Concerns raised about potential high
school on Wissler property
Baptist Road Rural Transportation
Authority, March 10: Wal-Mart refuses to
participate in public improvement fee
Baptist and Struthers Road
construction contract awarded
Palmer Lake Town Council Workshop,
March 2: Adjacent property owner trustees fight
Palmer Lake Town Council Meeting,
March 9: Fritts’ subdivision request continued
Palmer Lake Ballot Issue, April 4
Palmer Lake Candidate
Statements, April 4 Election
Monument Board of Trustees, March
6: Officer Degenkolbe awarded Distinguished
Monument Board of Trustees, March
20: Baptist Interchange options discussed
Monument Planning Commission, March
8: Home Place Ranch annexation approved
Donala Water and Sanitation District
May 2 election and ballot question
Forest View Acres Water District,
March 23: Residents object to $25 per month fee
Monument Sanitation District, March
21: District Election Canceled
Tri-Lakes Wastewater Facility Joint
Use Committee, March 13: Lab/admin building completed
Palmer Lake Sanitation District Board
Triview Metropolitan District, March
22: Carwash being considered for Marketplace
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation
District, March 13: D-38 has not yet requested
service to Wissler site
Donald Wescott FPD election
Wescott FPD receives MVEA grant
Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District,
March 22: Ambulance revenues strong, May election
Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection
District, March 22: Directors run unopposed,
Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue
Authority, March 22: Woodmoor/Monument director
Tim Miller elected president
El Paso County Planning Commission,
March 21: Court rules water insufficient for 13
County report on ruling to be presented
Woodmoor Improvement Association
Board, March 15: Board approves ancillary buildings
March Weather Wrap
Letters to Our Community
Between The Covers at the Covered
Treasures Bookstore: Time for a thrill
High Country Highlights:
Early Spring Garden Tips
Palmer Lake Historical Society, March
16: Hummingbirds, our mischievous neighbors
Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Mountain
Earth Day, April 22
Special Events and Notices
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Concerns raised about potential high
school on Wissler property
Click here or on the photos to zoom in
and view additional photos
Below: An overflow crowd attended the Lewis-Palmer School
Board meeting March 16. Board President Jes Raintree is standing. Board members
and Superintendent David Dilley are seated at the right. Photo by John Heiser
Below Chris Mikulas, chair of the Save Wissler Ranch group says to the
school board, "We want to work with you."
Below: After the ice hockey approval: Bill Anonsen, his son Colin, and
School Board President Jes Raintree.
By John Heiser
An overflow crowd estimated at more than 300 people attended
the Lewis-Palmer District 38 School Board meeting March 16. Many came to protest
the potential construction of a high school on a 60-acre portion of Marie
Wissler’s 814-acre ranch near Furrow Road and King’s Deer Point. A smaller
group came to persuade the school board to add ice hockey and girls’ field
hockey to the Lewis-Palmer High School sports program. The board approved the
additional sports to loud applause, defended its efforts to acquire the high
school site, and did not rule out the use of its power of eminent domain to
force Wissler to sell the land.
The hockey and high school site discussions came more than
two hours into the meeting. School Board President Jes Raintree responded to
objections that the items were placed late in the agenda by saying the board
needed to address a number of other topics. Those other topics included:
Student Recognition: Lewis-Palmer Middle School
students Karin Bainer and Ryan Miller performed a comedy duet, "The DMV
Tyrant," and Creekside Middle School student Aly Archuleta performed a
solo, "I Can Still Be Me," from their forensics program.
Lewis-Palmer High School Student Council report:
Mike Laband and Addison Potter reported on Student Council activities. Mike
noted that a bottle cap collection had raised $1,950 for a student who is
recovering from an automobile accident, Student Council elections will be
held in April, and their Constitution has been revised. Addison Potter, son
of Dan Potter who spoke later regarding the high school site, announced that
discussions of a second high school resulted in a unanimous vote by the
Student Council that something needs to be done soon and that the Wissler
Ranch property is best suited for a second high school. In supporting the
use of eminent domain to acquire the land, he said, "Community needs
must prevail over potential impacts."
Realignment of Higby Road: Monument Mayor Byron
Glenn discussed plans to realign Higby Road so that west of Fairplay it will
curve south of its current alignment. The town is working with the Home
Place Ranch developer and the Triview Metropolitan District to make the road
improvements. This effort will be coordinated with the traffic engineer and
the town planner and will include input from the YMCA.
Response to Intervention (RTI) Report: Principals,
staff, and students from Prairie Winds Elementary School and Lewis-Palmer
Middle School described how RTI helps meet the learning needs of individual
students. They noted that rather than waiting for learning disabilities to
result in educational failures, RTI uses a team effort focusing on
prevention and early intervention.
Appointment of new executive director of Special
Programs and Services: Dr. Laura Douglas was unanimously approved as the
new special services executive director. She is currently director of
Special Education in the Cherry Creek School District. Douglas succeeds
Linda Williams-Blackwell, who introduced Douglas and praised her experience
Extension of administrators’ contracts: Upon
Superintendent David Dilley’s recommendation, the Board approved extension
of 13 administrators’ contracts for the 2006-07 school year including Ted
Belteau, executive director, Administration and Community Services; Maryann
Wiggs, executive director, Learning Services; Ray Blanch, executive
director, Assessment, Research and Technology; Dr. Marie Revak, director of
Professional Learning; and Dr. Keith Jacobus, executive director, Personnel
Request of Monument Academy to add grade 12: The
Board unanimously approved the addition of grade 12 at Monument Academy for
the 2006-07 school year. Michael AuClaire, middle/high school principal,
said they are expecting accreditation to be completed in June.
Approval of traffic study: The Board
unanimously approved an agreement with Felsburg, Holt & Ullevig to
provide a traffic study of Jackson Creek Parkway and Higby Road, including a
review of traffic flow on the Lewis-Palmer High School property. This study
will be done partially in coordination with the YMCA.
Lewis-Palmer High School ice hockey and girls’ field hockey
Seann O’Connor made a presentation highlighting the plans
and costs for the two new sports. He estimated the expenses for girls’ field
hockey including transportation, coaches, equipment, and officials at $13,550
for the first year and $10,550 per year thereafter. For the ice hockey program,
O’Connor estimated the expenses including transportation, equipment, game
management, coaches, and rental of ice rink practice time at Soc N’ Roll at
$17,730 for the first year and $15,130 per year thereafter. He noted that these
amounts assume substantial fundraising by parents and other hockey supporters in
Raintree added that four previous school boards discussed
adding ice hockey without making a decision.
In response to a question from Board Treasurer Gail Wilson
about whether alcohol and smoking would be allowed at events at Soc N’ Roll,
Ray Marshall, one of the owners of Soc N’ Roll, said it would be restricted as
part of the agreement with the school. Marshall also agreed to set aside team
practice time from 4 to 7 p.m.
O’Connor added that the players’ behavior would be
governed by a code of conduct.
District resident Bill Anonsen spoke in favor of the
proposal. He said offering ice hockey would add value to the high school
experience. In response to a question from Wilson, he said participation would
be open to girls and that girls participate on other ice hockey teams.
The board voted unanimously to approve the addition of the
two sports for the 2006-07 school year subject to management oversight by the
Board keeps open Wissler property options
Denny Hill and David Porter of Strategic Resources West
presented the results of a growth study conducted by the district with
representatives of El Paso County, local water and sanitation districts, and the
towns of Monument and Palmer Lake. The study projected build-out of the area in
25-50 years. Some of its conclusions (all figures include the Monument Charter
The district will need space for an additional 3,090
elementary school students beyond the present 2,091 (2004-05). That
translates to an additional six to seven elementary schools.
The district will need space for an additional 1,056
middle school students beyond the present 1,459 (2004-05), so a third middle
school will be needed.
The district will need space for an additional 2,050 high
school students beyond the present 1,806 (2004-05) so a second high school
will be needed.
Total K-through-12 enrollment could grow from the present
5,356 to as much as 12,840.
With careful management, the district has the capacity
for a few years at the elementary and middle school levels.
Lewis-Palmer High School enrollment is already above its
A bond issue will be needed in November 2006 to fund
Hill added that much of the anticipated growth is
concentrated along the I-25 corridor. He said growth in the eastern part of the
district will be constrained by the lack of water and sewer districts. He said,
"The county is currently not interested in rezoning [that area] to higher
Hill noted that the criteria for a second high school site
include 60 acres or more, availability of nearby water and sewer services,
adequate access and roadways, and manageable site slopes. He noted that the
district owns a 78-acre site at Highway 83 and Walker Road. The district
reportedly purchased that land from the Younger family about 20 years ago for
more than $700,000. Hill said that the water and sewer service at the nearby
Walden development is not adequate to serve a high school but is sufficient to
serve a middle school. He added that access to the site would be limited to
using Walker Road, and if a high school were constructed there it could produce
a dangerous situation at the intersection of Highway 83 and Walker Road.
Real estate consultant Dale Wheeler reviewed his efforts for
the board since 1997 to find suitable land for a second high school. He said
that of the many properties considered, the Wissler property is the only one
that best meets the criteria.
Speaking as part of the district’s presentation, King’s
Deer developer and resident Dan Potter characterized opposition to the Wissler
site as "anti-growth and anti-eminent domain." He said the district’s
Highway 83 site is not centrally located, and connecting to the Walden utilities
would cost $1.5 million. Although he said he does not agree with the Supreme
Court’s decision favoring use of eminent domain in the widely publicized New
London case, Potter said he supports use of eminent domain in obtaining the
Wissler property. Potter displayed a professionally prepared sign saying
"Save the Children. Condemn Wissler Ranch." He later said that the
sign was a joke. In response to suggestions that obtaining the property through
eminent domain would be a protracted process, Potter said, "The district
could have possession in a few months." The background for Potter’s
remarks includes the county’s use of eminent domain to extend Milam Road north
of Shoup Road through Black Forest Regional Park to connect to Potter’s
Cathedral Pines development.
Board member Stephen Plank explained the requirement to
maintain privacy of contract negotiations. He said that in the negotiations with
the Wissler family, Dilley was acting at the direction of the Board.
Plank added that the school district has the power of eminent
domain under state statute to obtain land inside the district through
condemnation, but it must be based on fairness and equity and that the property
owner would receive fair market value for the land.
Dilley, remarking on the outrage over eminent domain, said,
"Where is outrage about overcrowding in our high school?" He reported
on the sequence of events during the negotiations with the Wissler family and
added, "I never heard ‘No means no.’" He finished his presentation
by saying, "I am not one bit ashamed of anything I said or wrote."
Raintree added that the goal is to open the second high
school by the 2008-09 school year. She said, "There is a child behind every
decision I make." She urged district residents to participate through the
building accountability and district accountability committees.
The Board heard comments from 23 residents who expressed
their opinions about the need for a second high school, where it should be
located, and how the property should or should not be obtained. Some of those
Glenn Lodwig urged the board to concentrate on solutions
that a majority of voters will support so the needed bond issue ballot
measure will pass.
Jessica Kagarise, a student at Lewis-Palmer High School,
said Addison Potter’s presentation regarding the views of the Student
Council is not representative of the student body. She said that in one day,
she obtained more than 100 signatures on a petition opposing use of eminent
domain to obtain the Wissler property.
Shannon Doyle characterized eminent domain as
"taking property that doesn’t belong to you." He said its use
must be held to an incredibly high standard and that using it because it is
cheaper is not an acceptable justification. He added, "If the district
is seen as being a bully, that is not the right message for our kids. Mrs.
Wissler has said it is not for sale. We need to look elsewhere."
Sonny Williams said the Wissler property is the wrong
location because it is not centrally located and would pose a hazard to the
students who attend Prairie Winds Elementary School. He added that the site
at Highway 83 and Walker Road is at the intersection of major arterials,
which would be safer for the students. Referring to the greater cost to
develop that site, he said, "Tell us how much more. It’s yours."
Don MacIver said eminent domain in this situation should
only be used to resolve the price, not to compel an unwilling seller. He
questioned the site criteria used, saying a high school should not be
located in a residential area. He added that since most of the residential
lots near the Wissler site are already developed, that is not where the
growth will occur. He reported that Phil Steininger, manager of the Woodmoor
Water and Sanitation district, told him that the district is not obligated
and has not committed to serve the Wissler site.
Larry Lawrence, a civil engineer, said the Wissler site
is not acceptable from a traffic standpoint and objected that an engineering
study of the site had not been done. Raintree replied that the board is
limited in how much they can spend without a bond issue.
Chris Mikulas, chair of the Save Wissler Ranch group,
said to the board, "We want to work with you. We want to make sure a
mistake isn’t made here. You owe it to this community to explore other
options so this isn’t held up."
Terry Rust, representing the Wissler family, confirmed
Dilley’s account of the sequence of the events during the negotiations and
then asked the board, "Will you take it or not?" Raintree replied
that the board has three ways to acquire land: donation, purchase, or
condemnation. She did not rule out use of condemnation.
Pam Howard, a Lewis-Palmer High School teacher, commended
the board for its efforts and stressed the urgency of creating a second high
Chris Pollard noted that if the family wants to block the
use of eminent domain, they could put a conservation easement on the land.
He added that the need for a second high school was not created by the
school board but resulted from town and county rezoning.
Raintree thanked the attendees and announced that the meeting
was entering executive session to discuss negotiations regarding the Monument
The Lewis-Palmer District 38 Board of Education normally
meets on the third Thursday of each month at the Learning Center of the
Lewis-Palmer Administration Building, Second and Jefferson. The next meeting is
April 20. The district’s Web site is at www.lewispalmer.org.
Baptist Road Rural Transportation
Authority, March 10: Wal-Mart refuses to participate in public improvement
Below: Map showing Monument town boundaries (lined area) and
BRRTA boundaries (darker areas). The darkest portions are parcels recently
included in BRRTA. Photo by Mike Wicklund
Click here or on the map to zoom in
By Jim Kendrick
Wal-Mart spokesman Mike Ciletti confirmed his previous press
conference statement that the Monument Marketplace Wal-Mart would not
voluntarily participate in a proposed Baptist Road Rural Transportation
Authority (BRRTA) public improvement fee (PIF) to privately finance improvements
to the Baptist Road I-25 interchange. Without Wal-Mart participation, there is
insufficient projected PIF revenue from the other retail stores within BRRTA to
pay the interest on the authority’s proposed highway construction bonds. BRRTA
will now seek a 1 percent sales tax ballot initiative in the November election.
County Commissioner Jim Bensberg was absent.
The board unanimously approved all seven invoices that had
been submitted since the last meeting Feb. 10. There were two payments totaling
$5,692.46 to Grimshaw and Harring for legal services and condemnation
litigation, two payments totaling $10,605.59 to R.S. Wells LLC for district
management, two payments totaling $11,225.30 for a market analysis and
absorption study for the PIF, and a payment of $1,200 to BKD LLP for accounting
District Manager Denise Denslow of R.S. Wells asked if the
board wanted to seek another exemption for an independent audit. District
Attorney Jim Hunsaker said the audit would cost about $3,500. State law allows
special districts to file for annual exemptions if their annual expenditures are
under $500,000, and BRRTA has gotten an exemption each year since it was created
in 1997. Triview Metropolitan District Manager Ron Simpson said, "We have
recommended an audit every year because of the way the funds are collected,
where they are collected, and how they are managed." Denslow suggested a
separate audit for all collections made since 1997.
The board unanimously approved an independent audit for 2005.
Denslow said she would solicit audit proposals. The board also unanimously
approved having J.W. Simmons perform a separate audit of all impact fees
collected since BRRTA was created.
El Paso County Department of Transportation Project Manager
Andre Brackin reported that a single bid proposal had been issued to increase
construction efficiency for widening Baptist Road and building Struthers Road
south of the intersection of Jackson Creek Parkway and Baptist Road.
Work on Baptist Road should start by the end of April, but
not until late November for Struthers Road due to Preble’s mouse hibernation
restrictions. Both portions are covered by the single construction contract,
even though BRRTA and Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) are
responsible for Baptist, while the county and PPRTA are responsible for
Struthers Road. Some Struthers Road work must be concluded by April 30, the end
of the "mouse hibernation" construction window, which increases that
portion of the cost. Curb, gutter, and paving will be done after April 30
because those jobs won’t disturb the mouse habitat.
Brackin said the contract proposal consisted of five bid
schedules. Six bids were submitted. The county uses the best-value bid process.
The low bid was $10,173,995 from Rocky Mountain Materials and Asphalt, which he
said also appeared to be the best value. The highest bid was $11,649,000.
The five schedules and their costs in the lowest bid were:
Widening Baptist Road to seven lanes between the I-25
ramps and Jackson Creek Parkway; $235,979. Brackin noted that part of this
improvement will be financed by funds escrowed by Vision Development as a
condition of approval for the Monument Marketplace Home Depot’s
certificate of occupancy. However, the town let the Home Depot open in July
2004 without any improvements to Baptist Road when no agreement with U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service could be reached regarding mouse habitat adjacent
to the Baptist Road bridge over Jackson Creek. The bridge over I-25 will
remain two lanes wide because it is owned by the state rather than BRRTA.
Widening Baptist Road to four lanes east of Jackson Creek
Parkway to Tari Drive; $6,647,417.
Frontage road work from Family of Christ Church to
Leather Chaps Drive; $101,188.
Struthers road construction (6,000 feet) between the
Struthers Ranch development and Baptist Road; $3,039,561.
A noise wall on the south side of Baptist Road between
Gleneagle Drive and Desiree Drive; $149,850.
Brackin said BRRTA’s engineering costs were about $940,000
and property acquisition costs were about $575,000. All costs were in line with
the county’s estimates.
Brackin asked the board for guidance on which of the bid
schedules to initiate. The total PPRTA funding that will be available for
Baptist Road improvements is $6,944,000 compared to the cost for Baptist Road
improvements of $7,134,434, a shortfall of $190,434. PPRTA money available for
Struthers Road construction is $2.5 million compared to the cost of $3,039,561,
a shortfall of $539,561.
Hunsaker said that PPRTA had paid $900,000 of BRRTA’s costs
for engineering and land acquisition, further limiting the funds available for
BRRTA’s four bid schedules. BRRTA must reimburse PPRTA for those "cash
advances" at some point. BRRTA’s cash balance is currently about
$430,000. The Wal-Mart traffic impact fee was about $260,000. Hunsaker added
that BRRTA will increase traffic impact fees April 14 and collect more fees as
more stores and houses are built.
Brackin suggested options for cost-cutting including
elimination of widening east of Leather Chaps or Gleneagle Drive and not
building landscaping, curbs, gutters, and sewers on Struthers Road. Brackin
added that the cost for the extra left turn lanes that were added at the Jackson
Creek Crossing intersection, between Leather Chaps Drive and Jackson Creek
Parkway, was not anticipated in the original PPRTA funding. Monument Mayor Byron
Glenn noted that the adjacent landowners had agreed to pay for the cost of a
traffic signal at that intersection, if one is installed, as a condition of
approval for their developments. Brackin said his department would have a formal
proposal for project cuts and change orders April 14.
Monument Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara said
the Wal-Mart would open in October, Kohl’s construction would begin by the end
of March, and Promontory Pointe had been annexed.
Hunsaker reported that all inclusion documents have been
signed and were being recorded by the county. A hearing date has not been set
for the one condemnation required for right-of-way. The BRRTA appraisal of the
land is $39,000, and the appraisal cost is $5,000. Hammers Construction will
present its costs at the April 14 meeting for its part in coordinating the
engineering and design of the new access on Baptist Road.
Public Improvement Fee
Chip King of King and Associates presented his draft market
analysis for future economic development for the Tri-Lakes region and potential
revenue production for the proposed PIF within BRRTA. Retail square footage will
expand from 220,000 square feet to 1.6 million square feet in the next eight
years, about 150,000 square feet per year. Monument is in the top three areas of
the county for retail growth. The commercial areas studied were Monument
Marketplace, Jackson Creek Market Village, Monument Ridge, Jackson Creek
Commerce Center, Timbers at Monument, and Village Center at Woodmoor. For a
half-cent PIF, King said BRRTA revenue would grow from $503,000 in 2006 to
$2,046,000 in 2013, then more gradually to $2,282,000 in 2026. However, these
figures assumed Wal-Mart participation, which will not occur.
Mike Ciletti told the board that Wal-Mart would not
voluntarily impose a PIF on its customers. "Wal-Mart does not and should
not have the right to decide to collect a fee," he said. Glenn noted that
Wal-Mart had agreed to collect a 3 percent fee at the county’s hearings when
the company was seeking approval for the Baptist Road location. Ciletti replied
that the county and Triview Metropolitan District would have been imposing the
fee as a condition of approval for the Baptist Road location, not Wal-Mart. He
added that Wal-Mart would be happy to collect a sales tax, if one was approved
by the voters as a ballot initiative. Glenn told Ciletti, "You’re
supposed to be a good community neighbor" and Wal-Mart’s refusal to
participate "will cause a fatality" due to severe backups on the Exit
158 off-ramps. Ciletti said there was still no written documentation for the PIF
or the sales tax and cautioned Glenn to control his statements on the public
record to his company.
There was a lengthy discussion with a representative of BRRTA’s
financial advisor, Piper-Jaffrey, about how to finance the I-25 interchange
project with tax money instead of the PIF. They discussed what level of sales
tax could gain approval, how long the bonds would have to be based on various
sales tax rates, and whether the tax should apply to BRRTA, the town of
Monument, or both. There was some consensus that the tax should apply only to
BRRTA to have a chance of passing. Also, they favored a tax rate that’s high
enough to shorten the bond term from 20 years to perhaps as little as 10 years.
County Commissioner Wayne Williams noted that there would be
no CDOT funding available for interchange construction until 2010 at the
earliest and perhaps no earlier than 2019.
Jackson Creek resident Steve Myer said the public had been
badly misled on how Referendum C and TABOR overrides would help improve state
roads and that great care must be taken in crafting the sales tax ballot
question to avoid voter rejection.
Downtown resident Mike Wicklund said some blame rested with
the town for approving too much residential development, particularly through
inappropriate annexation decisions that would actually harm the town’s
financial future because they lacked any potential for sales tax revenue to pay
long-term infrastructure maintenance costs. Noting that Promontory Pointe
annexation on Baptist Road is purely residential, he said, "The town seems
to be pushing more growth along a road that’s inadequate." Home Place
Ranch and Classic’s Baptist Camp annexation requests–now called Sanctuary
Point–will also be entirely residential. He continued, "That road’s
been bad a long time. I think our local elected officials should look at what it
is they’re approving. Why are they annexing property at high density when we
might not get a bridge until 2019?" He urged that the bid schedules for
widening Baptist Road be executed immediately.
Wicklund asked Williams and other local leaders to intercede
with Gov. Bill Owens to move the Baptist Road interchange project higher on CDOT’s
priority list. Williams replied, "I wish it were as simple as, ‘Go tell
the government we need this.’ " He said the demand for road improvements
has and will continue to exceed the state’s budget. "Unfortunately, what
happened in this state for about 24 years is we operated on the theory that if
we don’t build any more roads, there won’t be any growth. That was a bad
theory." The method for financing the private bonds for early improvement
of the Baptist Road I-25 interchange was unanimously tabled.
In an interview after the meeting, Wicklund said he disagreed
with Williams. "Wayne Williams is our elected official to government. It’s
irresponsible if he doesn’t go to the state for the money needed to improve a
dangerous situation for his constituents in this county." Wicklund added,
"One of the reasons I attended the meeting was to ‘go tell the government
we need this’."
County Commissioner Dennis Hisey said that stopping
annexations and growth would not solve BRRTA’s immediate need for traffic
impact fees to pay its debt to PPRTA. Hunsaker assured the board that the PPRTA
payments for BRRTA invoices were legal and appropriate. A motion to pay PPRTA
$69,621.33 passed unanimously.
Williams said that a new financing plan by Piper-Jaffrey
using sales tax revenue to pay the interest on the construction bonds until CDOT
funds were available to pay off the principal would have to be in place before a
ballot issue for a 1-cent sales tax within BRRTA could be proposed and approved
for the November election. Piper-Jaffrey will not be paid for its work on the
PIF under the terms of its contract with BRRTA.
