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Our Community News - Home Vol. 4 No. 6 - June 5, 2004

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County Planning Commission recommends denial of Wal-Mart. Final decision to come at county commissioners’ hearing July 15 June 24.

View photos of the Wal-Mart Hearing May 11

Web site exclusive: Download the planning commissioners' packet for the PUD rezoning (3.3 Mbytes, 19 minutes at 28.8)

Web site exclusive: Download the planning commissioners' packet for the Preliminary Plan (257 Kbytes, 2 minutes at 28.8)

By John Heiser

On May 11, at the conclusion of a six-hour hearing during which 23 people spoke in opposition to the proposed Wal-Mart, the El Paso County Planning Commission voted 7-1 to recommend denial of rezoning the 30-acre parcel on the south side of Baptist Road, directly across from King Soopers.

That recommendation will be forwarded to the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners, who will hold a public hearing and make a final decision on the project Thursday, June 24July 15,  9 a.m., at the County Building, 3rd Floor Hearing Room, 27 E. Vermijo.

The Request

The specific request is for approval of rezoning the parcel from R-4 to planned unit development (PUD) and approval of a preliminary plan for the site.

The proposal is for a 24-hour supercenter with a 203,091-square-foot (4.7-acre) store that includes grocery, drive-through pharmacy, garden center, and six-bay tire lube express. There would be parking for more than 1,000 cars. The store would be at the eastern part of the parcel, with the parking lot to the west. It would occupy Lot 1 (about 24 acres).

Lot 2 (about 1.4 acres) on the northwest corner is proposed to be a Wal-Mart gas station.

Drainage from the approximately 25 acres of impervious area would be collected in Lot 3, a roughly 1.7-acre detention area on the southeast corner of the parcel.

Three points of access to the store are proposed. At the western edge of the proposed development, there is a full-motion intersection with a traffic signal at Jackson Creek Parkway and Baptist Road. The plan calls for two entrances off the extension of Jackson Creek Parkway south of Baptist Road. The third access to the store would be a right-in/right-out directly onto Baptist Road toward the mid-point of the parcel. That access would be about 275 feet west of the right-in/right-out access to the King Soopers shopping center.

County Planning Presentation

Carl Schueler, manager of the county planning division, noted that the current R-4 zoning and associated master plan was approved in 1976. He said, "The plot plan showed medium-density multifamily uses that would not allow a commercial use of this type."

Schueler added that the appropriate county zoning for a regional commercial use like the proposed Wal-Mart is Planned Business Center (PBC), the county’s most intense commercial zone district. However, he said even though there is nothing non-standard or unique about the application typically part of a PUD rezoning, planning staff recommended the applicant request PUD zoning because they felt conditions on the project, including building design, could be more effectively enforced by the county.

Schueler said, "This store needs urban level services, especially police protection. The applicant needs to make the case against annexation [to Monument]."

Noting that the traffic impact analysis predicts 13,500 new vehicle trips, Schueler said, "There are immediate site compatibility issues. This would create a significant amount of additional traffic. Traffic intermediate term is problematic. From seven lanes at the [Jackson Creek Parkway and Baptist Road] intersection you get to the two-lane span of I-25." The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has acknowledged that public funding for improvement of the Baptist Road interchange may not be available for a decade or longer.

Regarding comprehensive plan compliance, Schueler cited the general urbanization of the area, including "much more residential and commercial development in the Jackson Creek area north of the site."

Schueler noted that about 300 letters, e-mails, and postcards in opposition to the project had been received from area residents.

He said the Town of Monument recommended denial of the request due to non-compliance with the county’s Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan, approved by the county planning commission in 1999. He also said the westernmost 60 feet of the 120-foot-wide right-of-way for the extension of Jackson Creek Parkway south of Baptist Road is within the town boundaries; the town contends, but the county disagrees, that the applicant must seek permission from the town to plat that roadway.

Schueler described the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO) as "the keepers of the Tri-Lakes comprehensive plan." He said that NEPCO has recommended denial. The letter from NEPCO in the planning commissioners’ packets said, "In consideration of traffic, neighborhood transitions, existing zoning, protection of property values, and water issues, the county should encourage the developer to relocate its proposed commercial operation into an appropriately zoned and planned site that is congruent with the county’s policy plan, the current Tri-Lakes comprehensive plan, the draft revised Monument comprehensive plan, long-standing expectations by residents, and present land zoning."

Generally, county planning recommends approval of requests brought to the planning commission; however, Schueler said that due to issues with the project, county planning made no recommendation in favor of or opposed to this request.

County Engineering

Paul Danley, of the county Department of Transportation, raised some concerns about the traffic impact analysis (TIA) and drainage reports submitted in support of the application:

  • Intermediate term impacts in addition to impacts in 2004 and 2025 were not included in the TIA.

  • Access to the church and parcels to the east is limited to right-in/right-out.

  • The 48-inch culvert under Baptist Road, proposed to be extended with the widening of Baptist Road, does not have the capacity for even the sort of storm likely to be seen every 10 years. Typically such culverts are sized to handle a 100-year storm.

  • Enlarging the culvert will probably require that the Baptist Road surface be raised. The currently planned road improvements in that area would be destroyed.

  • The plan for treatment of storm water runoff calls for standing water in the detention pond. Danley said detention ponds are not to have standing water in them. The water should be held and immediately released to adjacent parcels at no more than the historic rate. Schueler later added that the county Health Department’s position is that the drainage design must avoid stagnant water. He said, "It is a big deal with West Nile Virus."

Applicant’s Presentation

Design

Steve Wilson, president of CLC Associates, was the representative for the applicant. He introduced Denis Kelsch and Kevin Picanco of CLC Associates and Michael Semrick of Boice, Raidl, and Rhea Architects. He said Kelsch is the project engineer, Picanco is the traffic engineer, and Semrick is the architect for the project.

Wilson said Wal-Mart would like to open the store in spring 2005. He noted some of the design challenges, including the east-to-west slope of the 27.29-acre parcel. He said the site plan includes 30 percent open space and landscaping, and sidewalks along Jackson Creek Parkway and Baptist Road with potential connection to the Santa Fe Trail.

Wilson noted a Preble’s meadow jumping mouse habitat conservation arrangement has been worked out with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Included in that is acquisition of off-site habitat for preservation, inclusion of a 1.6-acre wildlife corridor along the south boundary of the parcel, lowering the light poles to 28 feet, and using full cut-off light fixtures to minimize light spillage onto the mouse habitat.

He said the light fixtures using 400-watt halogen bulbs would be the same as at the King Soopers shopping center. The light poles there are 20 feet tall. Schueler later added that the county’s Land Development Code limits light poles to 20 feet, although a waiver could be granted.

Semrick showed an artist’s rendering of the building and said it would feature a high-end design similar to King Soopers, with two colors of masonry brick and stucco.

The PIC

Peter Susemihl, attorney for the Triview Metropolitan District, said, "Federal law allows financing and construction of public improvements using a Public Improvement Corporation (PIC), sometimes called a Public Facilities Authority. One reason for going to the county with this project was that the county allows us to establish a PIC and get the benefit of a sales tax. Triview authorized formation of the PIC and has an agreement with Wal-Mart."

Susemihl then said that of the initial 3 percent retail sales fee, Triview would get half and the other half would be used to pay off the PIC debt. The agreement approved by the Triview board at its May 28, 2003, meeting actually sets Triview’s portion at one-fourth, with three-fourths going to pay off the PIC debt. Susemihl said, "There would be no liability to the Triview district for payment of the [PIC] bonds."

In response to a question from planning commission chair Joe Salute regarding accountability of the PIC to voters, Susemihl said, "It is a private corporation. The three- or five-member board can reappoint itself." As a private corporation, public records and open meetings laws do not apply to the PIC.

Commissioner Verlin Dickman asked why the store was not being proposed within the Town of Monument. Susemihl replied, "It became apparent that they didn’t want a Wal-Mart. There was a lack of commitment from the town to use tax revenues for road improvements."

Wilson added, "This is the location we have pursued since 1997. We looked at all four corners of that intersection. This is on the ‘go home’ side. We are not opposed to being annexed by the town. Formation of the PIC is a solution to the cost of building infrastructure. The three-to-four million [dollars] in bonds are to be purchased by Wal-Mart. The interchange design has been approved. This project may raise the priority of that being built."

Storm water and pollutants

Dickman asked Danley about the proposal to use the detention pond to remove pollutants from the gas station and parking lot. Danley replied that the design must meet storm water quality regulations, which might require oil-water separators.

Salute asked if Wal-Mart planned to monitor the operation of the pond. Wilson said no. Danley noted that there is a county requirement for verification that the pond is operating correctly.

Assistant county attorney Cole Emmons said, "Since there are serious water quality issues, I advise the county to not take on that responsibility. The applicant will have to address those and Environmental Protection Agency issues." Emmons later drafted an additional condition requiring that the applicant comply with county, state, and federal regulations and permits applicable to storm water runoff, discharge, and quality monitoring.

Wilson said Wal-Mart would agree to do maintenance on the detention pond. He added that details of the gas station’s site-specific pollution control measures would be addressed at final platting. He said, "We will mitigate the pollution issues the best we possibly can."

Traffic

Picanco described the road improvements to be implemented collectively by the Wal-Mart and Monument Marketplace projects. He said improvements specific to the Wal-Mart project include construction of Jackson Creek Parkway south of Baptist Road and the associated turn lanes, and construction of an additional eastbound lane on Baptist Road from Jackson Creek Parkway to Leather Chaps Drive. That eastbound lane would help accommodate traffic using the right-in/right-out Wal-Mart entrance on Baptist Road.

Picanco said a three-quarter intersection would be allowed at the church: Right-in/right-out turning movements would be allowed from eastbound Baptist Road, and left-in movements would be allowed from westbound Baptist Road. Drivers who want to go west upon exiting the church as well as the houses to the east of the church would have to turn right, go east to Leather Chaps Drive, and make a U-turn.

Commissioner Robert Roulier expressed concern about a design that relies on U-turns as a normal traffic pattern.

Danley added, "Access to the church has been a recognized problem for some time. Any development of the 30-acre parcel would trigger some restrictions on traffic flow." The original Wal-Mart site plan submitted to the county showing a 186,245-square-foot store had included a roadway on the south side of the property that would have provided access to the church and the other properties to the east.

When contacted later, Danley said that the access road was determined to be impractical due to the grades involved but agreed that a less intense development of the site would permit an access road through the parcel that could meet county standards.

Wilson noted that once Jackson Creek Parkway is completed north of Baptist Road, northbound Struthers would be closed except for a cul-de-sac providing access to the Foxworth-Galbraith store. Access to that cul-de-sac would be restricted to right-in/right-out access from westbound Baptist Road.

Regarding the merging of seven traffic lanes near the store down to two lanes at the interchange, Wilson said, "This [Baptist Road interchange] is going to be a mess until major infrastructure improvements are built." He suggested motorists would avoid it by using Jackson Creek Parkway.

Opposition

Kingswood resident Phil Weinert said, "Baptist Road is one of the most dangerous roads you can imagine." He also expressed concern about the potential regrading of Baptist Road and its impact on Kingswood properties and the effect on area wells. He said, "The aquifers are interconnected. There is no way to take water out of the lower aquifers without impacting the upper aquifers. My well has run dry more than once." He concluded, "Approval of this project would send a message that the interests of the people here now be damned."

Fox Run resident Jim Kendrick presented a detailed list of 53 issues with the project that would be resolved by moving the store to the 200,000-square-foot pad site at the Monument Marketplace.

Steve Sery, a Chaparral Hills resident and member of the county planning commission who recused himself from voting on this project, cited numerous incompatibilities of the proposed rezoning with the master plans for the area. He described the store as "jammed into the site."

Roger Rostvold agreed, "The site is really too small for the store." He likened it to a size-10 foot in a size-8 shoe. He characterized as specious Wilson’s claim of 30 percent open space and landscaping.

Family of Christ Lutheran Church trustee Ron Doolittle said the proposed restricted access to the church would be a hardship since three congregations and numerous other activities are held at the church. He expressed concern about the placement of the security fence at the top of the east retaining wall many feet below the level of the church.

Adjacent property owner Deb Grandia presented an appraisal of her house. She said, "Approval of this zoning change and construction of this store will destroy our property value and make re-sale virtually impossible."

Citing the impact of delivery truck traffic, noise, and light pollution, adjacent property owner Janet Turner said, "This proposal is not in the best interest of the surrounding area. There are better locations available. They have attempted to cram an enormous building on a small site causing tremendous negative impact to the existing properties."

Chaparral Hills resident Les Montevaldo said he and his wife are trying to sell their house and have had to drop the price because of the Wal-Mart proposal.

Adjacent property owner Dale Turner took issue with Susemihl’s claim that the applicant went to the county so they could use a PIC. Turner said a PIC could be used within the town just as well. By analyzing population densities in the Tri-Lakes area, Turner said he concluded that the assumptions in the traffic study would require that everyone east of the store must visit the store at least 1.5 to 2 times each day. Turner said the purpose of those assumptions was to reduce the predicted impact on the Baptist Road interchange. Turner said, "The assumptions in this traffic study were designed to intentionally mislead the county and the commissioners." Turner also showed sight lines from the adjacent properties. He said the proposed landscaping would do little in the way of screening.

Janice Horne showed photos of existing traffic backups on Baptist Road and the interchange.

Steve Waldmann questioned the credibility of the proponents. He noted that the Chapel Hills Wal-Mart is 12 minutes away, not 20 minutes as stated by Wilson. Waldmann scoffed at the notion that a little vegetation in the detention pond would adequately treat the pollution washed from the gas station and parking lot.

Bud Warner questioned the ability of the sheriff’s office to respond to the one-to-three police calls per day typical of Wal-Mart stores. Susan Gates added that it took the sheriff’s department more than an hour to respond to reports of gunshots on her property.

Noting that the Monument Planning Commission and Monument Board of Trustees never heard the project, Rick Sonnenburg, Monument town manager, said Susemihl’s accusation that the town rejected the Wal-Mart is "not a fact." Referring to the extension of Jackson Creek Parkway south of Baptist Road, Sonnenburg said, "Any developer that wants to install a road within town limits needs to go through our planning process. I have heard no compelling legal advice to the contrary. This is a major concern of our board."

Sue Wielgopolan said, "A well-planned community is a desirable community. We support the county’s comprehensive plan, which means retaining the current zoning. In this case, involvement means opposition to a bad idea. This project’s shortcomings far outweigh its benefits. Don’t let Wal-Mart’s hunger for profits hurt our community."

Chaparral Hills resident Betty Coombs said, "The bottom line for Wal-Mart is that this site costs a lot less than one that is properly zoned and planned. Is it right for the government to give them an edge over their competition?"

Rebuttal

Wilson said the expansion from a 184,000-square-foot store in the original proposal submitted to Monument to the present 203,000-square-foot plan was due to internal policy changes at Wal-Mart.

He said, "The traffic study has been reviewed by county staff and CDOT. Everybody agreed as to what was needed to get the roadway to an acceptable level of service. The interchange will be a bottleneck."

He stressed that this is a land-use issue, not a "Wal-Mart issue." He added, "The character of the area has changed and continues to change."

Citing the 30 percent open space and landscaping, he said, "There is more than enough land area for a facility of this size."

He concluded, "We have come a long way with staff and can address the issues."

The Vote and Commissioner Comments

Roulier made a motion to recommend denial, seconded by commissioner Will Brown. The motion passed 7-1, with commissioner Dennis Hisey casting the lone dissenting vote.

Commissioner Barbara Wait said her vote was based primarily on concern for the quality of life for the adjacent property owners.

Commissioner Robert Schrader said, "Too many questions haven’t been answered."

Dickman said, "It seems to me that there is a very attractive alternative solution. That would be in the long-term best interest of the community, rather than overbuilding on this site."

Hisey, who voted for the project, said, "Traffic is an overriding concern. This is our best shot to get the roads upgraded."

Salute said, "The basic test for a rezoning is that it furthers the master plan. This project does not. I don’t think this is the right site. This is a square peg in a round hole."

**********

For more information on this project and to provide comments, contact Carl Schueler, Manager, El Paso County Planning Division, 520-6300, CarlSchueler@elpasoco.com. Mail comments and questions to the El Paso County Planning Department, 27 E. Vermijo, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903-2208.

The Coalition of Tri-Lakes Communities has scheduled a community meeting to discuss the project on Sunday, June 13, 2 p.m., at the Lewis-Palmer High School auditorium.

Additional information on the project is available at www.ourcommunitynews.org/top_stories.htm#wal-mart and www.CoalitionTLC.org/wal-mart.htm or by calling John Heiser at 488-9031.

View photos of the Wal-Mart Hearing May 11

Web site exclusive: Download the planning commissioners' packet for the PUD rezoning (3.3 Mbytes, 19 minutes at 28.8)

Web site exclusive: Download the planning commissioners' packet for the Preliminary Plan (257 Kbytes, 2 minutes at 28.8)

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Memorial Day at the Monument Cemetery

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County planning commission meeting May 18

By Steve Sery

An application for a Use Subject to Special Review for the Tri-Lakes Montessori Academy was expected to involve a lot of discussion. The school, currently with approximately 150 students, is located at the corner of Highway 105 and Furrow Road, adjacent to Woodmoor, Timberview, and the Timbers. The proposal is to build two new buildings, increasing the potential enrollment to 525 students. Hope Montessori, a firm that currently has two schools in Colorado Springs, would acquire the school.

The school and the principal of Hope Montessori had already met with neighbors to resolve various issues. The result was that the president of the Timberview Homeowners Association supported the application, and there was no opposition. Because both sides worked out issues prior to coming before the planning commission, the application was in short order unanimously recommended for approval.

The only item of contention at the meeting was vacation of an easement for a so-called taxi way at the Meadow Lake Airport. While this type of item would normally have been quickly approved, the hearing took 2½ hours and resulted in a recommendation for denial.

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Special District Election Results

By Jim Kendrick

The following are scheduled to take office at the first regularly scheduled meeting for their respective districts in May.

Donala Water and Wastewater District: Dale Schendzielos (71 votes) and incumbent Ed Houle (59) won four-year terms. Charles Schmidt got 38 votes, Teena Barager 28, Tom Wall 20, and Mark Moore 14. Charlie Coble, Dennis Daugherty, and Don Pearson have two years remaining on their terms and were not up for election. Bill Nance is stepping down.

Donald Wescott Fire Protection District: Joseph Potter (90 votes) and Brian Ritz (97) won four-year terms. David Cross (75 votes) and Kevin Gould (75) won two-year terms. All but Cross were incumbents. Vincent Schauer received 47 votes. Dennis Feltz has two years remaining on his term and was not up for election.

Monument Sanitation District: Jeremy Diggins (25 votes), Lowell Morgan (21), and Glenda Smith (26) were elected. Ed Delaney and Connie DeFelice have two years remaining on their terms and were not up for election.

Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District: Keith Duncan (52 votes) and John Hartling (40) won four-year terms. Jim Lipper received 39 votes. Rick Barnes, John Hildebrandt, and Charlie Pocock have two years remaining on their terms and were not up for election.

Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District: Si Sibell (299 votes) and Rod Wilson (260 ) won four-year terms. Bob Hansen got 251 votes. Jeremy Diggins (261 votes) won a two-year term. Tom Conroy received 259 votes. Bob Harvey and Russ Broshous have two years remaining on their terms and were not up for election.

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May 8 NEPCO meeting featured discussion of county and Monument planning

By John Heiser

At the May 8 meeting of the Northern El Paso County Coalition of Community Associations (NEPCO), Carl Schueler, manager of county planning, and Mike Davenport, assistant Monument town manager and town planner, presented overviews of the land use planning process in each of their organizations and responded to residents’ questions and comments.

About 30 people attended the meeting. Numerous northern El Paso County homeowner associations and residential areas were represented at the meeting including Bent Tree, Chaparral Hills, Falcon’s Nest, Gleneagle, King’s Deer, Sun Hills, and the Woodmoor Improvement Association.

Schueler said the county is extensively revising its Land Development Code. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will hold workshops on the effort June 3, June 17, and July 1. There is more information on the county’s Web site at www.elpasoco.com. He said the goal is to complete the work by the end of 2004.

Schueler said the county has reorganized so the former Planning Department is now a division within the Development Services Department. The two other divisions within that department are Engineering, headed by Paul Danley, and Customer Service, headed by Imad Karaki. Schueler said that when the reorganization is fully implemented, instead of working directly with a planner as in the past, developers would work with a project manager from the Customer Service division. Detailed questions would then be relayed to the planning and engineering divisions.

Schueler noted that as projects work their way through the process, the amount of discretion the county has diminishes. He said, "At the sketch plan, rezoning, or preliminary plan phase, the BOCC can say, ‘We don’t like it.’ At the final plat stage, if a project meets technical requirements such as water availability and road access, it is less appropriate to say no."

Davenport cited many similarities. He said, "Monument is revising its zoning and subdivision regulations in a very significant way. It is almost a complete rewrite."

He said that the revised regulations will encourage developers to deal with the biggest questions first, such as "Is this the right site for this project? Does it make sense in terms of the zoning, master plan, and compatibility with nearby land uses?"

