City Council Recap - March 16, 2023
The March 16, 2023 City Council meeting began with an entertaining performance from the Woodland Park High School Forensics Team. Forensics is “a National Honor Society that builds confidence, boosts classroom performance, improves communication, and increases critical thinking skills to prepare students for college, and provides life skills vital to a young person’s success in the future,” said Coach Marci Nicklesburg. The team is composed of thirteen students and four Coaches and Assistant Coaches. This year, 11 of the 13 students placed at the State level. The Council thanked all the students for showcasing their performance talents with the Council and the community.
Local handyman Mel Pierce addressed Council in consideration for the Planning Commission. Voting ended in a tie by Council, with Mayor LaBarre, Mayor Pro Tem Case and Councilmember Neal voting against The consideration of appointment will be revisited in another Council session in the near future. Deputy City Manager/City Clerk Suzanne Leclercq will set arrangements with Mr. Pierce.
Woodland Park Police Chief, Chris Deisler presented Samantha Trattner with a plaque of appreciation, in recognition of her willingness to help the Police department locate a local missing child. Ms. Trattner cared for a young boy who had wandered away from caregivers on the morning of January 19, 2023, after discovering him alone on Centennial Trail along Highway 67.
Woodland Park Police officers, Vigil and Madronio, and Corporal Wadham were recognized with a “Life Saving Award” by Chief Deisler for their acts of bravery when responding to a call on December 22, 2022. Officers were dispatched to the area near City Market, when an unconscious driver was involved in an accident. Officers performed live-saving CPR and utilized an AED device to provide critical care for the individual until medic services arrived. “These officers personify public service,” stated Chief Deisler.
Representatives from Cripple Creek’s Newmont Mine presented Council with a Quarter 1 update. Andrea Connolly, External Relations Representative, addressed the Mine’s 2022 Social Impact Assessment - of which the goal was to provide understanding of key social and economic risks associated with Newmont’s current and future activities, and as a guide for identifying and understanding effectiveness of mitigation measures and supporting sustainable community outcomes during operations and closure of the mine. High and low impact measures were also addressed, including key sources of concern being awareness of community members in regards to “mine life” and closure plans, and how a decrease in revenues could impact the community. Nemont Mine is hosting a community Open House event at the Ute Pass Cultural Center, May 25th, 2023 from 5-6:30PM.
Approval of the Minutes from the March 2, 2023 and February 16, 2023 Council meetings were presented. An error was made in the March 2, 2023 minutes in reference to public comment from Mr. Jerry Penland.
Approval of February 2023 Statement of Expenditures was presented by Finance Director, Aaron Vassalotti, to authorize the Mayor to sign Warrants is payment thereof. Council Member Zuluaga asked about payments made for audio/video improvements to Ute Pass Cultural Center. City Engineer and Director of Public Works, Ben Schmitt addressed the comments, sharing that as part of the contract, 80% of the AV equipment had to be purchased up front. The targeted plan timeline for installation of the improvements is April 10-14, after which time more details will be released to the public. The motion passed unanimously.
Council heard consideration of Ordinance of 1444, motion to grant a special use permit with site plan for Verizon to construct and utilize a Concealed Antenna Communication Facility. Public hearing is scheduled for April 6, 2023. Senior Planner, CJ Gates offered clarification noting that when application was submitted during the referral period, it was passed to all departments as well as notice sent to all residents within 150ft of the site. Planning Director Karen Schminke stated that public postings were published in the Courier as well as signage in public spaces. The motion passed unanimously.
Council heard consideration of Ordinance 1443, and ordinance to extend the temporary moratorium on the submission, acceptance, processing and approval of applications for all Short-Term Rental licenses to December 31, 2023. Public hearing is scheduled for April 6, 2023. The motion passed unanimously.
For the next order of business, Ordinance 1441 - Granting Special Use Permit with site plan review for the purpose of Verizon Wireless to construct and utilize a temporary communication facility in the public/semi public lands was presented to Council by Senior Planner, CJ Gates. The temporary structure would be located in the northeast corner of the City Hall parking lot, west of the Senior Center. A special use permit is required due to the structure exceeding the 50ft limit. During a February 9, 2023 meeting, the Planning Commission recommended approval for the temporary communication facility unanimously. City Engineer and Public Works Director, Ben Schmitt addressed concerns regarding postponing the burying of lines, and ability for the project to coincide with the upcoming construction project for Lake Street. It was clarified that by passing the Ordinance, Council will be able to offer direction to City staff for the final agreement. The motion passed unanimously.
Developers Frankie Valenzuela of Ventus, LLC and property owner Jonathan James Ventus requested a Final Plat of 24 lots and two tracts of a 35.78 acre tract of land located in Woodland Park.
The Haven at Paradise is a proposed major subdivision, which will include construction of new streets, sidewalk, curbs, gutters and storm water detention, originally approved on April 19, 2019. The Final Plat shows 35.77 acres featuring new lot configuration with 25 lots and one tract for storm water retention. Senior Planner CJ Gates stated staff recommended approval of the project based on five unique conditions. The motion passed unanimously.
Director of Utilities Kip Willey addressed Council for the approval of Resolution No. 901, establishing water and sewer plant investment fees, effective April 1, 2023. The bottom line up front, Wiley stated, “The Utilities Advisory Committee is requesting a 15% increase in tap and sewer fees effective April 1st. The motion passed unanimously.
During the Mayor’s Report, Mayor LaBarre shared information about several upcoming community events in the area.
Woodland Park Parks & Recreation continues to offer adult drop- in basketball through April 26, 2023 at Woodland Park Middle School
Woodland Park Parks & Recreation is hosting their Spring Coloring Contest through April 10, 2023. Coloring pages can be picked up at City Hall or printed at home from the Parks and Recreation City website page.
The American Red Cross Babysitter Bootcamp course is being hosted by Woodland Aquatic Center. Registration can be completed online before the March 27, 2023 deadline.
The Woodland Aquatic Center is featuring special spring break Open Swim hours, March 21-27, 2023.
The Greater Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce is hosting its Spring Expo on April 6, 2023 from 5:00-7:00 PM at the Ute Pass Cultural Center. The event is free to attend.
Community Partnership hosts a variety of events for the entire family, including the Teller County Summer Expo & Kids Fest, on Saturday, April 8, 2023 at the Ute Pass Cultural Center from 11AM-1PM.
Mayor Pro-tem Kellie Case shared information about the Woodland Park Parks and Recreation department Public Open House, focusing on parks, trails and open space. The event is free to attend and hosted at the Ute Pass Cultural Center, March 22, 2023 from 5:30-7:00 PM.
City Manager Michael Lawson announced during his report that Councilmember David Ott resigned from his position on Council effective immediately. This presents Council with three choices when considering the new vacancy: The Mayor and Council may choose to appoint an individual of their choosing, hold an open application process, or proceed with no action. The latter option may result in a greater risk of ties when the Council votes on new issues in the future. The matter will be addressed in the near future.
Council concluded with an announcement of the final results from the Name Our Snowplows contest, which concluded March 10, 2023. Two winners were declared from the adult-naming category: Betty Whiteout and Scoop Dogg. One winner was announced from the children’s category: Blizzard of Oz. Due to popular demand, a forth plow was added in recognition of citizen driven demand, Plowly McPlowface will be added to the snowplow crew line-up.