The COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed the operations of local government. Eight weeks after the last chairlift came to a halt at the resorts, virtual platforms such as Zoom and WebEx have become the medium for municipalities and county officials to conduct public business.
During this period, it’s been ‘business as usual’ as public officials continue to fulfill the visions of their communities. While the coronavirus has added another layer atop some very full plates, town and county officials continue to scrutinize and deliberate each meeting agenda item, keeping the interests of their residents in mind.
Winter Park Town Council
At their meeting on April 21, the council welcomed and swore in newly elected councilors Mike Davlin, Jeremy Henn and Jennifer Hughes. Councilman Mike Periolat also retained his seat for another four-year term. Council bid adieu to Councilors Charles Banks and Jim Myers and Mayor Jimmy Lahrman. A formal celebration recognizing the outgoing members’ contributions will be held once public gatherings are safe to commence.
Council unanimously appointed Nick Kutrumbos as Mayor and Mike Periolat as Mayor Pro Tem.
Ronald W Carlson was reappointed to preside as municipal judge for a two-year term (Resolution 1768).
Model Traffic Code alignment
A first reading of Ordinance 534, an Ordinance repealing and reenacting Chapter 3 of Title 4 of the Town Code, regulating Motor Vehicles and Traffic and adopting by reference the 2020 Model Traffic Code was presented by Fraser Winter Park Police Chief Glen Trainor. “As one can guess, there have been numerous revisions to the State Traffic Code since 2009,” said Trainor. “In order to avoid confusion by our officers, and possibly issuing citations for violations of the adopted MTC that don’t exist, we are requesting that the Town adopt the 2020 Version of the Model Traffic Code, which more closely mirrors Title 42 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.”
Council approved the first reading unanimously. The second reading was held during the May 5th meeting and was also approved.
Affordable Housing Fee Collection
A first reading of Ordinance 535, an Ordinance amending Section 6-5-1 of the Winter Park
Town Code, regarding the timing of payment of Affordable Housing Fees was introduced by Assistant Town Manager Alisha Janes. Janes described the Ordinance as a “simple administrative item” which had been recommended by the town’s auditors when they conducted the town’s 2018 audit.
In a memo to council, Janes said, “In 2000, the Town of Winter Park established an affordable housing fee of three dollars for every gross square foot of new construction. In 2003, Council passed an ordinance allowing the affordable housing fee to be collected before the final inspection of new construction, rather than at the time of building permit application. The same resolution also required building permit applicants to have an executed and notarized agreement with the town specifying the amount of affordable housing fees.”
Janes explained that the current policy resulted in a large sum of receivables in the affordable housing fund. The management letter for the 2018 audit recommended changing the timing of fee collection in order to reduce the number of receivables, the administrative work utilized to track outstanding fees, and the possibility for uncollectable fees or errors.
Changing the timing of fee collection also increases available affordable housing funds. Presently, the affordable housing fund has $265,000 in receivables. Since the Town cannot anticipate the amount of time between the building permit issuance and the certificate of occupancy, the $265,000 in receivables cannot be included in the available fund balance of the affordable housing fund.
The Ordinance requires building permit applicants to pay the Affordable Housing Fee at the time of application. Staff would continue to track the existing receivables in the affordable housing fund, but would no longer need to issue additional receivables.
Council approved the first reading unanimously. The second reading was held during the May 5th meeting and was also approved.
Rendezvous Center Preliminary Plat
Community Development Director James Shockey presented Resolution 1769, the resolution approving (with conditions) the preliminary plat for the Winter Park-Rendezvous Center, a five unit townhome project and mixed use building, to include the new Visitor Center, located on the SE corner of US 40 and Rendezvous Way.
The buildings are currently under construction, and the applicant, Rendezvous Colorado, LLC, filed the preliminary plat to begin the process of subdividing the property for future sales.
The intent is to plat the townhomes along Rendezvous Way into five separate lots. The mixed-use building located adjacent to Main Street will be located within a separate lot and an As-Built plat will be prepared in the future as these units, both residential and commercial, will be platted as condominiums. There will be two homeowners associations, one for the townhomes and the other for the mixed use building.