Davenport noted that the town is experimenting with pre-application presentations. Prior to submitting an application, the developer presents the concept and gets a general reaction from the town and residents. He said, "The developer finds out early whether there are major problems with the project. They get a quick answer before investing a lot of money."

Woodmoor Improvement Association President John Ottino expressed concern that the traffic impacts of projects are looked at in isolation. He noted that Colorado Springs and Denver were recently judged to be among the worst cities of their size in the country in terms of traffic. He said, "Traffic is becoming unbearable."

Schueler described how traffic impact analyses (TIAs) measure the existing traffic and then superimpose vehicle trips generated by proposed developments. He said, "The art is the distribution of those trips." A list of required on-site and off-site improvements is then developed to mitigate the impacts.

Bob Swedenburg said, "It sounds reasonable, but something is broken. It is not working. The situation has gone from bad to worse."

Davenport noted that the county is revising its major transportation corridors plan. He added that several years ago, local jurisdictions worked together to develop a Tri-Lakes area transportation plan under a Heritage Grant. He said the Heritage Grant study showed that by 2018 the area would run out of residential land. It identified a series of road improvements needed to accommodate that growth.

Schueler said, "Roads are expensive to build, so plans generally assume a certain level of congestion."

In response to a question, Schueler said, "There is no funding scheduled for interchange improvements. The Baptist Road interchange doesn’t even work right now."

NEPCO President Dave Swanson asked how the county could consider approving projects such as Wal-Mart with major impacts on that interchange.

Schueler said, "The highest level folks at the county favor approving projects so the pressure gets so great on that interchange that it will have to be fixed."

Fox Run resident Dave Patton asked, "Why can’t the county stop approving projects until the infrastructure is in place?"

Schueler replied, "The county has almost no money to do road improvements. Since there is a pro-development culture and philosophy, the county is compelled to enter into development agreements. The way to get improvements done is to approve developments."

He gave as an example the improvements to Woodmen Road that partially resulted from approval of the Meridian Ranch and Bennett Ranch projects.

As another example, Schueler said, "Wal-Mart will absolutely make the connection south to Struthers Road. There is a lot of pressure to get development under way. Without Wal-Mart, there is nothing in place to complete Struthers Road."

Swanson expressed concern about the relaxation of road-building requirements placed on the developer of the controversial Struthers Ranch project that lies about three-quarters of a mile south of Baptist Road. Schueler said, "I agree with you." He described it as "a torture session for all concerned."

On October 15, 2002, when the county planning commission initially reviewed the Struthers Ranch project, the developer’s representative justified a many-fold increase in the density because the developer would pay for a major share of the cost for constructing Jackson Creek Parkway-Struthers Road from Struthers Ranch north to Baptist Road.

Following BOCC approval of the Struthers Ranch plan, subsequent rounds of negotiation and renegotiation with the county attorney’s office reduced that obligation to construction of a box culvert bridge and a portion of the road within the Struthers Ranch project—leaving no funding for the three-fourths of a mile of road from the bridge north to Baptist Road.

**********

For more information on NEPCO, contact Dave Swanson at 487-8530 or dcswanson@mindspring.com. NEPCO’s Web site is www.nepco.org.

Carl Schueler, Manager, El Paso County Planning Division, can be reached at 520-6300 or CarlSchueler@elpasoco.com. The county’s Web site is www.elpasoco.com.

Mike Davenport, Assistant Monument Town Manager and Town Planner, can be reached at 884-8013 or mdavenport@townofmonument.net. The town’s Web site is www.townofmonument.net.

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Monument Board of Trustees meeting May 3

By Jim Kendrick

Tommie Plank, owner of Covered Treasures Bookstore, was appointed trustee by the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) in a unanimous vote at the May 3 meeting. Plank will fill the seat vacated by Byron Glenn, who was sworn in as mayor on April 19. Also at the BOT meeting, the public hearing on the comprehensive update to Zoning and Subdivision Regulations was postponed at the request of Town Planner Mike Davenport. Trustees George Brown and George Case were absent. Bruce Waugaman, of Monument Boy Scout Troop 17, led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Plank appointed trustee

Plank has lived in the area since 1982 and served over 12 years on the District 38 Board of Education. She helped found the Historic Monument Merchants’ Association (HMMA) and has regularly attended BOT meetings as the HMMA representative. She has also attended numerous Planning Commission, Parks and Landscape, and town Comprehensive Plan sessions. She was appointed to serve the remaining two years of Glenn’s four-year term.

Wild Bob’s BBQ request continued

Owner Paul Lundeen requested approval for a hot dog cart, that would be removed each evening, at any qualifying location in town. Lundeen also asked that specific approval of any future requests regarding site plans be delegated to the town planning staff, as is done in Colorado Springs. Lundeen was unable to attend the meeting. Davenport noted that if the BOT agreed to Lundeen’s request for a "peddler-type" business license, then a separate change to the new kiosk-type business regulation would also be required. Under the new regulation, specific site plan approvals must be granted by the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees. This regulation was first approved for Karen and Tim Evans, owners of A Chick and a Windshield, a business operating in the parking lots of King Soopers and Safeway. Several of these businesses have been approved under the new regulation.

Davenport proposed a revision to the regulation that would allow the town planning staff to approve operation at a specific location only if:

  • The particular location meets all kiosk or mobile business requirements, including the minimum spacing requirement between kiosks and mobile businesses.

  • The required site plan is approved by the town planner and would be subject to all three types of public notice.

  • The maximum number of kiosks operated by one applicant shall be three within the town of Monument.

The restriction to no more than three locations was recommended by the Planning Commission. Lundeen obtained a state sales tax license, applied for incorporation, and submitted a business license application, contingent on town approval. His vending cart has passed all inspections and been licensed by the El Paso County Health Department as well as by the city of Colorado Springs.

Davenport noted that as little as a week would pass before a location approval and that there would be no restriction on how often the carts could be moved. Several carts could be located on a single parking lot such as King Soopers. He said all previous kiosk-type applications had site plans. Davenport further noted that this requested regulation change would not cover vendors in operation for one-time events, such as summer street fairs, because the event sponsor is responsible for conduct of vendors/peddlers and also for collecting all vendor/peddler sales tax. Drumm asked about adding a regulation prohibiting the cart from locating in front of Subway. Orten said that the BOT should not try to prescribe anti-competitive regulations. Davenport noted that the shopping center owner would control peddler locations to preclude damage to leaseholders, so the town need not be concerned.

The BOT voted unanimously to continue the application to May 17 to hear Lundeen’s answers to remaining trustee questions regarding the application. They would consider the effect of the required change in the new governing regulation before considering the comprehensive update to zoning and subdivision regulations.

Comprehensive regulation update

Although this agenda item was continued, there were several issues raised by new trustees on the history of the update, which has been considered by the Planning Commission and BOT for about a year.

Davenport said the comprehensive update was an attempt to pull together all land development regulations into a single document with common standards for all forms and drawings. Numerous tables that can be used as checklists for various approval processes were created to provide a structured approach that is understandable by applicants, town staff, consultants, and neighbors to developments. Inconsistencies between old regulations were mostly eliminated. A consolidated reference section was created that includes maps of districts and mouse habitat boundaries. A section on "big box" building standards and a reference section on all Monument Marketplace architectural standards was added. The number of pages to list the specific requirements and procedural steps was drastically reduced in this massive rewrite.

The result is a user-friendly document that guides people toward successful approval with checklists, rather than an array of differently formatted, seemingly unrelated regulations that mostly list only prohibitions and limitations. Topics are listed in alphabetical order with numerous cross-references to minimize redundancy. Guidelines for meeting other agency requirements such as fire inspections are now included as well. Davenport concluded that the new format makes it easier to fix the few remaining errors and to incorporate future changes and that it sets a new standard for accessibility. The Planning Commission approved the update in August.

In response to questions from Orten and Drumm regarding where changes had been made from the old regulations, Davenport noted that nearly every single page has changes in format and content. He said it would take him several months to create a document that listed each and every change. Orten then agreed that the changes were too extensive to show individually and did not need further BOT review. However, Drumm disagreed, insisting that he should have the opportunity to review all the changes. "I can wait to approve this to avoid problems down the road," he said.

Glenn responded that the staff was busy and didn’t have time to create the document. Mertz, who directed the Planning Commission review and approval process as commission chair, said Davenport had done everything the Planning Commission had asked of him during many hours of page-by-page review for several versions. Orten said that Monument is the hardest town in the county in which to get approvals due to the complexity of the old regulations and that the new document needed to be implemented.

The trustees voted unanimously to individually review the latest draft document (over 150 pages) and bring questions or comments to the May 17 meeting.

Appointments completed

The board unanimously appointed Glenn as director and former Mayor Betty Konarski as alternate director to the El Paso County Water Authority. Glenn and Konarski will also represent Monument at the Palmer Divide Water Group. Gary Barber, manager for the Water Group, requested Konarski’s continued service, citing the "time and energy she has devoted to the Colorado Water Partnership." He also wrote that she would be able to assist in the current effort to form a Front Range water conservation district. Town Attorney Gary Shupp was unanimously reappointed for one year, and the terms of his contract were extended without change.

School Resource Officer (SRO) Grant

Monument Police Chief Joe Kissell received unanimous approval authorizing him to finish work on a grant request for $125,000 that must be submitted no later than May 17. He said District 38 Superintendent Dave Dilley supports the grant request. A school district employee would be required to attend training with the new SRO; training costs for both would be covered by the grant. The grant would provide $41,667 for each of the first three years to help pay for an experienced patrol officer to serve in Grace Best Elementary and Creekside Middle Schools during the nine-month school year.

If it wins the grant, the town would have to provide a matching amount of $22,125 over the first three years and would be obligated to fully fund the SRO during the fourth year. The grant requires the SRO to spend 75 percent of duty time at the two schools each year, which would be a full-time job for the nine months school is in session. The SRO would be available for patrol or other duty in the summer months.

The grant money would free $125,000 from the salary account to help pay for hiring a replacement patrol officer for the first three years. Hiring a new officer for four years is a grant requirement. As with the SRO, there would be no grant money for this new-hire officer during the fourth year of the grant period.

The SRO would not serve Lewis-Palmer High School, which is outside the Monument town limits, and is serviced by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Kissell noted that the sheriff has a number of SROs who can be moved around the county to cover the high school.

The SRO would perform community policing in school buildings or on school property, working closely with school staff and students to:

  • Address crime and disorder problems, gangs, and drug activities in/around the school.

  • Develop or expand student crime-prevention efforts and community justice initiatives.

  • Train students in conflict resolution, restorative justice, and crime awareness.

  • Assist in developing school crime policy and recommend procedural changes.

  • Handle calls requiring police intervention and following through on investigations.

  • Serve as a liaison between the school and the Police Department.

Kissell indicated that he would continue the SRO position after the grant expires if conditions and available resources permit, supplementing his budget with other grants if possible.

Monument Lake Dam Mouse Habitat Mitigation

The BOT unanimously approved the final payment on this contract with Western States Reclamation, Inc. for $4,873.60. Western States reduced the final contract amount by $2,311.10, reflecting the deletion of a portion of the work originally called for at Dirty Woman Creek Park and the Monument Lake north beach. The total contract was $19,801.

BOT Orientation and Retreat

The board unanimously approved a schedule calling for two orientation sessions on May 10 and 24, preceded by tours of the Police Department building and Public Works water facilities. The retreat is scheduled for June 19 and is expected to last up to eight hours. A similar retreat was held at the start of Konarski’s term as mayor in late 2001 to help the board form goals and build an action plan to accomplish them.

Substitute Water Supply Plan (SWSP)

The Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) staff and board have taken the position that they will only allow the town to purchase water in order to refill Monument Lake, even though the SWSP has been approved and the town already has an agreement with CSU for a one-time refill plus replacement of lake water that evaporates, when CSU has excess water. However, CSU is 58,464 acre-feet short of their storage requirements and will be reluctant to sell water to Monument until that shortfall is eliminated.

Konarski met with CSU staff on April 20 to ask that water flowing into the lake from Monument Creek be allowed to remain and fill the lake. None of the small amount of water currently flowing in Monument Creek and through the dry lake bed is owned by the town. Water in Beaver Creek can only be used for augmentation. Before the purchase can be made, metering equipment will have to be installed where the creek enters the lake. Another unfortunate side effect of the low flow is that debris and silt have filled the drain basin and will have to be removed before the lake is refilled.

Chief Kissell will notify the organizers for the Triathlon that was to be held in town later in the summer that the lake will not be filled. There is no expectation of the lake being refilled soon if the drought persists, even with the recent approval of the SWSP.

Massage Therapy Licensing

Skrzypek asked the board to authorize her to seek a contract with the city of Colorado Springs to have their Massage Therapy Review Board review applications that the town receives. Skrzypek and Shupp advised the board that this would be a more effective alternative to forming and sustaining a qualified five-person town review board, considering the small number of applicants. Currently, four applicants are awaiting review. She also noted that Colorado Springs was having trouble filling positions on its review board. The BOT unanimously authorized Skrzypek to initiate negotiations for services.

Rural Transportation Authority (RTA)

Orten reported on the status of the countywide RTA initiative, a one-cent sales tax that would be used for a specific list of new roads and bridges (55 percent), roadway maintenance (35 percent), and a county transit system (10 percent). Glenn indicated that the town will discuss the possibility of forming a smaller RTA with Palmer Lake to keep all RTA revenue collected within the town. A decision is required by July 15 if the town is to participate in either option. The details of the countywide RTA list of capital improvements, evenly divided between the county and Colorado Springs at 20 projects each over 10 years, will not be available to the voters until mid-September. The RTA projects would be administered by Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments staff.

If the BOT opts to participate in the county RTA ballot issue in November and the town collectively votes against the RTA initiative, but it passes countywide, Monument residents will still have to pay to a one-cent sales tax for 10 years and 0.45 cents indefinitely thereafter. The same general scenario would apply to a Monument-Palmer Lake RTA, but the details of which capital projects would be funded, how long the larger sales tax would last, and relative sizes of the two tax components (no more than a total of one cent) would have to be defined by the BOT and Palmer Lake Town Council.

Orten also noted that there is no county funding allocated for Baptist Road improvements on both sides of I-25 listed on the draft RTA capital project list because the current plan is to require developers to pay for these improvements. Upgrade of the Exit 158 interchange of I-25 is completely separate from this option and has to be funded by Colorado Department of Transportation. There is no expectation of funding for the interchange improvement until 2010 at the earliest.

Other matters

A change order for $305 was approved 4-1 to cover the incremental cost for the new public address/recording system to connect to a phone. This would allow trustees to monitor meetings from out of town. Drumm voted no.

Drumm commented that the paving and striping on Old Denver Highway at Valley Ridge was unacceptable and asked the staff to recommend options to have the problem corrected.

Shupp noted that both concrete batch plant lawsuit trial preparations, Ready-Mix and Transit Mix, are moving forward.

For the third time in a row, Pegasus Transit did not attend a BOT meeting to give an overview of their plans to provide public bus service for the Tri-Lakes Region.

The meeting adjourned at 8:27 p.m. The next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on June 7 at Town Hall.

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Monument Board of Trustees meeting May 17

By Jim Kendrick

Doug Barber gave the Monument Board of Trustees (BOT) a pre-application annexation presentation on the Zonta Addition, Steve Plank and Luann Deklava reviewed District 38 high school program options, and the hearing on the Comprehensive Update to Zoning and Subdivision Regulations was tabled at the May 17 BOT meeting. The public hearing on the comprehensive update to Zoning and Subdivision Regulations was postponed at the request of Town Planner Mike Davenport. Once again, the hearing on Wild Bob’s BBQ, a kiosk-type business, was continued due to the absence of the applicant. Trustee Tommie Plank was absent.

Scheduled Guests

Lewis-Palmer District 38: Deklava and Plank reviewed the school board’s plan for evaluating new programs in a presentation on "The High School Experience." They discussed a seven-part Statement of Values that incorporates input and suggestions collected in a series of 34 community meetings (summarized as "We must teach today’s generation what they need for tomorrow, not what our generation needed for yesterday"). Suggestions included:

  • High expectations of academic success for all our students.

  • Course offerings and academic opportunities that prepare our graduates to compete in their worlds.

  • Curriculum that incorporates community resources to enhance the classroom experience, giving our graduates relevant experiences to assist them in school and career choices.

  • A school culture in which our students make personal connections and experience a personalized learning community.

  • A safe environment for our children.

  • Safety nets and programs for our students who might otherwise slip through the cracks.

  • Extracurricular opportunities that engage all our students.

  • The district has adopted three criteria based on this input:

  • Only approve solutions that provide equal educational opportunities for all our students.

  • Only approve solutions that support the statement.

  • Only approve solutions that address district-wide capital and operating needs.

The Web site www.lewispalmer.org has more information on these issues under "HS Experience"; all district taxpayers receive a newsletter that provides updates on these and other issues from D-38.

Since 1994, Lewis-Palmer High School graduation has improved from 93 to 97.5 percent and the dropout rate has fallen from 2.0 to 0.2 percent, while the number of students has increased from 975 to 1,681.

Mayor Byron Glenn asked if there could be more intramural programs. Trustee Dave Mertz asked if more vocational programs with options for work study and partner courses from Pikes Peak Community Colleges could be offered for students on non-college paths. Plank noted that new construction might require a bond issue and that expansion of commercial activity within the district might significantly increase revenue, but there are no solid growth projections. Board President Dave Dilley said the school was trying to add multi-use facilities and would decide no later than July 23 on whether to expand LPHS or build the second high school.

Monument Lake

Town engineering consultant Roger Sams of GMS, Inc. gave a history of dam repairs and land acquisition from the Lake of the Rockies campground, as requested by the BOT. The lake was drained to improve the dam to last hundreds of years and to improve spillway discharge down Monument Creek. It was found that some Lake of the Rockies facilities were on or very near town property. At the same time, land was obtained from the campground to make improvements to the shoreline that would improve right-of-way access and enable recreational opportunities around the lake shore to be built in the future. Since then, these plans have been significantly modified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rulings on mouse habitat preservation. The state has given the town the obligation to preserve the lake, but there remain no easy answers for refilling the lake as long as the drought continues. Colorado Springs reservoirs are below capacity, and the city will not sell water or permit water to be taken until their reservoirs are full. Full access to the lake’s shoreline via footbridges over habitat will be very expensive to create.

GMS Consulting Contract Renewed

The board unanimously approved a new annual contract with GMS for engineering services that started on June 1. The structure of the contract remains the same, with fixed rates on an as-required basis. The range of GMS hourly rates rose from $38-$104 an hour to $40 to $110 an hour for various levels of GMS staff.

Zonta Addition

Town Planner Mike Davenport and developer Doug Barber gave pre-application annexation presentations regarding the Zonta Partnership’s preliminary sketch plan; the presentations were similar to the ones previously given to the Planning Commission (PC) on May 12. Although Zonta does not plan to build on the 99-acre parcel—bordered by the Santa Fe Trail, Wakonda Hills, Beacon Lite Road, and Century Park—at this time, they did come to agreement with the Monument Sanitation District (MSD) on where sewer easements under the development’s future streets would be located.

The district plans to extend sewer mains across the parcel to the southern boundary of Wakonda Hills by the end of 2004. These mains would allow construction of mains in the western portion of Wakonda Hills that cannot be serviced by the Beacon Lite Road 12-inch collector line. Once the mains in Wakonda Hills are installed, MSD can offer residents the option to voluntarily connect to the sewer. About two-thirds of Wakonda Hills homes still have individual septic systems on one-acre lots that were grandfathered when the county increased the minimum lot size for septic to 2.5 acres.

(See the Monument PC article for more sketch plan details.)

Rex Miller of Century Park expressed concerns about loss of views to the north due to the apartment/condo complex at the southern end of the parcel. He said he was told that the area north of Century Park was wetlands and could not be built upon.

Roberta Jackson of Wakonda Hills said she was concerned about quality of life, traffic, and water issues, saying that since moving here 12 years ago, going home has been like being on vacation. She asked, "Do we really need this? Monument is not what it used to be."

Julian Drummond, also of Wakonda Hills, spoke against the projects, saying that the motive for MSD’s push to get sewers installed was to "suck our sewage or our money from us." He also said that there has been about 50 percent turnover in the homes since the last survey about whether or not people in the neighborhood wanted sewer service.

In response, Barber said that people who live by large, open, privately held pieces of land have to expect eventual development of that land.

Trustee Gail Drumm expressed concern about blockage of views and the Crystal Creek tributary wetland. Trustee George Brown asked about water availability and how the town would recoup the costs of a new well ($1.5 to $2 million) and treatment and storage ($600,000 to $1 million).

Glenn said the developer could pay for the well and storage through escrow. Tap fees for 130 dwelling units at $9,000 only generate $1.17 million. The town would only benefit from the extra water that is available if all four aquifers are tapped, however. Davenport noted that the purpose of the presentation was just to determine what the issues were, not the solutions. Glenn confirmed that all fire access issues are to be explored, particularly sufficient cul-de-sac turnaround room. He said that if the town annexed Beacon Lite Road, Barber would have to install curbs, gutters, and sidewalks.