Williams said BRRTA representatives would have to present the
new plan to CDOT at a meeting scheduled for April 12. He suggested that the
ballot issue proposal needed to be ready for consideration at the May meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 4:35 p.m. The next scheduled BRRTA
meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m. April 14 at the county office building, 27 E.
Vermijo in downtown Colorado Springs.
Baptist and Struthers Road
construction contract awarded
By Jim Kendrick
The Board of County Commissioners announced Mar. 30 that a
construction contract had been awarded to Rocky Mountain Asphalt, Inc. for
widening two miles of Baptist Road to four lanes. The contract also includes new
construction of four lanes that will connect the existing four-lane portion of
Struthers Road, north of Northgate Road, to the intersection of Baptist and
Jackson Creek Parkway.
The approved contract total is $10,703,996. The Pikes Peak
Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) portion is $9,408,000. Approximately
$500,000 will come from the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA).
The rest will be provided through agreements with developers building nearby
projects within Monument. This total amount does not include the costs for
right-of-way purchases using PPRTA, BRRTA, and El Paso County funds.
As Baptist Road is widened, incidental construction will also
occur on Leather Chaps, Gleneagle, Kingswood and Desiree Drives. Struthers Road
will become a four-lane urban minor arterial connecting Baptist and Northgate
Roads. The existing two-lane Struthers frontage road adjacent to I-25 on both
sides of Baptist Road will be abandoned.
Construction is expected to begin in April at the
intersection of Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway. This first phase will
move east to approximately Tari Drive.
"El Paso County has been working to obtain funding for
improvements to these roads for nearly a decade. Three years ago, these
improvements were listed as top priorities by the citizens on our Highway
Advisory Commission and by the Board of County Commissioners. They are county
projects, but we are fortunate to have funds available through the Pikes Peak
Rural Transportation Authority to get these roads improved and built to
accommodate the current and future needs of the residents," said
Commissioner Wayne Williams.
Palmer Lake Town Council Workshop, March
2: Adjacent property owner trustees fight Fritts’ subdivision
By Jim Kendrick
At the Palmer Lake Town Council Workshop Trustees Gary
Coleman and Chuck Cornell angrily denounced Rancho Irecema Subdivision developer
Al Fritts and his request to subdivide the 27-acre Inn at Palmer Divide lot into
two roughly equal size lots. Fritts said he was making the request for a plat
amendment in response to a suggestion by the Small Business Administration and
The council also discussed three new business license
requests, town construction of a parking lot opposite O’Malley’s Pub, a name
change for Frontier Lane to Circle Road, and two requests for downtown vacations
and replats. Trustee Trudy Finan was absent.
Tri-Lakes Senior Issues Forum April 29
Chuck Roberts of the Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership
announced his organization and the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging would host
the Tri-Lakes Senior Forum from 8 a.m. to noon April 29 at Lewis-Palmer Middle
School. The forum is designed for senior citizens in the area to identify issues
that are and are not being addressed and for area senior services providers to
discuss what they can offer to seniors as well as to seek better coordination of
their efforts. A comprehensive report containing forum results and
recommendations will be compiled and distributed by the sponsors to local
government and community leaders and other interested parties. Roberts invited
the trustees and staff to endorse, promote, and attend the forum. He also asked
that fliers and posters be displayed at Town Hall. Mayor Nikki McDonald endorsed
the forum for the council. Trustee Trish Flake said she would lead the town’s
efforts to promote the forum.
The council unanimously approved Tim Tracey’s request for
renewal of the town’s annual agreement with the Palmer Lake Sports Riders for
moto-cross biking activities at its park on County Line Road. The club’s
annual fee to the town is $180.
The council unanimously approved three new business licenses
as consent calendar items for the March 9 regular council meeting. Each owner
was present to respond to any questions from trustees:
Circle B Farm and Ranch Supply, LLC: Owner Loren Burlage
said he will sell shaving, feed, and panels for farm animals on his rural
property at 500 W. Highway 105. The retail sales location may change if he
can negotiate a suitable lot.
European Craftsmanship: Owner Bernard Bouard at 314
Columbine Road said he is opening a handyman and carpentry services business
and has 38 years of experience.
McDonald Enterprises: Owner Nikki McDonald is providing
outsourced catering services for meals prepared at the Staff of Life
building (formerly Dagney’s) on Second Street in Monument, then delivered
to Historic Pinecrest in Palmer Lake.
Burlage and Bouard were excused from attendance at the March
9 meeting. Cornell chaired the meeting while McDonald recused herself to answer
questions about her new business license. The same procedure was followed at the
Bass vacation and replat
Deanna Bass was represented by Trustee Coleman, who operates
a surveying company. Bass owns lots 16 and 17 at Hoover Lane and Truman Avenue
in Section E of Cherry Hills. Bass also owns the irregularly shaped Glen Park
Block 44 Lot 16 on the northwest corner of her Cherry Hills lot 16. Bass was
asking that 75 percent of the platted area for a future access road to her Glen
Park lot be vacated, with the rest of the right-of-way converted to an electric
utility easement. This replat would allow the other two narrow lots to be
widened to allow construction that could more easily comply with the town’s
side setback restrictions. Actual width for the two replatted lots would
increase from 43 to 50 feet. There were no objections from the other trustees
and Bass’ request was placed on the consent calendar for March 9.
Elliot’s Corner vacation and replat
Tom Day, Jeff Houchin, and Carrie Block asked that the
platted west end of Clio Avenue and north end of El Moro Avenue be vacated
behind the five replatted Elliot’s Corner lots with frontages on Corso and
Buena Vista avenues. These sections of platted roadway were never built. The
owners had installed a sewer line and discovered an abandoned water line to a
demolished house within this platted roadway. Town Clerk Della Gray suggested
that the documentation for the sewer easement and abandoned water line be
reviewed by Town Attorney Larry Gaddis. The owners were asked to return March 9
in case any other questions were raised.
Tree removal in Centennial Park
The council discussed elimination of one cottonwood and
several scrub oak trees along the east side of State Highway 105, between O’Malley’s
Pub and the Depot Restaurant. The town had marked the trees and posted notices
of the removal plan. Clearing of the trees and construction of the parking lot
is part of the town’s 2001 Cityscape Plan. This new lot will eliminate the
long-ignored state requirement for parallel parking on the east side of the
highway, allow parked cars to be moved off the side of the highway, and make
that stretch of roadway more user-friendly for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Rock House owner Jeannine Engel asked how big the parking lot
would be and if it would look nice. Roads Supervisor Bob Radosevich said the
gravel lot would extend from Pie Corner to Primrose Street and grow to the east
over time as more fill dirt becomes available to extend the graded parking
plateau. New landscaping and shade trees will be added as a visual screen
between the cars and the highway. He added that he would seek a CDOT grant to
improve the lot. Flake said new trees would be planted in the lot on Arbor Day.
Lighting will be evaluated in the future.
Burlage asked if the gravel would be the final grading
material. Radosevich noted that crushed asphalt shavings could be added over
time if and when any become available from state and county road improvement
projects, and if the town can afford to have the material delivered by truck to
the park. Permanent asphalt paving is too expensive for the foreseeable future.
Road name change postponed
Roads Trustee Max Parker reported that certified letters had
been sent to the four property owners who would be affected by a street name
change from Frontier Lane to Circle Road. Only homeowner George Winnick had
responded, asking that the change be delayed a year while he tries to sell his
house. He said all the paperwork and advertising he had already paid for would
have to be changed. Parker said he would make an appointment to meet with
Winnick to discuss the issue. The item was continued by consensus.
Inn at Palmer Divide conflict continues
Web Site Exclusive: Below: Main building will be finished
before three bedroom buildings as construction proceeds at Inn at Palmer Divide.
Background: Developer Al Fritts has encountered a number
of difficulties while developing the Rancho Irecema Subdivision, located between
State Highway 105 and the railroad tracks, south of downtown Palmer Lake. Before
development, the subdivision was zoned R1E, rural estate (2.5-acre minimum.) The
current town zoning for the subdivision is Planned Unit Development (PUD).
Town approvals of the Mission Training International (MTI)
development and the adjacent Inn at Palmer Divide projects have been difficult
and controversial for Fritts. While he has eventually gained approval for
several of his requested amendments to the plat, site plan, and PUD agreement
with the town for both properties over the past seven years, each approval has
typically taken several months with a majority rather than a unanimous vote by
the Planning Commission and the Town Council.
Amendments considered prior to the subdivision request on
March 2 were:
Extension of the existing town water main to the nearby
Santa Fe Subdivision to the north in front of the Coleman property along the
northeast side of State Highway 105 to the MTI lot. Trees that had grown in
the state’s right-of-way in front of the Coleman home and had helped
screen his house from noise and dust were removed during installation of the
town water main extension. State regulations do not require the Colorado
Department of Transportation to replace trees that grow in its
A tap from this water main extension for a fire
protection line to supply pressure for an MTI sprinkler system. The two
lines were considered a potential health problem by some officials due to
the stagnant water within them. The required periodic flushing of the two
lines was also considered to be wasteful, even though the town could claim
the flushed water as a Monument Creek stream credit for town well
augmentation requirements. The water main extension as well as the MTI water
tap and fire protection line were approved in August 2001, but the council
denied any future domestic use even though MTI is within 400 feet of the new
main. Fritts had not asked for town domestic water from the fire protection
line tap, however. After the installation of the lines, the town has
occasionally used the flushed water to wet down the town’s dirt roads for
Further extension of the MTI fire protection line to
supply pressure to a sprinkler system for the adjacent Inn buildings was
requested in October 2002. Town officials considered this to also be a
potential health problem and a threat to overall system pressure due to
limited town well production during the drought. The request was eventually
withdrawn in May 2003. Fritts was required to install cisterns in lieu of
the proposed extension of the MTI fire protection line.
Increase in the proposed size of the bed and breakfast
from 24 to 39 rooms due to the request of project lenders in September 2003.
Lenders believed an Inn with a restaurant, bar, and reception room would be
a more viable project.
Change in the proposed purpose of the Inn, in October
2003, to a seniors assisted living facility. This change was suggested by
local bankers after Fritts’ financial backers for the Inn were bankrupted.
Denise Cornell asked that the state determine if the assisted living option
would be viable and complained that ambulances and helicopters would be
coming to lot 4 at all hours.
A change back to the original purpose of developing an
Inn after alternative financing was obtained in September 2004.
Waiver for the width and thickness of the sign at the Inn’s
entrance on Highway 105, which was approved in October 2005; the area of the
sign is under the 100-square-foot maximum, however.
Granting of a liquor license for the main restaurant,
bar, and reception room building before all four of the bedroom buildings
are completed. The request was denied in December 2005 until more complete
plans for this building’s decks and patios could be provided to the town.
The proposal would allow some income to be generated while the other
buildings were being completed. The last residential building is scheduled
to be completed within a few months of completion of the main building.
Coleman and Cornell asserted this was a major change to phased construction
rather than a normal sequence of completion for a multi-unit development.
Adjacent property owners Chuck and Denise Cornell and Gary
Coleman have been fighting each Fritts proposal, citing issues concerning the
well, town water tap, traffic congestion and noise, potential helicopter noise,
light pollution, and drainage. The Cornells live directly across State Highway
105 from the MTI and Inn at Palmer Divide developments. Coleman lives next to
the MTI lot, on the northwest side. The Inn is adjacent to MTI to the southeast.
These three neighbors have requested additional reviews of his various proposals
by the state and county, as well as the town’s Planning Commission or Board of
Adjustment before council decisions on each proposal. They have said that all of
Fritts’ proposals were major changes under the PUD zoning ordinances,
resulting in months of delay during each public hearing cycle.
Initially Coleman and the Cornells did not hold public office
and opposed all of the proposals for Fritts’ subdivision as adjacent property
owners. Chuck Cornell was elected as a trustee four years ago. Denise Cornell
has been a Planning Commissioner for about two years. Coleman was a Planning
Commissioner before being elected a trustee two years ago. As town officials
they have continued to oppose Fritts’ requests and have asked for additional
reviews and delays of each.
Town Attorneys Larry Gaddis and Jim Kin have not given a
legal opinion on whether the Cornells and Coleman should be required to recuse
themselves because of their direct financial involvement as adjacent property
Subdivision amendment proposal: In his letter of Dec. 14,
2005, to the town, Fritts requested that the PUD plat and agreement for the Inn
be amended by a subdivision into two roughly triangular lots. Nothing could be
built on the vacant 13-acre lot without review and approval by the Planning
Commission and Town Council under the unchanged PUD zoning.
All the approved Inn buildings and exterior facilities would
be constructed on the proposed 14.12-acre lot, to include the existing approved
access road and highway sign. The five Inn buildings are planned to be completed
this year without any proposed changes.
The currently approved location for the detention pond for
the entire 27 acres lies entirely within the proposed 13-acre lot south of the
existing access road to the Inn, just behind the existing berm along the
highway. If the proposed 13-acre lot were to be developed in the future, its
primary access would have to intersect the Inn’s driveway, since the state
would allow no additional curb cuts along Highway 105 between the closely spaced
MTI access and Red Rock Ranch Road. If developed, the lot’s primary access
would have to run through the currently approved detention pond location.
Regrading of the lot to reposition the detention pond would be a major change
requiring both Planning Commission and Town Council public hearings.
The replat proposal was reviewed by the Palmer Lake Planning
Commission at its workshop Feb. 8, then narrowly approved (3-2) at its regular
meeting Feb. 15, after Commissioner Denise Cornell’s motion to disapprove the
replat failed (2-3). A condition of the majority approval was that the Town
Council would "receive more information on the detention pond, access to
the divided parcel, easements for detention pond and sewer line along with water
availability for the divided parcel." The commissioners also discussed
whether the proposed replat into two lots should be delayed until Fritts
actually needed an additional financing option.
Discussion: Fritts said the subdivision of Lot 4 into two
lots was suggested by both the SBA and Fritts’ long-term lender. It would
allow the developer to obtain clear separate title to the 13-acre lot so that it
would not become collateral for the SBA loan or the bank’s permanent
financing. The separated 13-acre lot would provide a potential secondary source
of future capital to better ensure the viability of the Inn project if financing
difficulties are encountered. No changes to the previously approved plat or any
of the numerous site plan drawings, other than adding a line to divide the
parcel into two separate lots, have been proposed.
Chuck Cornell interrupted Fritts’ presentation to say there
had been a procedural error at the Planning Commission. "I’m sure of it,
Nikki, I am absolutely sure that you cannot have two motions on the same thing
on the same night – a procedural error. We need to have legal representation
at those meetings. This is more than one occasion that things have gone wrong
there at the Planning Commission." McDonald replied that there is no such
Fritts noted that Kin had said at the Planning Commission
Workshop on Feb. 8 that "there was no legal reason why this request should
not be approved." The trustees were hesitant to move forward because of
Cornell’s claim, however, even though McDonald concurred with Fritts and said
there was no change to the proposed development master plan other than a line
for the subdivision into lots on a drawing. She agreed with Fritts that it was
not a major change to the PUD master plan and reminded the trustees that the
proposal had been narrowly approved by the Planning Commission.
Coleman said Fritts would not need to replat unless he had
plans to sell the lot, "That’s what it appears to be to me." Cornell
said, "Any reasonable person would make that assumption." Fritts said,
"We don’t know exactly what we’re going to do with that property."
He reiterated that the reason "for subdividing is to give us flexibility in
making sure we are successful" in completing the Inn. He offered to provide
copies of the letter from the SBA and the letter from the bank’s
representative recommending the subdivision at the regular council meeting on
March 9. Cornell replied that he should do so.
Fritts added that he had told the Planning Commission that 12
to 14 people have approached him to buy the 13-acre lot, but he had made no
decision to sell it. Even if the lot were sold, the new owners of that lot would
have to gain approval under the current PUD agreement from the town for any
Coleman said the lot would have no legal access and Fritts
should have to create a special water district for the Rancho Irecema
Subdivision, as well as provide a plan for road and infrastructure maintenance
for the 13-acre lot. Coleman said CDOT did not approve the access on Highway 105
for Fritts’ proposed additional use and was not aware that Lot 4 "would
be cut in half." He complained that Fritts would "take out the few
remaining trees that the people of Palmer Lake enjoy when they drive by."
Fritts replied that a primary access could be provided from
the existing Inn access road, and a secondary access could be provided from the
Inn at the rear of the two lots though neither access was being requested at
this time. He said the MTI well has more than enough adjudicated water
production capacity (40 acre-feet per year) for the entire Rancho Irecema
development. All other required utilities are already available within the
development as well.
Noting again that he owned a surveying business, Coleman
added that he would "be laughed out of the room" if he submitted a
plat to Colorado Springs or the county like the one Fritts had proposed. Cornell
said, "This needs to go back to the Planning Commission."
McDonald reiterated that "Kin did say that we have no
legal recourse to deny" Fritts’ subdivision request and that the master
plan could be changed after a future review of any new development proposal by
the town. Parker suggested getting Kin’s or Gaddis’s legal advice before the
hearing March 9.
Fritts read aloud the town ordinance’s list of conditions
that define what constitutes a major change in a PUD master plan and showed, one
by one, that none applies to his request.
Referring to eliminating the 13-acre portion of Lot 4 from
collateralization, Coleman said, "You can do that by writing a legal
description. I’ve done it many times. I’ve seen it done many times."
Fritts replied, "I’m not asking for that" because he wanted clearly
separated title to each of the two proposed lots. Cornell said, "You’re
just trying to do an end-around so you can get a piece of property up for sale.
We know what your little game is here, guy."
McDonald noted that if the new lot were sold in the future,
the council would still review any proposals by the new owner under the existing
PUD agreement. She told Fritts she didn’t want to see the Inn fail due to lack
of financial leverage, but also felt that any proposal for townhomes or patio
homes on the 13-acre lots "would be atrocious." Cornell said, "If
you had a good business plan, this wouldn’t even be a question. This has been
a questionable plan from day one." Coleman added, "For years and years
we’ve been told this would all be built at once" and now it’s a
subdivided phased project that has to have a new master plan approved prior to
replat. Fritts said the construction would be completed in October, about four
weeks behind schedule.
After further heated arguments between McDonald, Coleman, and
Cornell, the mayor abruptly concluded the discussion after saying the council
needed legal advice on this matter before the regular council meeting March 9.
When Coleman and Cornell attempted to continue their arguments with her, she
abruptly adjourned the workshop meeting at 8:15 p.m.
Palmer Lake Town Council Meeting, March 9: Fritts’
subdivision request continued
By Jim Kendrick
After a replay of the arguments made at the March 2 Palmer
Lake Town Council Workshop about dividing the 27-acre Inn at Palmer Divide lot
into two parts, Al Fritts’ request for a subdivision was continued until next
month. Trustee Jim Girlando was absent.
Palmer Lake Liquor Licensing Authority
The council met first as the Palmer Lake Liquor Licensing
Authority and approved three temporary liquor licenses for:
Gleneagle Sertoma Club Wine Tasting at the Tri-Lakes
Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, at 7 p.m. on April 7. Sherry Edwards
noted that $4,400 was raised last year for Tri-Lakes Cares and other local
Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce silent auction and dinner
event at Historic Pinecrest, 106 Pinecrest Way, at 6 p.m. on April 8,
requested by Connie Hankins.
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105, for a
musical event at 7 p.m. on April 8, requested by Dennis Phillips.
Phillips also asked for a single temporary "arts
license" for the center for the whole year to cover all the one-day musical
events and art show openings. The town ordinance restricts the number of
temporary licenses for one organization to 10 per year, but the center has
musical events each month. The arts license would only apply to specific events,
not for year-round bar operations. Town Attorney Larry Gaddis noted that the
arts license would technically allow the center to have a concert every night of
the year. Phillips said the center would continue to have only one or two events
per month. After further discussion, the trustees agreed to waive the community
survey normally required for an arts license application
Palmer Lake Town Council meeting
Consent items approved after discussion: Parks and Recreation
Trustee Trish Flake asked about gaps in the listing of check numbers on the
"Payment of Bills Report." Town Clerk Della Gray noted that there were
some voided checks and two sets of payroll checks for town staff that she had
not listed. She added that payroll checks are prepared by Town Water Clerk Tara
Berreth using a separate module of the town’s financial software. They are not
payments made by the town clerk and are not reviewed or approved by the council.
Gaddis said the council would only be approving the specific
bill payments on Gray’s list. He added that Flake could review the payroll
records at the town offices.
Gray said she would coordinate with Berreth and make a note
in future lists of bill payment checks that specifies which check numbers were
voided or used for payroll. Mayor Nikki McDonald noted that the auditor checks
the town’s records and has not found any problems.
The council unanimously approved the following consent items:
the council minutes for Feb. 9; payment of bills; new business licenses for
Circle B Farm & Ranch Supply, LLC and European Craftsmanship; and a renewal
of the annual contract for Palmer Lake Sports Riders Club to rent the town park
on County Line Road. McDonald momentarily recused herself on the consent item
for her new business license for McDonald Enterprises, a catering business,
which was also approved.
(See Workshop article for more discussion
of the consent items.)
Fire Trustee Gary Coleman reported 20 Palmer Lake Volunteer
Fire Department (PLVFD) calls in February: seven fire, seven medical, three
wildland, one traffic accident, one public contact, and one other; eight of
these were mutual aid. Coleman also reported that Chief Phillip Beckman had led
six volunteers on a very serious all-night structure fire in Black Forest on a
Friday night, and then returned, without sleep, to the station to conduct
training all day.
The Colorado State Forest Service inspected its tender engine
that is on permanent lease to PLVFD and said they were pleased with the quality
of maintenance provided by the firefighters.
Coleman also read the monthly reminder to place house numbers
where they can be seen from the road and use colors that contrast with the
background. While smoke may help firefighters find structure fires even if no
house numbers are visible, most PLVFD dispatches are medical calls. When Highway
105 resident Marilyn Burlage asked for more information about home address
signs, Coleman noted that the primary problem area is the heavily wooded Glen
district, where many houses can’t be seen from the street. He advised that the
house number be posted right next to the driveway.
Water Trustee Chuck Cornell reported that a software glitch
had resulted in double billing for February and advised town water customers
that they didn’t need to pay twice to maintain their good credit standing.
Anyone who has paid twice will receive a credit for the overpayment.
Tributary water consumption for February was 3,004,350
gallons. No well water was supplied, therefore there were no wastewater credits.
No water taps have been sold since November.
Police Trustee Trudy Finan reported February’s statistics:
102 calls for service, one custody arrest, 13 cases, 38 traffic citations, 23
traffic/dog warnings, and four dog citations. There were 17 calls supporting the
Monument Police Department and 18 calls supporting other county and town
Ads for the police chief position have been published. Chief
Dale Smith will retire July 1. The goal is to have the new chief start work by
June 1 and work with Smith for one month.
The trustees approved the new job description for the chief’s
position. Finan said that the chief’s job is a "working police
position," where the chief is expected to be out in the community, rather
than a desk job.
Finan also reported that Officer Nikki Tezak would return to
duty March 14 after recovering from a knee injury she sustained during a mutual
aid pursuit Jan. 12. The fugitive hit her with his car before he was shot and
arrested by another officer.
Chuck Roberts of the Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership
repeated the announcement he made March 2 about his organization and the Pikes
Peak Area Agency on Aging hosting the Tri-Lakes Senior Forum 8 a.m. to noon
April 29 at Lewis-Palmer Middle School.
Darryl Lundquist and Rogers Davis of the Palmer Lake
Historical Society announced that their organization would be donating a statue
to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the society, the 25th anniversary of the
Vaile Museum, and the volunteer spirit of public service among town residents
who built the town star in 1935, under the leadership of Bert Sloan and B.E.
The bronze statue of Sloan’s helpful dog, "Dizzy
Dean," by local artist Donna Arndt will be displayed in front of Town Hall.
Dizzy carried tools and supplies from one group of volunteers to another in a
small pack Sloan made for him.
