New construction rules bring dissent

Central City Guidelines Not Approved By All

By David Josselyn

Call to Order

  The Central City Council Meeting was called to order by Mayor Engels on Tuesday, February 19h. All council members were present along with City Manager Alan Lanning and City Attorney Marcus McAskin.

Executive Session

  Immediately following the Pledge of Allegiance, an executive session was called to discuss specific legal questions and to instruct negotiators concerning pending water rights cases concerning the City of Central.

Consent Agenda

   The consent agenda included regular bills and minutes to the previous council meeting. A motion to approve was entered by Alderman Gaines and seconded by Alderman Voorhies. Mayor Engels delayed the vote to request a correction be made in the meeting packet that he was, in fact, present at the prior meeting, and not just in spirit.  The consent agenda passed unanimously.

New Code Causes Concern

  The council heard the second reading of ordinance 13-06 which updates the city guidelines for construction and improvements to current regulations and code. Operations Director Kent Kisselman quickly summarized the reason for the ordinance for the council; however, Alderman Heider asked if the new codes were presented to any other organizations for review. Kisselman affirmed that it has had peer review, but not by other municipalities. Alderman Heider responded by suggesting they ask the Historical Preservation Commission (HPC) for review and approval. “With 196 pages of technical stuff, I don’t even understand it all,” exclaimed Heider. Kisselman responded that “we have an overriding standard” we would refer to in historical situations.  Alderman Gaines commented that there are areas that state that other guidelines would be followed, including historic preservation guidelines. Alderman Heider asked if there was some urgency to pass it. City Manager Lanning mentioned they have one developer that is ready to get started in a few days and we wouldn’t have the guidelines in place. Regarding concerns of historical preservation, he added that the new guidelines would look at a culvert and determine where it should be placed in relation to the street whereas the HPC would look at the color. Delaying it further doesn’t serve any significant benefit to the city. Alderman Gaines suggested that “if we vote and pass this tonight, then could a point be made to make this document available for the planning commission and the HPC should they have a desire to look this over.” Operatins Director Kisselman retorted that there is already a plan after approval to make copies for the binders and extra copies for whoever wants to look over it. City Attorney Marcus McAskin piped up saying that there is a requirement that upon passage a copy of the manual will be made available on the city website. Alderman Gaines moved to approve the ordinance and was seconded by Alderman Spain. Prior to the vote, Alderman Gaines stated she would not advocate not voting tonight, but would add that upon passage, city staff in good faith would advise the HPC of the new regulations and make a copy available to them. Alderman Heider added that they should also comment on the new rules and that the council could then meet to discuss any changes if necessary. Alderman Gaines stated that it should be obvious the council would discuss changes should it be necessary. The ordinance was passed with three yay’s and one nay, by Alderman Kathy Heider.

More Than Just Visiting for the Arts

  The council entertained resolution 13-05 which authorizes the Gilpin County Arts Association to use a portion of the visitor center for a new gallery. Finance Director Shannon Flowers summarized the resolution which was first presented in 2012. There were some concerns regarding interior renovation in 2012 that caused the resolution to be withdrawn. There were questions whether occupancy would require mobility access, but those questions have now been resolved. The resolution was moved to approve by Alderman Shirley Voorhies and seconded by Alderman Bob Spain. The resolution passed unanimously.

Staff updates

  City Manager announced the hiring of a new city planner. Roger Fejeran started work at the end of April. Welcome to Central City, Roger!

Water Quality Concerns

  Alderman Shirley Voorhies stated she was informed by many people that there is discoloration in the water at the reservoir and will be directing calls to Utilities Systems Superintendent Shawn Griffith. Griffith exclaimed that we are still oxygenating the water and adding alkalinity to increase the Ph levels. He added that spring runoff will take care of the problem.

  Michael Mullin, a new city resident living on Lawrence Street, addressed the council regarding a couple of issues. Mullin stated that he feels the stretch along Lawrence Street should be residential parking only, but it appears there are more than just residents parking there. Mayor Engels replied they would have staff look into that to which Alderman Heider confirmed that that road used to be residential only. Mullin then indicated that the water comes out brackish with an odor at 214 Lawrence then asked how residents are informed if there are any issues and is the water tested when that happens. Mayor Engels replied that as long as the water is safe to drink according to the Center for Public Health guidelines we wouldn’t send out notices; however, if there was anything wrong “we would send up flares” to the community. Utilities Systems Superintendent Shawn Griffith confirmed those statements and added that the water is tested regularly and also tested whenever there is a change in color or odor.

  Barbara Thielemann, resident of H Street, Central City, next addressed the council. Thielemann wanted to give them a note of appreciation for passage of the resolution adopting a portion of the visitor’s center for the Gilpin Arts use. She added that “we hope to have the mayor there with his scissors to cut the ribbon.” The large smile and nodding of the head from Mayor Engels gave credence to the likelihood he would be there.

  Alderman Voorhies queried City Manager Lanning with “where are we on channel 20?” She is referring to the use of channel 20 to provide a live feed of council meetings. City Manager Lanning said it works, but Voorhies responded “every time I turn it on there is a notification.” Manager Lanning said there are two (notifications) now. Voorhies responded saying she was hoping we’d get a little more out of it, but we can discuss that later. Voorhies then reminded all present that May 18th is clean-up day.

Next Meeting

  The next Central City Council Meeting is on Tuesday, May 21st.

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