Trustee Frank Orten asked how MSD was forcing the issue. Barber said that their preliminary sketch would not have been prepared had MSD not asked them where the best places for sewer easements would be. He added, "We’ll make a quality neighborhood that makes money or we won’t do it at all."

Trustee Dave Mertz said that annexation must benefit the town in the short and long terms, noting the lack of commercial development to generate revenue. He also said if the town did not annex the parcel, it would have no say in how the parcel was developed. Barber said he would investigate the option of developing his own water district.

Davenport concluded the Zonta presentation by saying its purpose was to consider whether or not this is the right location for the proposed use, citing the range of house prices and the large lot size for a development within the town’s borders. He also noted that a new well is not usually drilled until there is a long-term need to service 400 homes or if 85 percent of current well capacity is already allocated so tap fees have already been collected to finance the new well. However, this situation does not apply to the Zonta development, and the initial cost per new house for the well and storage is far higher than the town’s general criteria. The town may wish to require the developers to set up their own special taxing or local improvement district.

Pegasus Transit

The representatives for Pegasus did not show up for the fourth time in a row, and the presentation was canceled.

Comprehensive Update of Zoning and Subdivision Regulations

The board unanimously tabled the consolidation proposal, saying it should not be continued again. When the single document that includes all the numerous separate regulations is ready for review, the hearing will be advertised again. Since the document is over 150 pages, the board will need several days to review it prior to the hearing.

Wild Bob’s BBQ Request Continued

Owner Paul Lundeen again was unable to attend the BOT meeting. The BOT voted unanimously to table the application and will not consider it again until the zoning regulation consolidation has been completed. Lundeen’s request requires new changes in the comprehensive update that would have to be approved in a separate hearing in order to authorize his food cart business. If the board approves this kiosk-type business application and the required zoning regulation revisions, the town staff would be authorized to administratively approve the specific initial operating locations as well as any subsequent relocations to other parts of town.

Budget Report

The annual development fund has spent more money on Fourth of July and 125th anniversary activities ($5,000) than has been collected to date, but less than the budget for the year. Revenues should exceed the account’s expenditures soon. Sales taxes are down more than expected due to changes and continuing construction at I-25 Exit 161. The report was accepted unanimously.

Expenditures over $5,000

Sales tax revenue for Triview Metropolitan District was $13,688.85. The tax money is collected by the state, and then passed through the town treasurer to the district per the Intergovernmental Agreement between the two entities. Colorado Machinery was paid $6,757.41 for repair parts and labor to a town backhoe/front-end loader.

Public Works

The board unanimously approved $2,650 from the water contingency budget for scheduled water tank cleaning and maintenance performed by Inland Marine Services. They also unanimously approved repaving Old Denver Highway from Santa Fe to Buffalo Valley Path, following the installation of new town water mains under the road. These mains will run from the just-completed well 9 at the south end of Village of Monument to the treatment facility at well 8 by Beacon Lite and Second Street. A portion of this road is in the county, but the board felt it was best to do a single complete overlay to make this town entrance more attractive because there are no county funds available to overlay their portion of the highway. Wall said planned construction for this year would be deferred. There was general agreement that the current patchwork paving on Old Denver Highway was harmful to the economic well-being of the town.

In other matters:

  • Investigation to validate the new well 7 pump/motor and piping configuration continues.

  • Work on the booster pump station is completed.

  • The replacement automated control system (SCADA) is near completion.

  • Well 9 drilling is complete.

  • Water demand is increasing as summer approaches.

  • Beaver activity in Dirty Woman Creek under Old Denver Highway may become a problem.

  • A tree was planted in Limbach Park in recognition of Arbor Day, to help maintain the town’s status for Tree City USA recognition.

  • Summer help will be hired for routine park maintenance.

Police Department

Four employees participated in the Special Olympics Torch Run on mountain bikes. They picked up the torch at the Air Force Academy’s north gate at about 1:50 p.m. on May 26 and delivered it to a mounted policeman from the Colorado Springs Police Department at Eighth Street and Beacon Lite Road. They were joined by riders from Colorado and UCCS law enforcement personnel.

The department has taken delivery of a 2004 Chevrolet Impala patrol car and will take a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria out of service, transferring equipment to the new one as soon as possible. The department responded to 245 calls in April. There were 59 cases for the month, including 44 criminal, 4 traffic accident, and 11 incident cases, as well as 32 summons. There were 55 citations issued in 31 categories.

Goldwest Property Pre-Application Presentation

Goldwest proposed construction of senior citizen housing on the previously platted, but undeveloped, property across Adams Street from Grace Best Elementary School. It is bordered by the unbuilt First Street right-of-way to the north, the Santa Fe Trail to the east, and the unbuilt Lincoln Avenue right-of-way on the south. Goldwest would like to build 13 or 14 senior citizen one-story duplexes with two bedrooms and two baths and one-car garages between the units. They would cost about $250,000 and would include front and rear porches. This proposal would require a complete replatting of the block.

Goldwest would also consider moving forward with single family homes if required to do so, despite the small lot size in the current plat. Representatives said Goldwest currently owns lots 11 through 16 on the northeast corner of the block; it will purchase the remaining 10 lots if the proposal appears to fit within the town’s comprehensive plan.

Davenport said the possible issues for the board to consider were replatting, rezoning, and water. There are 16 lots platted currently, but the school has constructed a fence that encroaches on the west end of the three southwest lots (lots 6-8.) He said the 16 lots were legal when platted but are too small for today’s standards for single-family houses. The applicant would like to increase the density of the zoning, which is currently R-2. Current downtown regulations require stringent water conservation measures to meet the new regulations. Although the number of taps could increase from 16 to 26 or 28, Davenport said that senior citizen water usage is usually far lower than average, which would partially compensate for the small acreage and somewhat limited available water under the parcel. The state will not allow driveways across the Santa Fe Trail, which is contiguous with the east boundary of lots 9-16. Access on Adams Street is also complicated by the school’s short setback and the existing fence.

Their preliminary sketches showed a narrower-than-standard road running north-south down the center of the parcel, with access from the north from the First Street right-of-way. Town regulations provide narrower options called lanes or park lanes that might apply. However, the developer was agreeable to standard sized roads and smaller lots. Access from Second Street to the new block of First Street would be along Adams, north of the school building. The fence would not allow access to the Lincoln right-of-way at the south end of the proposed lane.

Davenport said this type of housing would be the kind that older senior citizens would seek in order to continue living in town. They typically only have one car and are not interested in yard maintenance and will accept 15-foot spacing between buildings. He added that while this type of housing is on the low end for square footage and yard space, it is not low end in cost. On the other hand, it is difficult to legally limit ownership to senior citizens. Young families might look at these as starter homes and use more water and parking than the design can support.

Lake of the Rockies issues resolved

Davenport reported that the staff had administratively approved an agreement regarding drainage onto Bob Mooney’s property from the Lake of the Rockies campground. That settlement was a condition of approval of the Lake of the Rockies PD Master Plan Amendment by BOT on Jan. 20. Both parties agreed to a minor modification of the conformation of the drainage swales that were specified in the original BOT conditions. Davenport approved these swale changes. Also included was a grading and drainage report that was approved by the town engineer. The six house lots on the north shore of Monument Lake that were originally shown on the amended master plan were deleted, though they may be considered at a future hearing. The campground’s RV storage area will be buffered and fenced.

Summer Intern

The board unanimously approved an administrative clerk to help the staff with peak planning review activity and authorized $5,500 for 12 weeks of work.

Retreat

The BOT retreat was rescheduled for June 12 at the El Pomar Center, by the Broadmoor Hotel, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m. to go into executive session on negotiations and a personnel matter. The next BOT meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on June 7 at Town Hall.

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Monument Water Billing Error

By Jim Kendrick

Town Treasurer Judy Skrzypek notified OCN on June 1 regarding the following information:

"There was an error in the Town’s water billing dated May 26, 2004. The billing date was not changed from May 20 to June 20. This error also generated the comment that your account would be disconnected if not paid. The current charges are due on or before June 20, and any previous balance is due upon receipt. Please also disregard the comment about disconnection. Town Treasurer Judy Skrzypek was responsible for the error and would like to apologize for her error and any inconvenience that this may cause. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Judy at 719-884-8015 or at jskrzypek@townofmonument.net."

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Monument Planning Commission meeting May 12

By Jim Kendrick

The Monument Planning Commission (PC) discussed annexation of the undeveloped/rural 99 acres between Wakonda Hills, Beacon Lite Road, the northern town limit, and the Santa Fe Trail as well as the 140-acre Wahlborg Addition southeast of Highway 105 and Knollwood. A standing-room-only crowd filled the meeting room, the kitchen, and both hallways. Many of the more than 60 people were nonresidents from the neighboring communities of Woodmoor and Wakonda Hills. All five sitting members of the PC were present; Commissioner Ed Delaney arrived after the vote on electrified fences.

The Monument Board of Trustees is requesting that volunteers for the vacancies created by the resignations of Bob Mooney and Tom Donnellan apply to Town Manager Rick Sonnenburg at 884-8012 or rsonnenburg@townofmonument.net. The board will schedule interviews so all volunteers appear at the same meeting, if possible.

Electrified Fences

Town Planner Mike Davenport noted that he had obtained technical information the commission had requested on April 14 during their hearing on changing town regulations to permit low voltage electrified fences within town limits. Julie McCearley, a resident of Jackson Creek, had an electric fence installed on her property when her house was constructed. Neighbor John Warren had asked to have the fence removed. She only became aware that there was a regulation against the fence during a review of the dispute over the fence. McCearley had requested the regulation be changed to allow her to keep her fence, citing concerns about her mother’s severe allergies to animals that might threaten her health if the Warren’s dog entered her property.

Town Engineer Tony Hurst recommended that if such fences are to be permitted, then they should be installed with a nonelectrical perimeter fence that would prevent a person being injured by the inner electrified fence. He suggested that an alternative might be to permit the use of ultrasonic devices that would deter pets and wildlife from entering a property. However, McCearley had expressed equal concern over children entering her yard and ultrasonic devices would have no effect on these occurrences.

McCearley stated she had been harassed by neighbors who were unhappy with the fence and asked the commission for a final decision so the matter could be resolved. She noted that she had never said the neighbors’ dogs had jumped the fence.

Warren read a statement that reiterated his concerns from the previous hearing that the fence was a hazard for pets and children and that its presence harmed neighboring property values, whether it remained illegal or not. He said it was pathetic that commissioners did not know or follow the rules regarding electrified fences and expressed chagrin that they did not appear to take seriously his petition against the fence signed by 40 neighbors. Delaney had previously acknowledged that his rural property within town limits had an electrified perimeter fence for about 13 years, though the power has been turned off in recent years.

Chad Randis, president of the Heights at Jackson Creek Homeowner Association, said the neighborhood covenants took no position on electrified fences. However, the association position was that electrified fences are not needed in residential neighborhoods.

Davenport noted that there are still rural properties with agricultural fences within town limits. He added that electrified fences are typically found only on agricultural lots of five to 10 acres or more in other Colorado counties. Commissioners Kathy Spence and Jim Thresher voted with Morgan in opposing a change in the regulation; Larry Neddo voted for the change.

Pacific Telecom PD Site Plan Amendment

Davenport said that Richard Miller of AFL Telecommunications, who represents Pacific Telecom, was seeking an amendment to the PD site plan for the single antenna pole and associated electronics building at 856 N. Washington St. north of Highway 105 by the dump site. The pole currently supports a wireless Nextel antenna array installed at 150 feet above ground level that supports communications in the Monument area. Sprint, PCS would like to add nine monopole cell phone antennas to this pole, 25 feet below the existing Nextel antenna array (125 feet above the ground) along with supporting electronic equipment on a new separate 10-foot-by-18-foot concrete pad next to the pad for the Nextel electronics. Davenport noted that adding an antenna array, rather than constructing a second pole of equal size, was less visually intrusive and more efficient. Neither antenna would interfere with the other’s transmit/receive capability.

The proposal was unanimously approved, 4-0.

Pre-Application Review of Zonta Annexation Proposal

Davenport reviewed the preliminary sketch drawing submitted by Doug Barber of Rawhide Realty for the Zonta Partnership, Ltd. The 99-acre parcel, zoned RR3, is between Beacon Lite Road and the Santa Fe Trail. The southern 14 acres are already inside the town limit and are part of the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District. The remaining 85 acres would have to be annexed and are in the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District. The sketch plan shows 85 single-family homes on 85 acres zoned PRD or R1 and 48 townhouses on the southern 14 acres zoned PRD or R3.

The purpose of the pre-application review is to identify potential issues and concerns that the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees might have before expensive engineering studies and design are performed, saving time and money for all involved. The goal of these two reviews, Davenport said, is to consider the question, "Is this the right proposal for this location?" rather than to make a decision on annexation.

History: One of Zonta’s partners was also a partner in the development of Wakonda Hills. The group does not intend to develop the land at this time. They are bringing the pre-application review to the town at the request of the Monument Sanitation District (MSD) for easements across the property in order to provide sewer service to Wakonda Hills residents. Currently, about one-third of those residents have petitioned for inclusion into the district and are connected to the sewer main that runs along the west side of Beacon Lite Road. However, the slope of the land does not allow western Wakonda Hills homes to be connected by gravity flow to the Beacon Lite main. The district would like to be able to connect these western homes to their system through the rural parcel and hopes to have all the Zonta mains installed by the end of this year. The district asked Barber to determine where the roads would be when the parcel is developed so the sewer easements would be underneath them.

Public Comment: Several citizens wished to speak and ask questions about the developer’s and the district’s construction plans.

Ed Montgomery asked how much development the aquifers could support. Davenport said that cooperative Tri-Lakes water studies show that most of the region can produce about 1.25 to 1.50 acre-feet of water per acre on average, roughly three times what is required for a single-family-equivalent home development, if the county well requirement of 100 years of water supply is used. However, if the town’s 300-year requirement is applied, the amount of water that can be adjudicated would be reduced by a factor of three, but would still be sufficient. The available supply of water for the Zonta parcel is estimated to be 140.9 acre-feet, far exceeding the requirement for the proposed development. Morgan added that there are no guarantees that the water will last 100 years in the county despite regulations.

Chuck Robinove said that while he thought the Zonta proposal included nice transitions, he preferred to remain on his septic system. There was some discussion about a petition to that effect signed by several Wakonda Hills residents. Robinove also expressed concerns about the cul-de-sacs being large enough to enable fire trucks to turn around and about the need for a traffic light at Highway 105 and Beacon Lite Road to handle the additional traffic, which might be too close to the proposed Safeway light. He claimed that the cost of connection to the sewer district is between $7,000 and $10,000. He did not like the name "Wakonda Hills Improvement Project" on the Zonta sketch plan. Later, Barber said he had used the contour map provided by MSD because it was the most accurate available and the title was the MSD title for the sewer main improvements.

(See the article on the Monument Sanitation District board meeting for accurate connection cost figures.)

Paul Catallo asked where the development’s access points would be located. Barber said they would be on Beacon Lite Road, and another access would likely be made through the existing Century Park development.

Joan Curry asked about the location of sewer easements near or on private properties. Davenport said the goal was to minimize the number of lift stations. She asked if this would mean all of Wakonda Hills would have to connect to MSD. Davenport said that the question should be presented to MSD, but he believed that owners would only have to hook up if their septic systems failed. He added that the sewer district is not part of the town government.

Rick Thorne expressed concern that the construction of two houses near his property would block his views to the north and that he had been told when he bought his house that the parcel was a wetland where houses could not be built. He also asked that a light be installed at Highway 105 and Beacon Lite Road, as did Penelope Adams who spoke next.

Linda Drummond expressed concern that her views would be destroyed by the construction and asked if annexation was the city’s goal. Davenport said the proposal was consistent with the town’s comprehensive plan, which was a good reason to look at it.

Mike Kopvcinski asked about the types of houses that would be built on this site. Mr. Barber answered that there are not details like that yet, as this is a "first shot" sketch plan and they were looking for such comments. He also added that he has been developing land for several years and wherever they have developed, the property values have always risen. He added that although MSD has the right of eminent domain, they wanted to work with Zonta in designing the sewer mains and stubs for each dwelling unit.

Barber concluded his responses to citizen input by saying that they planned to preserve the character of the land’s natural contours as much as possible, even though it would increase their costs. He said that access through Century Park was a requirement of the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District and that they had already approved the size of the cul-de-sacs for engine turnaround. A mouse/wetland study is under way.

Commissioner comments

Commissioner Kathy Spence asked about the relative density of the planned townhouses compared to neighboring Century Park. Barber said the density was the same or lower. Davenport noted that the mobile home park across Beacon Lite has a density of eight units per acre, far higher than the Zonta townhomes. She said she would like to see sidewalks along Beacon Lite. Davenport noted that the Parks and Landscape Committee recommended that a trail be built along Beacon Lite as well as a connection to the Santa Fe Trail. She later concluded that the proposal was a good plan, but she said she was concerned about the costs of providing town water, if annexed.

Commissioner Jim Thresher asked about the affect on town finances. Davenport said that, in general, purely residential annexations cost a municipality more than the taxes they produce over the long term, even though they normally produce an excess of revenue over expense during the first several years. The Zonta development would require a new well and treatment facility that would cost between $1.5 and $2 million, as well as a new storage tank that would cost between $600,000 and $1 million. Legal costs and other physical factors may increase the town’s expenses even more.

Delaney asked about the maximum height of dwelling units. Davenport indicated that the maximum is 35 feet, but Barber said no structure would be taller than two stories.

Morgan said the plan was "classy" but that current traffic on the dirt portion of Beacon Lite was excessive, particularly when people used it to avoid backups on I-25 and that it was hard to predict when a traffic light at Highway 105 would be funded. He wondered if Barber could afford to develop his own water distribution system if annexation was denied. Barber said the new construction would require that all lots be connected to the MSD sewer system.

The PC voted 3-2 for a favorable recommendation to the BOT, with Thresher and Morgan voting against the preliminary sketch plan.

Village Center at Woodmoor Annexation: Rezoning and Master Site Development Plan

Davenport gave the staff report on the annexation request for rezoning and developing the 140-acre Wahlborg Addition, an L-shaped ranchland parcel surrounded by developments. The parcel is southeast of Knollwood and Highway 105. Steve Shuttleworth of Zephyr Development was the principal representative for the applicant, WED LLC. The property, currently zoned RR3 (rural residential 5 acres) is owned by Dwight and Mary Wahlborg. The applicant is also proposing that the parcel be included by the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.

The proposed mixed use development includes three residential subdivisions (R1, R2, R3) totaling 342 dwelling units, a 330,000-square-foot commercial center on 48.4 acres at the northwest corner of the property, and roughly 27.5 percent open space and trails. The design proposes 182 units of attached patio homes on 22.8 acres in the center, 48 units of two-story homes ("first home or empty nester") with drive-under garages on 6.5 acres at the southwest corner, and 112 single-family homes along the south and east perimeter. The proposal includes 37.5 acres of open space and 23.4 acres of public land dedication. The patio home portion of the plat is not going to be developed soon, and a separate hearing was requested for that part of the development at a later date.

Proposal Review Comments and Concerns: The staff package included the following issues.

  • The 7.8 acre-feet detention pond is about 0.5 acres in size and would have to be at least 15 feet deep with vertical walls, which is not appropriate.

  • There remain concerns about the outfall of the drainage such as erosion and sedimentation.

  • Planned town growth will require additional police department resources in the future if current response times are to be met.

  • District 38 may need space for an elementary school, typically about 10 acres.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife indicates that mouse habitat is not present on the property.

  • A fiscal impact analysis will be prepared for review by the Board of Trustees to determine if there is sufficient commercial development to pay for long-term services.

  • Several required notes were missing from the combined preliminary/final site plan documents.

  • Does the Lutheran Church know it would also be annexed?

  • A majority of the residential lots are smaller than a half acre.

  • The residential density is 2.85 times that of Woodmoor.

  • District 38 cannot absorb all the new developments that are proposed within its boundaries.

  • Traffic will be worse.

Shuttleworth and Jerry Haire, the planning and design consultant from Pinnacle Design Works, presented a lengthy Powerpoint overview of their site plan. Shuttleworth thanked the staff for working with him over the past 10 months to meet all requirements. He said the proposal conformed to all the applicable zoning regulations and comprehensive plans and that it had less commercial density and fewer attached dwelling units than nearby town developments. Haire said the development had a 40-foot-wide trail buffer along the southern and eastern boundaries and a 100-foot-wide buffer between the higher density residential and commercial portions of the project.

The commercial buildings will have a mining town theme for their facades, which lets the roughly 100,000-square-foot main structure look like connected smaller buildings, regardless of how the interior is divided among tenants. The smaller retail buildings would have a similar consistent style. The entry on Highway 105 would be aligned with the entry to the Mormon church, and the west entry would be on Knollwood. Knollwood would be extended south around the starter/empty-nester homes, curving to the west to connect to Jackson Creek Parkway when the undeveloped parcel between this development and the parkway is developed.

Haire said these 48 houses were added to the plan in lieu of the previously planned 80-unit apartment complex in response to the request of District 38 for houses for their younger teachers. In response to neighboring homeowner concerns, there will be no residential street lights, and only split rail fences will be built around the perimeter and commercial areas.