Open space dedication or fee in lieu had been waived for the property in Resolution 1616. All improvements (water, sewer, roadway, landscaping, drainage/erosion control, etc) associated with the project are required to be guaranteed (120%) through a Development Improvements Agreement (DIA). A number of the improvements have already been installed for the project, but the applicant is still required to file an Agreement per Resolution 1616, Series 2018 and is required to provide cost estimates for the improvements.
The Planning Commission had reviewed and approved the preliminary plat at their April 14 meeting, with the condition that Rendezvous Colorado LLC update the preliminary plat per the redlined version from Town staff dated April 21, 2020.
Council approved Resolution 1769 with the same condition in a 6:0 vote. Councilor Davlin abstained, since he’d already voted as a member of the Planning Commission.
Lake Trail Townhomes Preliminary Plat
Town Planner Hugh Bell gave an overview of the preliminary plat for the Lake Trail Townhomes, a replat of the Vasquez Mountain Lodge condominiums, previously recorded in 2006. The project consists of 3 buildings with 16 separate units.
The 1.5+ acre parcel is located at 560 Lake Trail, bound by Lake Trail to the north; Bear Trail to the west; and Elk Trail to the east. The developer hopes to begin construction by late summer.
A number of adjacent homeowners from the Bear Crossing subdivision had submitted comments to town staff on the proposed development. Snow and trash storage, adequate drainage, density, parking, access via easement and design character were commonly expressed concerns.
The Planning Commission had reviewed and approved the preliminary plat at the April 14 meeting, with conditions the developer, Swamp Donkey LLC, update the final plat per the redlined version of the preliminary plat from Town staff dated April 14; address comments made by the town engineer; address comments made by the Colorado Geological Survey Office related to slope stability for the site; and, additional trees and shrubs be added to the landscape plan to conform with the Town’s Landscape Design regulations and guidelines and update the final Landscape Plan per the redlined version from Town staff.
After discussion, council determined the key concerns regarding access and maintenance were a private matter between the property owners. Council approved Resolution 1770, the preliminary plat, with conditions, in a 5-1 vote, with Councilor Chris Seemann casting a dissenting vote, and Davlin abstaining due to having voted in the Planning Commission.
Sunspot improvements planned
Winter Park Resort is designing an addition to, and interior remodel of, The Lodge at Sunspot. This includes a new snow melted deck replacement, infrastructure to support said snowmelt system, a new barbeque hut, and a new lower level exterior deck. Although it is not mentioned in the applicant’s narrative, the plans indicate a new trash chute and compactor are proposed as well. The footprints of each structure are as follows: 866 sf on two floors for the new addition; 415 sf for the new lower level deck; and 4,600 sf for the replacement snow-melted deck.
The building is located on United States Forest Service land and zoned Open Space Forest and Ag (OSF), so the addition and remodel need to be authorized under a Special Use Permit. The Forest Service is currently reviewing the proposed structure and was anticipated to approve the project in the next few weeks. Approval from the Town is contingent on approval by the Forest Service.
The Planning Commission had reviewed and approved the design at their March 10 meeting, with a list of conditions. Council approved Resolution 1771, with the conditions outlined by the Planning Commission unanimously.
Liquor License Authority change
At the meeting on Tuesday, May 5, Police Chief Trainor presented the first reading of Ordinance 536, an ordinance amending Chapter 4 of Title 3 of the Town Code to designate the Municipal Court as the Liquor Licensing Authority to Hear All Alleged Violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Code.
Trainor explained that, historically, the Winter Park Town Council has served as the Local Licensing Authority for approval of all new licenses, license transfers, and for the purpose of conducting hearings for disciplinary actions against licensees for alleged violations of the State or Local Alcoholic Beverage Code. The Town Council has delegated the responsibility of approving License Renewals to the Winter Park Town Clerk. Administrative action against a Licensee in the Town of Winter Park for violation of the Alcoholic Beverage Code is a rare occurrence, occurring an average of only once per year.
“Our agency has always sought to improve licensee conduct through the building of relationships, education and the issuance of warnings. However, there are times where a Licensee’s pattern of behavior must be addressed to ensure the safety of our residents and Visitors,” said Trainor, adding, “Such administrative actions against a licensee only occur when either the behavior is so egregious that immediate action is warranted, or when the licensee repeatedly fails to comply with the law after numerous warnings.”
