Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, November 6, to interview several candidates for open positions on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, review proposals for various city projects, and hear a third-quarter crime report.
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.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION APPLICANT INTERVIEWS
City Councilors met with several candidates who have applied for an open position on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.
Local residents Darlene Mora, John Eloe, Kenn Huff, Kent Kinsey, Marleen Gravitz, and Peg Evanoika have all applied to serve on the commission.
The commission is appointed by the City Council. At least 60% of its members are residents of the city and at least 40% are professionals or individuals with extensive expertise in a preservation-related discipline, including but not limited to history, architecture, landscape architecture, American studies, American civilization, cultural geography, cultural anthropology, planning or archaeology.
Members serve three-year, staggered terms from the date of their appointment. A chairperson presides over the commission's meetings, one member serves as the vice-chairperson and one member serves as secretary. The members so designated serve in these capacities for terms of one year.
The City Council will formally vote to appoint new members to the commission at a future council meeting.
OTTER POND WATER AND SEWER RELOCATION SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
City Councilors were presented with a proposal to create a special improvement district within the Otter Pond subdivision that would be repayable for the relocation of water and sewer utilities while repairs to the Otter Pond dam are completed.
The special district would be an agreement between the City of Montrose and the Otter Pond HOA.
City Engineer Scott Murphy said the Otter Pond HOA is tentatively scheduled to replace their dam’s outlet works starting in late 2023 or early 2024. Concurrent with this project, water and sewer utilities that currently run through the dam would also be relocated outside of the dam in order to reduce structural risk to the dam and improve access for future utility maintenance. Additional details on the history and events leading up to the dam’s replacement can be found in the meeting packet for the October 17, 2023, regular council meeting.
The total cost of the project is expected to come in around $1.3M. To date, the city has contributed $100k in ARPA funds to assist with the initial emergency drawdown and project design, $11k in water and sewer relocation design, and $370k in reimbursements for the water and sewer relocation, work once completed. This leaves $830k of the project cost to be funded by the Otter Pond HOA for the replacement of their outlet works and related projects, such as dredging of the inlet area.
Since early 2023, the Otter Pond HOA has been working to secure the financing/capital needed to complete the project. In general, since it is a private pond, they have been unsuccessful in securing any grants or low-interest loans. In the absence of any grants, the HOA has been left to perform a special assessment for its residents to pay for their portion of the project. For the 85 lots within the HOA, this originally equated to a special assessment of approximately $9,765 per lot ($830,000/85 lots).
Given the magnitude of these assessments, there were many residents within the neighborhood who were unable to pay or obtain financing for the special assessment. The HOA was also unable to secure financing for the improvements given the lack of physical assets that could be collateralized. As a result, the HOA was left without a means to fund its portion of the project.
The Otter Pond HOA then met with city staff to brainstorm funding options. One option requested of the city was to create a special improvement district (SID) where the city would front the funds for construction and then be repaid by the neighborhood’s residents over time through a special assessment of their property taxes. The creation of a SID is technically feasible with a petition from residents and with action by the City Council; however, SIDs can only be used to finance public infrastructure.
Funding of a $420,000 SID would require payment from the city’s General Fund using reserves and a likely budget supplement for 2024 as this contribution has not been budgeted. Some residents may pay their SID obligation outright instead of spreading it out over 20 years. Any up-front payment would reduce the overall $420,000 SID amount that would need to be loaned.
The SID process typically starts with a petition to the city to create the district. Once this petition is executed by at least 50% of the district landowners, which is now underway, the City Council would consider a resolution to create the district, distribute notices to all landowners within the district, hold hearings and consider ordinances to create the district. The project would then be constructed, costs tabulated, and a second ordinance considered to formally assess the amounts. Lot owners would have the option to prepay their balance for a specified period after the final ordinance is adopted. Any unpaid balance would then be assessed to the individual, unpaid properties within the district.
PROPOSED MUNICIPAL CODE UPDATE TO TITLE 1, SECTION 14, MUNICIPAL COURT RULES OF PROCEDURE AND SENTENCING
City Councilors were presented with several updates to the Municipal Code regarding the Municipal Court procedure and sentencing.
City Attorney Ben Morris said the updates are designed to make the code easier to read and clear up typos, actions that he characterized as “housekeeping” items.
The changes will need to be approved by a city ordinance. The council will vote at the November 14 meeting to approve or deny the changes.
NIAGARA-HILLCREST ROUNDABOUT CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT AWARD
City Councilors were presented with the proposed contract totaling $3,209,461. for the construction of the Niagara-Hillcrest Roundabout Project. This proposal includes the award of a construction contract to Oldcastle SW Group, doing business as United Companies, in the amount of $3,078,461, a survey and engineering support contract to Del- Mont Consultants in the amount of $111,000, and up to $20,000 in expenditures to Delta-Montrose Electric Association for street lighting associated with the project.
City Engineer Scott Murphy said the city performed a traffic study of Hillcrest Drive from Main Street to Niagara Road in 2016 as part of long-range traffic planning efforts and in response to neighborhood petitions, congestion, and safety issues experienced along the corridor,. This study recommended the installation of roundabouts at the intersections of Miami, Sunnyside, and Niagara as both the near- and long-term solutions to these issues.
In response to these recommendations, the city completed the roundabout at Hillcrest and Sunnyside in 2016. The roundabout at Miami and Hillcrest was completed several years later in 2019. The Niagara and Hillcrest intersection is currently controlled as a four-way stop. A recent traffic study for a nearby subdivision indicated that the intersection was approaching capacity and would soon experience unacceptable levels of service during peak hours. In response to this, the city started designing the roundabout in 2022, completed necessary property acquisitions in 2023, and is now ready to construct the project.
PHASE 2 LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE UPDATE CONTRACT WITH PLAN TOOLS, LLC
City Councilors were presented with a proposal to enter into a professional service agreement with Plan Tools, LLC. The service agreement is in the amount of $105,000 and is specific to Phase 2 of updates of the Land Development Regulations (Title 11) of the Montrose Municipal Code. This agreement and the associated work is expected to run through December 2024.
City Planner Jace Hochwalt said Plan Tools, LLC performed professional planning services for the City of Montrose in 2022 and 2023 related to its code consolidation efforts (referred to as Phase 1 code updates) in which the Land Development Regulations section (Title 11 of the Montrose Municipal Code) was consolidated for the purpose of modernizing it and eliminating redundancy. With those consolidation efforts now complete, staff is again seeking contracted help from Plan Tools, LLC to continue to eliminate ambiguity in the code and update it to align with the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
STAFF REPORT: THIRD-QUARTER CRIME AND STATISTICS AND 2A REPORT CARD
City Police Chief Blaine Hall delivered a third-quarter crime statistics report and an update about funding from 2A.
Hall said the number of assaults and felony crimes is up in 2023 as compared to 2022. The number of traffic accidents and DUI accidents is also above the previous year.
Read the entire report here.
GENERAL CITY COUNCIL COMMENTS
Due to the Thanksgiving Holiday, the next City Council regular meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 14.
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.