Public Comment: William Brown said the 40-foot trail between the new and existing subdivisions would invite crime because they will be unlit. Lori Schumacher was also concerned about this and asked that agreements between the town and the developer be in writing.

Shuttleworth expressed surprise that people would find a nonmotorized hiking/biking trail undesirable and said that the perimeter trail could be eliminated by making all the perimeter lots deeper. Davenport observed that the creation of the parks, trails, and open space requirements in the town’s comprehensive plan had been developed through numerous public hearings over a three-year review and discussion period.

Wallace Unruh said that the 40-foot buffer was not wide enough and didn’t provide sufficient space between the developments. Everitt Smith said the buffer should be widened and that the commercial part of the development was too close to the homes. There will be commercial development on all four corners of the Highway 105 and Knollwood intersection.

Susan Shields, vice president of the Woodmoor Improvement Association, expressed concern that the development would block views and lower property values due to high density. She said the covenants should be the same as Woodmoor’s. Haire agreed to make the covenants consistent.

Chris Pollard said he was concerned that Woodmoor residents would have to share water with this subdivision when watering is already being restricted. He asked that the parks be designed so they would not require any watering or irrigation.

Kathy Imada expressed concern about property values declining due to the new houses and asked that trees be planted in the open spaces. (There are only a few trees on the pastureland now, by the two Wahlborg houses.)

Randy Ottoway said he is in favor of the 40-foot perimeter hiking path. He is also developing a commercial property at the corner of Knollwood and Highway 105 and expressed concern about how the costs he has already paid for road improvements would be divided among the four commercial properties at that location and when he would be reimbursed after the other developments are completed. He also expressed concern about when and how the highway would be widened and improved, based on the slow progress in improving the interchange at Exit 161. He was deeply concerned that, if not fairly apportioned, his share of the improvements would cost more than his property, since he has the smallest business and traffic load. He also wanted to know what Shuttleworth’s share of the road and light improvement costs would be. Davenport could not provide an answer at the time and said there would be negotiations before the improvements were made.

Jim McGuire, owner of the land at the northwest corner of this intersection, said he was in favor of the development as proposed and had only come to the meeting to make sure it would not be another Monument Villas. He asked the town to ensure that traffic, fire, and revenue needs were met in a way that would not harm the town’s finances.

Shuttleworth summarized the presentation and comments. He said he would make the covenants consistent with Woodmoor’s and would be happy to eliminate the trails and incorporate any modifications through written conditions. He said the addition is surrounded by urban and commercial developments. He asked the commission to vote in favor of the proposal. Morgan said this proposal was complicated and the thick review package had only been received two days before the hearing, not enough time to review it in depth. A motion to continue the hearing until the June 9 meeting passed unanimously at 10:10 p.m.

Wal-Mart at Monument Marketplace

Spence asked if the Wal-Mart would actually fit on the nominally 200,000-square-foot Pad A in lieu of the Baptist Road location. If so, she asked if the planning staff would be able to approve it or if it would require new hearings by the PC and BOT. Davenport said that the architectural standards for the Marketplace have been made part of the town’s zoning regulations and that the traditional facades Wal-Mart uses do not comply with these standards. If Wal-Mart wanted to use one of its standard facades, it would have to go through the hearing process with the PC and BOT to get a waiver. However, if Wal-Mart agreed to build a "non-standard" compatible façade that complied with the town’s regulations, then the town staff could approve the proposal administratively. To show how the process has already been effective, Davenport said the town required Home Depot to change the color of the orange stripe to comply with these regulations. The stripe was repainted using one of the approved colors, "Colorado Rust."

Davenport also said that the County Planning Commission’s 7-1 vote against approving the Baptist Road location, despite Wal-Mart’s several changes in its façade to make it more attractive, was instructive because nearly all the people who spoke against it said that Wal-Mart wanted to build its supercenter in the wrong place and that the Marketplace was a better location. Spence asked why the Wal-Mart could not be built across Baptist Road from the Total station. Davenport said that Wal-Mart would never agree to build on the west side of I-25 because 80 percent of its local customers would come from the east side and that location would be on the wrong side of the bridge over I-25.

There are no funds available for improving the Exit 158 interchange now or in the foreseeable future. No official has been willing to say that funds will be available before 2012—including from the proposed Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) funding that may be on the ballot in November. In the most recent iteration of proposed capital projects to be funded by the proposed countywide one-cent sales tax, the individual projects that comprise the Baptist Road "corridor" improvement have gone from top to bottom priority.

In other matters, Assistant Planner Tamara Nazario distributed a 14-page memo on Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Act of 2000 that Morgan had requested during the April 14 PC meeting. It was prepared by Town Attorney Gary Shupp.

An interim progress report from Tony Hurst on drainage along the railroad tracks along Old Denver Highway was also provided to the commissioners. At the April 14 PC meeting, nonresident Mike Watt had asked assistance from the town in controlling runoff, erosion, and sedimentation outflow along the railroad tracks and onto his property from the Santa Fe Trails and Peak View Ridge subdivisions to the north. Watt was concerned that any new development will add to the drainage-related problems he and the railroad have experienced.

Correction: OCN had incorrectly indicated in the May 1 edition that some sedimentation Watt had experienced may have come from the Village at Monument. OCN regrets the error.

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Monument Parks and Landscape Committee May 11

By Jim Kendrick

The Parks and Landscape (P&L) Committee started its annual Monument parks visitation tours at 5:30 p.m. on May 11 before holding its regular meeting at Town Hall. They began the tour by visiting Dirty Woman Creek Park and will finish the site visits on June 8. They also reviewed the landscape and open space plans for the Wahlborg Addition annexation and Zonta Partnership’s pre-application for future annexation. (The specific details of these two proposals are listed in the article on the Planning Commission meeting of May 12.)

All four members of the committee were present; one position remains to be filled. The commission has received three applications from nonresidents volunteering to be alternate members. An alternate, selected by the Board of Trustees, would be able to vote only if that person’s presence would create a quorum.

After the tour, the committee discussed current town issues and received updates on each from Town Planner Mike Davenport. They inquired about the town’s unsuccessful efforts to refill Monument Lake and the unexpected need to repair the new dam’s drainage that has become clogged by sedimentation. The dam was not designed to cope with drought. The committee made plans for seeking volunteers to contribute trees to be planted and maintained along the length of Second Street—despite not receiving a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant for that purpose—and expressed concern about being unable to irrigate other trees the town has planted. They also discussed how many lots remain downtown that could be used for building more shops and generating more revenue for parks and landscaping.

The regular meeting was convened at 7 p.m.

Wahlborg Addition

Steve Shuttleworth of WED, LLC has submitted a petition requesting that Monument annex 140 acres located by the southeast corner of Highway 105 and Knollwood Drive. The Wahlborg’s pastureland extends east along Highway 105 and south past where Knollwood dead-ends. Davenport explained Shuttleworth’s plans for commercial and residential development on the parcel and answered questions about water, road improvements, and the annexation process. The committee unanimously recommended two options for parks for the 900 residents who will live in the subdivision at buildout: a single large park, or three separate parks designed for each of the three distinct residential areas.

Zonta Partnership

Davenport explained that Doug Barber submitted his preliminary sketch for a pre-application review in order to coordinate the street location plans in the 99-acre parcel with the sewer easements the Monument Sanitation District (MSD) needs for service to Wakonda Hills. Barber has no immediate plans to build or seek annexation of the northern 85 acres of this rural pastureland between Beacon Lite Road and the Santa Fe Trail. Davenport said that MSD is building these sewer lines to be able to provide service to residents of western Wakonda Hills who want it. The committee unanimously recommended that Zonta be required to build a trail on Beacon Lite along the length of its eastern boundary that would further extend to the northeast corner of Wakonda Hills, as well as a trail connecting this new segment with the Santa Fe Trail.

Staff Report

Davenport covered the status of trail grants and the downtown entry, as well as a mouse update and the plans for BOT interviews of all three P&L candidates.

  • The state’s GOCO trail grant has not been awarded yet; the town scored 74 out of 100, but recently an 84 is the lowest score for an award. The town has obtained copies of previous winning grants to help better prepare requests for the next cycle, if unsuccessful this time.

  • Monika Markey continues to lead the efforts to get local business owners to donate trees for Second Street.

  • Three landscape architects have asked to bid on the town entry project for the southeast corner of Second Street and Highway 105; electrical power is available at the site for illumination of a sign.

  • Although U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has initiated a formal delisting procedure, it could take up to five years. The department has given out preliminary notifications for other species that may replace the mouse as endangered throughout the region.

  • Davenport also discussed the possible link between air pollution and trees being more susceptible to disease.

  • Committee chair John Savage recommended that Public Works create a parks manager position for the 2005 budget; this was unanimously endorsed.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m. The next meeting will be June 8, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall with the second half of the parks tours.

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Monument Police Advisory Committee meeting May 26

By John Heiser

At the May 26 meeting, the Monument Police Advisory Committee (PAC) elected Gasper Blea committee chair. Chief Joe Kissell said that Dan Gilliana, the former chair, is absent because the meeting night conflicts with classes he is teaching.

Much of the discussion during the meeting focused on future police stations to replace the current building. The committee recommended formation of a group to study the alternatives, including a combined new town hall-police station.

The group is to be comprised of Kissell as project manager, a police sergeant, a member of the PAC, the town manager, the town treasurer, and two residents.

Over the next year, the group will tour police facilities and develop recommendations to be considered by the Monument Board of Trustees. Kissell said, "We have a very supportive, understanding board."

Kissell reported that he has requested 200 square feet for a police substation within the combined fire-police station the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District is considering near the Monument Marketplace.

In other business, Kissell reported that the department has given away 75 to 100 of the 600 gun locks the department received. Monument residents are urged to contact the Police Department if they can use one of these locks. Blea said, "People are real pleased with them."

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For further information, contact Kissell at 481-3253 or jkissell@townofmonument.net.

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Monument Sanitation District board discusses additional sewer service for Wakonda Hills May 18

By Jim Kendrick

The new board for the Monument Sanitation District (MSD) was sworn in on May 18. Members immediately dealt with the concerns of seven Wakonda Hills residents who attended the meeting to seek information on plans to extend the district’s sewer lines to the southern boundary of their subdivision by the end of this year and then into the western part of their neighborhood in the future. No district constituents or other citizens attended.

After swearing in new board members Jeremy Diggins, Lowell Morgan, and Glenda Smith, Board President Leon Tenney said this was his last day in political office. Tenney was term limited and not eligible for re-election. He and former board members Darwin Dimmick—who had served since 1972 but became term limited by the recent change in Colorado law—and Steve Wilcox received plaques honoring their service.

The new board elected incumbent Connie DeFelice president, incumbent Ed Delaney treasurer, and Smith secretary. Most of the nearly three-hour meeting was taken up with signing required forms and discussing duties. District Manager Mike Wicklund gave an overview of the board’s responsibilities in setting policy and providing review and oversight.

Tenney noted that the district is now in excellent financial shape and developing effective short- and long-term plans for the needs of residential and commercial properties for its current and future constituents. There is over $1 million in cash reserves for planned capital investments. Wicklund discussed the financial history of the district over the past two decades. He also reviewed the operations at the joint use Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Plant and the shared ownership agreements with Monument Water and Sanitation District and Palmer Lake Sanitation District.

Infrastructure Expansion Background

Wicklund said that MSD has been studying ways to provide sewer service to property owners beyond its current northern district boundary for several years.

There is an existing MSD sewer main that runs along the west side of Beacon Lite from Highway 105 to the northeast corner of Wakonda Hills. Many property owners in the eastern portion of this subdivision have requested voluntary inclusion by MSD and are already connected to this main. Some of the citizens in attendance said they did not know this. The district would also like to offer voluntary sewer connections to residents on the west side of Wakonda Hills, but they cannot be connected to the Beacon Lite main in a cost-effective manner due to the slope of the terrain.

MSD is in the preliminary planning phase of designing gravity-driven main sewer line placements for western Wakonda Hills as well as efficient locations that would enable connections to existing lines through the rural property between Wakonda Hills and the north boundary of the district, which is called the Zonta Addition. The majority of Wakonda Hills main sewer lines would be installed under existing roads. MSD is also looking at alternatives for connecting to the lines being installed on the Zonta parcel.

In order to most efficiently expand MSD main sewer lines to western Wakonda Hills lots, Wicklund recently asked developer Doug Barber, of Rawhide Realty, how the 99-acre rural parcel, owned by the Zonta Partnership, would be developed. The Zonta parcel is bounded by Beacon Lite Road to the east, the Monument town limit to the south, the Santa Fe Trail to the west, and Wakonda Hills to the north. Barber is currently proposing construction of single-family homes on one-acre lots and a small apartment building complex on the southeast corner of the parcel, both of which would require sewer service.

Although Barber has informed MSD that Zonta does not plan to develop their parcel for several years, Wicklund and Barber currently plan on having the parcel’s main sewer mains installed by the end of this year. They agreed that the mains should be placed in deep trenches that would be under the future location of Zonta’s roads. Barber had made a pre-application presentation for possible annexation and rezoning of the northern 85 acres of this parcel by Monument at the town’s Planning Commission meeting on May 12 and the Board of Trustees meeting on May 17. The southern 14 acres already lie within the town’s northern boundary.

Several Wakonda Hills residents had attended those two Zonta pre-application presentations and had questions about how and where the sewer lines might be further extended into their subdivision. Currently, individual wells and septic tanks or mound systems serve their one-acre lots. At both town meetings, it was suggested that residents attend this MSD board meeting since the town has no jurisdiction over the proposed sewer lines.

Public Comment

In response to questions about costs during the public comment portion of the meeting, Wicklund said that submitting a petition for inclusion by the district would continue to be voluntary and optional. The expense of the $4,500 tap fee could be spread out over 200 months of interest-free payments, and they could receive up to $1,000 credit for the cost of excavation and connection to the MSD stub. This would reduce their monthly MSD payment to as low as $17.50 plus the standard $20 user fee. Wicklund promised that all the details regarding inclusion/tap fees, expiring mill levy taxes for a soon-to-be-paid-off bond, and options regarding connecting to MSD sewer lines will be mailed to every Wakonda Hills resident as soon as possible.

In other matters, the board discussed future lease rates for tenants in the MSD building and progress on the audit for 2003. The audit report should be presented to the board at its June meeting. Board members were encouraged to attend the Special District Association conference in Steamboat Springs in September. The board also approved fees to be paid for judges at the May 4 election.

The next board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the District Office on June 15.

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Triview Metro Board meeting May 27

By John Heiser

At its regular meeting May 27, the Triview Metropolitan District Board of Directors filled the vacancies on the board, elected officers, discussed the status of various developments within the district, and reviewed a draft operational agreement with the Wal-Mart Public Improvement Corporation (PIC).

Composition of the board

There was a bit of confusion at the beginning of the meeting because Peter Susemihl, attorney for the district, said existing board members’ terms, in particular Julie Glenn’s term, expired on the day of the election May 4. With that interpretation, a quorum was not present and the meeting could not be called to order. To overcome that difficulty, the meeting proceeded under the usual interpretation that board members serve until the oath of office is administrated to their successors.

Susemihl administered the oath to Charles Burns and Steve Stephenson who, as two candidates for three positions, were declared elected to four-year terms at the March 24 meeting.

Glenn, wife of Monument Mayor Byron Glenn, was reappointed to fill the position vacated by Linda Jones’ February resignation. That resignation came too late for the position to have been included in the May election.

Jackson Creek resident and former Monument Planning Commission member Joseph Martin was appointed to fill the remaining vacancy.

Officers were elected by unanimous consent.

Triview board members and officers are now:

Steve Stephenson, President
Charles Burns, Vice-President
Julie Glenn, Secretary-Treasurer
Martha Gurnick
Joseph Martin

Of these, Glenn and Martin were appointed; Burns, Gurnick, and Stephenson stood for election, but only Gurnick faced any opponents for the post.

Aside from the directors, no other Triview district residents were present.

Ron Simpson, manager of the Triview district, was reappointed assistant secretary-treasurer.

Stephenson expressed appreciation to Gary Walters and Kathy Walters for their eight years of service to the district as directors.

The first of several orientation work sessions for board members was scheduled for Saturday, June 5, 9 a.m.

Monument Marketplace status

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

  • Wells Fargo Bank: The branch within the Marketplace is expected to be open by the fall.

  • Jackson Creek Parkway: Paving is to be completed by the end of May. Striping is to be completed by June 3. A $258,000 landscaping contract has been awarded to Timberline Landscaping. They are to start work the first week in June. The parkway is scheduled to be open to the public by the middle of June.

  • Leather Chaps Drive: Paving of the extension is to be completed by the middle of June.

  • Delivery of street light poles has been delayed until the second week of June.

  • Construction of the sewer line to serve the Marketplace is "a nightmare." Another Qwest fiber-optic cable has been encountered in the Baptist Road right-of-way, bringing the total to 11. The resulting delays have added $15,000 to the project cost.

  • The fire district is developing a design for a combined Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District fire station and Monument Police Department substation near the Marketplace site. The police portion would be about 200 square feet.

Leather Chaps median

In response to a question, Simpson said there is no median on Leather Chaps Drive near Baptist Road because the intersection may have to be lowered once Baptist Road is regraded. The conceptual design prepared for the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority calls for substantial regrading of Baptist Road from I-25 to Tari Drive. There is no identified source of funds for much of that work.

WWTF

The Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWTF) is jointly owned by the Triview district, the Donala district that serves Gleneagle, and the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District that currently has no users.

Chuck Ritter of Nolte and Associates, engineering consultant for Triview, said a preliminary concept plan for expansion of the WWTF to use Sequencing Batch Reaction (SBR) is to be submitted to the state Health Department in July.

In response to a question, Simpson said the district’s share of the design cost is approximately $4,300 per month.

Ritter reported that the district has been waiting almost a year for approval from the railroad for an at-grade crossing of the rails for access to the WWTF. The current crossing goes under the tracks using a trestle that will not accommodate the construction equipment needed for the WWTF expansion.

Well A4

Ritter said connection of raw (untreated) water from the new well A4 in the Arapahoe aquifer to the reuse system to supply water for irrigation at Creekside Middle School and along Jackson Creek Parkway should be completed by the first week in June.

At the March meeting, Simpson noted that last summer irrigation of Creekside Middle School playfields and the roadside landscaping consumed 3.3 million gallons per month. He predicted consumption would be higher this summer due to irrigation of landscaping at the Marketplace and other new construction.

Wal-Mart operations agreement

Susemihl reviewed the draft operations agreement between the PIC and the district. He said the county is requiring that a signed agreement be placed in escrow prior to the Board of County Commissioners hearing on the Wal-Mart project June 24.

Susemihl identified misconceptions in the document including the following:

  • The PIC would retain revenues. He said, "They can’t. The funds must be used for a public purpose."

  • Bonds will not be issued: Wal-Mart would provide funds to the PIC and receive interest. Susemihl said the PIC should issue bonds.

  • The interest would not be tax-exempt to Wal-Mart. Since Triview authorized the PIC, interest on bonds it issues would be exempt from federal and state taxes.

  • The proposed 8 percent interest rate is excessive. Stephenson said, "The market even for taxable bonds is not at 8 percent." The higher the interest rate, the longer it would take to repay the bonds issued by the PIC. That would postpone the point at which Triview receives 1.5 percent retail sales fee, instead of the initial 0.75 percent.

Susemihl said, "This [Triview] board appoints that [PIC] board. Maybe we should have a representative on that board." When the PIC was authorized at the Triview meeting Aug. 28, 2002, Susemihl recommended that none of the Triview directors serve on the PIC board based on liability and other concerns.

Due to the remaining issues with the agreement and the June 24 deadline set by the county, Susemihl said the Triview board would have to hold a special meeting to approve the agreement. A date and time for that meeting was not set.

Water Conservation

Simpson said the district is urging residents to conserve water. He said that due to use of Kentucky bluegrass and water for construction, summer usage within the district is three times as high as winter use.

Speed Limits

Simpson reported that the Town of Monument has set the speed limits on the new sections of Jackson Creek Parkway and Leather Chaps as follows:

  • Jackson Creek Parkway from Baptist Road to the Marketplace: 35 mph

  • Jackson Creek Parkway from the Marketplace to Higby Road: 40 mph

  • Jackson Creek Parkway from Higby Road to State Highway 105: 45 mph

  • Leather Chaps Drive: 35 mph

Blevins objected to the 40 mph and 45 mph segments. He said the signs have already been purchased and all of them call for 35 mph. The board agreed that the limit should be set at 35 mph throughout. Simpson noted that the town, not the district, has the authority to set speed limits.

Tap fees for townhomes

Simpson reported that for townhome units, currently the water tap fee is $2,225 and the sewer tap fee is $2,600. He said he thought it would be appropriate for the fees to be 60 percent of the fees charged for single-family houses. The single-family house water tap fee is now $7,365, so the fee for townhomes would be $4,419. The single-family house sewer tap fee is now $4,100 so the fee for townhomes would be $2,460.

Simpson added that one of the issues is that there would likely be centralized water and sewer connections for several townhome units within a single structure. In that case, the district’s formulas for commercial, office, and industrial connections might apply.

A decision on the matter was postponed to the next meeting.