Under the current model (Town Council serving as Licensing Authority), when administrative action is initiated against a licensee, a notice of violation is prepared and served upon the Licensee. The Town Attorney acts as legal representation for the Town Council, and the Town must then hire an outside attorney to act as the “prosecutor”. This outside attorney presents the evidence to the Town Council in a quasi-judicial hearing, and the Authority then issues a decision. Of course, the licensee may also hire an attorney to defend itself from the accusations.
Trainor recommended that Town Council designate the Fraser Winter Park Combined Municipal Court as the Liquor Licensing Authority to hear all alleged violations of either the State Alcoholic Beverage Code or the Winter Park Town Code.
By making the change, Trainor said it would accomplish the following:
- The Municipal Court Judge is an attorney who is accustomed to making decisions based on the Rule of Law. As such, the likelihood of appeals and possible liability against the Town will be reduced.
- The Town Attorney will be able to represent the Police Department in all administrative actions, reducing costs, while ensuring that the needs of the Town are met.
- The Town Council will be able to spend its time focusing on the needs of the Town, and not on preparing for and conducting administrative hearings that could be politically charged.
Council approved the first reading unanimously. The second reading will be held at the May 19 meeting.
Downtown Plan adoption
Resolution 1757, a resolution approving the Winter Park Downtown Plan was presented to council by Community Development Director James Shockey. “We have been working on this for over a year,” he said. “This has been well vetted with the community.” Shockey said that over 700 had provided comments through various events and surveys since March 2019. A fifteen member steering committee also helped guide the process. “I feel like we’ve had plenty of input. This is right for the community.”
Shockey told council that creating a Downtown Plan had been a major focus for the Town “to help ensure that our downtown is thriving, walkable and welcoming for locals and visitors alike.” Based on community input, the document provides a vision and implementation plan for downtown Winter Park. The plan utilizes four guiding principles, Culture, Mobility, Economy and Environment, while also incorporating the visions of the Imagine Winter Park Master Plan. A phased schedule for implementation was also included in the plan detail.
The Planning Commission had reviewed the draft at their March 10 meeting and approved the plan through adoption of Planning Commission Resolution No.1, Series 2020. As part of their approval, they requested Staff change the photos in the Precedent Study (pg. 63-66) from Victorian style references to mountain modern, believing the photos could provide a false sense of the Town’s vision for future architecture. Staff updated the photos with architectural styles that fit the mountain modern theme developing in Winter Park. The Planning Commission reviewed the Precedent Study on April 28 and approved it.
“It’s a very good plan,” said Councilor Davlin, who abstained from the vote due to having already voted while on the Planning Commission.
Council approved Resolution 1757 unanimously. “This was a lot of work, James – thank you,” said Mayor Pro Tem Mike Periolat.
Also during the May 5th meeting, Council approved the town’s Three Mile Plan (Resolution 1772) which is updated annually. Resolution 1773, a resolution approving fee waivers for the Town’s new Public Works Facility was tabled until the May 19 meeting, so that further research could be conducted on the applicability of East Grand Fire Protection District #4’s impact fees on the replacement structure. Finally, Councilor Jennifer Hughes was appointed as the Town’s representative to the Transit Advisory Committee (TAC). Hughes fills the seat vacated by Councilor Charles Banks and joins Fraser Mayor Philip Vandernail and Winter Park Resort representative Laurie Mason on the TAC.
Winter Park Town Council meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 pm and are open to the public. To find out more, visit wpgov.com.
Fraser Board of Trustees
The meeting held on April 15th started off with the swearing in of Mayor Philip Vandernail. Trustees Brian Cerkvenik, Parnell Quinn and Eileen Waldow stopped by Town Hall earlier that day to be sworn in. All will serve four-year terms. The trustees also said goodbye to Trustee Herb Meyring who did not seek re-election.