Davis asked the council to support the effort by providing a
base for the statue and a plaque describing the efforts of Sloan, Jack, and
"Dizzy Dean." Roads Supervisor Bob Radosevich summarized Davis’
request saying, "We need a rock?" Parker agreed to help coordinate the
acquisition of this "rock" and plaque for the council.
Parks and Recreation Trustee Flake noted that the Fit for Fun
exercise classes (yoga and belly-dancing) Tuesday and Wednesday mornings in Town
Hall have been successful and still cost only $7 for each session. Parker asked
Flake to make sure the presenters had Palmer Lake business licenses.
Flake reminded the trustees of the Easter egg hunt at 10:30
a.m. April 15 at Town Hall. It’s being organized by Eileen Facinelli. The
fishing derby will be held June 3. Chuck Pyle will perform at the Columbine
Festival on June 10.
McDonald announced that there would be seven candidates for
five trustee seats and two candidates for mayor in the Apr. 4 election. She is
not running for re-election. Coleman has completed only two years of his
four-year term. The candidates for mayor are Kim Makower and Max Parker. Running
for trustee are Richard Allen, Carol DeBlois, Kay DeBlois, Trudy Finan, Trish
Flake, Jim Girlando, and Susan Miner.
McDonald also spoke about the half-cent sales tax ballot
issues. She said that the police and fire departments have been
"under-budgeted for as long as I’ve lived in this town," and the
town "won’t ever be able to fund the departments the way they need to
be." Finan said that if the two tax initiatives were approved, both
departments might be able to provide 24-hour coverage.
Awake the Lake committee member Jeff Hulsmann asked if the
town’s insurance policy could cover the fishing derby. Gaddis said the town
policy should cover the event.
Hulsmann noted that engraved pavers for the memorial park at
Palmer Lake are being sold for $75 each to raise money for the town’s
officially sanctioned Awake the Lake committee. He also announced the sale of
red, white, and blue wrist bands as a new fund-raising device for the annual
Hulsmann asked for permission for committee volunteers to
stuff notices for these fund-raisers in town water bills and it was granted
unanimously. A motion to purchase a paver for the council also passed
Tree removal on Highway 105 approved
The council held the third and final open hearing on removing
a cottonwood and some scrub oak trees on the east side of State Highway 105 in
Centennial Park for a town parking lot. No one opposed the tree removal at any
of the three hearings. It was unanimously approved.
Flake said the new lot is called for in the town’s
cityscape plan, a part of the town’s 2001 comprehensive plan. Resident Bill
Fisher suggested that the grade of the new parking lot be lowered 4 feet so it
would not impede motorists’ views of the lake, that the lot be screened with
landscaping, and that a sidewalk also be installed along Highway 105 to create a
safe and appealing pedestrian zone. Lowering the lot might require less dirt
work, making it cheaper and easier. He also asked about handicapped access.
Roads Supervisor Bob Radosevich said the streetscape plan
didn’t call for lowering the grade, but it could be part of the project.
McDonald replied that former Parks Trustee Cindy Allen was also concerned about
handicapped access. Flake asked Fisher to volunteer for a citizens’ committee
to review the design of the parking lot; he agreed to participate.
Frontier Lane name change tabled again
Parker noted that he had not yet met with property owner
George Winnick, who had asked that the proposed name change to Circle Road be
postponed until he can sell his house. Parker’s motion to table the issue
until he meets with Winnick passed unanimously.
Parallel parking on Highway 105
Finan reported that Radosevich and Smith had met with CDOT to
request a change in the prohibition of angle or perpendicular parking. She said
CDOT Transportation Director Bob Torres had not completed his internal review of
the town’s request to determine if angle parking would be safe and equitable
for all the businesses on the highway. There will be no CDOT hearing on the town’s
request. Finan added that removing or changing the existing parallel parking
signs or eliminating parking across the highway from O’Malley’s pub is a
state decision. "It’s not our land, our road, or our signs."
Vacation and replat on Hoover Lane approved
Coleman, representing owner Dee Bass, gave a presentation
similar to the one he gave at the Mar. 2 workshop. The access road to one of
Bass’ three lots has never been built by the town. Bass asked that she be able
to combine the three lots and vacated access road into two 50-foot-wide lots to
make it easier to meet side setback requirements for constructing two houses. (See
workshop article for the details.)
April Wolfe said she had recently purchased the two adjacent
lots to the south. She said she thought Bass’ lots were too narrow for
construction of two houses, according to the neighborhood’s covenants. Wolfe
asked for information about the town’s role in reviewing Bass’ request.
Gaddis said the town’s only role is to determine that the Bass request meets
the town’s zoning law, not covenant enforcement. After a discussion by Coleman
and Gray informing Wolf of the details of the Bass proposal, Gaddis gave Wolfe
his copy of Coleman’s plat drawings for her reference.
Gray asked for a condition to the vacation ordinance for the
vacated town access roadway. She asked that the ordinance be amended with
documentation that 25 percent of the town’s vacated access road would become
the new electrical utility easement. Two separate motions for the amended
ordinance vacating the town’s access road and for the replat of Bass’ lots
passed unanimously. Coleman recused himself from the votes.
Vacation and replat of Elliott’s Corner subdivision approved
Gray and Gaddis noted that the vacation of Clio Avenue to
enlarge the rear portions of the five replatted Elliott’s Corner lots would be
granted to Tom Day, Jeff Houchin, and Carrie Block on the condition that they
agree to convey a town easement for utilities in a portion of the vacated
roadway. The three owners approved the easement, which won’t interfere with
proposed construction on the five lots. The council unanimously approved a
resolution allowing McDonald to sign a deed that conveyed the town’s roadway.
The ordinances vacating Clio Avenue with the easement condition and approving
the amended replat showing the new easement were unanimously approved. (See
workshop article for more details.)
Request for Subdivision of the Inn at Palmer Divide continued
Discussion: Developer Al Fritts requested a subdivision
amendment for the 27-acre Inn at Palmer Divide property. The Inn would be on a
14.12-acre lot. A separate 13-acre vacant lot would be created to the south. He
reiterated his position that the proposed subdivision was being asked for only
at the request of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and his long-term
Fritts said there were no changes in the request he had
presented at the March 2 workshop, or additional requests.
McDonald asked Gaddis if the town could require a condition
of approval that Fritts build the detention pond before the Inn is completed.
Gaddis said the condition was not necessary because the pond would have to be
completed and inspected before a certificate of occupancy would be issued.
Fritts said his consultant engineer was preparing revised drawings for a
relocated drainage pond, and he would provide the update to the town as soon as
they are completed.
Finan, who was absent at the March 2 hearing, asked Fritts to
explain his plans for the 13-acre lot. Fritts said the "goal is not to
develop or sell it" but to "keep our options open for the success of
the current project." He passed out copies of the SBA and bank letters that
Cornell had requested March 2.
Coleman reiterated the arguments he had made against the
subdivision replat March 2, saying only a change in the legal description would
be required. He then said that "the town was not ready to create a new
building site," that Fritts would probably sell it to a non-profit entity,
which would prevent the town from being able to gain any real estate or sales
tax revenue, and that the town should know who would be buying the lot before
the town approved a replat. He said that Fritts should have provided a master
plan "a long time ago," that no plan for lighting or landscaping had
been reviewed by the council, and that more information was required regarding
lighting and water plans before the council could make a decision.
Fritts read the letter of Dec. 16 from his bank, Banker’s
Commercial Mortgage. The bank’s letter also requested the subdivision and
replat that had previously been requested in the SBA’s letter of Dec. 13. The
bank’s letter asked that the recommended subdivision be completed before the
SBA provides a second loan on the Inn.
Fritts said the landscaping and lighting plans, as well as
the deceleration lane required by CDOT, had already been approved as part of the
original PUD master plan for the Inn, and the master plan had not been changed
since then. He noted that there were two potential accesses to the proposed
13-acre lot–one from the main driveway to the Inn and another from the roadway
at the rear of the Inn, both of which are already part of the approved PUD
master plan. A CDOT review was unneccessary because the 13 acres would remain
vacant, Fritts said. The Inn has purchased the rights to 40 acre-feet of water
per year from the Mission Training International (MTI) well. Fritts added that
there has been no request to change the PUD zoning, which would require a new
owner to propose any development for review and approval by the town’s
Planning Commission and Town Council.
Cornell said the town had never received a lighting plan.
Fritts said the lighting plan had already been approved and the lighting for the
Inn was being installed in accordance with that town-approved plan. Cornell
listed the history of the site’s development including all the changes Fritts
had requested. After that, Cornell said, "This is all about zoning and has
been all along; this thing started as a residential lot. This man came along and
decided he needed to put a business in there and ever since then it has morphed
into a monster that never, ever stops. The PUD was for the town to get control
of this project, and if you read this timeline he just keeps coming back for
more and more and more. The promise given to every resident in that area was
this would be just a bed and breakfast, a small project with a lot of open
space, and that open space just keeps going away and going away and going
away." Cornell added that if the subdivision grant is requested, "You’re
giving him the right to sell off the land to anyone who comes along with the
money, and I believe there’s already somebody out there with the money. This
has gone far enough." He concluded, "If he doesn’t have the
financing to finish it, let someone else come along who can do it. I say let it
Coleman added a comment on CDOT reviews: "We were led to
believe that everyone would come into MTI on buses" but the parking lot is
overcrowded on the weekends and people park illegally on the access road. He
said the town had already granted enough of Fritts’ requests over the past
five years and shouldn’t permit the replat without more information.
"Tell us who your buyer is and then we’ll consider the situation."
Coleman said the proposed subdivision requires Fritts to submit a completely new
set of drawings.
Fritts said the original proposal was a 25-room conference
center he had described as a bed and breakfast to indicate that breakfast would
be served to the guests. Three guest houses were added to the main Inn building
in an expansion to 39 rooms as the sole change from the original proposal in
1999 as a condition of obtaining financing. Fritts said the town has already
received every supporting document needed for the construction that is under
Fritts’ attorney Ken Gray said there were no plans to sell
the 13-acre parcel to either a profit or nonprofit entity and that Cornell’s
and Coleman’s claims were pure speculation and not a matter the council could
consider as a condition for the requested subdivision.
The town would lose no oversight over the new lot–or the
Inn–if either is sold, Ken Gray said. He called Cornell’s demands for future
development plans for the vacant lot a "Catch-22" and said there are
no concerns about CDOT, water, hillside, drainage, lighting, or zoning for the
council to evaluate because there are no plans to develop or sell the 13-acre
lot. He reminded Cornell and Coleman that Fritts had not thought of the
subdivision on his own but that it had been requested by the SBA. Coleman said
the SBA took too long to request the change.
McDonald asked why the issue had come up after construction
had re-started. Ken Gray said construction loans were obtained before final
long-term lending negotiations were initiated a few months ago. Final costs had
to be determined before arranging a mortgage. Cornell said, "I’ve never
heard of such a thing."
Ken Gray reiterated that short-term construction and
long-term mortgage lenders have different interests and timelines, and Fritts
was working for long-term financial viability as requested by his bank and the
Fritts noted that Town Attorney Jim Kin had said at the
Planning Commission Workshop Feb. 8 that the town could cite no legal reason to
refuse his request for subdivision. Fritts also said the town would have no say
if he chose to sell the 13-acre lot because it is private property.
Gaddis concurred and said it is up to any potential buyer of
a PUD lot to know what the master plan for the lot requires before buying it.
"There is no change in the development master plan if you draw this
line," Gaddis said, referring to the proposed lot line that would split the
Ken Gray said that all the issues being raised by Coleman and
Cornell were pure conjecture because there is no plan to sell the land. Cornell
said, "That is pure conjecture on your part" because Fritts had
"come to the town and told the town that they have to do whatever he wants
because he’s already bought it. I know how that scenario plays out." Ken
Gray replied that Fritts was not telling the town what to do.
Coleman said that an entrance road to the vacant lot would be
an illegal cul-de-sac longer than 500 feet. Fritts said it would not be a
cul-de-sac because any new access road would connect with the Inn access road at
the front and the rear of the property to make a loop road with dual accesses
for both proposed lots.
Former Planning Commissioner Jan Bristol asked that the
council "take another look at that lighting approval." She said she
thought some lights should have been at ground level rather than on 14-foot
poles, but could not recall what had actually been approved. Regarding Fritts’
landscaping plan, she said, "We approved something."
Bristol also said, "I do believe that lenders get
nervous when they’re lending money with a lot of open land." She added,
"I don’t know why we couldn’t talk to the SBA and explain to them that
because of the nature of the PUD the land has to stay intact in a 27-acre
Bristol asked if the Inn’s detention pond would be moved.
Fritts had indicated at the March 2 workshop meeting that the primary access to
the vacant lot would be through the area where the detention pond for the entire
27-acre lot had been originally planned. He said that he was studying where the
pond could be relocated, if necessary.
Bristol said she didn’t know whether an amendment to the
PUD was required before the town would permit the sale of the 13-acre lot. She
added that if the vacant lot were sold, "It would compromise the standard
of living out here."
Ken Gray said, "There is no secret buyer" and the
town can enforce the master plan and all the restrictions that already apply to
the entire parcel. Coleman said, "The Planning Commission vote was only
3-2, and one of the parties that voted for it is on the sanitation board, and
would actually make money if the lot was subdivided."
After further lengthy discussion among the trustees, Cornell
reiterated that the SBA could be satisfied without a subdivision of the 27-acre
parcel. Fritts said Cornell was attempting to deny him the financial leverage
he, the bank, and the SBA needed to help the Inn project succeed.
Parker said he didn’t think he had enough information to
make a decision and that other commissioners had not reviewed the master plan or
site plan documents. Fritts and Ken Gray replied that they had provided all the
information sought by the Planning Commission, and all the project documentation
was in the town office building for trustee review. Ken Gray said, "If the
lending wasn’t in play, we wouldn’t be here" and that Fritts should not
be required to get a transportation plan or negotiate easements for an access
road, water, and drainage utilities for the 13-acre vacant lot because he had no
intention to develop it at this time.
Cornell interrupted Ken Gray to say, "Are you saying
that the Small Business Administration should not be satisfied by just writing a
legal description?" As Fritts tried to respond, Cornell interrupted again
and Fritts said, "If you would let me respond to your question?" He
then said that the legal description proposal would not give him clear title to
the 13-acre lot. The subdivision proposal "increases the flexibility to get
a loan against it" in order to create capital. He added, "I’m not
going to stand up here and tell you I wouldn’t sell it either, if we needed
to." Cornell replied, "Given your track record, I’m going to
guarantee you’ll sell it, probably within six months." Coleman said a
legal description would only prevent Fritts from getting a building permit and
not affect his clear title to the vacant lot.
Flake said she didn’t understand what the Planning
Commission had asked the council to consider and Finan said she didn’t know
enough about the proposal or the law to make a decision. Ken Gray said the
strong personal emotions of some trustees should not cloud the sole issue Fritts
was presenting: His request for a subdivision. Gaddis said the council would
only be making a simple majority vote on whether to allow the line to be added
to the plat and the master plan. He added that the council could also
"table the request if the board does not feel it has received enough
Parker made a motion to continue the issue, and it passed
unanimously. Fritts and Ken Gray asked what information Parker would need to
have before the April 13 council meeting. Parker said he was not prepared to
answer that question and could not tell them what he needed until the next
regular council meeting.
Fritts offered to provide the location and easements and a
copy of the engineering report for the detention pond when they are ready. He
said an easement for the sewer line for the two lots could be created. Della
Gray confirmed that all the issues that had been raised as never having been
resolved had actually been reviewed and approved by the town and were already
included in the PUD master plan documents that the trustees could review in her
The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m. The next council
workshop meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 6 in Town Hall, 28 Valley
Crescent. Council workshops are normally held on the first Thursday of the
month. The next regular council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. April 13 in Town
Hall. Regular council meetings are normally held on the second Thursday of the
Palmer Lake Ballot Issue, April 4
Issue no. 1
Retainage of excess 2006 fiscal year revenue
Shall the Town of Palmer Lake, Colorado, be authorized to
collect, retain and expend the full amount of revenues generated from all
sources during fiscal year 2006 to include non-federal grants and to be spent as
a voter approved revenue change for purposes including, but not limited, to the
maintenance of buildings, to improve parking, road maintenance and to develop
water supplies, not withstanding any state restrictions on any fiscal year
spending including the restrictions of Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado
Constitution and 29-1-301(1)(a), C.R.S.?
Issue no. 2
Retainage of excess 2007 fiscal year revenue
Shall the Town of Palmer Lake, Colorado, be authorized to
collect, retain and expend the full amount of revenues generated from all
sources during fiscal year 2007 to include non-federal grants and to be spent as
a voter approved revenue change for purposes including, but not limited, to the
maintenance of buildings, to improve parking, road maintenance and to develop
water supplies, not withstanding any state restrictions on any fiscal year
spending including the restrictions of Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado
Constitution and 29-1-301(1)(a), C.R.S.?
Issue no. 3
Retainage of excess 2008 to 2011 fiscal year revenue
Shall the Town of Palmer Lake, Colorado, be authorized to
collect, retain and expend the full amount of revenues generated from all
sources during fiscal years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 to include non-federal grants
and to be spent as a voter approved revenue change for purposes including, not
limited, to the maintenance of buildings, to improve parking, road maintenance
and to develop water supplies, not withstanding any state restrictions on any
fiscal year spending including the restrictions of Article X, Section 20 of the
Colorado Constitution and 29-1-301(1)(a), C.R.S.?
Issue no. 4
Sales tax increase
Shall the Town of Palmer Lake, Colorado’s sales taxes be
increased by approximately $75,000 annually, increasing sales taxes from 2% to
2.5%, commencing 2007 and concluding 2017, for exclusive use for essential
police services to include, but not limited to, the hiring of an additional
full-time officer and by whatever additional amounts are raised thereafter, from
that .5% sales tax, to be spent as a voter approved revenue change and an
exception to the limits which would otherwise apply, including the restrictions
of Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution and 29-1-301(1)(a), C.R.S.
and without limiting or affecting the collection or expending of any other
Issue no. 5
Sales tax increase
Shall the Town of Palmer Lake, Colorado’s sales taxes be
increased by approximately $75,000 annually, increasing sales taxes from 2% to
2.5%, with the understanding that if issue #4 is successful the increase in
sales taxes would be from 2.5% to 3%, commencing 2007 and concluding 2017, for
exclusive use for essential fire services to include, but not limited to, the
payment of debt and the hiring of personnel and by whatever additional amounts
are raised thereafter, from that .5% sales tax, to be spent as a voter approved
revenue change and an exception to the limits which would otherwise apply,
including the restrictions of Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution
and 29-1-301(1)(a), C.R.S. and without limiting or affecting the collection or
expending of any other revenue?
Issue no. 6
Shall the limits on the term of office of mayor and town
council for the Town of Palmer Lake, as set by Article XVIII, Section 11 of the
Colorado Constitution, be eliminated?
Palmer Lake Candidate Statements,
April 4 Election
Front Row (left to right): Trudy Finan, Trish Flake, Kim Makower, Jim
Girlando, and Richard Allen. Back Row: Carol DeBlois, Susan Miner, Kay DeBlois,
and Max Parker. Photo by Jim Kendrick.
Compiled by Jim Kendrick
There are nine candidates running for six positions on the
town council, mayor and five trustee slots. Only Fire Trustee Gary Coleman is
not up for election this year.
OCN has asked each candidate to respond to two questions in
300 words or less.
1. What in your background would help you as trustee?
2. What do you think are the two greatest issues facing the
town and what would you propose the town should do to deal with them?
The answers provided are listed, in alphabetical order.
Candidates for Mayor
My years as a geologist have given me the experience to
answer the question of "Why did our lake dry up?" I’ve attended
numerous meetings about water issues and tried to make a difference in the
decision-making process. My involvement with the Colorado Foundation for
Water Education has opened some doors and given me contacts with
policy-makers in Denver. I am an active volunteer in the community as a
tennis instructor and a contributor to the Awake the Lake Committee. My
experience as a real estate agent gives me insight into land use and
development issues. And I am a cancer survivor, so I have learned how to
make enormous adjustments in my life. I’ve learned compassion, and I’ve
become a better person. My work experience with Fortune 100 companies down
to a business of one has taught me financial responsibility and
accountability that will benefit the citizens of Palmer Lake.
It is difficult for people to come to endless public
meetings. If elected mayor, I would transform our mode of citizen
communication by enhancing our Web site and notification procedures. I would
like to make it nearly impossible for the average citizen to be unaware of
Our water rates are among the highest in Colorado. In
February, TOPL (the Town of Palmer Lake) imposed a 40-50 percent increase in
fees to the average water customer while giving an 80 percent decrease to the
heaviest users. I would advocate rectifying this inequity as soon as is
practical. I would call a meeting of the citizens’ Water Committee, which
has not met with a quorum since fall 2004. I would urge them to consider an
updated version of "option 3" from the IUG consultant’s analysis.
This option lowers the basic rate and has a higher usage rate, while raising
the same total revenue.
One of my qualifications is that I have been a trustee on
the council for the past two years. In that capacity I have served as roads
commissioner. I have been involved in several decisions that I see as crucial to
the town’s future.
I am also a Senior Systems Engineer working for the North
American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). In this capacity I work in the
planning, coordination, implementation, and sustainment of large projects. By
virtue of the fact that I get involved in every aspect of the project, I am able
to get a perspective of how different parts or phases of a project affect the
success of the overall objective.
Water remains our number one issue. We have successfully
survived the drought as it is so far, but there will be challenges in the years
to come. I believe we need to come up with a long- term strategy that fits in
with a larger effort on the part of the state to provide a viable and secure
water production strategy.
The most immediate issue facing us is the replacement of
Marshal Dale Smith. Dale has been with us for so long that it might be hard to
remember anyone else in that position. We need to find a successor that will
provide the same leadership, professionalism and sense of community that Dale
has brought to us for so long. As the challenges facing the town grow, we need
to ensure that the Police Department remains as one of the cornerstones of our
support to the citizens.
Candidates for Trustee
I had the pleasure of serving and gaining experience as a
Palmer Lake Trustee for three years during the mid-1990s. I have maintained an
active interest in the welfare of our town and our community. I understand the
importance of realistic planning and compromise without sacrificing the core
values of our town. I believe the best approach to town governance is a friendly
spirit of cooperation with our citizens while remaining steadfast in making
inevitable hard decisions. I enjoy working with others to achieve long- and
short-range goals and objectives. I also believe honesty and integrity are
prerequisites to service on the board.
Like most Palmer Lake citizens, I consider population
growth to be one of the most challenging issues we face. I think growth is
inevitable and the key to accommodating growth is to ensure that it is
controlled. That is easy to say but very difficult to do. There should be a
clear understanding of current zoning laws and a working knowledge about our
infrastructure capabilities. It will take planning for the future, revenue
increases, enlightened budgeting, a vision for the future, and a realistic
comprehensive plan working in unison to address future demands that will be
placed on the town.
Our second most challenging issue is one that is always
present; allocating town resources. It is easy to manage excesses but extremely
difficult to manage shortages. To my memory Palmer Lake has never had the luxury
of excess budget revenues. To deal with this constant condition we must have
innovative thinking on how to broaden and diversify our tax base. We must
prioritize, maximize advance planning and minimize reaction, compromise when
necessary and never lose sight of the necessity for collective efficiency when
allocating available resources.
I am a good listener and team player, I’m non-biased,
enjoy volunteering for a number of organizations (Fireworks Committee, Jaycees,
school functions), and I can handle many responsibilities at one time.
I believe the two greatest issues facing the Town of
Palmer Lake are:
a) The Lake – The lake is the heart of our town, it’s how
we came about our name! We should work with El Paso County and do all we can to
make the most of our park and keep this landmark beautiful.
b) Fire Department – The volunteer Fire Department is not
funded by the town. Passing the .5 percent sales tax initiative would allow the
Fire Department access to the funds it needs without getting into town monies.
I am currently working as an Office Manager for Nationwide
Floor and Window Coverings in Castle Rock. I am honest, a good listener, and
Of course the water issue. We as a community need to find
a way to conserve our natural sources.