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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 June 23.

The first of several orientation work sessions for board members was scheduled for Saturday, June 5, 9 a.m. For further information, contact the Triview Metropolitan District at 488-6868.

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Palmer Lake Town Council workshop May 6

By Jim Kendrick

Two milestones made the Palmer Lake Town Council (PLTC) workshop of May 6 memorable: the retirement ceremony for the town’s K-9 team of John Cameron and Amanda and the surprise resignation of Trustee Randy Jones. The council also reviewed new business license applications, discussed a zoning change on Mayor Nikki McDonald’s property, and listened to complaints by Sue Coons regarding Jones’ extension of Meadow Lane. Denise Cornell and Gary Atkins spoke to the council about filling the two vacancies on the town’s Planning Commission.

The PLTC meets twice a month, with the bulk of the hearings and trustee discussions taking place the first Thursday of the month at the workshops rather than at the regular monthly meeting on the second Thursday of the month. Discussions among the trustees and by citizens in attendance are more informal than a standard municipal hearing protocol and encourage residents to come observe and interact with elected officials. However, on many issues and actions, if there is agreement among the trustees and the mayor, then there is no discussion or hearing at the regular council meeting the following week. Furthermore, the proceedings of workshops are not recorded as minutes, so trustee discussion and citizen input do not become public record. The same is true of the Palmer Lake Planning Commission that first holds workshops and then meetings, without recording the proceedings of the workshops.

In contrast, if an action is approved at the Monument Board of Trustees meeting that requires an ordinance or resolution to be drafted for final approval at the next regular meeting, a member of the town staff will review the issue at the following meeting and the public will still have an opportunity to comment prior to a vote by the board; the item will not simply be voted on as a consent item. Palmer Lake does not have as large a staff or budget as Monument, however.

Cameron/Amanda Retirement

Police Chief Dale Smith presided over a ceremony honoring the Palmer Lake Police Department’s senior officer John Cameron for his 21 years of service to the town. Smith noted John and Charlotte Cameron’s 30th wedding anniversary as well.

John Cameron joined Palmer Lake’s Police Department in 1983 following his service in the military. During the train derailment in town that year, "John was instrumental in leading bystanders in extricating a severely injured train engineer from a fully-engulfed engine …. saving this person’s life," Smith said. In the late 1990s, Cameron decided to train a German shepherd as a scent-tracking dog. In 1999, he obtained certification for his K9 named Amanda. "John has used Amanda not only for searches, but as a communication tool for various community groups, such as the Boy and Girl Scouts," Smith said.

Cameron was honored in 1998 as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Centurion Daylight Lodge of Monument, in recognition of "service to the community as an outstanding law enforcement officer, leader, and his professional skill and ability to promote and maintain the safety and well-being of the Tri-Lakes area."

After reading several letters of commendation and thanks from Cameron’s personnel file, Smith said, "These letters of commendation have occurred frequently through the course of John’s career and are indicative of how John conducts himself as a police officer."

Amanda and the Camerons are retiring to southern Arkansas to take over a family property there. Cameron presented framed portraits of Amanda wearing her police dog working vest to the town. Smith said their last day of work would be June 3.

Trustee Jones’ Resignation

Jones stated that he needed to resign from the PLTC, saying he had served three years because he thought he could provide expertise as the roads trustee. He noted that Mayor Nikki McDonald had reassigned him from the roads position for "conflict of interest" reasons. While he had initially agreed to be reassigned to parks and recreation, he said he had reconsidered his workload as a developer and homebuilder. He also stated that as a trustee he could not effectively react to Palmer Lake resident Sue Coons’ frequent complaints about his developments and the roads. "I can’t sit here and feel like I have to swallow everything Sue hands me and not respond and protect myself." He said he could respond to her accusations better as a citizen and was still willing to serve on a roads committee of citizens if one is formed. He added that he felt it would be useful to have people swear in to a judge before speaking to the council "to get to truth."

Saying he would provide a letter of resignation before the regular PLTC meeting on May 13, Jones then walked out of the meeting. McDonald responded, "That was a surprise." Town Clerk Della Gins said the town would advertise for volunteers for a replacement trustee to serve for the nearly two years until the election in April 2006. No letter was received by May 13, however, leaving the council in a quandary about when it could advertise for a volunteer replacement. Coons did not comment on the resignation during or after the meeting, although she has complained to the council about the quality of Jones’ grading, construction, and landscaping of roads for his developments.

Committee Reports

Water: Trustee Chuck Cornell noted that the town filter plant is not ready for operation and a firm startup date has not yet been determined.

Buildings: Trustee Max Parker noted that progress was evident in the repair of the Town Hall kitchen steps and the on-going installation of a sidewalk from the employee parking lot to Town Hall. Some maintenance work at the Police Department building is required, a tree next to this building needs to be de-limbed, and an emergency call station will be installed in front of the building.

April Police and Fire Activity Report: Trustee George Reese said there were 107 police calls for service, compared to 111 the previous month, and 16 cases, compared to 12 the previous month. Traffic citations were down 50 percent from March, 42 to 21. There were 17 traffic and dog warnings and one dog citation. Trustee Brent Sumner noted that the fire department responded to 6 medical calls, 2 traffic accidents, 1 "other," and 6 mutual aid dispatches in April. These 15 calls brought the total for 2004 up to 68, 46 in Palmer Lake and 22 for mutual aid of other North Group districts.

Seven volunteer firefighters completed Class A Search and Rescue training. Sumner said there are still many houses in heavily treed areas of town that don’t have address signs. He suggested the Palmer Lake Committee for Citizen Awareness (PLCCA) be asked to contact these residents to encourage them to post address signs, preferably with four-inch-high letters, before pursuing the issue through enforcement of town ordinances.

In other matters, an inspection of the fire station’s mechanical and electrical systems is needed in order to plan and budget for long-term repairs to this historic building.

Mayor’s Report: McDonald asked that local citizens stop trying to influence or intimidate police officers who are giving them traffic citations, by saying they are her friends. She said, "It won’t work, and I won’t allow it."

Town Clerk’s Report: Gins stated that the new town business directory was done and would be available at the PLCCA meeting on April 29. The town’s sign ordinance needs to be revised because the comprehensive plan only provides guidance. The calling tree for large wildfires needs to be updated, and the town’s sirens have limited use because of the town’s growth since the sirens’ directional broadcast patterns were initially established.

There are mosquitoes in the ponds already, and the town must begin treatments to prevent the spread of West Nile virus. The flow in the main north portion of Palmer Lake is sufficient to prevent a problem, but the separate standing water areas at the south end of the drought-affected lake bed must be treated.

Fountain Creek Watershed Study: Bob Miner noted that the Army Corps of Engineers had surveyed the area April 27-29. The corps wanted to better understand the washout of the bridge on Ox Bridge Road in 1999, which would have had a substantial impact had there been a wildland fire in the aftermath of the bridge destruction.

Town Staff: Susan Miner will get together with Parker, Sumner, and Gins to review the history of merger actions and options for the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. The annual Elephant Rock bike race along the Front Range will take place on June 6.

New Business License Requests

Deahna’s Grove: Deahna Brown, a licensed massage therapist and registered yoga therapist, received unanimous authorization to have the license for her proposed location at 755 Highway 105, Suite O, scheduled as a consent calendar item on the May 13 regular meeting agenda.

Tantastic: Kirstin Dinwiddie has purchased this business at 755 Highway 105, Suite F, but discussion of the change of ownership was postponed.

Sundance Chiropractic Clinic: Dr. Christy Meislahn is renovating a home on 20 Primrose Street, to provide office space on the lower level for her practice. She noted that Wes Young, a state medical physicist who will act as final installation inspector, would review her floor plan, particularly the location and shielding of the X-ray facility. Trustee Max Parker expressed concerns about radiation shielding above the machine to protect occupants who might be upstairs during an X-ray session. Meislahn said she would be living there alone and no one would be upstairs. Parker thought there should be shielding in the basement ceiling in case the residential situation upstairs changes later. Meislahn noted that the proposed shielding for all occupants on the lower level is already approved in concept and that the state is the final approving authority of the facility design.

Mayor McDonald’s Rezoning Request: Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Cornell took charge of the meeting as McDonald presented two requests that would allow her to build a house for her sister Wilma French on her property, which consists of lots 1-16 in Block 12 of the town’s Trinity Addition. She requested a vacation of the town’s never-used right-of-way through her parcel for Fair Street. She also made a request for conditional use to build a second family residence on her consolidated parcel in a C1 zone. She said that Fair Street was never built through her pasture. Gins noted that the actions would require an ordinance be drafted and approved at a regular council meeting hearing. Coleman said he supported her request because the town would retain its utility easements and collect more taxes than they would on raw agricultural land. McDonald said there were no plans to build the house at this time, but she wanted to have the option if needed in the future. The item was scheduled for hearing on May 13, and was not a consent item.

Extension of Meadow Lane: Sue Coons said she was following up in person on a letter she had written the town addressing several complaints about the condition of roads and drainage after Jones finished the extension of Meadow Lane for his new development. She showed the trustees a number of pictures.

She said the removal and replacement by Jones of her driveway culvert had been unsatisfactory and was an inch or so too high. It was proposed that the town install an oval culvert of the same throughput capacity but lower profile, to lower the grade of her driveway. She said the grading of the road, the drainage of the roadside ditches, and the re-vegetation of the roadway were unsatisfactory. It was agreed that the trustees and the town road supervisor Bob Radosevich would meet at her property to observe the situation directly so they might better understand the town’s legal obligations and the full extent to which town, county, and state regulations may apply to her complaints. Radosevich was out of town for several weeks, and the meeting will be scheduled at a later date.

McDonald noted that they had received an inquiry from the town of Monument about forming a distinct Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) separate from the countywide RTA that is likely to be on the November ballot. It would also be separate from the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority. The benefit would be that the two municipal governments could choose their own in-town sales tax rate (no more than 1 percent) and proportions for capital improvement and roadway repair. They could also determine their own sunset date for the capital improvement portion of the new sales tax, and all revenue would stay entirely in the district. Currently, none of the county’s proposed one-cent tax would be spent on new bridges or roads in either town for the entire 10-year life span of the county RTA. No decisions were made, and there was no further discussion of this issue.

The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.

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The following article was inadvertently omitted from the printed newspaper. OCN regrets the error.

Palmer Lake Town Council Meeting, May 13

By Jim Kendrick

The Palmer Lake Town Council unanimously approved two new business licenses as consent items as well as a change of ownership business license at their regular meeting on May 13. The council also unanimously appointed two planning commissioners and a new police officer. Mayor Nikki McDonald’s request for a conditional use to build a second house on her 16-lot parcel and also to vacate the never-used Fair Street right-of-way across her property was unanimously approved by the five trustees, after she recused herself from voting. The vacancy created by the resignation of Trustee Randy Jones on May 6 has not yet been filled. There were 12 citizens in attendance. 

New Business Licenses: The new approved business licenses were for Deahna’s Grove massage therapy and yoga salon and for Sundance Chiropractic Clinic. The informal hearing for these two new license applications occurred on May 6. A very brief hearing was held for Kirstin Dinwiddie’s request for a change of ownership for the Tantastic indoor tanning salon; no citizens opposed the change, and the council wished her good luck after she told them this was her first business venture.

Appointments: The appointments of Denise Cornell and Gary Atkins to fill both vacancies on the Palmer Lake Planning Commission as well as the appointment of Nikki Tezak as a new Palmer Lake police officer were unanimously approved without discussion.

Committee Reports

Fire Trustee Brent Sumner and Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department Chief Julie Lokken announced the donation of a new Ford F-450 Super Duty brush truck by the department’s volunteer association. The association also holds several fund-raising events throughout the year to pay the $212,000 loan on the department’s pumper fire engine. The council and the citizens attending the meeting stepped outside town hall, and Lokken gave them a brief description of the features of the equipment already installed on the custom-modified vehicle. A few firefighting items remain to be installed; they are on order and funded. Lokken said the brush truck is expected to be fully operational in June. With this addition, all of the Tri-Lakes fire departments now have brush trucks. 

Bob Miner, the town representative to the Fountain Creek Watershed study, indicated that the Army Corps of Engineers may be requesting some registration and inspection information on the Greeley Bridge that would have to be researched in the town archives. 

 In items not on the agenda, Trustee Gary Coleman informed the board that the house at the intersection of Pie Corner and Columbine may have been sold without proper inspection of documentation of setback waivers by the town for the house and the recently constructed garage. After a lengthy discussion, it was determined that since the house was built in 1910, long before there were any zoning regulations, and since the sale had already closed without town review of the garage setbacks, it was a legal nonconforming property. During the discussion, Coleman noted that there might be some boundary issues involving this and several neighboring parcels that were platted by hand in 1888.

The new owners, Martin and Annette Roenistad, were unanimously authorized by the council to apply for a variance documenting the legality of the property at no cost. There is no time limit on their application for the variance, since it is only a formality and not legally required for resale of the property.

The next PLTC meeting is at 7 p.m. on June 11 at Town Hall.

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Donald Wescott FPD Board meeting May 26

By Jim Kendrick

Newly elected members were sworn in and officers elected at the meeting of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) board on May 26. Newly elected Director Dave Cross and reelected incumbents Brian Ritz and Joe Potter were administered the oath of office by term limited President Bill Lowes. Incumbent Kevin Gould was also reelected but was out of town and sworn in on his return. The board elected former secretary Ritz to the position of president, and Cross was elected the new secretary. Incumbent Dennis Feltz was reelected to be treasurer.

Treasurer’s Report:

The checking account balance had become very large due to property tax remissions, and around $500,000 was moved to an account bearing higher interest at Colorado Trust. The first draft of the 2005 budget will be ready for the August board meeting.

Station 1 Expansion Modified

The plans for adding an engine bay and office space to the main Gleneagle Drive station have been changed slightly. This station has been renumbered from Station 3 to Station 1. The northern setback distance from the neighboring Bethesda building has been increased to 25 feet from the original plan of 15 feet. Bethesda donated the land for station 1. The addition will now be only 24 feet wide, but the new engine bay will be wider. The addition’s office space will be moved to the rear of the building. The addition’s roof line will be lowered, which should save some money. The interior of the station will be repainted at the same time the addition’s interior is painted.

Chief’s Report

State Benefits Plan Amended: The firefighters voted to amend three components of their retirement package and to add a defined benefit health plan that is funded by a new 1 percent pay deduction.

District Insurance Provider Proposals: Two other insurers have asked to provide competitive bids in addition to the renewal proposal of the current insurer, Volunteer Fire Insurance Service. The policy renewal date is October 1.

Grant Application: The district has applied for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for a firefighter health and wellness program. The grant would pay for equipment to be installed in a new workout room in the station addition.

Brush Truck Construction: The new brush truck is nearly finished, with only some electrical work and installation of the light bar remaining.

Bunker Gear Purchase: Approximately $4,400 from the expendable supplies and equipment account will be spent on new individual firefighter equipment.

Training: Chief Bill Sheldon and Assistant Chief Vinny Burns have attended two of the five parts of the new national chief certification program. This pilot program is being offered in Colorado and then will be offered nationally. Four firefighters will also be sent to the state firefighter school, two paid and two volunteer. The North Group will be offering a two-day seminar in July at the Pikes Peak Community College Rampart Range campus for up to 40 firefighters. Shawn Pearson has been selected to attend paramedic school. Seven new volunteers have joined the department in the past few months, all with EMT-basic ratings.

Pump Tests Completed: The North Group conducted no-cost pump tests for 12 fire engines at the Air Force Academy. The DWFPD pumper passed without problems. The pump throttle on the back-up pumper that is kept in reserve at Station 2 was found to need some minor hydraulic and electrical work.

District Survey: Potter suggested conducting another district-wide survey to determine which constituents might need special assistance during snowstorms or other emergencies—this time as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen’s Corps program. The survey would provide the district and homeowner associations data on how to assist people who might need help during weather emergencies—for example, electric generators for health care equipment during a power outage.

Special District Association Conference: Cross and Potter will be attending the September event in Steamboat Springs.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): Sheldon noted that the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District (W/MFPD) board took no action to revoke the MOU with DWFPD at their meeting on May 21 and that new W/MFPD president Si Sibell had again advocated a merger of all four north-end fire departments.

The open session was closed at 8:10 p.m. to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter. There were no announcements regarding this session after the board adjourned. The next board meeting is at 7 p.m. on June 15 at Station 2.

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Tri-Lakes FPD board meeting May 20

By John Heiser

At its meeting May 20, the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District Board of Directors welcomed Keith Duncan and John Hartling as new board members, elected officers, and approved petitions for inclusion of two additional parcels and a subdivision filing east of Highway 83. Outgoing director Oscar Gillespie was given a plaque and thanks for his nine years on the board. Outgoing director Gary Morgan, who did not attend the meeting, will also receive a plaque.

Public Comments

Resident Ketch Nowacki asked, "Why is our district interested in merger/consolidation? What is in it for us?"

Board president Charlie Pocock replied, "There would be the capability to provide better overall service to all the citizens. However, we do have some areas of concern. We need to explore those. The Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District is meeting tomorrow. I don’t want to preempt their meeting. If there is no advantage, we will go our separate ways."

Chief’s Report

Chief Robert Denboske reported as follows:

  • During April, the district responded to 109 calls, bringing the total so far this year to 383. The 109 calls during April were as follows: 32 medical, 14 fire, 49 traffic accidents, 11 public assists, and 4 hazardous materials. 24 people were transported to area hospitals.

  • Three district personnel passed hazardous materials awareness training, three others passed hazardous materials operations training, with six more currently being trained, and one person completed Fire Fighter I training.

  • Smeal accepted the district’s order for two pumper trucks. A pre-manufacturing meeting in Nebraska is scheduled for the second week in June.

  • District personnel completed walk-throughs of the Home Depot store. Resolution of alarm system/E-911 communication problems is needed prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy.

  • The three-day Insurance Services Organization (ISO) inspection started April 19. Results should be known within 180 days. One item the district needs to complete is the hauled water rating test requiring that they deliver 250 gallons per minute for two hours. Denboske added that some insurance companies use their own rating system rather than ISO; however, ISO is not going away. ISO is expected to inspect the district again in three to five years.

  • There was a recent fatal accident on Highway 83. Four people were in the cab of a pickup truck that hit a tree. One person died at the scene. One more died at the hospital. Tri-Lakes used ambulance and rescue services from the Black Forest Fire Protection District and the Woodmoor/Monument district and Flight for Life. Denboske said, "The scene went very well. All personnel worked well together. Sorry that there was not a better outcome."

EMS report

Ron Thompson, assistant chief and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) coordinator, reported that four additional district personnel have completed CPR training. The district is planning to schedule community CPR instruction one Saturday per month.

Station 2

Thompson reported as follows on construction of the new station on Roller Coaster Road near Highway 105:

  • The north and west masonry walls are being constructed.

  • A larger pressure tank may be needed to accommodate the pump motor in the Great Divide Water Company well that is to supply water to the station.

  • Five more trees have been removed.

  • The district has a good working relationship with the builder and architect’s project manager.

Thanks to outgoing board members

Pocock said, "It has been a real pleasure to have had Oscar Gillespie and Gary Morgan as volunteers and members of the board." He presented Gillespie with a plaque in appreciation of his nine years on the board (appointment plus two elections). Morgan will also receive a plaque.

New board, elections

Duncan and Hartling were sworn in.

The following officers were unanimously approved:

President - Charlie Pocock
Vice-President - Rick Barnes
Secretary - John Hartling
Treasurer - John Hildebrandt

The new board reaffirmed the regular meeting time and date as 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month.

Financial Report

Director and District Treasurer John Hildebrandt reported that as of the end of April, the district had received 51 percent of the anticipated revenue for the year and had expended 28 percent of the annual budget, 5 percent less than expected at that point in the year.

District debt

Hildebrandt said the district has mortgages on Station 1, Station 2, and equipment. He said they are 12-, 16-, and 20-year mortgages. At the March board meeting, Hildebrandt said the district has a total of $1.8 million of debt.

Class A Uniforms

The board unanimously approved a one-time expenditure of up to $5,600 to purchase dress uniforms for the 12 current full-time personnel.

Inclusion hearings

Initial inclusion hearings were held on the following petitions:

  • Approximately 40 acres owned by Karen and Everitt Wiggins near Hodgen Road and Thompson Road.

  • Approximately 40 acres owned by Alfred Stewart near Hodgen Road and Steppler Road.

  • Whistler Ranch filing #1, 23 of the 24 properties (excluding lot 12).

All the petitions were signed by 100 percent of the property owners. The board unanimously approved all the inclusions.

**********

The Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District board normally meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the district firehouse, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley). The next meeting is scheduled for June 17.

For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312 or visit www.tri-lakesfire.com.

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W/MFPD board meeting May 21

By Jim Kendrick

Board members Si Sibell, Rod Wilson, and Jeremy Diggins—all endorsed by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 4319 and by the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District Board—took turns nominating and seconding each other for president, vice president, and treasurer of the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District (W/MFPD) Board at the first meeting with the newly elected board members on May 21.