The Board unanimously re-elected Eileen Waldow to serve as Mayor Pro Tem. They also reappointed Town Clerk Antoinette McVeigh; Town Treasurer Beth Williams; Town Attorney Rod McGowan and Municipal Judge Ronald W Carlson (Thad Renaud as Alternate Judge) to serve until the next Municipal Election.
“Thank you for reappointing me as your town clerk,” said McVeigh. “It has been a pleasure and honor to work with you all.”
In Memory of Connie Clayton
The Board and Staff took a few moments to remember Connie Clayton, who passed away April 6. Born and raised into one of Fraser’s founding families, they expressed their gratitude for her enduring service to the community.
Mayor Vandernail recalled, “A few months ago, I jokingly told her I had heard she was going to run for mayor against me. She looked at me and said, ‘What %&$# idiot would want that job?!’” He laughed, saying, “She was gruff, but had a heart of gold.”
Trustee Andy Miller said, “Connie was my next door neighbor. She didn’t pull any punches. She was a wonderful person and wonderful spirit.” He observed that she and her family made Fraser the town that it is today.
Mayor Pro Tem Eileen Waldow said, “Holy smokes, I really loved Connie. She was a big part of Fraser. It was always fun to meet Connie, to try to make her smile. I did connect with her a lot these last couple of weeks and I am really going to miss her.”
Construction and Fire Code Board of Appeals
The trustees unanimously approved Resolution 2020-04-05, the appointment of the Board of Appeals. Made up of five members, Brian Dornbusch will serve a 5 year term; Troy Neiberger will serve 3 years; Steve Jensen will serve 1 year; Joe Gould will serve 2 years; and Jared Veenstra will serve 4 years.
Elected and Appointed Officials Compensation Waiver
When Trustee Ryan Barwick was elected in 2018, he had requested to donate his compensation for serving on the board to the Grand Foundation. Several Advisory Committee members had also opted to waive their compensation, creating a fund of $5,525 available for disbursement to a cause deemed worthy by the trustees.
Ordinance 467 was approved in 2018 to address the waiver option and fund.
During the April 15 meeting, the trustees discussed options of where to grant the funds.
“Mountain Family Center is running low on food,” said Waldow.
“That sounds like a good idea to me,” said Trustee Katie Soles.
Mayor Vandernail asked Barwick, “Are you okay with that direction?”
“That is perfectly fine with me,” said Barwick, adding, “I just wanted it to go back to the community.”
The trustees unanimously approved donating the $5,525 fund to the Grand Foundation with direction to grant the funds to the Mountain Family Center.
Earth Day Celebration
Trustee Soles observed the 50th anniversary of Earth Day was approaching. She asked if there was anything the town could do to recognize the day.
After discussion, the trustees agreed to offer a Free Day at The Drop, allowing valley residents to drop their trash off for free. They also agreed to give out trash bags to locals interested in picking up trash and cleaning up town streets and walking trails. The date was set for April 22.
Public Works Week
At the meeting on May 6, Mayor Vandernail read a Proclamation designating the week of May 17-23 as Public Works Week. The Proclamation states public works projects, facilities and infrastructure are vital to the continued growth and economic success of the Town and dependent upon the efforts and skill of public works officials and staff.
Underpass Bridge Acceptance
The newly completed Leland Creek Underpass Bridge came before the trustees for acceptance via Consent Agenda. Seeking further clarification, Trustee Andy Miller requested it be removed from the Consent Agenda so that it could be discussed prior to making a motion to accept.
Developer Clark Lipscomb told the trustees, “The bridge itself was accepted by the Union Pacific Railroad over a year ago.” He explained the acceptance of the bridge was separate from the roads beneath. Lipscomb also stated that he had wetland permits in hand for the entire project, adding that Town staff had the permits on file. Having recently reached a settlement agreement with the Town of Winter Park, he’d started work on the remaining project earlier this spring.
Lipscomb added that the new town engineer requested he redesign one of the roads for higher speed, at 35 mph, instead of the standard 25 mph used everywhere else. While he felt the request was illogical, he anticipated completion of the redesign by the end of the following week. He added that, as part of the settlement agreement, the roads should be completed by December 2020.
Trustee Miller told Lipscomb, “I compliment you on getting this agreement done. I was trying to get up to speed.” He added, “This is an important piece of infrastructure that the town ends up with. I am hoping we keep roadways designed at 25 mph.”
