Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, June 5, to discuss a Unify Montrose campaign, a de-annexation of property from the city limits, the annual 4th of July fireworks display permit, and revisions to public comment rules.
Mayor Barbara Bynum and councilors Dave Frank, Doug Glaspell, David Reed, and Ed Ulibarri met in the City Council Chambers at the Elks Civic Building along with city staff.
The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting.
Watch the meeting here.
UNIFY AMERICA PRESENTATION
City Councilors were presented with a collaborative partnership called Unify Montrose designed to help residents collaboratively solve problems using the model of public deliberation.
City Manager Bill Bell said Unify America is an organization designed to foster healthy conversations within communities to tackle some of the most challenging and important issues, as determined by local residents and community members. Unify America was asked by a few Montrose community members to take a look at the Montrose region to see if its approach might work here to come up with some lasting solutions to issues such as childcare, housing, etc.
The Unify Montrose effort began earlier this year and is about ready to kick off a focused effort on community collaboration and problem-solving. Based on community input, their initial topic of focus will be childcare access and affordability here in Montrose.
The benefit to Montrose includes:
• Community engagement around a shared goal to improve access to safe, affordable childcare in Montrose, which is critical to a vibrant community.
• Research and consideration of a wide range go customized, local actions to achieve the goal.
• Increased trust between Montrose neighbors from different backgrounds by working together toward a shared goal.
• An opportunity for cooperation between Montrose residents and key institutions in the community, including government agencies.
A three-step process will be created to ensure a fair public process here in Montrose.
To ensure fairness and find different perspectives, Unify Montrose sets up a community-wide "jury lottery" to select a random, representative group of 64 residents.
Over 12 weeks, the jury reviews facts, discusses the pros and cons of different solutions, and builds a concrete action plan. (They will be paid for their time and no expertise will be required.)
The proposed action plan, including recommendations about how to pay for it, will be presented by the community jury to elected officials and local leaders to outline next steps.
More information about the initiative will be released in the future.
DISPOSAL OF CITY PROPERTY
City Councilors and staff discussed a plan to donate a city-owned raft to a local river guide shop.
The city bought a raft in 2017 for about $3,400 to check for hazards through the Uncompahgre River corridor.
Regular maintenance of the raft requires specific expertise that is not common to city staff, according to Michelle Wingfield, the city’s DART and grant coordinator.
Wingfield said the city plans to donate the raft to Montrose Surf and Cycle in exchange for their promise to maintain the raft and provide river inspection as needed. The Visit Montrose logo will remain on the raft.
CASA OF THE 7TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT REQUEST TO WAIVE SEWER AND WATER CONNECTION FEES
City Councilors were presented with a proposal to consider abatement of the actual cost of water and sewer connection fees for The Village at San Juan.
Community Development Specialist Chris Ottinger said Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA, and Region 10 have requested that the City of Montrose abate the water and sewer connection fees in support of the proposed The Village at San Juan intergenerational supportive housing project. This project will be located along the San Juan bypass, just east of the current Public Works site and adjacent to 3M’s property.
CASA is ready to begin pulling permits and has secured funding for the project through a variety of means. A significant grant from the Department of Local Affairs, funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, foundations, and individual donors have contributed to making this project feasible.
City Council action is required to abate these fees because they will be paid out of the city’s General Fund to the water and sewer funds. Based on the project’s current plan for two 2“ meters and two 1” landscape meters, the fees are expected to total $275,214.
The city intends to offer additional support for the project, including waiving an estimated $40,027 in building permit fees.
City Councilors were presented with a de-annexation plan to allow a portion of a property that is currently within the Montrose city limits to revert back to being outside of the city limits.
City Planner William Reis said the city recently received a request from Donnie and Barbara Blower to de-annex a small portion of their property located at 2335 6450 Road due to a recent boundary line dispute involving a fenceline location. This boundary dispute was resolved with a Boundary Line Agreement recorded in February of 2023.
The property located at 2335 6450 Road is within the city limits, while the property adjacent to the north, which is not currently addressed, is outside of city limits. Due to the boundary line adjustment, there is a small sliver of the northern parcel that is technically in the city limits. In order to clean this up, the property owner has requested a disconnection of this portion.
City Councilors were informed about the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) plan to relinquish a drain to the city.
City Engineer Scott Murphy said the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) efforts to reclaim the Uncompahgre Valley in the 1920s included the construction of, a series of lettered drains for the purpose of collecting agricultural return flows and keeping the underlying groundwater table suppressed.
Under these agricultural uses, the drains were typically operated and maintained by the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association. As areas contributing flow to the drains urbanized and the drains were no longer needed for agricultural purposes, the BOR would typically abandon the drains and relinquish them for use in the city’s stormwater conveyance system.
One such lettered drain system was the A-Drain and its associated laterals, which generally ran from Sunnyside Road to the Montrose Arroyo. As development was occurring in this area in the early 2000s, the BOR relinquished this drain system south of Niagara Road; however, the reach between Niagara and Sunnyside Roads was not relinquished at the time. Development has since continued northward and the surrounding area is now fully urbanized. As a result, it has now become necessary to abandon the remaining portions of the drain.
The BOR has prepared and executed a quitclaim deed of facilities for the remaining portions of the A and A-64 drains.
All that remains in the process is for the city manager to sign these deeds to accept the facility's relinquishment. The drains do not have a formal descriptive easement or fee-simple ownership that is conveyed, the BOR simply conveys the facility to designate they no longer control and maintain it. Maintenance of the drain remains that of the adjacent homeowner’s associations as designated on plats finalized over the past several decades in this area.
FIREWORKS DISPLAY PERMIT APPROVAL
City Councilors were presented with the city's annual fireworks permit for the upcoming 4th of July celebration.
The City of Montrose has contracted with Tri-State Fireworks, Inc. of Brighton Colo. to conduct the show from Sunset Mesa at dusk on Tuesday, July 4.
More information about 4th of July festivities can be found at here.
MESSAGING REGARDING PUBLIC COMMENT WITH CITY COUNCIL
Members of the City Council discussed revisions to the rules governing public comment at City Council meetings to allow residents greater avenues to reach City Councilors and make their voices heard.
One idea was to allow for time at the beginning of work sessions to meet with the public to discuss matters related to the City of Montrose or the Montrose community overall.
All City Council meetings are recorded and made available online via 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 and on-demand through the city’s Public Meetings Portal.
For more city news visit CityOfMontrose.org.