Revenue, we need to look at ways to bring business into town
without destroying its natural beauty and appeal.
I have volunteered in a variety of roles, many of which
will assist in the position of trustee. Having served on a multitude of school
district advisory boards, I have gained useful experience with short- and
long-term strategic planning. This experience will be especially helpful with
efforts to update our comprehensive plan. Most importantly, my experience as the
Parks and Recreation trustee has afforded me a knowledge of our town government
and procedure. As a current trustee, I am up-to-date on the current issues and
obstacles facing our town.
The state of our lake is a strife that will need to be
addressed continuously until a resolution of water retention or a reasonable
means for regular replenishment is achieved. The Board should continue to
endorse the efforts of the town-sanctioned Awake the Lake committee. They have
pooled resources and made great strides towards permanent remedies. The Lake is
such a prominent issue because its existence provides both emotional and
economic benefits to all of us.
Finally, with a minimal number of water taps left for sale,
the Board will need to find new ways to generate revenue needed to maintain
sufficient reserve funds in the Capital Improvement Fund for emergencies. As
trustee, I would like to implement programs through the Parks and Recreation
Department which generate revenue. I would also like to see the town go out and
look for businesses to bring to town. We should seek businesses that would
recycle money back into the community.
I care about this town. I feel that caring about this town
is the most important background a council member needs.
There are several issues facing the town: water, budget,
roads. The key to dealing with these issues and others is community input. The
Town Council needs community input. There are very few people who make it to the
council meetings and it is so important for us to hear from the community. We
need to hear their opinions so when it comes to making a decision on these
issues, we can take what the town thinks into consideration. It really does make
I have a strong aptitude for finances and am taking
accounting classes at UCCS in preparation to becoming a CPA. As a small town
with minimal development, Palmer Lake has a limited revenue stream. I believe my
background will be helpful in maximizing the use of the town’s financial
resources for the maximum benefit for the town’s citizens. In my leadership
position at my church and my over 20 years of consultative selling, I am used to
working in teams to collaboratively come up with creative solutions to complex
problems. I have the ability to logically and methodically work through an
issue, putting aside non-essential data and working toward the best possible
I believe the two main issues facing the town are the
limited revenue that I mentioned in the answer to the first question and the
development of the town and the lake. For the first issue we need to find new
revenue streams and save on expenses without having a negative impact on the
citizens of Palmer Lake. This is something that I think needs to be explored
with citizen involvement. New ideas can be uncovered and creative solutions can
be found if we approach things with open minds and the common desire to find a
solution. Both this issue and the second are current and ongoing issues that
require long-term solutions. We need to work toward a master plan for both the
town center and the lake area to make them both attractive and useful to Palmer
Lake citizens and visitors. We need to work with other government agencies, our
local business owners, and concerned citizens to develop and implement these
In addition to serving a previous term as Economic
Development Trustee for the town, I have served on the boards of the Tri-Lakes
Chamber, the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, the Tri-Lakes Networking Team and
the fire district consolidation committee. Each experience afforded me
longstanding relationships in the community, relationships that are vital to
The long-term issues of maintaining our roads, water, and
recreational facilities all take a great deal of money. Because we are so close
to being built out and because there is a limit to how much you can tax
residents, we need to find creative ways to keep ourselves financially viable. I
believe the answer is in a stronger economic business base.
As Monument grows to meet the needs of convenience, Palmer
Lake remains a haven of charm and leisure. People come to enjoy our wonderful
restaurants and to gather at the lake. We need that kind of activity every day
of the week; families on bicycles, paddle boats on the lake, games in the park,
and hikers anxious for a hearty meal. Harried people from Denver and Colorado
Springs should think of Palmer Lake as a destination taking the train out of the
city to enjoy a day of leisure, spend some money, and then go home knowing that
they are welcome to come back and spend some more! Review of the Comprehensive
Plan indicated that the town residents were in favor of some type of tourism. It
is very important that Palmer Lake residents take control of their future now to
decide what kind of activities, how people come, and where they spend so we can
keep the town we came here for while adding the funds we need to maintain our
quality of life.
Monument Board of Trustees, March 6: Officer
Degenkolbe awarded Distinguished Service Medal
Below: Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk (right) presents
Distinguished Service Medal to Officer Kevin Degenkolbe at the March 6 Board of
Trustees meeting. Photo by Jim Kendrick
Click here or on the photo to
zoom in and view additional photos
By Jim Kendrick
It was a night filled with pride and recognition for Monument
Police Officer Kevin Degenkolbe and his family for a job well done. Chief Jake
Shirk presented the Distinguished Service Medal, second only to the Medal of
Honor, to Degenkolbe. With nearly the entire department staff in attendance,
Shirk read the dramatic account of the night that started with the dispatch,
"Shots fired!" It was a standing-room-only crowd in Town Hall.
Town Manager Cathy Green announced that the election for four
trustee positions had been canceled. All members of the Board of Trustees (BOT)
and department heads attended.
Distinguished Service Medal presentation
Officer Mark Sweatt’s nomination for Degenkolbe’s award
noted that on the afternoon of Feb. 15, 2005, Officer Kevin Degenkolbe and
Sweatt responded to a shots-fired call. Degenkolbe took the report from victim
James Bond that the suspect, Larry Bailey, had shot his TV with a handgun after
threatening to shoot Bond. Bailey then placed the gun to his head and said,
"It’s the only way." Degenkolbe took command of the scene, ordering
Bailey to put down the gun. Bailey started to point the gun toward Degenkolbe,
who kept shouting commands for Bailey to drop the weapon. Bailey complied with
his instruction and placed the weapon back into the residence. Further
investigation revealed Bailey earlier had strangled his hybrid wolf to death.
Degenkolbe "placed himself in a position where he could
have been killed or seriously injured, disregarded his own safety for that of
his fellow Officers. His exceptional bravery ended the incident with no loss of
life or serious bodily injury."
Shirk presented Degenkolbe with a medal, a citation, and a
blue pin to wear on his uniform.
A reception followed the presentation.
Senior housing proposal
Green reviewed the previous proposals by Jamie Hull, of
Tecton Corp., and Tim Irish, of Design Properties, to build two senior service
facilities at a town-owned parcel in the Villages of Woodmoor and Tecton’s
vacant property on Beacon Lite Highway, south of the Herb Garden Bistro
Hull said 2 acres of the town’s parcel on Highway 105 are
covered with surface springs and water. Gravity flow sewer lines for the town’s
lot would require an easement across the adjacent, privately-owned lot to the
west. The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District is willing to sell excess water
for the lot; the water rights for the town’s lot have already been transferred
to Woodmoor as part of the planned development agreement because the town’s
lot had been planned to be part of the open space dedication. Woodmoor’s
regulations do not permit a donation or significant discount for the purchased
Hull suggested an urgent-care facility for the town’s lot
in partnership with service provider Peak Vista. Irish said several levels of
medical service would be available. Hull asked the town to draft a land transfer
contract to Tecton, which would return the value of the land,
"dollar-for-dollar," in reduced unit rental fees for up to 20 percent
of the individual living units at both facilities, for under $1,000 per month.
Comparable services in the area start at $2,800 per month. If the subsidy were
spread out to all the proposed living units, it would only amount to about $42
The board unanimously continued the public hearing on an
ordinance for a contract with Mountain View Electric Association. The board
unanimously approved an ordinance restricting future residential installations
of grass. Bluegrass is now restricted to a maximum of "33 percent of a lot’s
pervious area," while drought-tolerant fescues can be installed on up to
"50 percent of a lot’s pervious area."
The board unanimously approved Shirk’s proposed resolution
to adopt the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as the standard of
practice during emergency response in order to remain eligible for federal
preparedness grants. NIMS has also been adopted by the region’s fire and
The board unanimously approved Treasurer Pamela Smith’s
request for two expenditures over $5,000:
$34,341.55 to Intellichoice for purchase, installation,
and training for system administrators Mary Ellen Burk and Miriam Hudson,
and maintenance of the eForce Records Management System for the Police
$11,538.90 to Boscoe Constructors Inc. for work done on
wells 3 and 9 of the water treatment plant.
Smith reported that the audit for 2005 was proceeding
smoothly. The deadline for submission to the state is June 30. The new Caselle
municipal software training will be completed and the system should be in
operation in April. The transition to the town’s new phone system went
smoothly "with no adverse events or problems."
Town Attorney Gary Shupp reported that the Transit Mix
concrete batch plant lawsuit has been scheduled for trial in November.
Shirk reported that his department was initiating a program
of liquor license compliance checks to ensure that no liquor is being sold to
individuals 18-20 years old. Town Clerk Scott Meszaros said there are currently
19 licensees in Monument, and two applications for new licenses are being
processed. Orten asked Shirk to send the licensees a letter notifying them of
the program. Shirk agreed and said there is no indication that any of the 19
licensees are selling to minors.
Mayor Byron Glenn announced that Trustee Frank Orten would
not be running for re-election. Trustee Tim Miller thanked Orten for his service
for the board. Green announced that there would be no town election on April 4
due to four candidates running for the four open trustee seats. Trustee Travis
Easton, Tommie Plank, and Tim Miller have been elected by acclamation. Steve
Samuels will replace Orten. Meszaros said he would present the formal resolution
for cancellation at the next board meeting.
Easton thanked Shirk for his department’s participation in
the funeral services for slain Colorado Springs Police Officer Jensen.
The meeting adjourned at 7:47 p.m.
Monument Board of Trustees, March 20: Baptist
Interchange options discussed
By Jim Kendrick
The Monument Board of Trustees unanimously approved renewals
of liquor licenses for the Broiler Room and Herb Garden Bistro Garden. Town
Manager Cathy Green gave a presentation on town growth issues.
Baptist Interchange Options
Mayor Byron Glenn said the town had two options for improving
the Baptist Road/I-25 interchange.
The first alternative is a voluntary public improvement fee (PIF).
Wal-Mart has refused to voluntarily participate in the proposed PIF that the
other retail businesses within the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA)
had agreed upon as a way to privately finance road improvements.
Glenn said he and Green will meet with state Department of
Transportation (CDOT) officials to see if the agency could pay for the
interchange. Glenn said "the county is still trying to persuade Wal-Mart to
participate in the PIF."
The other alternative is for BRRTA to pursue a November
ballot issue for a 1-cent sales tax. The proposed tax would apply only to retail
businesses within BRRTA and Monument. The revenue is needed to pay the interest
on private construction bonds for early expansion of the I-25 Baptist Road
interchange, with CDOT eventually paying off the bond principal when funds
become available to pay for the interchange’s construction costs. If CDOT
funding never becomes available, the proposed temporary sales tax would pay off
the bond principal, perhaps within as few as 10 years. The current proposal is
for the sales tax to expire after the bond principal for the interchange
improvement is paid off.
Glenn noted that the BRRTA tax could be proposed because
Monument chose not to participate in the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation
Authority’s 1-cent sales tax. He added that the town was still having problems
with the county for not becoming part of PPRTA. Glenn said he would send a
letter from the town to the PPRTA board "saying that we had good reasons
not to, and there’s a couple county roads you guys haven’t put a dollar into
that we’re improving, such as Higby, and I’m sure we’ll have Old Denver
[Highway]. The county’s currently designing improvements for County Line Road,
bypassing us altogether."
Glenn noted that the developers of Home Place Ranch,
Promontory Pointe, and Sanctuary Point (the former Baptist Camp) had agreed to
establish a road improvement special district that will impose a new 7-mill tax
levy for each house that they build in these three annexations. This mill levy
will be in addition to the mill levy for the Triview Metropolitan District. The
new road district’s tax revenue will be used to:
Build Point Ranch Road, which is the extension of
Widen Higby Road from Point Ranch Road to Jackson Creek
Widen Jackson Creek Parkway from Higby Road to State
Highway 105 by the improved I-25 Exit 161.
Glenn said, "This would create new improved roads to a
new improved interchange. Hopefully the gridlock will be split between the two
and we can get this interchange fixed. The interchange is a problem now; it’s
not because of any annexations. It’s always been a problem. We just have to
find a way to fund it quickly." He added that the growth issues could be
discussed at the trustees’ retreat.
Glenn said he had attended one of the seniors’ luncheons at
Town Hall. Their top concerns were a seniors center, senior housing, medical
services, public transportation, and the installation date for the traffic light
at Knollwood and State Highway 105. Director of Development Services Tom
Kassawara said CDOT would not install all the required improvements, including
the traffic light, at that intersection until after the town had improved the
plat and site plan for the commercial portion of the Villages at Woodmoor
development at the southeast corner of this intersection. This will take about
Glenn asked if the town could provide a traffic light at
Highway 105 and Beacon Lite Road that would be synchronized with the new Highway
105 light for the Safeway. Glenn asked Kassawara to apply again for financial
support for the light.
Trustee Tim Miller asked how the town could get involved in
the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 controversy over purchasing or condemning
Wissler Ranch for a second high school. Glenn said, "We don’t. It’s
their board’s call."
Kingswood resident Mike Wermuth complimented Monument Chief
Jake Shirk and Officers Rob Stewart and Mark Owens for their "very
professional, very cordial" assistance and control of the District 38
meeting, after the district "underestimated how strongly people felt about
the issue." He also apologized to Tom Kassawara for remarks he had made
that were in error at a previous meeting.
MVEA ordinance continued again
Green reported that she had still not received a copy of the
franchise fee contract from Mountain View Electric Association. The ordinance
for the contract was unanimously continued.
The board approved a resolution declaring that the April 4
town election was canceled due to only four candidates running for the four open
trustee seats. The resolution also declares that incumbent Trustees Travis
Easton, Tommie Plank, and Tim Miller, along with candidate Steve Samuels, have
been elected by acclamation. Samuels will replace Trustee Frank Orten, who did
not seek re-election. Plank volunteered to take the two-year term; the others’
terms are four years.
Plank read a written statement regarding the election:
"It has come to my attention that a telephone call was
received at Town Hall protesting the cancellation of the Board of Trustees
election. This person had planned to campaign against me because she claimed I
am ‘anti-Catholic.’ This is the second time I’ve been made aware of
someone making this claim and I wanted to clear the air and set the record
straight. Not only is this statement untrue for me, to the best of my
knowledge it’s untrue for any of the Board of Trustee members. These are
personal attacks that are unjustified and offensive. I consider them to be
Car show resolution approved
The board unanimously approved a resolution approving Dick
Cissell’s request for street closures for the annual Tri-Lakes Cruisers Car
Show, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 11. Second Street will be closed between
Jefferson and Front Streets. Front Street will be closed between Second and
Third Streets. Cissell said all proceeds from the show will again go to
Tri-Lakes Cares. He expects 150 to 200 cars to be on display.
Town Attorney Gary Shupp reported that depositions had been
canceled for the Transit Mix concrete batch plant case against the town. They
will be rescheduled. "As of today, I got about a 50-page motion to
reconsider a motion to dismiss. We’ll see how that goes. We’re still
scheduled for a November trial date."
Shupp noted that oral arguments are scheduled for June for
the District 38 lawsuit against the town and Vision Development. D-38 is suing
Monument for not requiring the Jackson Creek developer to dedicate land on the
south side of Higby Road, opposite Lewis-Palmer High School, in addition to 10
acres of land adjacent to the west side of Creekside Middle School that Vision
Development has already donated to D-38. The school district lawsuit also claims
that the donation of the land next to the middle school does not satisfy the
dedication requirement because Vision Development took a tax credit for it, and
that Vision still owes the district the other parcel of land.
Trustee Dave Mertz complimented Kassawara for requiring Kohl’s
to follow the Monument Marketplace PD Design Guidelines for its new building.
Kassawara said he had to contact landscaping contractors
regarding the new town ordinance restricting the amount of grass that can be
installed in new construction. He will also ask homeowner associations to amend
their covenants to match the new restriction.
Public Works Director Rich Landreth said he was scheduling a
meeting for public comment on plans for the town’s parks. The Well 2 repair
should be completed in early April. Negotiations with Woodmoor Water and
Sanitation District are underway regarding the district’s objections to the
town’s water storage rights in Monument Lake.
Landreth also said CDOT had denied permit approval for
redrilling of town Well 7, because the drilling rig would temporarily intrude
very slightly into a CDOT right-of-way. Landreth was surprised by their denial.
The CDOT response said the town should drill horizontally, but he noted that
this would not be allowed. Landreth said the equipment would never interfere
with road maintenance. He and Green had scheduled a meeting with CDOT to resolve
this issue, but the delay will prevent the work from being completed for this
year’s peak water demand season.
February police reports:
Shirk reported that the first new
"black-and-white" vehicle would be available by the end of March.
There were 60 cases compared to 58 in February 2005.
Training Sgt. Steve Burk reported that several members of
the department took a total of 84 hours of training in terrorist acts,
crisis intervention, SWAT, and computer systems.
Senior Court Clerk Mary Ellen Burk reported 36
arraignments, two trials, and eight juvenile cases in municipal court.
Records Clerk Gloria McGough reported that she had
created a database for the town’s registered sex offender program; there
are six registered offenders in town.
Green reviewed the discussions during her presentation on
town growth issues to NEPCO on March 18. Highlights included:
Green believes that county growth has surrounded the town
and grown in an inward direction toward Monument as much as annexation has
spread the town’s boundaries.
Representatives of several homeowner associations
questioned the town’s consideration of county and Tri-Lakes region
comprehensive plans showing that proposed annexations would remain rural if
left in the county. She said urbanization of county land is typical of
The town’s comprehensive plan should be changed if
annexations in the urban growth area can no longer be supported by town
The town needs to discuss near-, intermediate-, and
long-term water issues in more detail.
Low-density housing draws on different aquifers than
Roads "should be built" before annexations are
developed, but there is not enough tax revenue to achieve this because most
households pay only $38 to $50 per year for road taxes.
TABOR and Gallagher amendments force extreme town
reliance on sales tax revenue for services, more than many people realize.
If annexation stops, the retail industry would grow in
the county outside Monument and draw sales tax revenue away from the town.
The town has no control over D-38 expansion issues.
The concept of requiring transition between differing
density developments as a zoning issue is a very recent phenomenon, quite
different from allowing a noxious use such as a meat-packing plant in a
Creation of substantial amounts of open space above the
minimum specified in town ordinances will result in clustering of high
densities in other areas of a development; average density statistics may be
deceptive as a result.
Architectural controls should be written to avoid "a
sea of rooftops."
It is inconsistent for owners of $700,000 houses to
complain about $500,000 houses that might be built next to them, then
complain that there is no low-cost housing in Monument.
The meeting moved into executive session at 7:30 p.m. for
discussion of real estate negotiations.
The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. April 3 at Town Hall,
166 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of the
Monument Planning Commission, March 8: Home
Place Ranch annexation approved
By Jim Kendrick
A standing-room-only crowd was on hand again in Town Hall for
yet another annexation hearing, this time for Home Place Ranch on Higby Road
between Jackson Creek and Higby Estates. The commissioners also approved the
Final Planned Development (PD) Site Plan for the Colorado Juniors Volleyball
building at Mitchell and Arnold Avenues.
Town Manager Cathy Green noted that this was the first time
all seven commissioners had attended a meeting in years, and though Alternate
Commissioner Lowell Morgan would participate in the hearings, he would not vote.
Colorado Juniors Volleyball site plan approved
Lt. Col. Judy Peer of the non-profit Colorado Juniors
Volleyball Club sought approval for construction of a 15,800-square-foot indoor
volleyball facility for girls 14 to 18 years old. The facility will be built by
Ennis Construction in the Planned Industrial Development (PID) zone at the
southwest corner of Monument, between Mitchell Avenue and the railroad tracks. A
total of 118 members of the club have won college athletic scholarships worth
over $7 million. The new facility will enable the club to increase the number of
teams from seven to 12, adding 50 participants per year.
Assistant Planner Natalie Ebaugh reported that, despite
limited funds, the club has upgraded the building’s steel architecture with
stucco veneer, columns, and stone accents. Landscaping that uses a minimum of
groundwater was added next to Mitchell Avenue as a visual buffer. Increased
traffic is expected only during off-peak hours, from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Director of Development Services Tom Kassawara recommended
approval of the site plan. "We think it’s a good project for the
Access Construction owner Dale Ennis said, "We’ve
worked very hard to get the building looking as good as we can."
Five written comments in favor of the proposal were submitted
to town staff. There was also one "no opinion" comment from Charles
and Mary Bay who live across Mitchell Avenue from the proposed building site.
The Bays asked about the drainage of rainwater from the new facility and others
that might be built north of the volleyball club. Kassawara assured them that
the drainage plans he approves will contain well-designed rainwater detention
ponds on the adjacent sites that will prevent any problems for them.
Several parents of club members spoke in favor of the club
and its contribution to their children’s development. The final PD site plan
was unanimously approved.
Home Place Ranch annexation and rezoning
Web Site Exclusive: Below: HPR LLC spokespersons Josh
Rowland (left) assists traffic engineer Jeff Hodsdon (right) of LSC
Transportation Consultants answer questions on the Home Place Ranch PD Sketch
Plan (990 new homes).
Home Place Ranch is a 431-acre development of the former
Sally Beck ranch property on the south side of Higby Road. Developer HPR LLC is
seeking annexation to the town and proposes to develop the property as a
complete single-family-home community. The town and developer have agreed to
change the zoning to PD upon annexation. While the HPR presentation called for
1,019 homes on the sketch plan, only 990 homes were proposed on the slides.
Home Place Ranch is bounded on the west by the new Remington
Hills Development on the north loop of Leather Chaps Drive in Jackson Creek, to
the southwest by the Homestead development in Jackson Creek, and to the south by
the vacant Promontory Pointe parcel, all in Monument. The property is bounded to
the east by Higby Estates in the county.
Annual county property taxes for 2004 for the rural parcel
were $1,011.59 on an assessed value for land and improvements of $13,720.
Water issues: The developer’s written submission for
the project includes a study from HPR’s water consultant, Wm. Curtis Wells
& Co., which reported that all four Denver Basin aquifers could produce
about 915 acre-feet per year based on the town’s 100-year aquifer life
requirement. Production under the county’s 300-year requirement would be only
305 acre-feet per year, which would limit the development to only 760 single
family homes. This is well below the 990 units HPR proposed.
In a separate water report, James Culichia of the consulting
firm of Felt, Monson, Culichia, LLC, recommended reduction of the county
estimate to a maximum of 710 homes for 305 acre-feet per year, unless
restrictions for uses outside the homes are imposed. He questioned whether there
was enough water available for roughly 1,000 houses using the town’s 100-year
standard. Culichia also reported that average Jackson Creek consumption observed
by Triview Metropolitan District is 0.68 acre-feet per year. He noted that
District Manager Ron Simpson "believes that it is primarily due to new lawn
irrigation demands being three to four times higher in the summer months.
Assuming that Triview would give credit for all 305 acre-feet, Culichia offered
"At 0.5 acre-feet per year per unit, you could get
"At 0.33 acre-feet per year per unit, you could get
"With 0.3 acre-feet per year per unit, you could get
The transportation study performed for the developer by Jeff
Hodsdon of LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc. was based on 875 single-family
houses and predicted 8,374 trips would be generated on an average weekday.
During the morning peak, 6:30 to 8:30, 166 vehicles would enter the development
and 490 vehicles would exit. During the evening peak, 4:30 to 6:30, 560 vehicles
would enter the site and 324 would exit.
The LSC report noted that sight-distance problems would limit
the possible intersection locations for the two additional HPR access roads that
will intersect Higby Road besides Gleneagle Drive. Because Higby is a county
minor arterial, spacing requirements between existing adjacent Higby Road
intersections and the three proposed for Home Place Ranch are a further
restriction. Mouse habitat and extensive on-site drainage restrictions also
complicate this problem.
The expected traffic volume at the Gleneagle Drive and Higby
intersection may require a traffic signal. A traffic signal is already planned
for the Gleneagle Drive and Baptist Road intersection.