Town Manager Jeff Durbin clarified, “This is for final acceptance of the bridge, not the roadways.”
The trustees approved Resolution 2020-05-01 unanimously. They also thanked Lipscomb for his efforts.
“Hopefully I’ll live long enough to finish it,” joked Lipscomb.
2020 Roadway Resurfacing projects
Public Works Director Russell Pennington presented Resolution 2020-05-02, a resolution approving a Public Works Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Grand County to resurface CR 8, from US 40 to Wapiti Drive; Eisenhower Drive (intersection with US 40); and CR 72, from US 40 to John’s Drive.
“These roads are at failure,” said Pennington. He explained the condition of the roads necessitated total reconstruction. The County had received bids from two contractors, and United Companies had come in at a very competitive price, primarily due to the drop in oil prices. The IGA would split costs with the county 60/40 for CR 8 and 50/50 for CR 72. Including a 10% contingency, Pennington estimated the total cost for the three projects at $385,000. The projects had been included in the 2020 budget.
The trustees approved Resolution 2020-05-02 unanimously.
Canine Cabin Project on hold
Earlier this year, the trustees had approved a $15K sponsorship effort for the Canine Cabin project. Intended to attract visitors from across the region, the event would feature a number of doghouses decorated by artists to be put on display and for sale on the future site of the Creative Arts Center the weeks before and after Labor Day. Funds raised would be split 50/50 between the newly established Creative Arts center 501(c)3 and Grand County Pet Pals.
With the uncertainty associated with COVID-19, Trustee Soles asked, “If it’s cancelled, can we put in the agreement that they return the $15,000?”
Durbin said he wasn’t sure, since he thought the vendor wanted to begin marketing the event soon.
Trustee Barwick asked how much the event would generate. Durbin estimated it could raise a few thousand dollars.
“Is that math backwards to anybody?” asked Barwick.
Mayor Vandernail stated, “When we approved this, we felt this was a great idea to market our town. It would bring a pretty cool event to town. Times have changed. We don’t know if it’s going to happen or not.”
Trustee Quinn said he hoped a second wave of the coronavirus did not hit as projected in the fall. “I am thinking about tax dollars, with the way our current financial situation sits. The budget is a lot tighter than it was before COVID-19.”
“I think it’s too much of an outlay for the situation we are in,” said Waldow.
Quinn asked when the vendor’s deadline was to sign the contract. Durbin said he would find out.
Marketing and development Manager Sarah Wieck told the trustees she had applied for a $15,000 grant from the Grand County Tourism Board to cover the cost of the event sponsorship. While the Tourism Board had suspended grant funding, she believed their board was going to review grants that had been submitted soon. Wieck said she would check with the vendor on timing of the contract.
Mayor Vandernail suggested holding off a decision until the Town heard from the Tourism Board and the Trustees agreed.
Committee Members appointed
Mayor Vandernail and Manager Durbin presented the trustees with a list of the candidates and their recommendations for appointment to the Town’s Economic Development Advisory, Public Arts and Water/Wastewater committees.
Economic Development Advisory Committee
Toni Halgren, Rochelle Gould, Barry Young, Deb Buhayer, Craig Clark, Philip Vandernail and Brian Nichols
Public Arts Committee
Eric Vandernail, Debbie Knutson, Ernie Royball, Krista Klancke, Callie McDermott, Lisa Baird and Steve Fitzgerald
Ron Anderson, Bob Wolf, Dennis Soles, Eileen Waldow, Philip Vandernail, Parnell Quinn, and, new Trustee Brian Cerkvenik took Herb Meyring’s spot on the committee
Town Manager Durbin said the town would send a thank you note and token of appreciation to the outgoing committee members.
Fraser Valley Arts 501(c)3 Board
To complete the filing for the newly created Fraser Valley Arts nonprofit, the trustees are required to list three members of the Board of Directors. The town appointed Steve Fitzgerald, Deb Kulig and Callie Rae McDermott to fill the first three seats.
The Fraser Board of Trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of the month at 6 pm and the meetings are open to the public. To learn more, visit frasercolorado.com.