After these three were elected, Bob Harvey refused Diggins’ nomination for re-election to the board secretary position. Former treasurer Russ Broshous was elected secretary. Although many voters had expected that the new majority might choose to immediately terminate the month-old merger agreement with the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District (DWFPD) due to their strongly professed allegiance to TLFPD, none of the three candidates made such a proposal at this session. Interim Fire Marshal Tom Eastburn was promoted one pay grade, and his position was made permanent by unanimous vote of the board.

Heavily Attended Session

The board honored outgoing President Bob Browning and Director Tom Conroy, who received plaques commemorating their service to the district. Bill and Gloria Ingram and Ruth Higgins, organizers of the Conroy-Diggins debate, and W/MFPD Captain Larry Garner and his wife Marsha were there as well.

Also in attendance were Palmer Lake Town Council Trustee George Reese, his son-in-law Ty Rinaldo–a W/MFPD firefighter, and grandson Tucker Rinaldo. After the open session was concluded, Reese said it was good that the firefighters were no longer being excluded from the board meetings under threat of reprisal by Youtsey. When asked by OCN which firefighters had been threatened with punishment and by whom, Reese refused to say who had given him this information—which, if true, would violate Colorado state law. When pressed by OCN as to whether a single firefighter or several firefighters had made this charge or if Reese or those firefighters had spoken to Youtsey about this threat, Reese again refused to answer.

When informed of Reese’s comments, Youtsey categorically denied this oft-repeated but unattributed charge. No W/MFPD firefighter has ever made this specific charge in person or in writing to any official of the district, although this type of charge has been made in letters to the editor written by Pueblo resident and IAFF representative Dave Blagg and sent to several regional newspapers.

Browning Swears in New Members

Out-going president Browning opened the meeting by thanking all who had worked with him. He said he was excited about the future of the district and congratulated the new board, saying he was eager to see what they would be able to achieve in finishing the consolidation efforts that had begun. Browning then swore in Sibell, Wilson, and Diggins and signed all the required forms to transfer authority to his successor. He and Conroy were presented large bronze-colored plaques commemorating their service to the board.

Election of Officers

Diggins nominated Sibell for president, and Wilson seconded the nomination. Harvey nominated Broshous for president, but Broshous said he was withdrawing and there was no second. Sibell said he would like to withdraw too, but there were no other nominations, so he accepted election. Diggins then nominated Wilson for vice president and Sibell seconded. He was elected unopposed. Wilson nominated Diggins for treasurer and Sibell seconded. Diggins was elected unopposed. Sibell nominated Broshous for secretary, Diggins seconded, and Broshous was elected unopposed. Harvey declined nominations for treasurer and secretary.

Minor Administrative Details

Arkowski noted that she was leaving on a five-week vacation and would miss the next board meeting and be unable to prepare a May financial report for that session.

Diggins proposed that all board members donate their stipends to a firefighter picnic fund. He made no mention of how the money was to be transferred or administered since it was not part of the 2004 budget submitted to the state before Dec. 15, 2003. Arkowski noted that the stipends were budgeted and funded solely as stipends.

Harvey said the elimination of bonuses needs to be discussed simultaneously with this kind of proposal. He moved to table the motion until it could be discussed in what he said would be a proper manner.

Financial Report

The special district election cost $1,045.89, but only $800 was budgeted. Sibell expressed concern that station repair and maintenance expenses were over budget. Youtsey noted that these were actually under budget, and Broshous assured the board that having spent $1,803.52 (28.6 percent) of the $6,300 allotted during the first four months of the year was in fact under budget. Total budget expenditure through April 30 were $401,625.41 of a budgeted $1,326,572, or 30.28 percent. Arkowski noted that no large budget items or out-of-the-ordinary expenditures were expected during her absence. The board unanimously approved the report.

Chief’s Report

Youtsey urged that all board members, especially the new ones, to attend the Special District Association (SDA) Regional Workshop in Colorado Springs on June 16. Harvey made a motion to require that Youtsey, Assistant Chief Jim Rackl, and shift captains attend this workshop. He added that the district would pay all overtime, mileage, and associated fees for these firefighters. The district will also reimburse board members for mileage and fees if they attend the workshop. The motion passed unanimously.

Youtsey also asked board members to attend the statewide SDA fall conference in Steamboat Springs Sept. 22-24. Broshous and Sibell confirmed that they would attend. Diggins said he would attend as a board member for Monument Sanitation District.

The board voted unanimously to support the majority wishes of the firefighters, who voted 7-3, to participate in a new "statewide health care defined benefit plan," administered by the Fire and Police Pension Association. Three amendments to the plan were approved by the firefighters and unanimously endorsed by the board. All W/MFPD firefighters are now required to donate 1 percent of their salaries to the new health plan.

All field work at the station for the 2003 audit has been completed, and the auditor will present his findings at the June meeting.

Both district engines’ pumps passed their annual tests, required by NFPA Standards, which were administered at no cost at the Air Force Academy’s testing pit through the auspices of the North Group Chief’s Group. This pump test is a critical component of required Insurance Services Organization (ISO) ratings that determine fire insurance rates within North Group districts.

Rackl announced a North Group training session with the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) on May 22. The training will involve using water tenders to fight fires in areas with no hydrants. Under existing mutual aid agreements, the North Group districts would assist CSFD in fighting such a fire in city limits. The city has annexed areas that are currently rural in nature and would need help from North Group districts’ water tenders, as they have none of their own. A water tender is a fire truck designed primarily to ferry water—typically 1,000 to 1,800 gallons in the North Group service area—from a lake, underground cistern, or distant hydrant to a remote fire location.

Old Business

Rackl reviewed the inspection policy to be sure board members know the current three-tier system. Small-risk businesses may perform a self-inspection at their option, though only half the eligible businesses choose to do so. Medium-risk businesses are assigned to a captain and his shift for inspection, under the fire marshal’s supervision. High-risk businesses require inspection by the fire marshal, because of the complexity of regulations regarding structures with sprinkler systems, cooking and/or sleeping facilities, high occupancy, or areas for public assembly.

Broshous noted that the six-month interim period for the fire marshal position occupied by Captain Tom Eastburn would expire in June and sought a motion to make the position permanent and designate Eastburn the new fire marshal. Board members noted that the position had already been approved for funding for the entire year and that a fully funded captain’s position would now be made available. The board voted unanimously to make Eastburn the permanent fire marshal for the district and promoted him one pay grade. Eastburn will remain available to also perform captain duties during normal shift operations. Eastburn has been uniformly praised by the Woodmoor/Monument business community for his professionalism and in-depth knowledge during numerous inspections since he took over the position.

There were 66 calls in April bringing the total for 2004 up to 201. The types of calls were: Structure Fire – 2, Automatic Alarms – 5, Medical – 40, Traffic Accident – 12, Wildland – 2, Public Assist – 2, Other -3. Medical responses included 21 Advanced Life Support, 7 Basic Life Support, and 28 Transports from W/MFPD. There were six AMR ambulance responses to other areas.

The board went into executive session at 9:08 a.m. to discuss a personnel matter. No announcements came from that session. The next meeting date has not been set. Sibell requested that board meetings be switched to evening sessions at 7 p.m. Board members will submit their specific preferences for day and time, and make a decision to provide the required three-day public notice for the June meeting.

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W/MFPD chipping service

By Jim Kendrick

Haley Rich of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office helped obtain the chipper that is seen and heard along Woodmoor Drive each weekend at the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District (W/MFPD). It took her months to win the grant, with the support of the Pikes Peak Wildfire Protection Partners, a Front Range wildland firefighting cooperative organization.

Volunteers from W/MFPD, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and Wildland Fire Team, the Woodmoor Improvement Association, and members of the Community and Student Emergency Response Team (CERT/SERT) don yellow hard hats and slickers, then take slash, and tree trunks and grind them into chips and mulch.

Local citizens line up their pickups and trailers each Saturday to recycle the wood they have cleared. Huge dumpsters are quickly filled with the shredded tree parts and then monitored for spontaneous combustion. This program has been extremely popular, so check with the fire station at 488-3303 before coming over with slash, to make sure the dumpsters still have room.

CERT is a pilot program for local community participation in Homeland Security and is sponsored by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) transfer grants. CERT is directed by Susie Wickman and Steve Sweet and was started in 2003. It provides support for first responders. The chipper is funded by a federal grant from the Forestry Service as an outgrowth of lessons learned from the Hayman fire. It is being paid for by $11,000 worth of volunteer chipping labor, which will be completed soon. Then the chipper will become a permanent asset to the Sheriff’s Office and wildland fire team.

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North Group trains Colorado Springs crews for fires with no hydrants handy

By Jim Kendrick

On a crisp clear Saturday, May 22, North Group firefighters trained northern Colorado Springs Fire Department crews to fight fires using portable water tanks in areas without hydrants.

Crews used pumpers and conventional tenders (water-carrying engines) from the Donald Wescott and Black Forest Fire Protection Districts and the six-wheel drive all-terrain wildland tender from the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department to practice delivering water to a remote scene. The water was released rapidly into 1,500-gallon portable water tanks ("porta-tanks") that store and deliver water to a pump engine that in turn deliver water to a city engine for fighting a wildland-type fire. The porta-tanks look like a children’s swimming pool from the 1950s but are indispensable elements for providing water at remote locations.

The exercise took place at the Intel Building parking lot at Highway 83 and Federal to provide good access should any of the engines have been called into emergency service during the training. The full-time fire crews participating were assisted by volunteers from Palmer Lake, Wescott, Black Forest, and Woodmoor/Monument

Sloppy Joe sandwiches and soft drinks were supplied to the hard-working crews by the Pikes Peak Area Rehab Services volunteers. Many throughout the Pikes Peak region became familiar with their large red barbecue and chili Winnebago-type wagon during the Hayman fire, one of many incidents where these volunteers have provided food and fluids during wildland fires. They are on the road nearly every weekend during wildfire season, for training or actual fires. If interested in becoming a volunteer, contact Jim Hatfield at 598-3454 or FiremanHatfield@aol.com.

North Group fire departments perform a variety of training exercises with each other and with neighboring departments year-round to better support each other when assisting in multi-department emergencies. North Group districts also have different kinds of equipment based on the communities they serve, which enables each to have different kinds of engines available without having to pay for each of them.

The North Group chiefs meet once a month to coordinate firefighting and certification training, minimizing costs for all. On June 16, for example, the group is sponsoring a nationally certified instructor for classes in on-scene incident command and tactics for large-scale fire operations for 40 firefighters. The districts could not conduct this level of training on their own in a cost-effective manner.

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Palmer Lake leads Tri-Lakes homeland security table top exercise May 25

By Jim Kendrick

Representatives of most of the Tri-Lakes region’s police and fire services conducted a simulated command and control exercise in Palmer Lake’s Town Hall on May 25. The exercise, funded by a grant of $74,000 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was designed to prepare various agencies to coordinate a response to a chemical attack.

Palmer Lake Police Chief Dale Smith, who applied for the grant, organized and scheduled this event with the help of consultant Gray Buckley.

Participants came from the Monument Police Department; the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office; the Palmer Lake, Air Force Academy, and Cimarron Hills Fire Departments; the Black Forest, Tri-Lakes, and Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection Districts; the FBI; and Union Pacific Railroad.

The scenario was the collision of a stolen rental truck, filled with chlorine gas and perhaps some explosive materials, with the rear end of a train at the railroad crossing on County Line Road and Highway 105. The collision caused a toxic gas leak. The chiefs of all the local emergency services—the Palmer Divide Public Safety Group—simulated taking command of their forces to contain and control the incident for approximately 80 minutes.

The participants practiced deploying their equipment, setting up roadblocks, considering evacuations, and caring for the "injured and contaminated." Several observers from AMR ambulance service and state and federal agencies provided assessments and observations after the exercise. The participants all agreed on the value of these kinds of learning exercises and the quality of the lessons learned in the critiques and discussions after the drill had been concluded.

The same participants will be involved in another training exercise in Palmer Lake—this time with fire engines, police cars, and a variety of other emergency equipment—on Aug. 14 at 8 a.m. Residents should be aware of the exercise and the noise, confusion, and traffic delays it may create.

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Lewis-Palmer School Board meeting May 20

By Tommie Plank

The board approved the preliminary budget for the 2004-05 school year. Next year’s budget provides for enhancements of the gifted and talented program, mathematics labs at the middle schools, supplemental instructional materials, added funds to maintain low teacher-to-student classroom ratios, extra days for middle and high school counselors, and the addition of boys’ and girls’ lacrosse and boys’ swimming to the inter-scholastic athletic program. Salary increases in the approved budget are designed to reward longer-term, more experienced teachers for their loyalty to the students of District 38. Fifteen- to twenty-year teachers holding at least a master’s degree will receive significantly higher increases. The average teacher increase will be 6.1 percent, with a range of 3 percent to 9 percent increases across the schedule. The budget also maintains the district’s generous benefits package.

Student enrollment at the district’s Monument Academy Charter School has been capped at 637 for the 2004-05 school year, and will include a maximum of 40 students in grade 9 and 30 students in the newly approved grade 10.

Dr. Pete Heinz summarized the May 4 District Advisory Accountability Committee (DAAC) meeting, which featured a presentation of the CSAP (Colorado Standards and Assessment Program) testing, and announced that Karen D’Amour will chair the committee next year. Heinz, who is chairman of the language department at Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC), complimented LPHS students by stating that they stand out at PPCC as being prepared to learn and coming with the tools it takes to be successful. Later in the meeting, Heinz was presented with a board commendation for his contributions to accountability in District 38. He has been involved with the accountability committee since 1994.

Stephen Fehrman reviewed the year’s work of the Student Accountability Committee. Next year’s president will be Sydney Clewe.

Board commendation certificates were presented to Ryan Capp and Lisa Phillips for their work in helping to make the elementary kit-based science program successful. John Mann was commended for his development of the popular LPHS aerospace math class. He has also arranged for University of Colorado college credit to be given to students who pass this higher-level elective course.

LPHS senior Rebecca Munger was congratulated by the board for winning a National Merit Scholarship. She has also been named one of the Gazette’s Best & Brightest students in the Pikes Peak Region. Dr. Keith Jacobus announced that this year’s graduating class of just under 400 students has been awarded over $5.2 million in scholarships.

Denny Hill and David Porter of Strategic Resources West (SRW) provided an overview of the economic/demographic, housing, and enrollment analyses they had performed to help the board in its revision of the district’s growth plan. On several graphs they compared employment growth, employing units, retail sales, population data, median ages, home sales, history of births, housing growth, residential lots inventories, and student enrollment growth rates from 1990 to the present within District 38 boundaries.

"Based on availability of commercial land and planned nonresidential development projects, we expect to see considerable growth in the office and business parks in the north I-25 corridor over the next several years," explained Hill. "This corporate growth would generate nearly 35,000 workers over a 20-year period, through 2020. This employment growth would exert the most influence upon housing and population growth in the district.". As a result, he said, "We can anticipate the addition of nearly 1,900 homes to the district’s housing stock over the next six years." These new homes are expected to generate an additional 180 students per year, with an average of 30 percent, or 54 a year, being high school students.

SRW research shows that the population for the district will continue to be clustered around the I-25 corridor. On one map they pinpointed where each current LPHS student lives. A boundary line drawn at Furrow Road shows that of the 1,699 high school students identified on the map, only 567 live east of Furrow. They also indicated that Grace Best Elementary School, which draws students from Jackson Creek as well as housing developments along Old Denver Highway, would be the school most impacted by growth. If the numbers of elementary schools and boundaries remain as they are today, Grace Best is projected to have over 800 students by 2009.

President Jes Raintree reported that board members have completed most of the meetings with district and community groups, and have met with 80 high school students to receive their input on high school education. The students indicated they want more Advanced Placement and foreign language classes, would like to see driver’s education and home economics for boys offered, do not want to share lockers, and were in favor of an intramural sports program.

Superintendent Dave Dilley described two additional growth options for the board to consider, separate from the scenarios of building a second high school or enlarging the current high school campus. A third scenario would be the reorganization of District 38 secondary education to group grades 6 and 7 at Creekside Middle School and grades 8 and 9 at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, perhaps in a more junior high-oriented setting. Grades 10, 11, and 12 would remain at Lewis-Palmer High School, which would drop the high school enrollment figure to about 1,350. He described advantages that would be gained from such a restructuring, such as curriculum enhancement, but also noted there would be some disadvantages.

A fourth option might be to develop a school of choice similar to the D’Evelyn School in Jefferson County that is rich in rigorous academics and has been quite successful. These options will be investigated further.

The next regular Board of Education meeting will be June 17 at 7 p.m. at the D-38 Administration Building.

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Woodmoor Improvement Meetings in May and June

By Chris Pollard

The first order of business for May was to interview two candidates for the Public Safety Director position that recently became open following the resignation of Susan Cooley. As the result of a widespread publicity campaign, the board received four applications. Two of the applicants attended the May board meeting.

Hans Post, who recently moved to Woodmoor, said he has extensive knowledge in the security field and the time available to help the Woodmoor Public Safety Chief, Kevin Nielsen and his team.

Eddie D’Aurora, was the second person to be interviewed. He has served in the position before and felt he had the vision to get the job done. He expressed an interest in improving participation in the neighborhood watch program, in particular. When asked how he would slow down speeding drivers, a problem in some areas of Woodmoor, he said he thought the County Sheriff’s Department would have to be involved, because handing out tickets was one of the most effective ways of resolving the issue.

No decision was made on the selection of the replacement in the public portion of that meeting but Hans Post was later selected for the position and attended the June meeting.

Mike Smith, in his last meeting in the position of Architectural Control Committee Director, presented a rough draft for standards for maintaining property. He said that in some ways there may be difficulty getting people to maintain their property because even a small paint touch up currently requires formal approval. Some aspects of house maintenance, such as siding and gutters, had been excluded from any requirements in the past but in theory were in the same category as decks, since all are attachments to a house. Roofing was another obvious choice for required maintenance. Surprisingly, in the past, an incident occurred where a resident used plywood to replace a broken window for an extended time and it was felt that this was the type of issue that needed to be addressed to maintain property values in Woodmoor.

In terms of landscaping, there was no language in the draft standards to deal with mistletoe or drainage ditches, even though it had been determined that owners are responsible for maintaining their lot all the way to the road. Jim Woodman, Director of Forestry, said it may not be clear when to cut down a mistletoe infected tree. There is currently no requirement to cut trees down for this and it probably needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis. A decision on the matter was delayed, and the directors were asked for further comments on the proposals.

There was some discussion as to whether there should be rules on the type of rocks used as rip rap or fill in ditches because in some instance sharp rocks had been used. Some board members expressed a desire to limit people to using only rounder and smaller rocks. Further discussion centered on whether fences and gates should be maintained in their original condition rather than being painted with solid colors.

John Ottino, President of the WIA, brought up the issue of the high school, commenting that in his opinion lots of people were against a mega high school. He had drafted a letter "against" a mega high school but had worded it in terms of the effect of enlarging the current school and the likely traffic increase in the South Woodmoor area. He specifically excluded comments related to quality of education.

Mike Varnet, Treasurer, gave an update on the 2003 audit regarding those accounts for which only minor issues had been raised. As far as the current financial situation for the first five months, he noted that, in general, most budget line items were close to the planned amounts expected through the end of May. The major exception was for "planned income from new construction." Income has been slow, making it difficult to reach the goal of $58,000. A large part of that budget had been dependent on income from the Walters project that has not yet been started.

Alan McMullen, Director of Common Areas, presented a couple of ideas for community activity. One was for the WIA to organize a yearly flea market – selling spaces near the WIA Barn and providing food and drink for sale so the event would bring the community together and raise some additional funds. The other idea was to organize a firewood sale. Many residents need to get rid of dead trees and it was suggested that wood larger than around 8 inches in diameter could be cut into firewood length pieces and brought to a central area where it could be sold to other residents. A suggested price of $45 per cord was mentioned; proceeds would go to the WIA. Jim Woodman, Forestry, raised the critical issue of people leaving pine beetle infested wood in the pile and said some mechanism would be needed to control what was donated. No definite decisions were made on either issue.

A more immediate issue was whether money should be spent to restock the ponds with fish to replace those that had been lost due to winter kill. He proposed that around $500 be spent to restock with grass carp to keep grass from growing in the ponds and other types of fish to control mosquito larvae. Kevin Nielsen, Chief of Public Safety and local expert on mosquito control, cautioned as to the effectiveness of the latter versus traditional methods.

Jim Woodman, Director of Forestry, presented a a video giving practical information on why some houses are more susceptible to fire than others. There are really two aspects to this: The materials used in the construction of the house and the nature of the vegetation in the area of the house. In many cases, houses have not been set afire by the initial flames and firestorm, which may pass by quickly, but by the seemingly less harmful firebrands or burning embers. Construction of the house and the deck may lead to spaces that can accumulate burning material in the event of the fire and then cause it to spread to the structure. It was pointed out that scrub oak must be kept further from the house than the taller ponderosa pines.

Vegetation must be managed but the fundamental issue is the choice of external building materials. For those skeptical of the fire resistance of modern asphalt shingles, a short experiment was shown in the video where a roof of this material covered with a good layer of pine needles was set ablaze with little adverse effect.

Woodman said that residents needed more training on how to keep the area around their houses defensible and make better choices about upgrading their roofs and siding.