Green reported that all required utilities are available to
the parcel. More than one-sixth of its boundaries, 35.5 percent, are contiguous
with the town. The town’s comprehensive plan includes Home Place Ranch in
Priority Area 1, the Monument urban growth area. This designation applies to
"land considered appropriate for annexation and development, and does not
present problems which are associated with sprawl." Triview Metropolitan
District has agreed to include the HPR parcel upon annexation.
Green reported that the proposal meets the county’s 2000
Tri-Lakes Comprehensive Plan, which recognizes that there will be some Monument
expansion that converts adjacent areas to "more contemporary, suburban
standards rather than the rural standards promoted by the county."
The HPR proposal also contains 4.3 miles of trails in
accordance with the Tri-Lakes comprehensive plan.
Green also reported: "Staff has no objection to this
Kassawara said that HPR LLC, Landco (the developer of
Promontory Pointe), and Classic Homes (the developer of Sanctuary Point) had
agreed to form a road improvement district for the extension of Gleneagle Drive
to Higby Road, and widening of Higby Road from the Gleneagle extension west to
Jackson Creek Parkway, and widening of Jackson Creek Boulevard to four lanes
from Higby Road north to Highway 105. Kassawara noted, "This is the first
time I’ve seen this level of cooperation, particularly since Promontory Pointe
is not contiguous with Higby." He added that Promontory Pointe would
contribute to traffic on Higby via the extension of Gleneagle Drive,
This extension of Gleneagle Drive will be called Ranch Point
Road within Promontory Pointe and Home Place Ranch. The name change will apply
only to the section within the town, however. The intersection of Higby and
Ranch Point Roads will align with the future southward extension of Furrow Road
in accordance with the county’s Major Transportation Corridors Plan. Furrow
Road and Gleneagle Drive are in the county.
HPR, LLC spokesperson Linda Sweetman-King gave a PowerPoint
presentation on the annexation that was very similar to the items noted in Green’s
Public comments: Pat Pivarnik and Jim Vickers of Higby
Estates opposed the annexations for these reasons:
The developer is seeking annexation to avoid the low
rural densities with lot sizes no less than 2.5 acres specified in the
county’s Tri-Lakes plan.
Leaving the development in the county would reduce the
need for utility and infrastructure services.
The county has done nothing and will do nothing to
improve Higby Road east of Home Place Ranch, making it more dangerous as the
traffic load increases substantially with 990 new homes.
There are no plans proposed by HPR to improve safety and
congestion during arrival/departure times at Lewis-Palmer High School.
Commissioner comments: Alternate Planning Commissioner
Dr. Lowell Morgan opposed the annexation. Morgan said it is well-known that a
purely residential development is a money-loser for annexation by the town. The
cost of maintaining the infrastructure of a residential development exceeds all
the property tax revenue available. Yet the town staff and Board of Trustees
have made plans to annex three large high-density developments: Home Place
Ranch, the all-ready annexed Promontory Pointe, and Sanctuary Point.
Morgan said the Home Place Ranch traffic would add traffic to
Jackson Creek Parkway and the overtaxed two-lane bridge over I-25. However, none
of the road district funds would be used to add the additional Jackson Creek
Parkway lanes between Monument Marketplace and Higby Road. No funding source has
been identified for these unbuilt lanes. The recent $15 million Triview bond
issue funds are already spent and Triview’s debt has grown beyond $40 million,
a huge burden on every property owner in that district.
Morgan said that adding about 1,000 Home Place Ranch houses
will add about 600 grade-school children, which would require about 1.5 D-38
elementary schools. Only a single elementary school is being proposed to be
built in the center of the Home Place Ranch development. No plan for middle or
high school student attendance was discussed.
Green responded to two of Morgan’s three objections. She
said the proposed road improvement district would improve Higby Road and the
town would then annex the portion between Ranch Point Drive and Jackson Creek
Parkway. She acknowledged that the previously proposed community retail stores
on the Home Place Ranch would have been preferable, but annexation would
discourage the building of more county wells and septic tanks next to the town,
a plus. If the county controlled the parcel’s development, a higher density
might be allowed, she said
Sweetman-King added that the three developers would
commission a new joint traffic study after the road improvement special district
was created and these developers had met with the county’s Major Thoroughfares
Task Force to discuss the Gleneagle Drive extension and Higby Road improvements.
Commissioner Kathy Spence expressed concern that little was
known about the actual site plan and that the town would lose most, if not all,
of its leverage with the developer after annexation was approved. Green
disagreed, saying there would be several opportunities for further negotiation
on the annexation agreement, the PD design guidelines, and the PD site plan.
Other issues will be decided by Triview Metro District rather than the town
staff, but coordination between the two is increasing, she said.
Spence said the town was trying to make this area a better
place and couldn’t rely on the county to do so based on the extremely high
density that the county had allowed for the townhouse development on Higby Road
right next to Lewis-Palmer High School. She also said the county had set up
modular low-income housing with no garages or other improvements. Spence then
said, "We’re a group that cares about this community rather than a very
large region of the county."
The proposals for annexation and rezoning to PD were approved
Home Place Ranch Sketch PD Plan hearing
Sweetman-King noted the types of acreage in the proposal: 262
acres of residential, 145 acres of open space, 14 acres of right-of-way, and 10
acres for a D-38 elementary school. The residential area is clustered in
differing densities and types of houses around the open space for parks, trails,
floodplain, and potential mouse habitat. Densities listed for each section of
the development were gross/average densities rather than actual densities of
residential lots. The open space is larger than required for PD zoning, 33
percent compared with the 20 percent minimum.
Hodsdon said there would be "just over 9,000 trips per
day within the development." The morning and afternoon two-hour peaks would
each comprise about 10 percent of this total. The development would add 2,600
trips to the future total of 10,000 trips per day on Higby west of Home Place
Ranch at buildout. He said current Higby traffic is 1,500 trips per day. The
development would add 4,300 trips per day to the total of 9,500 daily trips that
Ranch Point Road would add to the Baptist Road traffic count. Sweetman-King
added that a new joint traffic study with Triview would be initiated for Higby
Road to account for the proposed road district improvements.
Hodsdon said the spacing for all the development’s
intersections on Ranch Point and Higby Roads conforms to county standards for
minor arterials. The Higby right-of-way would be 100 feet wide with dedicated
left-turn lanes, medians and acceleration/deceleration lanes. Ranch Point Road
would have no curb cuts, and the right-of-way would be 80 feet wide, compared to
the 50-foot right-of-way previously proposed for this road in Promontory Pointe.
There was a lengthy discussion regarding the configuration of each intersection
in the project, bike lanes, and trail locations. The actual design of the road
improvements will be decided by Triview and the county, and then reviewed by the
town staff and traffic consultant.
Sweetman-King said HPR LLC had scheduled community meetings
with all the adjacent homeowner associations. She explained in detail how HPR
had adjusted lot lines, lot sizes, and setbacks to closely match those of
existing adjacent homes and that the models of houses would be completely mixed
to avoid a "cookie-cutter appearance." She also explained how trails
would connect with the overall trail plans for the region and that Triview’s
wells tap lower aquifers than the private wells of neighboring county
Public comments: Some of the citizen complaints expressed
during public comment included:
Triview’s current debt makes its financial position
precarious and the need to maintain all this new infrastructure would
greatly worsen problems.
Monument has no control over anything in Triview, and
claims that the town will take over in 15 to 25 years when Triview’s debt
is paid off are not credible.
The only positive financial impact for Monument is
Triview has to pay for all infrastructure upkeep until the district is
There are 300 homes proposed for 75 acres next to
Homestead, a 50 percent higher density, and a change from the previous HPR
proposal of 269 homes on 89 acres, considerably less dense.
New HPR homes will not be of comparable value, reducing
the current value of existing adjacent homes.
Proposed homeowner association maintenance of development
easements is doomed to fail, because homeowners will build play areas and
sheds in them.
The regional park in the development was reduced from 25
to 16 acres.
Elimination of the 7-Eleven retail center eliminates
sales tax revenue.
Commissioner comments: Spence said much of the town’s
open space is not usable by the citizens because of floodplains and mouse
habitat. HPR could not say what fraction of the open space would be usable by
Green said she agreed that the name Ranch Point Road would be
confusing to everyone and, "If you don’t like the density, say so."
Green added that significant overgrading was a compromise that was required to
keep the high percentage of open space. Demanding less density and matching lot
sizes on the perimeter of the development would also reduce the amount of open
space. Kassawara concurred with Green and both asked for specific
recommendations and concerns rather than general concerns.
Morgan said he liked the plan except for the density being
too high and that it is premature for the existing roads. He said the town has
no plan for improving Baptist, Higby, Jackson Creek Parkway, and the Baptist
Road interchange. "A widened Higby will still feed into two-lane
roads." Several commissioners agreed.
Green said there was a difference between gross density being
too high and the lot sizes being too small. There was consensus that the lot
sizes were too small.
Chairman Ed Delaney asked for a motion of approval or
disapproval. When none was made, he closed the hearing.
Promontory Pointe Map Amendment
Landco’s representatives presented a map amendment that
formally asked for a rezoning of the parcel. A condition of annexation requires
Landco to seek PD rezoning from county RR-3 (5-acre lots) to Monument PD zoning
within 90 days of its Feb. 6 annexation. Review by the Planning Commission is
the first step to meeting that condition. Green reported, "When annexing
land into a municipality, a Town has no formal obligation to continue the zone
district previously used in the County."
Landco’s spokesman Terry Schooler said the developer had
agreed that Ranch Point Road would have no curb cuts.
Kingswood resident Dick Wolf complimented Landco for
addressing nearly all the adjacent Kingswood owners’ concerns. He gave a copy
of the written agreement signed by the residents and Landco to Green.
The motion to approve the rezoning to PD passed unanimously..
The commissioners approved by consensus Kassawara’s
referral letter to the county regarding a T-Mobile Stealth Monopine cellular
phone antenna to be built at 18945 Pebble Beach Way.
Commissioner John Kortgardner asked town staff to investigate
the town’s buffer area behind the Monument Rock office park on Synthes Avenue.
He said that the screening berm that the developer had promised to build had
been taken down and that all the dirt had been spread on the town’s land to
the rear of the development. Green said she would look into it and she would be
asking that the town be authorized to hire a code inspector. Kassawara said now
that the certificate of occupancy has been issued, the town has no control over
The meeting adjourned at 10 p.m.
The next meeting will be held April 12 at 6:30 p.m. in Town
Hall, 166 Second Street. Meetings are normally held the second Wednesday of the
Donala Water and Sanitation District May 2
election and ballot question
By Jim Kendrick
Designated Election Official Jackie Sipes has announced that
the Donala Water and Sanitation District’s election will be held May 2 at the
Donald Wescott Fire Protection District Fire Station at 15415 Gleneagle Drive
near the Baptist Road intersection. Only three candidates are running for the
three open seats on the board: Richard L. Durham, incumbent Director Dennis R.
Daugherty, and Timothy G. Murphy. Board President Charlie Coble and Secretary
Don Pearson are stepping down. Vice President Ed Houle and Director Dale
Schendzielos have completed two years of their four-year terms.
Shall Donala Water and Sanitation District taxes be increased
$810,000 annually in 2007 and by whatever additional amounts are raised annually
thereafter by continuing to collect but not increasing the current tax rate of
12.810 mills levied by the district for payment of debt service (which was
authorized by district voters in 1993 for general obligation bonds currently
scheduled to be paid in full in 2007); and
Shall such tax revenues be used for the purpose of acquiring
and constructing improvements to the district’s water and wastewater systems
including but not limited to, acquisition, expansion, construction and
improvements of the wastewater treatment plant, water storage facilities, water
wells, water pump system maintenance equipment, and operation expenses incurred
in the delivery of water and wastewater services; and
Shall the district be authorized to adjust the mil levy rate
authorized by this question from time to time so long as it never exceeds 12.180
Shall the proceeds of such taxes and the district’s
operational mill levy of 3,486 mills, any investment income therefrom, and all
other district revenue be collected and spent without limitation or condition,
as a voter-approved revenue change under Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado
Constitution, and as a voter-approved mill levy under C.R.S. 29-1-302(2)(B)?
Forest View Acres Water District, March 23:
Residents object to $25 per month fee increase
By John Heiser
At its regular monthly meeting March 23, the Forest View
Acres Water District (FVAWD) board of directors heard from residents objecting
to the $25 administrative fee approved by the board in December and ratified by
the board in January.
Dan LaFontaine of Independent Water Services, the district’s
contract water operations manager, reported that two leaks causing a combined
loss of an estimated 65 gallons per minute were repaired in early March after a
loss of 3.11 million gallons in February. The district has been losing large
amounts of water since January.
The board consists of President Barbara Reed-Polatty, Brian
Cross, Ketch Nowacki, and Eckehart Zimmermann. The vacancy created when John
Anderson resigned in January has not been filled. All board members were
present. Reed-Polatty presided.
Administrative, bookkeeping, and accounting services for the
district are provided by Special District Management Services Inc. (SDMS).
Deborah McCoy, president of SDMS, served as facilitator and secretary at the
board meeting. She introduced Lisa Johnson, the SDMS district manager who will
succeed Kammy Tinney. Tinney resigned due to personal health issues. District
residents who have operational or management questions or comments are urged to
contact SDMS at (800) 741-3254 or 488-2110.
Attorney Paul Rufien provided legal advice.
LaFontaine is responsible for maintaining equipment and
infrastructure and for managing all aspects of water delivery.
In December 2004, the board uncovered an apparent theft of
funds from the district’s bank accounts. In February, a warrant was issued for
the arrest of former contract office manager Patricia Unger on suspicion of
embezzling more than $212,000 in district funds. That amount was later increased
to $315,000. Unger surrendered to authorities Feb 16, 2005, and was released on
$50,000 bond to await a preliminary hearing. Unger rejected a negotiated
mediation agreement and waived a preliminary hearing. The criminal trial has
been rescheduled to begin April 18, 2006. The felony charges Unger faces carry a
potential sentence of four to 12 years.
The district has filed a civil suit against Unger and her
husband, Dennis, to recover the missing funds and associated costs. The civil
trial is scheduled to begin in August. The district’s attorneys hired Sheri
Betzer, a forensic auditor. According to information released by the board,
Betzer estimated the total financial loss to the district at not less than
May election canceled
McCoy reported that the May election was canceled Feb. 28
because the district received only four applicants for the four open board
positions. The new board of directors will consist of Rich Crocker, Nowacki,
Reed-Polatty, Jeff Walker, and Zimmermann.
Nowacki expressed concern that the district is out of
compliance with Colorado statutes that require board vacancies to be filled
within 60 days. He proposed that the board make an appointment to fill the
vacancy until the May meeting when the new board takes office.
Rufien noted that the only concern would be that the county
could step in and appoint someone if the position were to remain vacant, but he
said that would not happen. He added, "You are not out of compliance. It
may be a spirit-of-the-law issue."
McCoy noted that there would be costs to prepare
documentation for an appointment.
Nowacki’s motion to make an appointment failed, with the
other three board members opposed.
Legal questions resulting from the missing funds
In response to questions from the audience about the
liability of current and former board members for the missing funds, Rufien
said, "For board members as individuals to be liable would require proof of
intent to defraud the district." He later added that they would have to
have gained financially.
As to suing the board as a whole for breach of fiduciary
duty, Rufien said a high burden of proof is required. He added that district
residents would wind up paying the substantial costs of defending the board.
Further, Rufien said that since damage awards would be limited to each
individual’s loss, to make financial sense "it would have to be a
Rufien noted that based on the documentation he has seen, the
criminal case points to "where the responsibility lies." He added that
the case will produce an enormous amount of information for the district’s
civil suit and that a not-guilty verdict would "point fingers
Responding to questions about the district’s insurance
coverage, Reed-Polatty said the district did not have crime coverage.
Replying to a question as to whether the district could file
for bankruptcy, Rufien said it would be difficult because it would have to be
shown that adding 100 mills of property taxes would not be sufficient to cover
Referring to Rich Crocker and Jeff Walker rejoining the board
in May, district resident Judy Michali said, "Having past board members on
the board doesn’t give me a whole lot of confidence." She vowed to be
more involved in district matters and encouraged others to do the same.
McCoy noted that the board now gets monthly copies of bank
statements, lists of checks written, and financial statements. She said,
"They didn’t get that before."
Comments on $25-per-month administrative fee increase
District resident Ted Hatzenbuhler objected to his monthly
water bill of $90 for two people.
In a letter to the board, George Gaertner said, "I think
the service charge on this bill is outrageous!"
Kelvin Delaney’s letter to the board said that adding $25
to the service charges is unfair to the consumer. He said that instead the fee
for water should have been increased so the consumer could control their cost by
controlling the amount of water used.
McCoy reported that some residents are withholding the $25
additional service fee. Reed-Polatty said those who do not pay their bill in
full could have their service disconnected in accordance with the district’s
rules and regulations.
Cross said, "We understand your frustration. We are
members of the district and have to pay the fee." He later added, "You
have a right to be angry. I agree that it is outrageous but we are trying to
balance the budget."
Zimmermann said the $25 fee increase is needed to cover
operational expenses, including the costs for SDMS and Rufien. He added,
"We are hoping to collect something from the Unger case."
Nowacki added, "We were robbed. We’re hurting badly.
Nobody else is going to pay for it."
Hatzenbuhler asked why the district is not using a mill levy
to raise the additional money so residents could have an income tax deduction.
McCoy replied that, unlike the administrative fee, a property
tax mill levy must be approved by a vote of district residents. She said an
election could be held in November 2006, the new property taxes would apply in
2007, and the district would receive the funds in 2008. She estimated that
holding an election would cost the district $8,000 to $9,000. McCoy added that
she had recommended that the district seek a mill levy but that the present
board is split on that recommendation.
Zimmermann said one of the objections to a mill levy is that
it would likely be applied indefinitely.
McCoy presented a list of claims paid through March 23
totaling $14,571 that included $4,369 for LaFontaine’s services, $2,796 paid
to the Palmer Lake Sanitation District, $2,670 for electricity, and $2,255 as
final payment to Betzer.
The net cash balance for all funds as of Feb. 28 was $23,587.
The total for accounts payable as of March 8 was $124,046.
That included $59,957 due attorneys Petrock and Fendel, $51,950 due SDMS, and
$9,216 due Rufien.
Wilde billing dispute
District resident Leigh Wilde contends that due to an
agreement with the Nevins family when he purchased his property, he has a right
to free water service for up to 15,000 gallons per month.
Rufien said that based on his research the agreement was with
the Nevins family and does not apply to Wilde.
As of March 17, the outstanding balance for water to the
Wilde property from January 2005 was $827.
McCoy reported that SDMS is following the district’s
procedure, which could result in disconnecting service if the bill is not paid.
Availability of service (AOS) fees
Johnson reported that AOS fees are being billed at $20 per
month and that past due AOS accounts are being billed $20 per month for current
charges and $20 per month to recover the past-due amounts.
LaFontaine reported that a leak surfaced in early March.
Water was running out of the culvert at the intersection of Sandstone Drive and
Red Rocks Drive. American Leak Detection Inc. located the leak, and it was
repaired March 6. LaFontaine added that a leaking valve was located and repaired
March 8. He estimated the two leaks totaled perhaps 65 gallons per minute.
During February, the district’s surface plant produced 2.97
million gallons, averaging 73.9 gallons per minute over 27.9 days. The district’s
well in the Arapahoe aquifer produced 1.72 million gallons, averaging 107.5
gallons per minute over 11.1 days. The net monthly production was 4.35 million
Water sales for February totaled 1.23 million gallons.
LaFontaine calculated the net loss from the system during
February was 3.11 million gallons or 253 percent of sales.
He added that since the leaks were repaired, the Arapahoe
well has not been needed to meet the district’s needs.
LaFontaine’s contract approved
The board unanimously approved LaFontaine’s new contract.
The board considered a proposal enabling SDMS to authorize
LaFontaine to spend up to $5,000 for unanticipated repair or maintenance
Zimmermann noted that LaFontaine is already authorized to
make expenditures to respond to emergencies.
Nowacki said, "An emergency failure is not the issue,
rather this would be for an unplanned replacement part."
The proposal failed, with Nowacki and Reed-Polatty voting in
favor, Cross and Zimmermann opposed.
Executive session held on legal matters
Rufien requested an executive session to advise the board on
The next meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. April 27 at
Tri-Lakes district Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley). Board
meetings are usually held on the fourth Thursday of each month. Those wishing to
attend should check the date, time, and location by calling the SDMS at (800)
741-3254 or 488-2110.
Monument Sanitation District, March 21: District
By Jim Kendrick
Designated Election Official Leon Tenney canceled the
Monument Sanitation District’s May 2 election because three candidates were
running for the three open seats on the board. Treasurer Ed Delaney is
term-limited, while Directors Chuck Robinove and Kristi Schutz were appointed
after the last election and ran for election to their seats. Board Chair Lowell
Morgan and Secretary Glenda Smith have completed two years of their four-year
elected terms. Robinove and Schutz will serve four-year terms, while Bob Kuchek
will replace Delaney for a two-year term.
District Manager Mike Wicklund announced that initial
construction of the Wakonda Hills sewer mains for the east side of the
development had been delayed until April 7, that no tap fees were collected in
February, annual sewer collection line cleaning has begun and would continue in
April, and that the board should consider 2006-07 rents for tenants in the
district’s office building and tap fees for additional fixture units at the
The meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.
The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. April 19 at the district
office, 130 Second St. Meetings are normally held on the third Tuesday of the
Tri-Lakes Wastewater Facility Joint Use
Committee, March 13: Lab/admin building completed
Web Site Exclusive: Below: Tri-Lakes Wastewater
Treatment Facility staff in front of new laboratory and administration building:
(L to R): Plant manager Bill Burks and Plant Operators Toby Ormandy and Scott
Eilert. Photo by Jim Kendrick
By Jim Kendrick
The Joint Use Committee for the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Facility
reported that final payment had been made on the new laboratory and
administration building and discussed the status of its permit review by the
state of Colorado.
The final payment and issuing of a certificate of completion
to Access Construction were approved unanimously by the representatives of
facility owners Monument Sanitation District, Palmer Lake Sanitation District,
and Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District.
Facility Manager Bill Burks discussed the monthly discharge
monitoring report for February. All measured figures were far below maximum
tolerances. The effluent copper reading was 13 parts per billion (PPB), barely
above the detection limit of the testing procedure but well below the current
permit limits of 36.4 PPB for a single reading and 24.8 PPB on average. Those
limits expire at the end of 2007. The JUC is seeking an amendment to the permit
that would cut these maximums to 8.7 PPB and 13 PPB respectively for 2008 and
The highest copper influent measurements were 101 PPB for
Monument, 105 PPB for Palmer Lake, and 79 PPB for Woodmoor. The committee
discussed re-activating an additional aeration basin if the copper readings rise
significantly. However, this would significantly increase operations and
Consultants review future facility permit options
During a two-hour discussion with JUC attorney Tad Foster and
consulting engineer Mike Rothberg of RTW Engineering, the committee reviewed
possible changes in future regulatory requirements that the state or the
Environmental Protection Agency might impose. Rothberg’s firm designed and
constructed the Tri-Lakes facility.
Also discussed were possible options for permit amendments
for 2008 and beyond.
Burks reported that he had split a specially prepared test
sample containing 10 PPB of copper and sent portions to the two testing labs to
measure copper levels. One lab reported that the sample contained 11 PPB and the
other lab reported 18 PPB. This wide disparity resulted in a consensus that
questioned the validity of test measurements for such minuscule amounts of
copper as well as the suitability of the proposed future copper limits for the
facility’s permit. Drinking water can have up to 1,200 PPB of copper.
Burks reported a new requirement to report ammonia
concentrations to the state. The committee also expressed concern about the
validity of the new requirement to report mercury concentrations in parts per
quadrillion, which is 1 million times smaller than parts per billion.
The committee decided that no changes in policy or procedure
were necessary at this time. The next meeting is 6 p.m. Apr. 10 at 16510
Mitchell Ave. The committee normally meets the second Monday each month. For
information, call 488-2525.
