Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, October 5, to interview applicants to the city's Historic Planning Commission and the city's Youth Council. The council discussed the Adamson Family Trust parcel and the future of the Russell Stover building. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, councilors met socially distant in Council Chambers at 107 South Cascade. The public was invited to attend via the Zoom platform.
Councilors Roy Anderson, Dave Bowman, Barbara Bynum, Dave Frank, and Doug Glaspell and city staff were present. The council met for 42 minutes. The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting.
Watch the meeting here.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION APPLICANT INTERVIEWS
City Councilors met with applicants of the Historic Preservation Commission, a board tasked with identifying properties in the city worthy of being added to the city's registry of historic places.
Montrose residents Patrick Dwyer, John Eloe, and Kenneth Huff answered questions from the council regarding their potential appointment to the commission. Councilors will formally vote to appoint applicants to the commission at a future City Council regular meeting.
YOUTH CITY COUNCIL APPLICANT INTERVIEW
Montrose High School student Harrison Hall met with the council to discuss his appointment to the Youth City Council. The city's Youth Council was established to encourage greater youth participation in the city’s government and is charged with actively advising the City Council with thoughtful recommendations on issues concerning youth and assisting city staff in considering youth perspectives in its planning efforts.
Councilors will consider appointing Hall at a future City Council regular meeting.
City Councilors discussed a proposal to exchange a small sliver of city-owned property containing 0.28 acres, located just west of Sunset Mesa and east of Chipeta road.
Senior Planner Amy Sharp stated that the initial land exchange between the Adamson Family Trust and the City of Montrose occurred in 2017. The trust exchanged about 16 acres east of the Uncompahgre River in exchange for a similar slice of land located directly west of Sunset Mesa.
Sharp said that no monetary exchange is taking place in this transaction.
The council will vote on a first reading of the ordinance at the October 20 City Council regular meeting.
CARES ACT FUNDING
Following the land exchange discussion, City Councilor Dave Frank said he would like to use a portion of the city's CARES Act funding to help local restaurant workers as they continue to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The city received about a million dollars from the federal government to help offset costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the funding requirements, the city must use this funding by the end of the year. Mayor Barbara Bynum said she would like to work with Montrose County to see if there were any efforts the city and county could do together to make sure restaurant workers aren't burdened with the cost of COVID-19 tests. Restaurant workers have been identified as essential workers by the State of Colorado.
City Council Dave Bowman said he would like to have more information from the county before committing city CARES Act funding to this effort.
SOUTH FIRST STREET UPDATE
Mayor Barbara Bynum asked City Manager Bill Bell for an update regarding the closure of South First Street. Bell responded that Public Works is busy transforming the street in front of City Hall and the Montrose Police Department into a public gathering location.
RUSSELL STOVER UPDATE
City Attorney Stephen Alcorn updated the council regarding the building recently vacated by the Russell Stover candy corporation.
Alcorn said the original contract the city used to lure the Russell Stover company to Montrose was created in July 1972.
Alcorn said on September 14 the company announced its intent to the city that the company was planning on purchasing the building located off South Townsend Avenue. The company shut down operations about a month earlier.
Alcorn said article three of the contract states the company will have the option to purchase the property after giving notice to the city, and the purchase of the building will be free of any liens that may be attached to the property.
"The price has been set in 1972 at one dollar," Alcorn said.
Alcorn said the city has no option to object stating, "it's very clear once they provide notice, it shall happen."
Alcorn said an ordinance would be drafted for council approval to divest the property as the City Council has the sole authority to do so.
Alcorn said if the council votes no, the city would surely end up in litigation with Russell Stover for breach of contract.
Alcorn said the city's concern is that Russell Stover would sell the land to another business that could fail, leaving a large abandoned building.
Alcorn said the city's best course of action to make sure whatever business takes over the building is successful to prevent the possibility of a "crumbing food processing building in the city limits."
Alcorn indicated that the city has been working with private businesses to possibly move into the building. More information about those negotiations will be released once it becomes available.
"I think we could get frustrated and angry about what the contract doesn't say, or we can be realistic and try to make it a success," Alcorn said.
All City Council meetings are recorded and made available online via on the city’s website and cable channels 191 for Charter subscribers and 970 for Elevate subscribers. Replays of council meetings are also broadcast at 6 p.m. on the same channels on days that the council is not in session.
In addition, each regular meeting is archived on the City of Montrose’s YouTube channel.
Residents can watch all regular City Council meetings and work sessions live through the city’s website at CityOfMontrose.org/Video.
For more city news visit CityOfMontrose.org.