by John Kiljan
[updated April 15, 2014 3:45 pm]
Dear CLRC members and friends,
Personnel changes, housing density and traffic signals peppered this workshop meeting of the City Council, but mostly it was about management performance goals and a progress report on revising the City’s Comprehensive Plan — not very exciting stuff. Here are a few things I picked up during the meeting that I thought were interesting:
Long-time City employee, Michele Hovet, is resigning to take on a new job with the German software giant, SAP. Michele’s duties will be nationwide but she will still be able to work from her Wheat Ridge home. She has been with the City for nearly 20 years and has held her current position as Deputy City Manager for the last two years. The second Deputy City Manager position she held was created as a part of a staff reorganization by City Manager Mark Deven after City Manager Craig Kocian retired. Mr Deven is expected to fill the vacancy with a new hire.
Retiring employees were brought up several times. The City has an experienced — but aging — staff. Many of them will soon be eligible for retirement. And these pending retirements are creating a number of continuity problems for City management.
Also, starting soon at her new job will be public relations officer Maria VanderKolk. One of her first assignments may be to “re-brand” the City. That may mean changing the City’s long-time logos — and, possibly, even its street signs.
Comments are already coming in on the new flashing yellow-arrow signal heads. The City is enthusiastic about their safety benefits, but some staff and Council members are getting a hard time from the public. City Manager Mark Deven quipped that anyone who has served as an Arvada City traffic engineer should be nominated for sainthood. Not that there is a shortage of traffic experts — apparently Arvada has a large number of traffic experts. At last count, he said, we seemed to have over 100,000 of them. Arvada’s population count is a little over 100,000.
A long list of meetings are yet to come in revising the City’s Comprehensive Plan before a draft is available for public review and final adoption. But tonight the concerns by Councilor Dyer were about housing density along Indiana Street from 64th up to Candelas. The recommendations to increase housing density along that corridor go against earlier plans to keep this part of Arvada as low density to preserve the western part of the City’s rural feel. Councilors Allard and Dyer described this as a significant planning change and wanted to see more thought go into that recommendation before it became part of the revised plan.
Council members were told that Indiana would not be widened to four-lanes because it was a state highway. But Bob Fifer and others said it would have to be widened eventually. Councilor Fifer wondered if that could be done before the Jefferson Parkway went in so that the road was not in competition with the new parkway. As far as I know, there have been no public discussions on the non-compete provisions to be included in the new parkway’s development agreements.
Councilor McGoff wanted to see more emphasis in the comp plan in connecting Arvada’s most pedestrian-accessible areas. There is a new map of those designated areas in a draft documents that was not included in the Council packet available online. I’ve asked the consultant for a copy and will post it here if I can get the copy.
[Update: The Pedestrian Activity Centers graphic was received the next morning and is posted here. Click to enlarge the picture. Notably, the graphic does not show any missing sidewalks on Ralston Road from Olde Town to the Triangle. Hopefully that will be corrected in the final comp plan.]
The central Ralston Road corridor between the Triangle and Olde Town was designated to emphasize its potential for multiple uses — including multistory apartment blocks along the road. What was debunked, however, were rumors that the City was planning to rezone swaths of land along 57th and other parallel streets such as Grandview to allow for higher-density housing. That’s not in the City’s plans and it will not be in the revised Comprehensive Plan.
The parks department wants to change its name to emphasize its growing convention-hosting performance goals. Director of Parks, Golf and Hospitality, Gordon Reusink, said that Arvada is facing a shortage of hospitality space, and events such as weddings and conventions are already being turned away because of a lack of available facilities in Arvada. The West Woods golf clubhouse needs to be rebuilt — not because it can’t meet the needs of golfers, but because the building is being put to uses it was never intended for — such as weddings, large meetings and having a nice restaurant to support other gatherings. It’s popular enough for these events that parking sometimes spills over into adjacent neighborhoods.
And, as many of our readers know, as a part of the change in its governance, the Arvada Center at 68th and Wadsworth will be taking over the available ballroom space inside the Arvada Center. That will add to the City’s hospitality shortage. The Council will hold off on any name changes for the parks department until its plans for golf and hospitality are better defined.
District 3 Councilor John Marriott was on vacation and there was no discussion about the future location of the Courts or police station during this workshop, as had been planned earlier.
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004
April 14, 2014
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association.