Palmer Lake Sanitation District Board
By Jim Kendrick
Designated Election Official Becky Orcutt has canceled the
Palmer Lake Sanitation District’s May 2 election because of a shortage of
candidates for the three open seats on the board. Directors Virgil Watkins and
Joe Stallsmith are term-limited, while Director Gary Atkins was appointed after
the last election. Board Chair Kathleen Williams and Director Todd Bell have
completed two years of their four-year elected terms.
Only Atkins and Dale Platt submitted self-nominations for the
election and are now elected by acclamation. The new board will take office May
9 and have 60 days to appoint another director to the empty seat. The
appointment for the fifth seat will last until the next special district
election in May 2008.
Triview Metropolitan District, March 22: Carwash
being considered for Marketplace
By Elizabeth Hacker
The Triview Metro District board of directors held their
monthly board meeting March 22. All board members were present. Also present
were: Rick Blevins, bond holder, Mike Wermuth representing the Kingswood
subdivision (adjacent to Promontory Pointe), and Steve Meyer, vice president of
the Homestead Ranch Home Owners Association.
Blevins reported that two entities were interested in
building a carwash on a 3.2-acre site in the Monument Marketplace. The board
referred to a restriction that does not allow a stand-alone carwash but noted
there was a provision for a carwash as part of an auto-service business. Board
President Steve Stephenson expressed his concern for water availability. Blevins
replied that anyone who went into a carwash business would want it to grow and
that would mean that eventually there would be an increase in demand for water.
He added that the Board could set a rate for an agreed-upon amount of water per
year, and excess volumes would be charged at an accelerated rate.
Triview Manager Ron Simpson noted that a carwash might work
well in the Marketplace because peak consumption for a carwash would be in the
winter when water demand from lawn irrigation is low. Triview generally has
excess water that could be committed to a carwash in the winter. He summed up
the discussion by noting that Triview would support a carwash as part of an auto
service center and that the developer would have to agree to the specific amount
of water to be used and be charged extra for additional water. Simpson added
that it was up to Market Center developer Blevins to select a developer for a
District manager’s report
Simpson reported that he had sent the Town of Monument a
letter in response to their joint meeting regarding planning for future parks
and recreation. He reiterated Triview’s three-tiered approach in planning for
future parks that was discussed at the February board meeting. The first tier
will provide a brief history and describe what had been done since Triview’s
start-up in 1985 and will include an inventory of assets. Tier two will include
what is planned in the next one to five years and will include Triview’s
3-acre site at Creekside and other proposed projects. Tier three will plan for
the next five to 10 years and will include a proposed regional park with trail
linkages. The plan will also outline the various responsibilities of Triview and
Town homes: Pulte has resubmitted a proposed town home
project east of Jackson Creek Parkway north of Leather Chaps. This plan has a
combination of single-family homes and town homes. The town homes will have
four-1,400-square-foot units in each building. The single-family units will be
about 2,800 square feet. A vest-pocket park is planned within the development.
The streets will be private and maintained by the homeowners. Simpson also noted
that the transmission lines to the subdivision would be buried.
Promontory Pointe: The Monument Planning Commission
recommended approval of PRD (planned residential district) zoning for Promontory
Point. The town’s trustees will consider the sketch plan and zoning at their
April 3 meeting. The buffer lots are proposed to be 1.5 acres with a wall to
ensure a smooth transition from the adjacent Kingswood subdivision.
Mike Wermuth, representing the Kingswood subdivision, asked
what changes to Gleneagle Road can be expected in the Promontory Point
development in response to the traffic impact study that estimated a traffic
count of more than 9,000 trips per day on the road extension. Simpson replied
that they are considering all the findings of several traffic studies together.
He suggested that the proposed roadway 60-foot cross-section that includes two
14-foot traffic lanes, two 8-foot bike lanes, and two 5-foot sidewalks will
accommodate the anticipated increase in traffic but added that there was wiggle
room to adjust the lane widths within the cross-section width.
Home Place Ranch: The Planning Commission recommended
annexation to the town with changes to plan.
Steve Meyer reported that the homeowner association would
like to see the trail system continued to connect to the trails within the
Homestead at Jackson Creek and that a 10-foot buffer zone should be placed along
the northern boundary. Simpson responded that those issues would be addressed
but that Triview would need a minimum 20-foot-wide easement for a single-use
purpose, and he didn’t think that would be possible. He also questioned who
would maintain the buffer zone.
Monument Ridge: Inclusion in the Triview Metropolitan
District is dependent on the final sale of the property.
Ranch Point Metropolitan Road District: Sanctuary Point,
Home Place Ranch, Promontory Point, Monument and Triview will participate in the
funding of this district. The maximum single-family units within these three
subdivisions are estimated at 1,800 units. Consultant Sam Sharp has been
retained to determine the funding necessary to finance the roads that would be
included in the road district.
Bond holder: Rick Blevins discussed the district’s
ability to pay down the $1.8 million interest on existing bonds. The Board voted
to pass a resolution for the sale of additional bonds to pay down the existing
debt. This will be discussed in more detail at the April board meeting.
Operation and maintenance
Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA): Triview has an IGA
with the town to maintain the district’s water and sewer operation and to
sweep the district’s 22 miles of roadways. The town is looking at what it
would cost to cover the rest of the district’s maintenance needs such as snow
removal and if in fact the town even has the capability to do this. Simpson
noted that in the future the district and town should consider cost savings
through "economy of scale." Simpson suggested that they extend the IGA
with Monument through 2006. He added that the district needed to hire an
operational superintendent to supervise the day-to-day operations, for which
they had budgeted.
Amendments to the El Paso County Water Authority: This
issue of drainage and storm water management arose because of Colorado Springs’
demand that this be addressed before it would agree to include the Palmer Divide
Water Group (PDWG) as a stakeholder in the Southern Delivery System (SDS). In
previous discussions, it was noted that because of legal authority, not all of
the 18 entities represented in the PDWG could legally address drainage and storm
water runoff but that in fact many efforts were addressing these issues.
Therefore, the entities represented in the PDWG wish to expand the bylaw to
include drainage and storm water runoff.
Simpson reported that they also wanted to change the
definition of "quorum" from 80 percent of the entities present to hold
a meeting to 50 percent.
The Board approved these changes to the bylaws.
District engineer’s report
Wastewater treatment plant expansion: Chuck Ritter of
Nolte and associates reported that the contractor, Weaver Construction, was
ahead of schedule and construction should wrap-up in September, three to four
months earlier than scheduled. He noted that eight of the filters were already
in place and that bi-monthly meetings with the contractor have helped to
alleviate potential issues before they become problems.
Ritter reported that they had noticed a significant increase
in flows from residential consumers on Sundays and suggested that this may be
due to large numbers of residential customers running their washing machines on
He reported that the railroad crossing contract had been
completed and all that remained was to work out a final settlement agreement
with the contractor.
Location of utility line at Baptist Road: Ritter reported
that he had been in discussion with El Paso County over the potential location
of a utility line along Baptist Road in conjunction with the expansion of that
road. He suggested that the line extend east of Kingswood Drive with a line
south to intercept Donala’s line. Stephenson asked if this could be included
as part of the treatment plant loan, to which Simpson reported that because it
was a water line it could not be included. The estimate for a future line along
Baptist Road was $65,000-$70,000. Ritter was not sure when construction would
take place but thought it would begin in 2007.
Monitoring Water Reuse System: Ritter reported that in
order to monitor the water reuse system, it must be added to their Geographic
Information System (GIS) system. He estimated that this would cost $9,000.
Simpson noted that there were sufficient funds in the budget to cover this
expense. The Board acted to approve adding it to the GIS system.
Dale Hill presented the Board with a financial summary and
noted that she was working on completing the report. She reported that April
billing would include the ballot information for the May 2 election. She added
that the two election judges were Liz Harper and Pam Morton, and that they
needed one board member to help recount ballots. Julie Glen volunteered to count
The board authorized Hill to pay the March bills.
Stephenson reported on the Homestead park dedication. He
noted that the street drainage openings across from Kitchner needed cross bars
The board went into executive session at about 5:30 p.m. to
discuss an ongoing condemnation issue and property acquisitions. No action was
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District,
March 13: D-38 has not yet requested service to Wissler site
By Sue Wielgopolan
Woodmoor resident Don MacIver was the sole community
representative in attendance at the March 13 board meeting to voice concerns
about the Lewis-Palmer School District 38’s controversial site choice for a
new high school. Woodmoor staff had moved the meeting from their office to the
new Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility lab and office building so that
board members could tour the new facility. Member James Whitelaw, whose absence
was excused, was the only member of the board not present.
The conflict arose after Lewis-Palmer district officials
evaluated several potential sites for a new high school and concluded that the
only site that met all their criteria was a portion of the 814-acre Wissler
Ranch, rejecting a lot that D-38 already owns at the corner of Highways 83 and
105. Though the acreage was not listed for sale, school district representatives
approached owner Marie Wissler. Heated public debate has surrounded the issue
since negotiations with the Wissler family reached an impasse and owners of the
ranch appealed to their neighbors for help in fending off a possible eminent
domain struggle with D-38 for purchase of the land in question.
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation had received several phone
inquiries regarding the district’s ability and willingness to provide water
and sewer service to the 60-acre site.
MacIver voiced his overall support of the local school
district and praised the quality of education his two children had received
through D-38, but said he opposes any plan in which unwilling sellers would be
forced into a purchase agreement through the use of eminent domain.
MacIver said he understood from statements made by D-38
Superintendent Dave Dilley that one of the five criteria for location of a new
high school was affordable access to public utilities. He asked whether the
Wissler ranch property was within Woodmoor district boundaries, and if any
agreement had been made between D-38 and Woodmoor.
Board President Jim Taylor replied that the site presently
does not lie within the water and sanitation district’s boundaries. Although
Woodmoor staff has informally discussed water and sewer service with school
district representatives, D-38 has not presented a petition for inclusion, and
Woodmoor has made no commitment to provide service. In response to further
questions from MacIver, Taylor said that providing service to areas outside
Woodmoor’s boundaries was discretionary, and infrastructure costs would be
borne by the customer. Should such a request be made in the future, the board
would evaluate the request before making a decision at a board meeting.
Meter replacement program running smoothly
District engineer Jessie Shaffer reported that the meter
replacement program was running more smoothly than anticipated. Technicians have
installed 380 meters so far, averaging 9½ meter replacements per day. He said
that although installation numbers were slightly below those needed to meet the
three-month goal of 750 units, he expected that if staff maintained current
production levels, the district would significantly reduce the amount of
contract work it would need to meet its milestone targets.
Woodmoor to introduce surface water into supplies this summer
General manager Phil Steininger announced that for the first
time in the district’s history, Woodmoor plans to incorporate surface water
pulled from Dirty Woman and Monument Creeks and stored in Lake Woodmoor into its
drinking water supply.
The water level in Lake Woodmoor was lowered four years ago
to enable workers to reinforce the banks of the lake along Lower Lake Drive and
to install the total number of pumps that would in time be used to supply the
Woodmoor golf course and Palmer Lake High School with irrigation water, and
bring water to the South Water Treatment Facility (SWTF). Since then, the
district has been using its effluent exchange credits to refill the lake.
Previously, the water stored in Lake Woodmoor had been used
solely for irrigation of the Woodmoor golf course. Now that lake levels have
risen sufficiently to be within what the district calls the "operating
band," Woodmoor has the flexibility to use the additional volume for other
purposes while still maintaining a desirable depth. Long-term plans call for the
use of that stored water as a drinking water supply and an alternate source of
irrigation water for additional large users, including Lewis-Palmer High School.
Eventually, Woodmoor hopes to be able to use the lake to
supply all or most of its drinking water during the winter months, letting the
wells "rest." This will hopefully prolong the life of area aquifers by
reducing overall demand and optimize use of the district’s water resources by
allowing Woodmoor to trade all or most of its effluent credits for surface
Use of surface water will require different treatment and
monitoring capabilities. The SWTF was built to handle surface water treatment,
and will only need minor modifications. The state of Colorado requires more
frequent monitoring as well as different water quality tests when surface
sources are used; Woodmoor is evaluating software and adapting its current
system to handle those additional demands. Operations manager Randy Gillette,
who is the only Woodmoor employee with previous experience in surface water
treatment, will oversee the change.
Steininger mentioned that some customers may notice a slight
difference in taste with the addition of surface water, as well water has a
higher mineral content. He was quick to assure members that the high level of
water quality would not be compromised. In answering questions from board
members about the possibility of lake fauna entering the system, contract
consultant Mike Rothberg of RTW Engineering joked that he would "eat any
fish" that made it through the barrage of filters and chemical treatment to
a consumer’s tap.
District to sponsor water conservation poster contest
Steininger asked for the board’s approval in sponsoring a
poster contest this spring for Woodmoor students, which would illustrate the
theme "Water Is Life." The goal of the contest is to raise community
and especially youth awareness of the importance of water conservation. He
distributed a handout to members outlining details of the proposed competition.
The district has already received a promise of co-sponsorship
from National Meter and Automation and Rothberg, Tamburini, and Windsor, Inc.
Steininger said he would like to supply contestants with materials and present
each participant with a small token just for entering. Winners of first, second,
and third place at each grade level would receive a prize as well. He proposed
that winning posters be displayed at the Woodmoor office.
The board unanimously approved the idea and authorized
Steininger to spend a maximum of $1,000 on sponsorship.
District will publish quarterly newsletter
Steininger told directors that Elizabeth Hacker, the board’s
newest member, has agreed to write a quarterly newsletter for the district.
Woodmoor’s new billing format gives staff the ability to include a one-page
flier, which is the form the newsletter will take.
The newsletter is intended to inform Woodmoor residents about
upcoming events and educate customers on district issues, as well as provide a
forum for answering consumer questions. Steininger hopes to have the first
edition to customers before June.
Woodmoor to host Xeriscape workshop April 20
The district will hold a Xeriscape workshop at the Woodmoor
office from 6 to 8 p.m. April 20. The workshop will be the second in a series of
three sessions sponsored by the district on using drought-resistant plants for
landscaping. The first was a tour last spring of the Woodmoor Water and
Sanitation’s Xeriscape demonstration gardens.
Participants will create a drawing of their property; a
Xeriscape architect will be on hand to provide guidance and suggestions for the
effective use of a variety of plants with low water requirements. Class size is
limited to 25 district residents. Interested individuals should contact the
Woodmoor office at 488-2525 for more information and to sign up.
Car wash owner requests change in water agreement
Kerry Hicks has requested changes to his excess water service
agreement. He had initially proposed closing his currently operating Monument
Car Wash on Woodmoor Drive and building a new larger facility on the southwest
corner of Highway 105 and Knollwood Boulevard. Hicks’ original plans included
four self-service bays, a 120-foot automatic wash tunnel, and a gas and
Hicks has since re-evaluated his long-term business plan and
decided to eliminate the convenience store, reduce the size of the new planned
car wash from four self-service bays to two, and build one long and one short
automatic wash tunnel. In addition, he would like to continue operating his car
wash on Woodmoor Drive.
Hicks did not ask for an increase in service, but instead
requested that he be allowed to split his total excess water service allocation
between the two car wash locations.
After Steininger confirmed for the board that any new
contract could stipulate that sale of either car wash or any change in use would
nullify the agreement, members instructed Woodmoor staff to proceed with a
redraft. Attorney Erin Smith expects to have a new agreement ready for the board’s
review by the April meeting.
Election may be canceled
The Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District may cancel the May
2 election for three board seats, which is allowed under state regulations when
the number of qualified applicants equals the number of vacant positions, and
the district has no other ballot issues.
Two interim members and one returning member will be
appointed to full terms.
Jim Whitelaw originally replaced Dick Durham, who moved to
Gleneagle in 2004 and was no longer eligible to serve. Whitelaw will continue as
a board member.
Elizabeth Hacker was appointed recently to replace Ron
Turner, who lost his battle with cancer, and she has decided to remain on the
board. She will continue to serve as board secretary, a position to which she
was recently elected.
Benny Nasser was eligible for re-election and will serve
another term. Nasser will continue as the board’s representative to the Joint
Use Committee, which governs the Tri-Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Woodmoor and the Monument and Palmer Lake Sanitation districts jointly own the
Treasurer Jim Wyss and President Jim Taylor were not up for
re-election this cycle.
Summary of other agenda items
Other agenda issues of interest discussed at the meeting are
Steininger reported on the American Water Works
Association/Water Environment Federation conference he attended in Salt Lake
City. The theme was "The name of the Game is Sustain." Steininger said
he attended about 22 half-hour presentations, and felt the trip was well worth
the investment. Of special interest were presentations on succession planning,
financing of system improvements, and working effectively with elected boards.
He distributed a handout summarizing the talks and asked members to review it
for later discussion.
District staff would like to investigate the possibility of
irrigation restrictions this summer to encourage water conservation. Steininger
asked board members to start thinking about what type of watering restrictions
would be most effective in reducing water use without unduly burdening
District engineer Jessie Shaffer told members that
construction of the new warehouse and work on the office kitchen remodel were
nearly complete. He also updated the directors on the Central Water Treatment
Facility expansion and the status of construction projects in the district. Some
contractors are in the process of testing infrastructure. Several builders have
slowed operations and are waiting for more favorable weather to resume building.
Smith reported that she is revising the district’s policy
for payment of claims, and discussed final corrections to Woodmoor’s revised
rules and regulations.
The public portion of the meeting ended at 3:20 p.m. and the
board went into executive session to discuss the sale, acquisition, or purchase
of property, determine negotiating positions, and confer with the attorney about
legal issues raised by the proposal to publish a district newsletter. The next
Woodmoor Water and Sanitation board of directors meeting will take place at 1:00
p.m. April 11 at the Woodmoor office, 1845 Woodmoor Dr. Meetings are normally
held the second Tuesday of the month.
Donald Wescott FPD election May 2
By Jim Kendrick
Designated Election Official Ginnette Ritz has announced that
the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District’s election will be held May 2 at
the District Fire Station at 15415 Gleneagle Drive, one block south of the
Baptist Road intersection. Four candidates are running for the three open
four-year terms on the board: incumbent Secretary-Treasurer David Cross,
incumbent Director Kevin Gould, Gregory Segura, and Keith Sullivan.
Cross and Gould were first elected to two-year terms in 2004.
Director Dennis Feltz is not seeking re-election at the end of his four-year
term. Board Chair Brian Ritz and Director Joe Potter have completed two years of
their four-year elected terms.
The single ballot question is:
Shall the present Directors and all future elected
Directors of the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District be authorized to
serve unlimited terms of office as allowed by Article XVIII, Section II (2) of
the Colorado Constitution, thereby eliminating the limitation to two
consecutive terms of office imposed by Article XVIII, Section II (1) of the
Wescott FPD receives MVEA grant
By Jim Kendrick
Chief Jeff Edwards announced March 27 that Mountain View
Electric Association had given a grant of $5,000 to Donald Wescott Fire
Protection District for a Life-Pac 12 cardiac monitor. He said the new unit will
be carried on the district’s pumper engine and is an upgrade of the Life-Pac
10 model currently carried by the district’s other emergency vehicles.
Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District, March
22: Ambulance revenues strong, May election canceled
By John Heiser
The Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District Board of Directors met
March 22 preceding the Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority board meeting.
All five directors, Rick Barnes, Keith Duncan, John Hartling, John Hildebrandt,
and President Charlie Pocock, were present.
Treasurer Hildebrandt reported that as of the end of
February, the district’s expenses were 10.5 percent of the year’s budget,
6.2 percent less than the expected 16.7 percent.
Although total district revenue at the end of February stood
at only 7.3 percent of the budgeted $1.995 million for the year, Hildebrandt
said that is typical because the district does not receive the bulk of the
property tax revenue until later in the year. He noted that ambulance revenues
are already at 19.8 percent of the budgeted $350,000 for the year. He credited
that in large part to the district’s use of billing consultant Alana Oswalt.
At the current rate, total ambulance revenues for the year would be about
$415,000, or about $65,000 more than budgeted. The fee for Oswalt’s services
is about $3,000 per month.
Election canceled, officers retained
Three positions on the board were up for election in May, and
only three candidates were running, so the election was canceled and the
candidates were declared to be elected to the positions.
The officers, Pocock as president, Barnes as vice president,
and Hartling as secretary, were unanimously re-elected.
In response to a question from Duncan, Pocock said the merger
of the Tri-Lakes district with the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District is
one or two years away. He said it would be that long before it would work
financially to have a common property tax mill levy for the two districts.
The Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District board normally meets
the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m.
April 26, immediately preceding the Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Authority board
meeting at Tri-Lakes district Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling
For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312 or
Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District,
March 22: Directors run unopposed, election canceled
By Susan Hindman
With no other candidates seeking to unseat the three
incumbents of the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District, the directors up
for re-election—Bill Ingram, Bob Hansen, and Tim Miller––were sworn in for
four-year terms. The election was declared over, and officers were chosen.
The directors will continue in their current roles: Si Sibell,
president; Rod Wilson, vice president; Bob Hansen, treasurer; Bill Ingram,
secretary; and Tim Miller, member-at-large.
Regarding this outcome, Hansen said, "I’m happy we’re
going to be able to continue what we started and hopefully finish what we
started. We don’t have to worry about the election. We must be doing something
Miller was also nominated as Woodmoor’s candidate to
replace Charlie Pocock as president of the Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue
Authority. Pocock is on the Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District board. Authority
president terms are one year, and the position alternates between the two
districts. Miller’s nomination was to be announced at the Fire Authority
meeting following the district’s meeting.
Hansen reported that the district ended February at 1.5
percent under budget. Administrative expenses are still running higher, due in
part to the physicals required for the new hires and for those age 40 and over,
according to Chief Rob Denboske
He added that the district will receive rebates of around
$700 from the insurance company, which will help offset a small portion of the
general liability expenses, which remain over budget from the previous month. In
addition, wages are slightly over budget, to which Denboske said he envisioned
part-time expenses "leveling out."
Despite that, for the first two months of the year, the
district spent a total of $188,977, or $94,489 per month. That’s less than the
budgeted $102,055 per month. Hansen said that if this trend continues, the
district would end 2006 at around 9 percent under budget.
As for revenue received, a total of $87,040 had been
collected by the end of February: $59,843 in property taxes, $23,450 in specific
ownership taxes, and $3,747 in interest income. Hansen added that in March
alone, $347,000 has already been received.
The two People’s National Bank accounts hold $66,898, and
the Colo Trust account has $488,823, for a total of $555,721.
The Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection District board normally
meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m., preceding the meeting of the
Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority. The next meeting is scheduled for
April 26 at Tri-Lakes district Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling
For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312 or
Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority,
March 22: Woodmoor/Monument director Tim Miller elected president
Below: Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority Board: (L
to R) TLFPD directors John Hartling, Rick Barnes, John Hildebrandt, and Charlie
Pocock; W/MFPD directors Si Sibell and Rod Wilson; TLFPD director Keith Duncan,
W/MFPD directors Bob Hansen, Tim Miller, and Bill Ingram. Photo by John
Click here or on the photo to
By John Heiser
Following the separate meetings of the boards of the
Tri-Lakes Fire Protection District and the Woodmoor/Monument Fire Protection
District, the two boards met jointly as the Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue
Authority board. All 10 board members were present.
The board agreed at past meetings that the presidency of the
fire authority should alternate each year between the two districts. The
following slate was unanimously approved: Tim Miller (Woodmoor), president;
Charlie Pocock (Tri-Lakes), vice president; John Hildebrandt (Tri-Lakes),
treasurer; and Rod Wilson (Woodmoor), secretary.
Fire authority Treasurer Hildebrandt distributed copies of a
financial report covering the Tri-Lakes and Woodmoor/Monument districts and the
resulting financial status of the fire authority through the end of February. He
noted that revenue and expenses would be expected to be at one-sixth (16.7
percent) of the annual budgets. Some highlights:
The authority has received $49,023 in specific ownership
taxes, 14.3 percent of the anticipated $342,626 for the year.
The authority received ambulance revenues totaling
$69,167 or 19.8 percent of the anticipated $350,000 for the year.
Expenses through February totaled $425,502 or 12.1
percent of the $3.5 million annual budget. Salary expense was the largest
portion at $286,418, 15.3 percent of the $1.9 million annual salary budget.
