument Hill Sertoma Club presented a check for $30,675 to Major Joseph Hoogstad of the Salvation Army. Christmas bell-ringing for the Salvation Army
collected this record amount in 2003—a 16.8 percent increase over the $26,261.63 collected in 2002. In total, 74 members of the Sertoma Club participated in the effort, along with five members of the community, and 52 members of the Lewis-Palmer High School Serteen Club.

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Special Events and Notices

New art exhibit opens

The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts presents "February Fantasy: A Photographic Exhibition," Feb. 6-27. This photography show will be juried by Lee Manning, a nationally and internationally exhibited artist and chairman of the 2003 2nd Annual Rocky Mountain Regional Photo Exhibit. For more information, call 481-0475 or visit www.trilakesarts.com. The center is located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. Center hours are Tuesday-Sunday, noon-4 p.m.

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County’s Major Transportation Corridors Plan public workshop

The public is invited to attend the second workshop on El Paso County’s Major Transportation Corridors Plan Feb. 9, 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Lewis-Palmer Middle School cafetorium, 1776 Woodmoor Drive. The event will begin with a 30-minute open house, giving people the opportunity to study project information and to speak with county staff and consultants. Next will be a presentation about projected growth and what it means for future transportation conditions in the county. Last, participants will be asked to comment on transportation alternatives proposed for study as part of the plan.

The latest project information, including population projections, travel conditions, and existing and committed projects, is posted on the Web site at www.elpasoMTCP.com. For more information about this project or the upcoming workshops, call the project information line at 659-3941.

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Volunteer opportunities available

In February and March, Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition (CCWC) is forming small teams for indoor natural resource data collection related to potential wilderness areas. Training, task checklists, and forms for data recording will be provided. For details, check the CCWC Web site at www.ccwcwilderness.org, come to the Feb. 12 CCWC meeting, or contact John Stansfield, 303-660-5849 or jorcstan@bewellnet.com.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society hosts John Fielder

Renowned photographer John Fielder will present highlights from his new book, John Fielder’s Best of Colorado, at the Palmer Lake Historical Society (PLHS) meeting on Feb. 19. Fielder’s new book will be available for sale and he will sign it and any of his books that you bring along. A portion of the book sale proceeds will be donated to PLHS. All are invited to this free event at the Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley Crescent, at 7 p.m. For more information, call Sam DeFelice, 481-8623.

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Gleneagle Women’s Club Annual Charity Dinner & Auction

The Gleneagle Women’s Club annual charity dinner/auction will be held Feb. 20 at the Air Force Academy Officers Club from 6 to 11 p.m. The theme this year is "Colorado Cowboy Chic." That means get out your western duds and get ready for a Colorado hoedown! All proceeds go to local charities. Get your reservations in to Sherry Edwards at 488-1044. For more information, call Mary Kay Jones at 488-0653.

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Library Channel airs local program

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 Feb. 20, 21, and 22 at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11 p.m. Tri-Lakes Today normally airs the third weekend of each month.

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Casino Night and Silent Auction in Palmer Lake

A Casino Night and Silent Auction is planned for March 5, 7 p.m., at the Pinecrest Events Center, 106 Greeley Blvd., in Palmer Lake. Proceeds from the event will go to the Palmer Lake Fire Truck Fund. Silent auction prizes include a week’s stay in Cancún, a $600 spa package, and gourmet hors d’oeuvre trays. Admission is $5. For information, call the Palmer Lake Town Office at 481-2953.

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Monument Library Saturday Book Sale

Stock up on lots of good reads at the Tri-Lakes Friends of the Library book sale on March 6. The sale will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Monument Branch, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. Fill a bag with books for only $3. Also, in celebration of the 100th birthday of Dr. Seuss, stories will be read to children for 100 minutes, beginning at 1:30 p.m. For information, call 488-2370.

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Chamber music concert at TLCA

The Hausmusik Quartet.
Top: Rebecca Lee. Left to right: Jennifer Yopp, Tim Adian, Cynthia Robinson
Photo provided by the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts

The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts presents an evening of chamber music, from the baroque to the 20th century, on March 6. Hausmusik Quartet, a string quartet comprised of members of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, has been performing chamber music for 11 years. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30. Admission is $12 for TLCA members and $15 for non-members. The center is located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. Visit www.trilakesarts.com or call 481-0475 for more information.

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Chamber Dinner Open to All

The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring its annual dinner and silent auction on March 13, at the USAFA Officers Club. Guest emcee Captain Dan from "K-Lite" (KKLI, 106.3 FM) will add a bit of splash to the Caribbean-themed party, and a special disc jockey will play dance tunes from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Dinner and a silent auction will round out the event. Dress is, of course, Caribbean (or business casual). Everyone is invited—chamber members and non-members. Call the chamber, 481-3282, for more information.

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AARP driver’s safety course for seniors

Brush up on the rules of the road and earn discounts on your insurance by taking AARP’s 55 Alive Driver Safety Program. Students must attend both classes, on March 15 and 16, noon to 4 p.m. Advance registration and a $10 fee are required. Classes fill up, so register early. Classes will be held at Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. For information, call 488-2370.

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