In the June meeting, the board quickly approved a proposal from Camilla Mottl, Executive Director, to have a new website built that would better serve residents by providing more content and up to date information. It was suggested that board members look at other websites, particularly those of small towns, for ideas and to prepare for reviewing the proposals that would be made by the outside contractor.

Ron Yamiolkoski, the new Director of the Architectural Control Committee (ACC), presented a detailed proposal for the charges to be requested of Pulte Homes prior to and during construction of the Walters Commons development. Yamiolkoski said it would be unreasonable to ask for the full payment of landscape deposits up front and that this should be replaced by a requirement of approximately one third in cash and the remainder to be in the form of a bond. The concern was that if the development did not follow up on initial grading, there would be insufficient funds for the WIA to restore the landscape.

For the buildings themselves, the standard system of deposits and charges would apply. Refundable deposits would not be returned until all houses in a "unit" were completed. Deposits would be reduced by any change orders or charges for additional visits by ACC monitors. There was an issue raised as to whether occupancy could be withheld until all relevant roads and parking had been completed but the WIA has no authority in that area. It was noted that the ACC had not received final plans of the buildings or landscaping reflecting the changes demanded by El Paso County. The ACC voted to limit Pulte homes to one advertising sign even though the builder requested two signs plus a trailer.

In a later, related, discussion about the status of the conservation easement next to this development, several board members raised concerns about whether promises made to local newspapers regarding the easement would hold up.

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Monthly Weather Wrap

By Bill Kappel

May 2004 Weather Summary

After many days of beneficial rain and snow in April, May took a turn back to the mild and dry conditions that were common during March.

Quiet, dry, and mild conditions prevailed until the afternoon of the 10th, when the first severe weather outbreak of the season took shape. Most of the activity stayed east of the Palmer Divide and Tri-Lakes area, but places like Calhan and Elbert weren’t so lucky; several tornadoes touched down, and the areas received damaging winds and large hail. A strong cold front moved through during the early morning hours of the 12th, dropping temperatures twenty degrees. Rain and snow developed by afternoon, and by evening snow showers were common across the area. By midnight, 1-2 inches of wet snow had fallen above 7,000 feet, but most melted while it fell.

Cloudy and cold conditions stuck around for the 13th, with highs only reaching the 30s to low 40s. More precipitation developed during the afternoon, as the tail end of the storm moved through. Heavy, wet snow with big flakes fell from 4 to 6 p.m. throughout the area, with most locations above 7,300 feet receiving a coating of 3-4 inches. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the only significant storm of the month for the Tri-Lakes region. For most of the rest of the month, temperatures remained at or above normal, with morning sunshine and afternoon clouds common. Scattered showers and thunderstorms occasionally developed but didn’t bring widespread precipitation to the region.

Memorial Day weekend saw a cold front move through, producing windy and cool conditions but not much precipitation. Temperatures did fall below freezing over most of the region on the mornings of the 30th and 31st. The area needs some widespread moisture soon, or it could be another long, hot summer.

The month of June usually brings a variety of weather to the Tri-Lakes area. Afternoon thunderstorms are common, usually producing beneficial rain but dangerous lightning. Average precipitation for the month is between 2 and 3 inches, the fourth wettest month of the year.Average highs reach the mid 70s, with overnight lows generally in the 40s to low 50s. Exceptions can, and often do, occur. In the past, highs have been known to reach into the 90s, and strong cold fronts have brought brief shots of snow to the area and lows below freezing. June 2003 saw examples of some of the cool weather that can affect the region, with cold, fog, rain, and a rain/snow mixture from the 4th to the 5th. The outlook for this June is for average temperatures with near normal precipitation.

For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for this area, please visit http://users.adelphia.net/~billkappel/ClimateSummary.htm.

May 2004 Weather Statistics

Average High 70.4ºF
Average Low 35.7ºF
Highest Temperature 81ºF on the 5th, 6th, 28th
Lowest Temperature 15ºF on the 1st
Monthly Precipitation 0.92"
Monthly Snowfall 6.4"
Season to Date Snow 113.3"
Season to Date Precip. 14.26"

Remember, weather affects all of us every day and is a very important part of life for us on the Palmer Divide. We want to hear from you. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please contact us at our_community_news@hotmail.com.

Bill Kappel is the KKTV 11 News morning meteorologist and a Tri-Lakes resident.

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Letters to Our Community

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in letters to our community should not be interpreted as the view of OCN even when the letter writer is a reporter for OCN.

Letters to Carl Schueler, manager of county planning, regarding the Wal-Mart proposal

As a registered voter, taxpayer, and property owner, I strongly object to the proposal for a WalMart 24-hour Supercenter, with gas station, with tire lube express, with parking for 1,000 cars—or any other traffic-generating; peace shattering; air-, noise-, and light- polluting proposals. If necessary, I will join forces with any organization to boycott WalMart, or any other similar project supporters.

How close is your home to this site? You probably don’t have to tolerate the dirt, noise, and traffic created by a WalMart. What compensation is proposed for those residents living with­in a mile?

Any member of the Planning Commission who approves this pro­posal will find it very difficult to get reelected, reappointed, or keep his present position.

In WalMart’s efforts to increase profits, they should upgrade and clean up the Razor Back Road store (one of the seven WalMarts in Colorado Springs).

We do not need or want a WalMart or other 24-Hour Super Store in our community! You don’t need the ill will by approving one.

Patrick J. O’Shea

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We firmly oppose a Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Monument. We do not need this kind of urban sprawl here. There are already two Wal-Marts located in close proximity to Monument: one is on North Academy Boulevard, about 10 minutes away, and the second one is located in Castle Rock, about 20 minutes away. How many Wal-Marts do we need in a given area? Another Wal-Mart in Monument would just be market oversaturation—we already have a King’s Sooper, Safeway, Home Depot (new), and Ace Hardware for our local shopping needs—and would create more overcrowding, traffic congestion, trash, and environmental stress when it is not needed. Also, Wal-Mart is well-known for driving small local businesses out of business. Although one-stop shopping is nice at times, a diversity of selection is better, and we believe that these local businesses should be given a chance to survive for the sake of the Monument community.

Please join us in loudly saying "NO" to Wal-Mart here in Monument.

Glenn and Monica Whiteside

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More Tickets

Wm. R. Landin, having submitted a letter expressing his opinion, felt "attacked" (OCN, May 1, 2004, "Re: Re: Tickets") when his opinion wasn’t agreed with in a rebuttal by Diane Wilson. She addressed him by his name, which would seem to most as a respectful thing to do, but it obviously inflamed him. He spouts historic events out of context to justify his "warning" to the community about the "possible abuse of government power by the Monument police department" (you know that small office of 12 that runs by sheer dedication because there is never enough GOVERNMENT funding to support all the needs of the expanding community?). I was relieved to see that rebuttal from Diane Wilson appear, because as an involved citizen she took the time to take a stand—whereas I didn’t make the effort, even though I was of the same opinion and, come to find out later, were many others, when the discussion reached block party proportions. Now, in rebuttal and defense of a responsible citizen:

Landin tries to use the Boston Tea Party in his defense. This event took place when a majority of people wanted to break free of the oppression of a single ruler. Landin brings up the founding fathers—again several persons, supported by the MAJORITY, laid the foundation for a DEMOCRACY (Look that up in the Internet!) versus, say, Benedict Arnold, a known single dissenter. But why go back so far in history? Without using the Internet, let’s revisit some events that follow this vein of reasoning:

Abraham Lincoln/the Union — John Wilkes Booth

John F. Kennedy/Popularity unmatched — Lee Harvey Oswald

Martin Luther King Jr./Minorities — James Earl Ray

Self-centeredness always causes more harm than good. Only when the needs of the many are considered and compromises are made can we all enjoy the blessings we have living in this country with the government we do have. Landin states, "Every citizen…has the responsibility…to resist oppressive government." How "courageous" he must feel to disrespect a small-town police officer. Wm. R. Landin, did you also spit on the soldiers returning from Vietnam?

Monika Cline

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The Lesson

On Saturday, May 15, one mile north of Palmer Lake on Highway 105, a friend of mine was purposely hit by a vehicle while riding his bike. He was riding in a responsible manner, and according to the police it was a case of "road rage." My friend has not yet gotten out of the hospital. He was banged up pretty good by a guy who decided that cyclists shouldn’t have a place on the road.

Lots of us ride bikes­–some for transportation, some for recreation, or both. The roads are there for cyclists as well as cars. The roads are narrow and not shouldered the way they ought to be to make it safe for everyone, but maybe our state government can do something about that. Try letting them know it is needed, so more incidents like this one do not occur. I’ve seen a lot more of this recently, and roads I once felt very comfortable riding are no longer very safe to cyclists because of hugely increased traffic loads and lack of enough shoulder to ride safely on with all the angry drivers.

Cyclists are at the mercy of the vehicle traffic, and sometimes it’s not a very benevolent relationship. But there is no excuse ever for drivers to think they can "teach a cyclist a lesson" by brushing, honking, intimidating, or even striking a rider! It is so wrong! There is increased cycling traffic on roads this time of year, and drivers need to be aware of it. Cyclists need to be considerate so as not to get on the wrong side of vehicular assault. It’s just smart to ride and drive with consideration for others.

Please treat one another with respect or even kindness. I recently heard a guy say, "I used to live here twenty years ago and it hasn’t changed all that much except there are 400,000 more cars on the roads." That pretty much sums it up.

Finally to this individual who hit my friend: Just what kind of lesson do you teach someone when you purposely hit him with a car?! You would probably go out of your way to miss a dog, cat, squirrel, deer, etc., but you purposely hit a man on a bike?! Tell me that makes sense!

Tim Watkins

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A Perspective on Our Community: Wal-Mart vs. Monument Marketplace: What’s the difference?

By John Heiser

Some in our community have wondered why so many residents are opposed to the Wal-Mart proposal while almost no objections were raised to the now-approved Monument Marketplace project—which, in terms of retail square footage, is more than three times the size of the proposed Wal-Mart.

Here are a few aspects of the two proposals that account for the different response:

  • Comprehensive planning: The Marketplace is in an area that has been planned for a regional commercial center since at least the 1980s. The agreement signed by the town when the 1,600-acre Regency Park/Jackson Creek area was annexed in 1987 specifically guaranteed that intense commercial uses would be allowed. The proposed Wal-Mart site is shown in the county’s comprehensive plan as mixed use (residential and low-impact commercial) and in Monument’s comprehensive plan as community commercial that draws principally from the local neighborhoods. Regional centers typically draw customers from up to 20 miles away.

  • Zoning: The Marketplace site is properly zoned for a regional commercial center, and the approved plan includes a 200,000-square-foot commercial pad. The Wal-Mart site is zoned for medium-density multifamily, a much less intense use than the zoning required for a commercial center. Wal-Marts typically require the most intense commercial zoning on the county books.

  • Impact on the neighbors: On the east, the Marketplace site is separated from Creekside Middle School and the nearest residence by a sizable open space/mouse habitat area. On the west, it is bounded by I-25. On the north, it borders a drainage way. On the south is more planned commercial development. The Wal-Mart site is bounded on the north by Baptist Road and on the west by Jackson Creek Parkway. On the east, it backs up to a Lutheran church that would be left at the top of a high retaining wall and steep slope. On the south, it borders five-acre Chaparral Hills lots, some with homes valued at $500,000 or more.

  • Monument sales tax: The Marketplace site is within the boundaries of the Town of Monument, so the town will receive 3 percent sales tax on all taxable items. The Wal-Mart site is just outside the town boundary. The town would receive no sales tax from the store and stands to lose $500,000 or more per year in sales tax revenue from existing stores. That reduction in the budget would mean that approximately seven town employees would be let go, three to four of whom could be police officers.

  • Revenue to Triview: The Marketplace site is within the boundaries of the Triview Metropolitan District. Based on long-standing agreements with the town, the district will receive half of the 3 percent local sales tax collected from stores at the Marketplace. The Wal-Mart site lies just outside the Triview district. In return for the extension of service, Wal-Mart would pay Triview’s usual fees and would initially pay a 3 percent retail sales fee to a Public Improvement Corporation (PIC), a private, nonprofit corporation authorized by the district. Initially, the PIC would pass one-fourth (0.75 percent) through to Triview and keep three-fourths of the fee to pay off the $3 million to $5 million in bonds issued to build the road improvements for the Wal-Mart. The agreement is that at the end of three to five years when the bonds are paid off, the district would receive the entire retail sales fee, which would at that point be reduced to 1.5 percent. If the Wal-Mart site were within the town, Triview would receive 1.5 percent sales tax from the day the store opened.

  • Traffic: Ease of highway access is a major factor in the success or failure of regional retail centers. The Marketplace site is on the nearly completed extension of Jackson Creek Parkway from Baptist Road to Higby Road. The traffic from the store would be split between Highway 105, Higby Road, and Baptist Road. Traffic from the Wal-Mart site would be split between Baptist Road and the proposed extension of Struthers Road-Jackson Creek Parkway south to Northgate Road. The improvements to the Highway 105 interchange are currently being completed. Funding for badly needed improvements to the Baptist Road and Northgate Road interchanges is perhaps a decade away.

  • Funds for road building: Bonds to construct the extension of Jackson Creek Parkway from Baptist Road to Higby Road for access to the Marketplace site have been issued by the Triview district and will be repaid from anticipated fees and sales tax revenue from the stores in the center. Unless voters choose to modify the sales tax sharing agreement with Triview, taxpayers outside the Triview district are not being asked to participate except through purchases at the Marketplace. As a condition of the Marketplace project’s approval, the developer is paying for additional road improvements, including expansion of Baptist Road to two lanes in each direction over Jackson Creek and improvements to the ramps at the interchange. The additional road improvements to be implemented by the Wal-Mart PIC are still being negotiated but appear likely to be focused primarily on those needed to get customers into and out of the store’s parking lot. County planning says Wal-Mart will be forced to complete Jackson Creek Parkway south to Struthers Ranch. Some residents are skeptical based on the Struthers Ranch experience where the county attorney’s office negotiated away much of the roadwork the developer implied would be done. It remains unclear how the rest of the needed improvements to Baptist Road identified by the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority’s design project are to be funded. Interchange improvements are typically done entirely with taxpayer dollars, even when specific developments such as the two discussed here trigger the need for them.

  • Police protection: The Monument Police Department will serve the Marketplace site. The Wal-Mart site would be the responsibility of the county sheriff. Since only a small number of sheriff’s deputies are available in this part of the county, response would likely be slow. Even though the town would receive no funding from the store, the Monument police would probably end up having to handle incidents until a sheriff’s deputy arrived.

  • Voter control: The Marketplace proposal has gone through the town’s land use process. The Triview district is implementing the infrastructure improvements. In both cases, the boards are elected by and accountable to local voters. The Wal-Mart proposal is going through the county’s land use process. The PIC proposed to implement the infrastructure improvements for Wal-Mart is a private corporation with closed meetings, no open records, and no voter control.

Based on these considerations, it is clear why the Marketplace proposal did not draw the kinds of outspoken objections the Wal-Mart proposal has. Even so, the Marketplace is not without some significant issues.

In particular, Jackson Creek residents should be asking why Triview took on the entire $15 million cost to construct the infrastructure for the Marketplace when the district already had a staggering existing debt of nearly $25 million. According to Mike Davenport, Monument assistant town manager and town planner, it is customary for the costs of a major arterial road such as Jackson Creek Parkway to be shared one-third each by the landowners on each side of the road and one-third by the governmental entity, in this case Triview. The rather unsettling situation here is that the landowner exerts tremendous control over the district and its actions because the landowner is also the district’s predominant bondholder and developer: Tim and Tom Phelan and their corporate entities including Colorado Structures, Centre Development, Jackson Creek Land Company, and Vision Development.

Jackson Creek taxpayers should also be asking what would happen if the Marketplace fails. The Tri-Lakes population at this point is insufficient to support an additional 650,000 square feet of retail space, so perhaps 80 percent of the customers must be people from outside the area who are willing to brave the local traffic congestion and shop at the Marketplace. Will they do it in sufficient numbers? It is anyone’s guess. If not, Jackson Creek residents will be looking at a total of almost $40 million in debt, roughly $67,000 per house—growing each year as the income to the district continues to fall short of the interest charges.

In light of all this, why is it that only one Jackson Creek resident (outside of the board) attended the Triview district board meeting at which the decision was made to go forward to obtain the $15 million to construct the Marketplace infrastructure?

Both of these proposals ignore deep underlying issues. They are both big-box projects. Many small towns like Monument have lost their historic districts and many of their small businesses to such developments. It is the sort of topic that should have been addressed as part of the update to Monument’s comprehensive plan. Even though many attendees at the public meetings on the plan expressed a very strong preference for maintaining a small-town atmosphere, the plan as it was finally approved does little to ensure that. Many other small towns have implemented store size limits as one means to encourage local entrepreneurial businesses. This option deserves to be seriously explored before more of the area takes on the look of North Academy Boulevard.

This is an updated version of A Perspective on Our Community published in the July 10, 2003, issue of OCN.

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High Country Highlights: Summer Perennial Ideas

By Woody Woodworth

A perennial is a plant that endures more than two growing seasons. Generally, flowering perennials are herbaceous (nonwoody) plants that die to the ground each fall and re-grow the following spring from the same root system. If a bare winter garden is not your idea of beauty, evergreen perennials maintain their leaves year-round, offering an attractive border or ground cover. Some perennials, such as delphiniums, can be short-lived and may last only three years, while others, like peonies, can live for decades if given the care they need.

Perennials are available for almost any type of growing site. The size of a perennial can range from a few inches—which would be a very low, creeping ground cover—to several feet tall and wide.

Texture, color, form, and fragrance are some of the features that are added to a garden when perennials are planted. Coordinating the season of bloom with the unlimited range of colors keeps gardeners happily preoccupied with the landscape.

Caring for a perennial garden is not a very complicated task. Knowing garden conditions, temperature, light, soil, slope, and drainage, and planting accordingly will produce the most successful garden. It is best to plant perennials in spring and fall, except in cold areas, where they should be planted at the end of summer to allow them time to become firmly rooted.

When choosing perennials for a flower garden, select varieties with medium to long stems and a succession of bloom times. Foliage and flower shapes are equally important, to maintain interest. Use your favorite colors and include fragrance to add your own personal touch. Roll your landscape with small hills and boulders. Curve pathways of mulch and flat stone to achieve a relaxing flow through your garden paradise.

Get a jump-start with some late spring and early summer bloomers that are sure to get early cuttings from your garden. Oriental poppy, bearded iris, foxglove, lupine and salvia will all combine well with the branches of late spring flowering shrubs and trees. Plant plenty of these "sure bets," too: columbine, Siberian iris, painted daisy, allium, and coral bells.

You’ll see a dazzling exhibition in midsummer when garden perennials are at their best. Nonstop blooms and growth patterns are impressive, to say the least. Use agastaches, liatris, delphinium, Russian sage, and penstemon to obtain sharpness and contrast. Shasta daisy, purple coneflower, monarda, valerian, and yarrow will soften the bouquet with round-shaped petals.

In your new garden, remember to add fillers like ornamental grasses and boulders for contrast. Garden fillers soften the landscape and take your eye away from seeing only flowers. Use three of the 5-foot Karl Forester ornamental grasses in a cluster, then border them in a semicircle with smaller clumps of Elija Blue fescue. The contrast is amazing when the short, blue clumps send their plumes up in midsummer against the green, bushy, taller grass.

Some medium-size perennials used in clusters are Brilliant Red dianthus, soapwort, Goblin gaillardia, gazania, and spurge. Use them against boulders or small rock walls and ledges. Plant them in numbers, by each other, to achieve the color and effect you want.

Sedum can flourish in your hot, dry areas. They take a lot of neglect and will reward you with yellow, pink, and red flowers. Sedum tolerate poor soil and are perfect for filling in between rock wall areas and along pathways. Acre, dragon’s blood, bronze carpet, and autumn joy are only a few of the common sedum. They are available in variegated, short and stubby, and fernlike shapes that are as bulletproof as the most common varieties.

Eventually summer will blend to autumn, and the change in season will bring the fall colors to your garden. Mums, fall asters, and autumn joy sedum are great for this elevation and will provide a different crop of flowers and color pallet. We’ll talk more about fall plants in an upcoming issue of OCN.

Woody Woodworth owns High Country Feed & Garden and is a member of Garden Centers of Colorado and the Green Industry.

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Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures Bookstore: For the Birds

By Judith Pettibone

Birding can be as simple as a quiet moment between you and a feathered friend at your feeder. It can also be a hobby. For some, this hobby is just an excuse to hike; for others, it is much, much more. No matter the reason for wanting to identify birds or learn more about birding, there are numerous titles to help you in your search. And just for fun, there is even fiction with a birding theme.