The seven new employees hired under the SAFER grant started work Feb. 1.
Hildebrandt noted that the Tri-Lakes district exercised its
bank line of credit to cover the revenue shortfall until property tax revenue
was received. He said the district exercised the line of credit March 6 and paid
it off March 17.
A resolution was unanimously passed to set the minimum
threshold for capital expenses at $5,000. Following the authority meeting, each
of the boards reconvened to pass the same resolution for their respective
Allowance for uniforms
After some discussion, the board unanimously approved a
stipend of $300 per firefighter per year to pay for uniforms, including pants,
shirts, boots, and laundry.
Woodmoor Treasurer Bob Hansen said, "Looking sharp lends
Based on the fire authority’s written report covering
operations through the end of February:
The fire authority responded to 122 calls during
February. They consisted of 69 medical, 13 fires or fire alarms, 23 traffic
accidents, 14 public assists, and three calls involving hazardous materials.
The total calls for the year stood at 262.
Vehicle trips totaled 263 in responding to the 122 calls,
with an average of 2.15 vehicles responding to each call.
During February, 59 people were transported to local
For February, Station 1 on Highway 105 responded to 64
calls, Station 2 on Roller Coaster Road responded to 20 calls, and Station 3
on Woodmoor Drive responded to 37 calls.
The Tri-Lakes-Monument Fire Rescue Authority board holds
regular monthly meetings on the fourth Wednesday following the 7 p.m. meetings
of the Tri-Lakes district board and Woodmoor/Monument district board at
Tri-Lakes district Station 1, 18650 Highway 105 (near the bowling alley). The
next meeting will be April 26.
For more information, call Chief Denboske at 481-2312 or
El Paso County Planning Commission, March
21: Court rules water insufficient for 13 approved projects
By Steve Sery
It was an unusual month, at least compared to the past three
or four–there was only one meeting! The backlog of projects is about half of
what it was in July 2005 and there appears to be some slowdown in new
There was only one item in northern El Paso County: a request
for the On the Rocks Minor Subdivision. This is a 21-acre parcel just north of
Old Northgate Road and Highway 83. The property is zoned RR-3 (minimum 5-acre
lots) and the proposal met that requirement. There were no issues and it was
An item of interest, although not in our area, is a State
Water Court decision regarding the Cherokee Metropolitan District. This district
supplies water and sewer services to a large portion of the county in the Falcon
area. Very briefly, Cherokee has agreed to supply water to subdivisions outside
of its district boundaries. The State Engineer’s office said Cherokee did not
have the water available to do that; Cherokee disagreed. The County
Commissioners sided with Cherokee, permitting 13 projects to go forward. This
went to water court and the judge ruled with the State Engineer. This will
undoubtedly be appealed but it puts the projects in a tenuous position for now.
The county attorney will have to rethink the county’s position.
County report on ruling to be presented April
By Jim Kendrick
County Attorney Bill Louis has been asked to give a report to
the Board of County Commissioners at their meeting scheduled for April 27. He
will report on his findings regarding a Colorado Water Court ruling in a case
involving the Cherokee Water and Sanitation District and the ruling’s affect
on water availability in the county, particularly in areas of high growth and
"This is a critical issue for growing areas of the
county with the potential for far-reaching consequences. "We have asked the
County Attorney’s Office to carefully study the court’s ruling and to
present us with options," said Board Chair Sallie Clark.
"It has been suggested by some that the state court
ruling retroactively affects subdivision plats that have already been approved
based on a finding of water sufficiency," said Commissioner Jim Bensberg.
"I don’t agree."
The County Commissioners’ meeting will begin at 9 a.m. on
Apr. 27 in their third floor meeting room at 27 E. Vermijo.
Woodmoor Improvement Association Board, March
15: Board approves ancillary buildings
By Chris Pollard
The first item on the agenda was a short announcement from
Woodmoor resident, Richard Hicks, who said he was looking to form a group of
interested residents with regard to the development of what was called the Choi
Pankey property around Lake Woodmoor. This is destined to be developed as
multi-family housing and he wanted to make sure that this was properly done
while maintaining the natural environment and ensuring minimum impact on the
Ancillary buildings approved
Before the board discussed the resolution on whether to
approve ancillary buildings, Eric Lessing, Woodmoor resident, spoke in favor of
the measure. He had an interest in building a potting shed and felt that for
some people there would be advantages. The buildings could house unsightly
articles or extra cars and would add value to the neighborhood. There had been a
number of complaints about extra vehicles and Lessing felt that this would give
some people an extra option besides building an expansion to their current
house. He also felt that it would provide more options on driveways and
Lessing said only a few people would install ancillary
buildings, but some residents would prefer the reduced height requirements of an
ancillary building versus that of an extension.
Elizabeth Miller, Director of the Architectural Control
Committee, then reread the motion. Jim Woodman, Director of Forestry, asked if
residents would have to remove buildings such as a shed before adding an
ancillary building, and Miller confirmed that this would be the case. After a
short discussion about siding and roofing materials, the board approved the
motion, with only Bill Walters and Brian Osterholt voting against it.
South Woodmoor stop signs approved
Terry Holmes, secretary, and Bill Walters, vice president,
reported on their presentation to the Board of County Commissioners with regard
to adding stop signs in South Woodmoor. They said the presentation and
discussion took about an hour and was eventually approved 3-2. County
Commissioner Sally Clark suggested that it would have been better if the WIA had
offered to contribute to the cost, but an amendment requesting payment of no
more than $2,000 failed. The only real condition was that before installation of
the stop signs, some traffic statistics must be gathered and that this should be
repeated a few months after they are installed. It was expected that the signs
would be installed by mid-April.
In a related item, the board noted that the Sheriff’s
Office had finally been enforcing traffic laws in South Woodmoor and had issued
67 tickets in a seven-day period. They will continue their enforcement program
in North and South Woodmoor soon.
Also, the board reported on a meeting with some Lewis-Palmer
School Board members regarding driving behavior by students and parents near the
high school. Members of the school district said that they were working on a
"Respect your neighbor campaign" and to restrict parking by students
who violate rules. The district was also working on a traffic study related to
adding an entrance on Jackson Creek Parkway. The campaign is intended to improve
student and parent awareness on appropriate driving behavior in the
Hans Post, president, added that they should meet with the
school board near the end of the school year to review progress.
Bill Walters said he had met with a couple of other board
members to talk about communication with the residents. They mostly discussed
the newsletter and felt that, currently, there was too much unbroken text and
that it needed to be published more often. In the following discussion, it was
estimated that each issue required as much as 120 man-hours with real costs of
just over $1,000 for postage and printing.
The board then discussed potential options for contracting
the design and layout and other sources for printing and distribution. Allen
McMullen and others thought that adding color would add to the popularity of the
newsletter and felt that it could be used to drive more people to the WIA
website. He showed some samples of a design that had been done for another
homeowner group and asked board members for suggestions for a newsletter name.
Jim Woodman, Director of Forestry, said that there was some
better news with regard to the mountain pine beetle infestation in Woodmoor, as
he had received far fewer calls since the beginning of the year. Only five
homeowners averaging five trees each had come forward, so the population of
beetles appears to have dropped. The only concern was that some trees were only
now turning brown, and they didn’t know the reason for this.
Woodman said the common area thinning program was
progressing. A number of residents had attended classes on the defensible space
program but most haven’t yet applied for grants to do the thinning. He said
that he had added an incentive to residents wishing to do a cross boundary
project with a neighbor or a common area by raising the grant amount from $500
The common area program was going too slowly, Woodman said,
but he is pleased with the look, having made the area more
"park-like." Some previously skeptical neighbors were also happy with
the results. The next area planned for this treatment is around Toboggan Hill,
probably with a different contractor, to try to get the work done before the
grants are gone.
Woodman also reported on his progress towards making Woodmoor
a "FireWise" community with regard to both minimizing the danger of
forest fires in the first place and the response to one if it did occur. He
showed some of the results of working with the El Paso County Planning
Department with aerial and satellite maps that had been computer enhanced to
show different vegetation zones. The areas had been classified into one of eight
types and then these were rated as to their fire hazard and merged with plot
plans to find out which houses are at greatest risk.
Post, in his final notes of the meeting said that he was
looking for resident volunteers to attend meetings relating to developments
around Woodmoor. He cited the example of Homeplace Ranch where plans showed
roads connecting on Higby Road to those in Woodmoor. This needed to be carefully
monitored and hoped somebody, maybe retired, would be available to help.
He also announced that T-Mobile, which had asked to erect a
cell phone mast in one of the Woodmoor common areas, had since asked Woodmoor
Pines Golf and Country Club and was planning to build on what was originally a
tennis court. He felt that this would provide better cell-phone coverage in
Woodmoor but be sufficiently far away from residents that it should not affect
The next meeting of the WIA board will be April 19, 7 p.m.,
in the Woodmoor Barn, 1691 Woodmoor Dr. The board now meets the third Wednesday
each month. For more information, phone 488-2694 or visit www.woodmoor.org.
March Weather Wrap
By Bill Kappel
Windy and mild weather returned for the beginning of March.
Temperatures were well above average during the first week of the month as highs
reached into the 50s and 60s under mostly sunny skies. Winds also kicked up,
with gusts to 40 mph at times.
The second week of March turned out to be an eventful one for
the Tri-Lakes region. We started off quiet enough with mostly sunny skies and
mild temperatures. In fact, we approached record high territory on Monday the
6th as highs reached into the mid- and upper 60s. But this was ahead of an
approaching change in the weather pattern that would bring cold and unsettled
weather from the northwest. Unfortunately, no major organized storms developed
in the area close enough to us to produce widespread heavy snowfall, but we did
pick up a couple of shots of snow and temperatures sure turned cold.
Wednesday the 8th was the first shot of snow, with 3-4 inches
piling up during the afternoon and evening, along with gusty winds. Highs were
also about 25 degrees colder than the previous day, making the change even more
drastic. The cold and unsettled conditions stuck around through the weekend, as
highs stayed below average through Sunday, holding in the 30s to low 40s. But
the real winner with this latest series of cold weather was the southwest
mountains-exactly where we needed it. In fact, Wolf Creek Pass picked up over 50
inches of snow during that five-day period.
Lingering cold air and light snow greeted us to begin the
week of the 13th. Highs stayed below freezing initially, but sunshine returned
for the next few days as temperatures moderated under the stronger March sun.
Highs reached through the 40s and into the 50s by Wednesday afternoon.
Temperatures stayed near average to end the week, then jumped above normal for
Saturday the 18th, with highs reaching the mid to upper 50s with gusty winds.
This was ahead of the next storm system however, which began to make itself felt
late in the day on Saturday.
Clouds increased during the day Saturday, with some sprinkles
developing, then mixing with some wet snow by late afternoon. Clouds continued
to lower and thicken with freezing drizzle coating many surfaces by evening.
Sunday turned out to be an even more eventful day--very much
"March-like". The morning started off with fog and low clouds, along
with a little light snow, but things really got interesting during the afternoon
as a strong storm approached the region. This was able to tap into higher
amounts of moisture along with an unstable atmosphere we typically see in March
and produce a couple rounds of thundersnow. These thundersnow storms also put
down some graupel and pea-size soft hail. This was soon overlain by fresh snow
through the evening, making travel a little unpleasant across most of the area.
But I don’t think anyone is complaining about receiving some much-needed
moisture just in time for spring.
The week of March 20th started off cold and snowy, as winds
howled Monday while 4-8 inches of snow piled up. High temperatures struggled to
reach the low 20s across the area with the storm finally beginning to wind down
during the afternoon and evening. Although things calmed down the next day, we
stayed awfully cold with morning lows starting in the single digits and
afternoon highs once again staying in the 20s.
The weather quieted down for the remainder of the month,
however, as temperatures climbed through the 30s on Wednesday the 22nd to the
50s and 60s by the end of the month.
A Look Ahead
April can see a wide variety of weather conditions in the
Tri-Lakes region from warm, sunny days to howling blizzards. April 2005 was a
snowy and cold one for us, as we received over 50 inches of snow during the
month. Hopefully we’ll see abundant moisture again this year, as this is
critical to getting our foliage off to a great start. The official monthly
forecast for April 2006, produced by the Climate Prediction Center (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/),
is calling for a slight chance of above-normal temperatures and equal chances of
normal precipitation. For a complete look at monthly climate summaries for the
Tri-Lakes region, please visit http://users.adelphia.net/~billkappel/ClimateSummary.htm.
March 2006 Weather Statistics (as of 3/30)
Average High 46.7°
Average Low 20.8°
Highest Temperature 66° on the 6th
Lowest Temperature 2° on the 21st
Monthly Precipitation 1.46"
Monthly Snowfall 16.0"
Season to Date Snow 83.1"
Season to Date Precip. 11.04"
For more detailed weather information and Climatology of the
Palmer Divide and Tri-Lakes region, please visit http://users.adelphia.net/~billkappel/Weather.htm.
Remember, weather affects all of us everyday and is a very
important part of life for us in the Tri-Lakes region, and we want to hear from
you. If you see a unique weather event or have a weather question, please
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Kappel is the KKTV 11 News morning meteorologist and a
Letters to Our Community
I live on Glenway Street, in the Town of Palmer Lake. And
although Glenway is a school zone, and the speed limit is only 20 miles per
hour, people speed like crazy down the road. My opinion is that on Glenway and
all other streets, speeding laws should be enforced.
At 3:30 each day, kids either walk or take the bus home from
school. Cars go speeding across the road dangerously, while children may get run
over. After school, or on weekends, kids just love to ride their bikes. But what
is the use, having to always pull over to the side of the road quickly, to avoid
Some folks may say that the kids can ride in the back yard,
or just pull over and let the drivers do what they do. But it is important to
follow what the law says, not just do what you want. I personally think that if
the speeding and lawbreaking does not stop soon, then somebody is going to get
To enforce the law, the police should put up speed detectors
to show people how fast they really are going. Also, police cars should be
stationed by the road. Almost all of us have a reason to stop speeding. I hope
it stops soon.
As a community, we should help one another. We should care
about the law. I predict that if we enforce the laws on speeding, then we will
certainly be a happier community.
Jessika Hodgson, age 10
Having a Bad Day?
I was reading the March 4, 2006, issue of Our Community
News when I came to the article concerning Mayor Glenn’s remarks at the
Feb. 6 meeting of the Monument Board of Trustees. My first impression was he
must be having a bad day. He said that the City of Colorado Springs was
"...going to come drill wells and dry us up" and that El Paso County
"...has not stepped up to the plate and helped us with anything." My
next impression was that it sounded like whining and certainly wouldn’t serve
to improve relations with the city to the south nor with county officials. Then
I came to the part of the article that really got my attention, his statement
that "...Pikes Peak RTA, is spending a ton of money, $10 million plus, on
Hodgen Road extension, when there is no traffic on Hodgen, but there sure is on
Higby Road." First, traffic density on both roads is nearly identical–around
4,000 vehicles per day in 2003–and secondly, according to El Paso County’s
official web site, the Hodgen Road extension construction is projected to cost
"...just over $1 million, including utility relocation expenses."
If the mayor has made inflationary and inflammatory comments
to city and county officials, such as the one concerning traffic and
construction costs of the Hodgen Road extension, the term "burning
bridges" leaps to mind, and I don’t believe he shows the type of
leadership I would expect from such an official.
Douglas Hopley, Sr.
Congratulations and thanks
The Local Firefighters of IAFF 4319 would like to
congratulate the incumbent board members of the Woodmoor-Monument and Tri-Lakes
Fire Protection Districts on retaining their positions. They and the entire
Tri-Lakes/Monument Fire Authority Board have done an outstanding service to the
community in joining the two districts into one dynamic, well-trained, and
service-oriented organization. The improvements include more firefighters,
paramedics, and new apparatus to better serve the community. We would also like
to thank Mr. Diggins for his service on the Woodmoor-Monument Board at the
beginning of the joining of the two Districts.
Finally, we would like to thank the community for its support
of the boards and the firefighters. Together, and with continued support, we can
and will keep a standard of care and service far above what two separate
organizations could offer in a rapidly growing community.
Monument Local Firefighters 4319
Palmer Lake needs leadership
If you went to the Town of Palmer Lake’s Meet the
Candidates Night on March 23, you may have gotten the impression that the main
issues facing Palmer Lake were minor ones. Nothing could be further from the
truth. Simply look at the ballot issues. The current administration is asking
you to abolish term limits, increase taxes and retain excess revenue. Combine
these initiatives with the already passed 51 percent increase in the average
water bill for the 5,000 gallon customer and a distinct pattern emerges. There
are better alternatives for our future.
R.W. of Palmer Lake was at the March 23 meeting. He wrote to
the Palmer Lake Independent News … "I am very curious about the
animosity towards your tennis efforts. I think your programs are great and we
should support them wholeheartedly. My concern is that this animosity reflects a
general attitude in the town towards entrepreneurship and private prosperity. If
elected mayor I hope you can work to begin changing that tone. Good luck and
thank you for your efforts."
I couldn’t agree with R.W. more but since I am personally
involved, as mayor I would recuse myself from voting on the "tennis
issue." It is time for us to come together as a community and shine the
light of thoughtful discussion and inquiry upon the issues of the day.
Palmer Lake needs leadership. I can and will provide that
leadership. Please tell all your acquaintances and bring two friends with you to
vote on Tuesday, April 4, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Town Hall.
Kim Makower, candidate for mayor of Palmer Lake
You won’t even ask?
I attended the Baptist Road Rural Transportation Authority (BRRTA)
meeting March 10. Commissioner Wayne Williams asked for comments and suggestions
as to how to solve the Baptist Road I-25 interchange problem without raising
taxes—meaning the 1 percent sales tax that is proposed for this year’s
November ballot. I suggested that our local elected officials bring this serious
safety problem to the attention of Governor Owens. The commissioner’s response
was "I wish it were as simple as, ‘Go tell the government we need this’,"
and was followed by a low chuckle from BRRTA board members and his staff.
In my view, Williams is our elected official and the one
person who could go to the governor on our behalf about this issue. It would be
irresponsible for him not to inform the state of the seriousness of this problem
and ask for the money needed to improve a very dangerous situation. The safety
of his constituents and of citizens traveling the interstate is at stake. It is
sensible to ask for help when problems become this important.
I believe the governor and our state representatives need to
hear it from him and will listen—and that they will care about the negative
effects and hardships the Baptist Road interchange is causing. I also believe
these state officials know that the cost will be high and that their decision to
approve the funding of this project may cause some hardship on other proposed
projects in the state, but that this project needs to be addressed immediately.
Is it too much to ask him to help us obtain state funds (from
taxes we have already paid) for this project? Commissioner Williams should go to
the governor and the State House and make a plea for his constituents. If he is
told "No," then he should keep going back to them until the answer is
"Yes." This constituent believes it is not too much to ask. As the
District 1 commissioner, his duty is to deal with these issues. If he can’t
help us with a safety matter of this magnitude, how can we as voters expect him
to accomplish lesser matters at higher levels of government?
Between The Covers at the Covered Treasures
Bookstore: Time for a thrill
By the Staff at Covered Treasures
Doesn’t it seem that warm, sunny days are just a dream in
April? When that beautiful weather does finally come to us, we hate to spend
time indoors. But April is known to be an unpredictable weather month, and you’ll
want to be prepared for spending a day or two indoors. You won’t mind the snow
and wind of our capricious spring months as you lose yourself in these tales.
Manhunt: The 12-day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer
By James L. Swanson, $26.95
The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in
American history: the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth. From April 14 to
26, 1865, the assassin led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild, 12-day chase
through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into
the forests of Virginia. The nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil
War, watched in horror and sadness.
At the center of this story is John Wilkes Booth, America’s
notorious villain. A Confederate sympathizer and a member of a celebrated acting
family, Booth threw away his fame, wealth, and promise for a chance to avenge
the South’s defeat. For almost two weeks he confounded the man hunters,
slipping away from their every move and denying them the justice they sought.
Based on rare archival materials and obscure trial
transcripts, Manhunt is a fully documented work, but it is also a fascinating
tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal; a gripping hour-by-hour account told
through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters.
By Kate Mosse, $25.95
In this extraordinary thriller, rich in the atmospheres of
medieval and contemporary France, the lives of two women born centuries apart
are linked by a common destiny.
July 2005: In the Pyrenees mountains a volunteer at an
archaeological dig stumbles into a cave and makes a startling discovery: two
crumbling skeletons, strange writings on the walls, and the pattern of a
labyrinth. Between the skeletons lie a stone ring and a small leather bag.
July 1209: On the eve of a brutal crusade that will rip apart
southern France, a father gives a book to his 17-year-old daughter as he leaves
to fight the crusades. The book, he says, contains the secret of the true Grail,
and the ring, inscribed with the pattern of a labyrinth, will identify a
guardian of the Grail. It will take great sacrifice to keep the secret of the
In the present, another woman sees the find as a means to the
political power she craves; while a man who has great power will kill to destroy
all traces of the discovery and everyone who stands in his way.
Labyrinth is deeply researched, thoughtfully written, and
well worth reading.
By Stephen King, $26.95
There are 193 million cell phones in the United States alone.
Who doesn’t have one? King’s latest, fascinating novel doesn’t just ask
"Can you hear me now?" For those among us who have become irritated at
the ever more intrusive presence of cell phones in our daily lives, this book
answers–with a vengeance.
What happened on the afternoon of Oct. 1 came to be known as
the Pulse, a signal sent though every operating cell phone, turning its user
into something less than human. People become savage, murderous, unthinking–on
a wanton rampage. Is it a terrorist act? Is this a cyber prank gone haywire?
Cell is classic Stephen King, a gripping, gory horror
tale with white-knuckled suspense that makes the unimaginable entirely plausible
and totally fascinating.
The Da Vinci Code
By Dan Brown, $7.99/$14.95/$24.95
If you’ve resisted reading this one for the past three
years but want to know what’s going on before seeing the movie later this
spring, now is the time to pick it up. Just recently released in paperback, this
is a great page-turner of a suspense novel. The book moves at a breakneck pace;
virtually every chapter ends with a cliffhanger. Read the book, then see
So, while spring weather teases us, snuggle up with a good
thriller on those snowy days. The crocuses will be popping up before we know it!
Until next month, happy reading.
High Country Highlights: Early
Spring Garden Tips
By Woody Woodworth
When spring arrives in northern El Paso County and the
Tri-Lakes area, you think warm days, cold nights, and wet snows. It is the
perfect time to get in gear with some early gardening techniques to help make
your gardening experience successful. Now is the time to get your lawns
fertilized and your garden beds prepared and ready to plant. By additional
mulching and pruning, you will ensure your gardens get off to a good start.
Early spring is a great time to give your lawn, trees,
shrubs, and perennial gardens a boost with a little fertilizer. You should
fertilize your lawn in late March or the first part of April. Use a crabgrass
control if crabgrass is a problem. If you just want a green-up, use Jirdon’s
Greenmaster fertilizer, which is 25 percent slow-release nitrogen. A healthy
lawn should be watered deeply and requires about an inch of water per week.
Daily shallow watering promotes unhealthy shallow roots and a less healthy lawn.
Proper fertilization and watering will ensure you have a beautiful lush lawn
this season. Kick in your trees and shrubs with a little tree and shrub
fertilizer that is formulated specifically for plants in the Rocky Mountain
region. You should apply light applications around May 15, June 15, and July 31.
Place mulch around the roots of trees, shrubs, and perennials
to prevent moisture loss. Use 3 or 4 inches of medium-size cedar bark mulch
around trees and shrubs by covering the ground out to the "drip line"
of the plant. Be sure to keep the bark mulch 6 inches away from the base of the
trunk because the mulch can harbor insects and encourage rot. Mulching will
allow moisture from rain, snow, and irrigation to reach roots of trees and
shrubs and help minimize watering .