The Big Year: The Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession
By Mark Obmascik,
$25.00

Reading more like a novel than a book of nonfiction, The Big Year is an absorbing chronicle of birding’s biggest and wildest competition. "Competition birding" might seem oxymoronic until you encounter the concept of "The Big Year" ("big" is the operative word: A competitor might spend upwards of $100,000 and bird almost continuously for 365 days). Except for those "ultra" competitions where athletes stay on their feet for 100 miles, it is difficult to conceive of a more arduous competition. On the morning of every January 1, a few intrepid souls begin their "big year." The goal is to identify (honor system) the most birds in one geographic area, say North America, in one calendar year. Obmascik calls it "a 365-day marathon of bird-watching." Sound nuts? You still may think so after the last page, but you’ll have a swell time enjoying the craziness of the three obsessed human beings in this book. Chronicling this odyssey, Obmascik eventually becomes hooked himself. Obmascik, a Pulitzer Prize winner and former Denver Post environmental writer, is also a frequent contributor to Outside magazine.

Sibley’s Birding Basics
By David Allen Sibley, $15.95

Sibley is considered America’s premier birder and bird artist (see his art at www.sibleyart.com). He states on the inside cover that "I wrote and illustrated this book to help every inquisitive birder, from novice to expert. Whether you can identify six birds or six hundred, you’ll be a better birder if you have a grounding in the real nuts and bolts of what birds look like, and your skills will be even sharper if you know exactly what to look for and how to record what you see." Well stated! The chapters in this primer consist of identification, taxonomy, understanding feathers, wings, tails, and "bare parts" (eyes, bill, and legs). Surely this little book is all you need to get birding.

The National Audubon Society Sibley Guide to Birds
By David Allen Sibley,
$35.00

This beautiful book has 6,600 detailed illustrations and descriptions for 810 species. Sibley began his interest in drawing birds at the young age of seven, following in the footsteps of his well-known ornithologist father, Fred Sibley. This 500-plus page field guide is the next in the long line of prestigious guides—Audubon, Peterson, and now Sibley. The user-friendly format makes comparisons easy, without losing the uniqueness of each species.

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America
By David Sibley,
$19.95

Moving right along to one more Sibley book—a narrower focus than the Audubon book but beautiful and, again, user friendly. This book identifies over 800 species.

National Geographic: My First Pocket Guide, $7.95

You’re hooked, and now you want to hook your young children or grandchildren. With an attractive graphic design, great close-up photography, a beginning guide to bird identification, and the right size for small hands, this is a perfect "first field guide" for children.

The Backyard Bird Feeder’s Bible: The A-Z Guide to Feeders, Seed Mixes, Projects and Treats
By Sally Roth,
$29.95

If you build it and fill it, will they flock? Using this very complete book will probably maximize the chances of your being successful. With information on attracting a variety of species, sections on seed mixes, and gorgeous photography, this book is a pleasing guide to feeding your local birds.

Birds of Denver and the Front Range
By Chris C. Fisher and Greg Butcher,
$9.95

Parked on the windowsill next to the binoculars, this well-done book has helped our family identify many of the birds we see. Each page covers a species with "Quick I.D. Tips," what time of year you might see the bird, and a short text. If you’re new to the area, or merely want a short book about local birds, this would be a good choice.

Birdwatcher’s Mystery Series
By Christine Goff,
$5.99

Set in the Rocky Mountains, Goff has written these mysteries with a bird-watching theme. The titles say it all: Rant of Ravens, Death of a Songbird, A Nest in Ashes, and her most recent, Death Takes a Gander. Margaret Coel says about Goff’s first novel: "What you expect from a good mystery—a smart detective and a plot that takes some surprising twists … a terrific debut!"

Meg Langslow Mystery Series
By Donna Andrews,
$6.99

Andrews’ latest book Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingoes joins her other two in the series called Murder with Peacocks and Murder with Puffins. An Agatha Award winner, Andrews has come up with an intriguing heroine who happens to have the unusual occupation of ornamental blacksmith. Andrews is known for her witty dialogue and delicious sense of the absurd.

***

The winter birds have migrated, and the spring birds are arriving. Celebrate the longer days and our returning feathered friends with a book for (or about) the birds.

Until next month, happy reading and watching.

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Reflections: Forget French!

By Judith Pettibone

Forget French!, the billboard screamed at me. Learn E-Commerce! It was 4 a.m. and too dark in the airport shuttle to get out my notebook. In my pre-dawn stupor, it took a few minutes to register … Forget French?!

I loved/hated French while in high school and college. Seven years of study and I was barely prepared to order omelets in a Parisian café. Admittedly, my husband was impressed, but it wasn’t much. My fault, I’m sure.

I have always wished I had learned more and have always been envious of my Canadian friends’ children. The four of them are bilingual due to full-immersion French from kindergarten. One is tri-lingual, and one is quatra-lingual. His fourth language is Mandarin Chinese! I am convinced that the blitzkrieg approach to learning language is the only way to go. In fact, I have been known (as the devil’s advocate, of course) to argue against high school language requirements. But to Forget French! for E-trade. Excuse me.

I understand about priorities for kids in the new millennium. It is not easy, in this crowded and noisy world of knowledge options, to know what to keep in the sorting process. The more our kids have to learn in a finite time, the harder the decisions become. What to save and what to discard are being considered in every curriculum committee across the country. Not having a crystal ball can make it an eye-crossing discussion.

Of course, Forget French! was glib. And since I was half-asleep, I’m not exactly sure where it was going. But I do know that the billboard made me think along lines probably unintended by the ad writers. With the increasing use of English worldwide, will French just disappear from the high school curriculum? If it does, what are we losing and what will replace it? Does manipulating e-commerce provide a child with the mental discipline and patience required when learning another language? Does e-commerce give the gift of communicating, even briefly, with someone who does not speak your own language?

Perhaps even more importantly, if e-commerce Forget(s) French! what is next? Forget Art!? Music!? If a class doesn’t obviously and concretely link up to one’s future job, is it out of here? Into the "unnecessary" category could tumble all the languages (except Japanese? or Arabic?), art, music, literature, and philosophy.

It is tempting to say we know what education our kids will absolutely need to prepare them for their future. In acting certain, we would be fooling ourselves and maybe looking foolish as well. Are there skills that all kids need? Of course! I think. Aside from reading, writing, and basic mathematical calculation, I’d guess we could argue about everything else.

But to Forget French! and whatever else might follow? I know this much for certain: We might produce proficient e-commercians but they would not be able to order omelets, enjoy a symphony, appreciate a piece of art, have a rewarding hobby, muse about life, and certainly never be able to finish a crossword puzzle.

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The Society Page: The Buffalo Soldiers call on Society

By Leon Tenney

Palmer Lake Historical Society hosted two of the local Buffalo Soldier reenactors, George Payton and Andy Bell. They were wearing actual uniforms of the 10th U.S. Cavalry, not costumes. They brought original saddles, blankets, and other equipment of that old-time regiment. Andy and George were retired sergeant-majors of the U.S. Army. The presentation covered two subject areas: the equipment and the history.

George began by telling us of his Army career, which spanned over 20 years. He loves horses, but never got to ride them, since the Army ended its mounted army in World War II. However, he managed to finish his career on horseback when he was promoted to sergeant-major in full old-time Cavalry uniform in the 10th Cavalry at Fort Carson about 20 years ago. Now, in between re-enacting, he runs an archery shop in Fountain. George has reached the level of historical accuracy where he actually performs mounted drills on horseback. However, he did not do so in the Palmer Lake Town Hall that night. You will have to catch up with him when his unit performs outdoors.

ext up was Andy Bell, who spent 30 years in the service, from teenager to grandpa. His grandfather was actually one of the Buffalo soldiers who retired at Fort Leavenworth. Andy’s ancestors fought in all the American wars of the 20th century. He told us about the history of the Buffalo Soldiers from the end of the Civil War when six black regiments were created by an act of Congress on July 28, 1866. There were four infantry regiments that were later consolidated into the 24th and 25th U.S. Infantry; and two cavalry regiments, the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry. Each regiment had its own difficulties, made worse by the prejudices of the time. But once begun, their soldiers served honorably for the next 100 years. One of the recurring problems with all units has been recruiting quality men to serve. Much of the time, the commanders of these regiments had to make do with a less than full complement of troopers.

Now back to George, who told us of the standard issue carbine that was accurate out to 800 yards. Their pistols were Navy colts that originally used black powder and percussion caps. The weapon of last resort was the saber, which made so much noise it was often left behind at the fort when patrolling. Much of their equipment was hand-me-downs from other regiments, but they used it while guarding settlers, patrolling the Mexican border, and running down bandits.

The Buffalo Soldiers were so named by the Plains Indians—not because of the color of the soldiers’ skin, but because the Indians were so impressed by their character and fighting abilities. The Cheyenne, the Dakota, and the others honored the buffalo above all else. At first the black soldiers thought they had been insulted, until they found out they were actually respected by the Indians..

Those of you who missed this stirring presentation might catch up with these men when they are in the various local parades this summer, starting with the June 5 parade in Colorado Springs honoring our returning Iraqi war veterans.

Our next program is on Saturday, June 19, at 1 p.m. Jim Sawatzki will lead a walking tour of the Vaile Museum and some of the historic buildings in Palmer Lake. Meet at the Vaile Museum. See you all then.

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Special Events and Notices

Black Forest Slash-Mulch Site Open

The Black Forest Slash-Mulch Program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling program of the El Paso County Solid Waste Management Department. The site is located at the southeast corner of Herring and Shoup Roads in Black Forest.

Residents may bring slash that is no longer than six feet and no wider than eight inches in diameter to the slash-mulch site, where it will be ground into mulch and recycled. Slash is accepted through Sept. 25, Thursday evenings 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is a donation of nonperishable food that will be distributed to nonprofit Black Forest organizations. No stumps, roots, lumber, railroad ties, dirt, weeds, or household trash will be accepted. Loads must be covered and tied, and children and pets must stay inside the vehicle while at the site. Mulch will be available June 5 to Sept. 25. Those bringing their own tools may load mulch free of charge.

Dave’s Demos will be held at the site on one Saturday a month at 11 a.m. A question-and-answer session will follow each presentation.

  • June 12: Fire Hazard and Forest Management

  • July 10: Disease and Insects

  • Aug. 7: Mountain Pine Beetle

For more information, call El Paso County Solid Waste Management at 520-7878 or Ruth Ann Steele at 495-3107, or visit www.bfslash.org.

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Tri-Lakes Views Art Show and Opening Gala

TriLakes Views 2004 is a juried art show on display June 4-July 4 in the TriLakes Center for the Arts, located in the historic Kaiser-Frazer building at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. The show’s Gala Opening Party is June 5, 7 to 10 p.m. and will feature a "performance piece" by world-renowned puppeteer Patty Smithsonian. Tickets for the party are $30 in advance or $35 at the door, with the tax-deductible price benefiting the TriLakes Center for the Arts. Tickets are available in Monument at the High Country Store, The Folk Art Gallery, Covered Treasures Bookstore, Petal Pushin’, and Sabrinas; or in Palmer Lake from the Speed Trap or TriLakes Center for the Arts. For more information, call Sandra Kinchen at 4810475, or visit tri-lakesviews.org.

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Summer Reading Programs for Kids at the Library

Monument branch, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr., 488-2370:

June 8, 10:30 & 11:15 a.m. "Magic Impossible"–Help solve the mystery with a silly magician.
June 10
, 3 p.m. "On the Wings of a Bird"–Make a puppet, learn a birdcall, hear stories.
June 14
, 1:30 p.m. "Blaze a Trail Back in Time"–Kids age 7 and up make taffy and play pioneer games.
June 15
, 10:30 & 11:15 a.m."The Case of the Dangerous Dog Nappers"–Puppet show.
June 17
, 3 p.m. "Under the Sea"–Explore the ocean world with stories and activities.
June 21
, 1:30 p.m. "Magic Tree House Travels"–Kids age 7 and up imagine riding in a tree house.
June 22
, 10:30 & 11:15 a.m. "Daffy Detectives"–Zany detectives solve crimes and tickle your funny bone.
June 24
, 3 p.m. "Froggy, Froggy"–Hold a frog! Crafts and stories.
June 29
, 10:30 & 11:15 a.m. "Lights of the Puppet World"–Favorite stories, silly-style, by puppeteer Patti Smithsonian. Learn shadow puppetry and enjoy live disco dancing!

Palmer Lake branch, 66 Lower Glenway, 481-2587:

June 7, 1:30 p.m. "On the Wings of a Bird"–Make a puppet, learn a birdcall, and hear stories.
June 9
, 10:30 a.m. "Daffy Detectives"–Zany detectives solve crimes and tickle your funny bone.
June 16
, 10:30 a.m. "Rolo the Magician"–Some magic and a balloon animal for everyone!
June 18
, 1:30 p.m. "Under the Sea"–Explore the ocean world with stories and activities.
June 23
, 10:30 a.m. "Animal Antics"–Hands-on Canine Companions program.
June 25
, 1:30 p.m. "Froggy, Froggy"–Hold a frog! Crafts and stories.
June 30
, 10:30 a.m. "The Hidden Trunk"–A hidden trunk leads to amazing tales of adventure.

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Annual Gleneagle Garage Sale and Neighborhood Cleanup

This year’s sale will take place on June 11 and 12, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gleneagle residents wanting to participate can pick up Garage Sale Help Packets at Peoples Bank in Gleneagle and at First Bank in the King Soopers Shopping Center. For more information, call Terry Galloway, 487-3326.

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Baptist Road Wal-Mart Community Meeting

The Coalition of Tri-Lakes Communities will hold a community meeting on June 13 at 2 p.m. in the Lewis-Palmer High School auditorium. Learn about the Wal-Mart proposal for a supercenter at Baptist Road that will be heard by the Board of County Commissioners on June 24 at 9 a.m. Find out how you can get involved. For more information, call John Heiser at 488-9031.

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Annual Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament

The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual golf tournament June 14, 8 a.m., at the Pine Creek Golf Club in north Colorado Springs. There will be games, prizes, food, and opportunities to mingle with area business leaders. Individuals and teams welcome. It’s a four-person scramble, with an entry fee of $135 per person. For information on how to participate or be a sponsor, call Larry Lawrence, 488-9663, or Lee Kilbourn, 495-1995.

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Tour Xeriscape Gardens

Learn how to help your garden and landscape survive Colorado’s drought. Tours of six award-winning, colorful private gardens that use water wisely are planned in June. Sponsored by the Colorado Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. and Colorado WaterWise Council, the tours will demonstrate water conservation principles in the home landscape. Xeriscape resource guides, garden information sheets, and expert gardeners will be available at each tour garden.

  • Denver: June 12 and 13, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

  • Colorado Springs: June 19 & 20, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

  • Boulder area: June 26 and 27, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Tickets are $15 per city and are a tax-deductible contribution to Colorado Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. Each ticket is a map to all six gardens for that city’s tour. For information, call Kass Johns in Colorado Springs at 635-1306 or visit the official Web site for the Xeriscape Garden Tours (www.coloradogardenclubs.org).

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Celtic Guitarist in Concert

The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA) and The Wine Seller Concert Series will present Jerry Barlow, Celtic finger-style guitarist, performing Irish, Scottish, and Appalachian music on June 19. Tickets, $10 for members and $12 nonmembers, are available at The Wine Seller, The SpeedTrap, and TLCA. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. The Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is located at 304 Highway 105 in Palmer Lake. For more information, call 481-0475 or visit www.trilakesarts.com.

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Tri-Lakes Cruisers 3rd Annual Car Show

This year’s car show will be in the heart of Historic Downtown Monument on June 20, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cars will be displayed on Second Street and parts of Washington and Front Streets, and there will be a BBQ in Limbach Park sponsored by Rosie’s Diner and the Farmer’s Market. General Lee, the car from "The Dukes of Hazard," will be on display, and some local folks will be in costume posing as various characters from the program. There is no admission charge.

Pre-registration is $20 per vehicle. On-site registration is $25 per vehicle. Proceeds from the show will benefit Tri-Lakes Cares. For more information call Bill at 481-2465 or Mike at 488-2142. Visit www.tlcruisers.org for registration forms and more information.

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The Great American Bake Sale

High Country Store and Tri-Lakes Cares are hosting a Great American Bake Sale at High Country Store on June 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is part of a nationwide program sponsored by Parade Magazine and Share Our Strength, to help end child hunger in America. Businesses, clubs, teams, and families in the area are invited to be table sponsors, setting up a table filled with donated baked goods to be sold that day. The event coincides with the first Saturday Farmers Market of the season. Volunteers are needed to coordinate efforts and help with setup and teardown. Call Catherine at High Country Store at 481-3477 or e-mail her at Catherine@homebrewwine.com.

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Farmer’s Market Returns to Monument

The Farmer’s Market will be in downtown Monument every Saturday from June 26 to October 2, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Lewis-Palmer School District yard on the south side of Second Street between Jefferson and Adams.

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Palmer Lake Historical Society’s Sizzling Summer Events

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events.

  • June 19, 1 p.m., local historian Jim Sawatzki will lead an informative walking tour of the Vaile Museum and historic buildings of Palmer Lake. Meet at the Vaile Museum, 66 Lower Glenway.

  • July 17, 1 to 5 p.m., the McGuireville Tour and BBQ Feast, featuring an antique exhibit. Chuck Pyle will entertain.

  • Aug. 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the annual Estemere Tour. Don’t miss this opportunity to tour the elegant Victorian mansion in Palmer Lake. Watch for details.

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Storytelling Festival in July

Some of the West’s best storytellers will perform at the 2004 Rocky Mountain Storytelling Festival. Colorado storytellers Opalanga Pugh, Pat Mendoza, and Susan Kaplan are the featured presenters. Children’s storytelling workshops and a free evening concert with the featured storytellers take place on July 30 at Philip S. Miller Public Library, 100 S. Wilcox, Castle Rock. Adult workshops and more stories and music for all ages occur on July 31 at Palmer Lake Elementary in Palmer Lake. Come tell your own story at one of the Story Swaps. For more information, contact John Stansfield at P.O. Box 588, Monument 80132, (303) 660-5849 or toll-free (866) 462-1727.

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Independence Day Weekend in Tri-Lakes

July 3: Monument’s 125th birthday celebration

7 a.m., Palmer Lake Elementary’s four-mile run to Limbach Park in Monument. Starting point: Palmer Lake Santa Fe Trailhead
7 a.m. -1 p.m.,
Farmers Market, Second Street by the Lewis-Palmer Administration Building, Monument
7:30-9:30 a.m.,
Pancake breakfast hosted by the Monument Hill Sertoma Club, Front Street, between Second and Third Streets, Monument

11 a.m.-4 p.m.

  • Historic exhibits at the Lewis-Palmer Administration Building (Big Red)

  • Historic walks led by Jim Sawatzki, from Big Red

  • Historic pictures in Monument Town Hall, 166 Second Street

  • Historic displays and demonstrations along Second Street, including teepees to climb inside, pioneer crafts, antique vehicles

  • Food, music, and more!

5-9 p.m., Old-fashioned potato bake and a live concert in Limbach Park.

9 p.m.-midnight, Barn dance at the Sibels’ barn, 231 Front Street in the back, Monument

July 4: Palmer Lake

"Lunchtime to Launchtime" - Activities will extend the length of the town, from Kid’s Play at the ballpark to the Tri-Lakes Views Show at Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts. Enjoy live music noon till 8 p.m., a street fair, an inflatable playground by Daisy Twist, Kiwanis family fun, celebrity dunk tank by the Palmer Lake Elementary School PTO, a fine arts show, and, finally, the fireworks extravaganza at the lake at sundown. Hiking and biking trails abound in Palmer Lake, including the Santa Fe and Greenland Trails, linking picnic grounds and mountain scenery. There are also many unique restaurants to choose from.

July 5: Downtown Monument

Monument’s Independence Day Parade Sponsored and marshalled by the Monument Hill Sertoma Club. Parking is available at the Lewis-Palmer High School and Lewis-Palmer Middle School on Woodmoor Drive, with a free bus shuttle running until 10:30 a.m.

9:30 a.m., Children’s Parade–participants line up by 8:30 a.m. at the south parking lot of St. Peter Catholic Church, at First Street and Jefferson. No entry form or fee needed; just show up with decorated trikes, bikes, wagons, critters, etc. No skateboards or motorized scooters.

10 a.m., Monument’s annual Fourth of July parade and street fair. Entry forms available at Town Hall, 166 Second St.; the Chamber of Commerce, 300 Hwy. 105; by calling Gov Vaughn, 487-0064; or at the Web site www.monumenthillsertoma.org.

All day, Monument Street Fair: Nifty things to buy, delicious food, and more! Vendor booths on Second Street between Front and Jefferson and on Washington Street between Second and Third.

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Antelope Trails Teacher Wins Award

Timothy Fowler, a fifth-grade teacher at Antelope Trails Elementary School, has been selected as a local 2004 Teacher of the Year by the Chapel Hills Wal-Mart. Fowler stood out as an extraordinary teacher because he challenges each student to do the best he or she can do. The award includes a cash prize for the school and a certificate for the teacher.

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Tours and Story Time at the Old Log School

The historic Old Log School in Black Forest, located at Shoup and Black Forest Roads, will be hosting an open house each Thursday from noon to 3 p.m., June 17-Aug. 19. There is no charge for the tour. Volunteer hosts are needed for tours. Call Carol at 495-2178 for information.

Story Time for primary children will be held at the Old Log School each Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon, June 17-July 29. An adult must accompany children. There is no charge. Volunteers are needed to read stories and help with activities. Call Mindy at 495-9769 for information.

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