Start in your garden beds by pruning back your perennials
that you may have left standing throughout the winter. Cut back perennials to
about 3 inches above the crown of the plant, paying close attention not to
injure the new growth. Cut back ornamental grasses to 5 or 6 inches and their
plumage will flourish in the early summer. After cutting back the gardens, add a
forest mulch liberally (about 3 or 4 inches) around the plants and throughout
the garden beds. We use a product called Soil Pep that can be found at most
independent garden centers.
Got spring fever? Winter is officially over, but it’s still
too cold for most plants to survive. The solution? A collection of gorgeous
flowering and foliage varieties you can plant in early spring. This is a great
time to introduce cold-tolerant plants to your patio or gardens. The Spring
Magic collection from Proven Winners allows high-altitude gardeners to
experience beautiful color early in the gardening season. Pre-planted pots
composed of early-blooming annual and perennial plants such as pansies, snow in
summer, violas, iberis, and primula are combined with the spike-like appeal of
euphorbia and acorus. Spring Magic plants can endure our cool spring nights and
still perform with luster. They’re perfect for containers, borders, and beds
in the early spring before the regular annual season is upon us.
Plant potatoes and onion sets and cool weather vegetable
varieties such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and
curly parsley. At planting time, fertilize in bands along both sides of the row
with a fertilizer formulated for our soils, such as Jirdon’s Vegetable
Fertilizer (12-16-14). Keep the band of fertilizer at least 2 inches from the
seed potatoes and other vegetables.
For more tips on gardening in the Tri-Lakes area, go to www.highcountryhg.com.
Woody Woodworth owns High Country Store and is a member of
Garden Centers of Colorado and the Green Industry.
Palmer Lake Historical Society, March 16: Hummingbirds,
our mischievous neighbors
By Dee Kirby
Jerry Dalferro, a man with a passion for hummingbirds, shared
his exuberance with an audience as enthusiastic as he over this mite of a bird
that weighs less than a penny, builds a nest a smidgen bigger than a quarter,
and lays two eggs per season–each no bigger than a Chiclet.
If we think we scurry about throughout the day, rushing to
this and that, we are a species on hold compared to the busyness of a
hummingbird. For instance, he burns 6,600 to 12,000 calories a day, thus his
split, thread-like tongue flicks in and out 11 times a second when he feeds on
nectar every 15 minutes, otherwise he will starve, and all the while, his tiny
heart races at 500 beats a minute. More amazing, he packs enough fuel and
endurance to fly 22 hours, nonstop, across the Gulf of Mexico. Whew! No wonder
Dalferro parted with 158 pounds of sugar last summer to feed the hummers,
sometimes 150 at a time.
Dalferro said that maintaining hummingbird feeders can be a
babysitting chore. He sets his feeders out early in the morning and brings them
in at night because of bears. Feeders need to be washed every day or two and
hummingbird formula prepared and refrigerated. But his reward is "up close
and personal" when the hummers hover near him and land on his fingers, five
at one time. No wonder he calls the hummers "my buddies."
Dalferro said that the hummingbirds return in late April to
the same feeders. The first to arrive are the aggressive rufous. Soon to follow
are the other hummingbirds of Colorado, the broad-tail, black-chinned, and Anna’s.
Dalferro’s formula for enjoying the hummingbirds is to
"don a red robe," sit on his deck, and let the tiny birds come to him.
And, to dispel an old wives’ tale, Dalferro said, "No, hummingbirds do
not ride on the backs of geese."
On the wings of the hummers, a perfect segue into the Palmer
Lake Historical Society’s meeting on April 20, Dr. E. Muenger, Command
Historian, U.S. Air Force Academy, will address: "Searching for an Air
Hummingbird feeders and food
Use only cane sugar. Do not use honey, for it will kill the
birds. Do not use red dye. The "stringers" that appear in the sugar
water of the hummingbird feeder are bacteria, letting you know it is time to
clean the feeder. Clean feeders with bleach, not soap, for soap clings to the
feeder and repulses the birds.
Enjoy the finches, bats, and butterflies that sip from the
feeders. However, to dispel ants, put the feeder into a bowl and create a moat
of water around it. As for discouraging bees, spray the feeder with PAM.
Bird Watch on the Palmer Divide: Mountain
Drawing by Elizabeth Hacker
Click here or on the drawing to zoom in
By Elizabeth Hacker
In March, Randy and I explored the back roads of the
Greenland Ranch. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that March’s typical cold,
windy, and generally bleak weather is really springtime in the Rockies. However,
we quickly stopped thinking about the weather when we spotted multitudes of
mountain bluebirds flocking on the Palmer Divide. In our excitement, we quickly
got out of the car to take a closer look at the antics of these truly beautiful
In mid-March, flocks of male bluebirds migrate north to
Colorado to begin establishing their territories. The less colorful females
follow a few weeks later. While we did see a few pairs on fences, most of the
birds we observed were flocks of males.
All bluebirds are monogamous. The males guard their mates
from the time a pair forms until the female lays her first eggs, usually in
mid-April. Pairs will often mate for more than one breeding season. It is
thought that the reason some birds mate with each other year after year is
because they both return to defend the same territory and repeatedly breed
The female chooses a nest site, which can be a natural
cavity, abandoned woodpecker hole, cliff crevice, or nesting box. Like other
bluebirds, mountain bluebirds compete with house sparrows and European starlings
for nest sites. Only the female builds the nest, which takes about a week. Males
are very attentive to their females during the nest-building period. They
aggressively chase off other birds from their territory and closely guard their
mates. Occasionally, they carry material to the nesting site but do not actually
weave it into the nest.
The first eggs are laid in late April and early May. Females
lay one egg per day until the clutch is complete. The average clutch size is
five to six eggs. The eggs are smooth, glossy, and pale blue to bluish-white.
Because all eggs laid by a female are the same color, any odd-colored eggs in a
clutch indicates that another female has laid an egg in that nest, a behavior
known as egg dumping. Starlings are notorious for dumping their eggs in bluebird
Incubation begins when the last egg is laid and lasts 13 to
14 days. The female continues to brood the nestlings for a week after they
hatch, while the very busy male guards the territory and feeds the nestlings and
its mate. When the female begins to brood only at night, both sexes start
feeding the young. The nestlings fledge after 17 to 22 days. Initially, they
depend heavily upon their parents for food. The male continues to care for the
fledged young as the female begins to renest, but the young become independent
of their parents in three or four weeks.
Unlike eastern and western bluebirds, the mountain bluebird is all blue with no
orange. No other songbird is as blue. It is unique from the other bluebirds in
that it feeds exclusively on insects and hovers over its prey.
At one time the bluebird was one of the more common birds in
North America, but by the early 1960s their numbers had dwindled so much that
intensive conservation efforts were needed to ensure their survival. Concerned
bluebird enthusiasts saw the impact habitat loss was having on these birds, and
began replacing the birds’ lost nesting cavities with nesting boxes. Have you
observed these boxes along fences in places like the New Santa Fe Trail?
Politics aside, the efforts of one first lady from Texas
cannot be denied. In the 1970s, the pervasive clutter, billboards, and junkyards
enveloping the nation’s roadsides disheartened Lady Bird Johnson. It deeply
concerned her that our nation’s once vast natural beauty was quickly
vanishing. Mrs. Johnson viewed roadsides as a window through which we learned
about our ecological heritage. As first lady, she recognized an opportunity to
start a national revitalization effort and fought to make America more beautiful
by restoring and protecting the natural habitats and national heritage along our
interstate highways. Thanks to her courageous effort, when we stop at rest stops
while trekking across country, we can experience natural landscapes and often
view birds and wildlife.
While she may deserve the credit for initiating this
movement, it survives today thanks to numerous efforts by individuals and
organizations. One local example was by Palmer Lake’s Cub Scout Den 3, Pack 17
who built bluebird houses and placed them in the Pike National Forest. It is the
efforts like this that ensure the bluebird’s future on the Palmer Divide.
Elizabeth Hacker is an artist and freelance writer. E-mail
your questions and bird finds to her at OCN.
Art Matters: Earth Day, April 22
By Janet Sellers
The Earth Day Worldwide celebration is April 22. The
suggested observance of Earth Day by its founder, John McConnell, includes care
of the Earth and awareness of "… How to shop, invest, save, travel–the
Earth Trustee way…" As the U.N. Peace Bell rings at U.N. headquarters in
New York City, it will be joined by the simultaneous ringing of peace bells
around the world. It is hoped that every group observing Earth Day will ring a
bell, or bells, at that time. Every effort to remember the ideals of Earth Day
helps create a better, healthier world.
Did you know that when you buy organically grown coffee or
tropical products you are protecting the lives of the farmers and the amazing
tropical birds and animals of that growing region? Toucans, red and blue macaws,
even the rare quetzal bird, are protected–especially by the grand scale
commerce of coffee. Also, did you know that the water health of the world’s
wetlands areas is the barometer of the Earth’s health? Those are the two
ingredients in the second most popular commodity in the world, one that many of
us consume every day. (The commodity in first place is oil). We can give our
attention to what we buy and what that money does as the power of our dollar
moves from us to our community and on to other nations.
Each year, schoolchildren and adults in our local community,
across our nation, and around the world celebrate Earth Day and focus on
learning about protecting the life and health of our planet. Gardens and trees
are planted, and many aspects of the arts are called upon for the event. Many
communities hold Earth Day festivals and awareness programs using the arts as a
vehicle to reach everyone possible.
In our community this month, the Monument Library will
feature the Monument School of Fine Arts’ annual art show exhibits on wetlands
habitat and Monument students’ Junior Duck Stamp Design Competition entries,
animals and birds of local interest, a seven-year Duck Stamp Design
retrospective of exemplary student Tyler Ciccolella’s paintings, nature
sketches and drawings by students and faculty, and the Earth Day special show
"Every Cup Counts," an exhibit about the birds and animals of organic
coffee plantations–the ones you save and support when you buy organic coffee
and organic tropical products.
If you are interested in learning more about the festivals of
Earth Day, visit http://www.earthsite.org/trustee.htm
and become an Earth Trustee.
Local gallery showings and events
Winter Gallery: An ad hoc opening March 23 ushered
in the newest offering of abstract paintings at the Winter Gallery. L. Brooke
Johnson’s copper verdigris collage works, Stevie Grant’s mixed media
collage, Gary A. Arthur’s acrylic abstracts, and Wayne Nickle’s mixed media
are the focus of this show. These four local Pike’s Peak-area artists’ works
filled the main galleries with color, energetic brushwork, and photography. Not
to be missed, however, is the superb natural world photography by Dr. Stephen G.
Weaver. He is a geologist who understands and shares the dynamic images of the
Earth’s geologic features and processes.
Bella Art and Frame: Currently showing an eclectic and
artful mix of sculptures, art furniture, paintings, and splendid art frames.
Owner Sabrina says she is gearing up for the Art Hop coming in May, so stay
Pankratz gallery: Linda Pankratz hinted their coming art
shows this season will be very different and she is quite enthused about them,
as well as the new offerings of Kathryn MacMahon, whose family portrait
paintings are now available. Drop off your photos at the Pankratz Gallery and
she will create commissioned oil paintings.
Pacific Rim Interiors: Those favorite carved wooden art
wands are back and more fascinating sculptures, textiles, and art are on hand.
Besides the irresistible carvings and vessels, I love the handmade paper
shopping bags and the embroidered silk wine gift bags, and then there are the
boxes–all are must-see.
Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (TLCA): In the Lucy Owens
Gallery, Member Art Show until April 21; School District 38 Student art show
sponsored by the Air Academy Federal Credit Union; the TLCA gift shop has new
art on exhibit every month.
Calls for artists
Local artists: Exhibit your hanging artwork at the Pikes
Peak Library District. Drop off five pieces of matted and framed art
representative of your style and medium to the Carnegie Reading Room at Penrose
Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave., from 10 a.m. to noon April 4. Pick-up is the same
day, 4:30 to 6 p.m. The Library Art Evaluation Committee reviews works,
schedules approved artists for shows throughout the district. Contact Cathy
Genato, email@example.com or
531-6333, ext. 2338 for more information.
Spring/summer art classes and workshops
Monument School of Fine Arts: Liquid Stone–New
Sculpture in Concrete; Weekend sculpture classes for indoors and outdoors, 10
a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the studio.
Ongoing studio art classes for all ages; studio hours are 4-8
p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays, outdoors if weather permits!
June Movie Camp and Summer Art Camp registration starting;
call about the early bird rates for April. For the 2006 Summer Art Season and
Outdoor Art Camp, contact Janet in the programs office at 488-8280.
Tri Lakes Center for the Arts April/May Art classes
April 6-27: Elizabeth Hacker–Reflection in Landscape
April 7-28: George Molstad–Seeing as the Artist Sees
April 8: Robert Gray–(watercolor) Figures & Horses
April 29 & May 6: Delynn Ellis–classic stained glass, mosaic platter
TLCA is located in the historic Kaiser-Frazer building, 304
W. Highway 105, in Palmer Lake. Phone 481-0475, or visit www.trilakesarts.org.
Janet Sellers, an artist and educator, promotes community
enrichment in the arts through classes, events, and a free monthly newsletter.
Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Events and Notices
By Judy Barnes, Editor Emeritus
Although we strive for accuracy in these listings, dates or
times are often changed after publication. Please double-check the time and
place of any event you wish to attend by calling the info number for that event.
Sheriff’s Office announces upcoming
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is accepting
applications for the first Citizens’ Academy of the year. The Citizens’
Academy will begin April 19 and be held Wednesday evenings, 6:30 to 9:30
p.m. It will be conducted over 11 weeks, culminating in a graduation June 29.
Classes in the Academy will offer participants a wide-ranging
view and unique insight into the various functions of the Sheriff’s Office.
There is no charge to attend the Citizens’ Academy, however, seating is
limited. Citizens wishing to attend should phone Deputy Andy Prehm, 520-7340, or
Deputy Jacob Abendschan, 520-7107, to request an application. Completed
applications were due March 31, but if you are interested in participating,
phone Deputy Prehm or Deputy Abendschan April 3.
Rocky Mountain Music Alliance Concert
Really getting into it - Dr. Michael Baron performed a
solo Rocky Mountain Music Alliance concert on Mar. 4. The concert was
underwritten by Sheila Christy of Grand Junction. Baron is also a distinguished
educator and gave a short lesson on each composer and specific things for the
audience to look for before he performed each piece. His program included works
by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Liszt, as well as an usual piece by Jean
Papineau-Couture simulating strange night sounds he had to make from inside the
piano (see photo by Jim Kendrick below).
The last concert of the RMMA series, 7 p.m., April 8,
will showcase James Houlik who is the top classical tenor saxophone player in
the world. He is a consummate entertainer who has been thrilling his audiences
with sounds and a virtuosity seldom matched on the instrument. He will be joined
by the incomparable Dr. Michael Baron and a special appearance by Steve Barta,
jazz pianist extraordinaire. Tickets will be available at the door, $22 for
adults and $18 for students. Doors open 45 minutes before concert time at
Forestgate Presbyterian Church, 970 Northgate Road. For more information,
contact Pam Brunson, 484-0192, or e-mail email@example.com.
Below: Rocky Mountain Music Alliance Chair Pam Brunson
and soloist Dr. Michael Baron. Photo by Jim Kendrick
AARP Mature Safe Driving Program at
This is the nation’s first and largest classroom driver
refresher course specially designed for motorists age 50 and older. Completion
of the class can get you a discount on your insurance. The class will be held Apr.
13 and 14, 1-5 p.m. You must attend both days. Advance registration and $10
fee are required. Monument Branch Library, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Dr. For more
information, phone the library, 488-2370.
Gleneagle Sertoma Wine Tasting
The Gleneagle Sertoma Club is hosting a wine tasting April
7, 6-8:30 p.m., at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Highway 105 in
Palmer Lake. The evening will feature wines from the Wine Seller in Monument,
beer, food from Cunningham’s Catering and The Melting Pot, coffee from Serrano’s,
and a caricature artist. Integrity Bank will provide cheeses to match the wines.
The cost is $30 per person, $50 per couple. Last year the event raised $4,400
for Tri-Lakes Cares and other local charities. For more information, call Sherry
Chamber of Commerce Banquet and Silent
The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual
banquet April 8, 6 p.m., at Pine Crest Event Center, 106 Greeley Blvd. in
Palmer Lake. The evening’s theme is the Caribbean. The cost, $45 per person,
includes two drink tickets. Raffle tickets for a five-night Caribbean cruise
vacation for two are now available. For more information or to donate items for
the silent auction, phone the chamber at 481-3282.
Tax information at Pikes Peak Library
Pikes Peak Library District is offering tax information and
reproducible tax forms to help people prepare for the busy tax season. Available
Tax Info IRS link on the ppld.org main web page. This
link includes information about office locations, telephone numbers, local
and national revenue offices, and websites.
Reproducible federal and Colorado state individual income
tax forms (available for photocopies only) at all libraries. Copies are 10
cents per page.
A telephone information line (531-6333, x1040) will be
updated with information on forms, library resources, and volunteer income
tax assistance sites.
Due to privacy issues and time limitations, PPLD does not
recommend electronic filing from public library computers. Turbo-Tax CDs or
other tax software can not be used for saving and printing forms from library
30th Pine Forest Antique Show
Below: 2005 Pine Forest Antique Show and Sale. The 2006 show
will be held April 22 and 23 at Lewis-Palmer High School. Photo provided by
the Tri-Lakes Women’s Club
Mark your calendars for this popular annual event April 22,
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and April 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lewis-Palmer High
School (I-25, Exit 161 or 158). The show will feature antiques from more than 60
select dealers, as well as a delicious Country Café, homemade bake sale, and
Scheduled events Saturday: Miss Colorado, Jessica Urban, 11
a.m. to 3 p.m.; "Antique" Art Form by Lynn Lybolt, 10:30 a.m. and 3
p.m. Sunday: Authors Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
Jan McKinney’s English Antiquing Seminar, 1 p.m.
As the major fundraising event of the year for the Tri-Lakes
Women’s Club, the antiques show and sale benefits local nonprofit groups such
as District 38 schools, fire and police departments, senior citizen groups, and
other nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organizations that provide services to residents
within the community. For more information, please visit the Web site at www.tlwc.net.
Tri-Lakes Senior Forum
The Tri-Lakes Health Advocacy Partnership (HAP) and Pikes
Peak Area Agency on Aging (PPAAA) are joining to host the Tri-Lakes Senior Forum
April 29, 8 a.m. to noon, at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, 1776 Woodmoor
Drive, Monument. Tri-Lakes area senior citizens and providers of services for
Tri-Lakes area seniors are invited to attend to discuss issues such as housing,
finances, safety, nutrition, mental health, physical health, well-being,
participation, social support, assistance with everyday activities,
transportation, and caregiver support. There is no charge to attend the forum.
Transportation to and from the forum will be available for seniors. Attendance
will be limited to the first 150 to register. Registration deadline is April
7. Register by phone at 471-2096, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or regular mail at PPAAA, Attn: Eileen Porubsky, 15 S. Seventh Street Colorado
Springs, CO 80905. For more information, phone Chuck Roberts, 488-3855 or
Michael Decker, 471-7080, ext. 114.
Child ID program
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation reports that 15,000
Colorado children are abducted each year. To help in the battle against lost and
abducted children, the Monument Masonic Lodge will conduct a free child ID
program April 29 and 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Centurion Daylight Lodge,
18275 Furrow Rd., and May 20, noon to 5 p.m. at Palmer Lake Town Hall, 28 Valley
Crescent. All children must be accompanied by at least one parent. The ID
process involves taking an electronic photo and index finger prints and
producing a hard copy of them, measuring the child’s height and weight,
filling out a form and attaching two strands of the child’s hair for DNA
analysis. The parent(s) keeps the completed form. For more information phone Ed
Mozart Goes to Monument
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic, conducted by Lawrence
Leighton Smith, concludes the 2005-06 Mozart & Friends series with "All
Mozart" May 6, 8 p.m., and again May 7 at 2:30 p.m. at
Lewis-Palmer High School, 1300 Higby Road. The program showcases Lawrence
Leighton Smith’s piano prowess as he conducts from the piano Mozart’s Piano
Concerto No. 14. The program includes the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro and
Serenade No. 9 in D major (Posthorn).
The concert is part of the continued community outreach by
the Philharmonic to bring orchestral music to many parts of the Colorado Springs
area. The Mozart & Friends series offers a more intimate setting for
audiences who want a neighborhood experience. Tickets are $20 at the door, at
Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave, by calling 719-520-SHOW, and at all
Tickets West outlets and online at Ticketswest.com.
Wildland Fire Crew accepting
The El Paso County Wildland Fire Crew is seeking active and
enthusiastic citizens to become volunteers for one of the best wildland fire
crews in Colorado. If you love the outdoors, hard work, and want to help protect
our community from fire, working with this crew could be for you. The crew has
male and female volunteer members ranging from ages 18 to 60-plus, with
different levels of participation.
If you are interested in joining, pick up an application at
210 S. Tejon St., downtown Colorado Springs. The next Wildland Fire Academy is
scheduled to start May 6. Applications for this academy will be accepted
until April 17. To be eligible to join, you must be at least 18 years of
age, a U.S. citizen, and have no felony arrests or convictions. You must have a
valid Colorado driver’s license, a high school diploma or a GED, and most
positions require you to be in very good physical condition. Applicants must
also pass a background check, an oral interview, a physical agility test based
on position type, and the 40-hour Wildland Fire Academy. No previous experience
is required. Some equipment purchases will be required for fire response.
Gleneagle Spirit Run/Walk in May
The Second Annual Gleneagle Spirit 5k Run/Walk for Fun will
take place May 20, 8:30 a.m. to noon, at Antelope Trails Elementary
School, 15280 Jessie Dr. The 5k course winds through the streets of scenic
Gleneagle (east of I-25 between the Northgate and Baptist Road Exits) and has a
variety of elevations to challenge all participants. The event is organized by
resident Mark Rudolph, with all net proceeds going to Boy Scout Troop 194. The
2005 event raised over $1,000 for the troop. "The Boy Scouts are very
visible throughout our community," Rudolph said. "They assist in many
projects and activities that help to keep our neighborhood clean, safe, and
The race will be professionally timed, and gold, silver, and
bronze medals will be presented to the top male and female finishers in eight
age divisions. Participants will receive an event T-shirt, water bottle, and
other sponsor goodies. After the run/walk, participants will be treated to a
pasta feed, live music, stretching, body/ankle/leg massages, and a display of
firefighting/emergency response equipment in a festival atmosphere. The price is
$23 per participant pre-registered ($30 day of the race registration). Children
under 14 are free. To register for the Gleneagle Spirit, look for the
registration form boxes along Gleneagle Drive starting April 15 or call Mark
Exchange students need host families
International Student Exchange is seeking host families for
the 2006-07 school year. A young lady from Hong Kong, an environmentalist award
winner, seeks a Colorado family. Talented young students from Germany, Colombia,
South Korea, Norway, Spain, and Italy are waiting for host families. Change the
world person by person; phone Annie, 638-8378 or e-mail email@example.com.
Wildlife Masters in El Paso County
Do you wonder how to keep the deer from munching your freshly
planted garden, how to get the skunk out from under your deck without getting
sprayed, or how to get the squirrels out of the attic? Colorado State University
Cooperative Extension in El Paso County has a staff of trained Wildlife Masters
who have received special training on solving such problems. A call to the
Master Gardener Help Desk, 636-8921, will be directed to the on-call Wildlife
Master and you will be called promptly with an answer. If you have e-mail, a
fact sheet will be sent electronically, giving you more tips on dealing with the
problem. A fact sheet will be sent to you by e-mail or regular mail. For more
information, call 636-8921.
Report county road problems online
You can report a road problem quickly and easily online or by
phone. You can report problems such as potholes, traffic light outages, fallen
stop signs, drainage, or even dead animals. Visit the county’s website, www.elpasoco.com,
and go to the Transportation Department webpage. There you will find a section
called "How to report a problem." It will tell you how to send your
concern, and link you to the online form. You can also report a problem directly
at http://adm.elpasoco.com/transprt/service_request.asp. If you prefer to speak
to someone, phone 520-6891. If it’s an emergency road problem, call 520-6460.
Department of Transportation dispatchers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days