Delegate Member Meeting Minutes May 13, 2017

INTER-NEIGHBORHOOD COOPERATION

DELEGATE MEMBER meeting minutes

MAY 13, 2017

Holy Transfiguration of Christ

Quorum present:

The meeting was called to order at 9:00am. The attendance count was 31 Delegates; seven (7) Guests; and no Alternatives. Two (2) additional attendees later joined the meeting, but did not sign in, thereby making an ultimate total attendance of 40. Al Habercorn moved to approve the April meeting minutes, it was seconded and they were unanimously approved by attendees’ acclamation.

DIGNITARY WELCOMES AND REMARKS

Deborah “Debbie” Ortega, Council At-Large

Introductory remarks were made by Deborah Ortega, which included a description, dynamics and developments in the Globeville, Elyria and Swansea (GES) neighborhoods. Of significant importance is the expansion and redevelopment of the National Western Stock Show complex, neighborhood connectivity with proposed road/street re-configurations, and the major reconfiguration of I-70. Also in the mix is the development of the Brighton Blvd corridor and the attendant ‘gentrification’ trends.

Other contributing factors are the City Park Golf Course water management project and the Platte to Park Hill project. In past years, industrial activities have contaminated the soil, which still has a health impact to this day. She cited that the life expectancy in the immediate area is 74 years, where, for example, Washington Park is about 10 years longer.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Transportation

Joel Noble, Co-Chair

To begin, regrettably, it was announced that the Denver Denver’s Chief Traffic Engineer Steve Hersey died unexpectedly following a surgical procedure. Joel will be send condolences and flowers on behalf of INC. The Transportation Committee met earlier in the week and featured four speakers/topics:

1. Ryan McCann with Denver Public Works spoke about the bicycle parking program. Property/business owners may have two city-funded alternatives for bike parking: 1) traditionally on a designated sidewalk area; or 2) on a designated curbside car parking space (racks for 10+ bikes). The property owner must maintain the racks once installed. Those requests to the city and funded twice a year. More information and application online at www.denvergov.org/bikeparking

2. Alejandro Henao discussed the economics of car ownership, both for car owners overall and for those driving for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft.

3. Jeff Walker, an RTD board member for RTD District D, discussed the financial oversight role the board has in determining the direction of RTD, with a good Q&A session.

4. Jill Locantore presented the Denver Streets Partnership is a collection of organizations seeking to advance the discussion on sidewalks, pedestrian ways, bicycle facilities and trails. INC and other entities have been asking the City for many years for a better way to fund sidewalk installation and repair, and our Transportation Platform furthermore calls for the build-out of the Denver Moves Bikes Plan.

The projected costs for all initiatives, including bringing sidewalks up to standard, hovers around $800 million. Denver Streets Partnership proposes a target of $40 million/year for 20 years. The Transportation Committee unanimously recommended that INC support this at today’s meeting, Joel requests a vote to sign on with the Partnership’s call for this level of funding. It was voted by show of hands 28 in favor, no one opposed and three abstentions (31 total votes).

Parks and Recreation (PARC)

Maggie Price, Co-Chair

The last committee meeting April 18 discussed the ongoing issue of more needed open space. A recent grass roots development effort known as Platte Farm Open Space is a 5.5-acre brown field site which was subject to illegal dumping and drug dealing on the outskirts of Globeville. It had digressed to a landing spot for trash and a meeting place for open illegal drug use/abuse. It has become a community effort in combination with DPR Design and Build to create a native short grass prairie for nature habitat, storm water control, walking, future trail connection, in partnership with outside non-profits. 

A large new and rare opportunity has surfaced in the Loretto Height/Colorado Heights campus located in the southwest corner of Denver. The school will be closed (with Denver Public Schools retaining a six-acre parcel) and the 77-acre property sold. Maggie read lengthy resolution to the delegation.

The upshot is the current owner, Teikyo Foundation, is selling the property; the objective is to purchase the land and convert it into Denver Park and Recreational facilities. There are no restrictions as to the potential redevelopment of the property for commercial or residential purposes. A vote was proposed for INC to support the purchase and conversion of Loretto Heights to park land. Al Habercorn moved to vote; Joel Noble seconded. By show of hands, there were 30 votes in favor, no opposed votes and one abstain.

Maggie announced the next PARC committee meeting will be held on May 16 at 2020 S Monroe (Brookdale) at 6:00pm. An end note was that PARC has gone into its ninth round of park designations, a credit to the committee’s efforts and influence.

Zoning and Planning (ZAP)

Margie Valdez, Chair

Of major relevance is the recent draft social consumption rules which have been issued by the Excise and Licenses Department in conjunction with the Denver Mayor’s office of marijuana policy. The text is available on the INC web site. Therein includes no ‘dual consumption’ (alcohol and marijuana in the same location at the same time), social consumption (marijuana use in permit-legal businesses provided the business complies with the Colorado Clean Air Act), minimum age of 21 with verified ID, no special event liquor licensed allowed with marijuana use and proximity rules in force within specified feet from schools/residences, etc.

Margie urges INC to support the proposed rules as issued. A public hearing will be held on June 13th at 5:30, room 4.G,2 at the Webb Building. This is a very confusing topic, as marijuana is still deemed a Schedule One drug by the federal government, even though it’s legal in several states, either medicinal, recreational or both. More discussion ensued regard some vague nuances of licensing and loopholes that may still exist regarding social consumption of marijuana in public licensed venues. However, Senate Bill 17184 (private social consumption clubs) died the last day of the Colorado legislation session.

Margie announce that the ‘small lots’ bill (6250) passed 9 to 2, in part thanks to Council At-Large Debbie Ortega in attendance. Also, the extension of dispensary hours to 10:00pm was passed, another item supported by INC. The Citizen’s Academy recently held their first meeting and will hold their next meeting on May 22nd. Finally, Margie moves to support the language of Council Bill 523 to amend the Denver Retail Marijuana Code and the Denver Medical Marijuana Code regarding waiting periods for licenses at or near a location where a previous application has been denied or withdrawn. Bob Inman seconds and the vote by show of hand was 33 in favor, none opposing and no abstains.

Special Denver Education Advocates – Eve Cohen (Chair of Organizing Committee)

The mission of the “Our Denver/Our Schools” is to ‘support and promote a high quality public education for all Denver children by engaging parents, students, educators and the broader community in education issues and empowering people to take action to ensure our students have the schools they deserve.’ Moreover, we will be advocates for Denver children and demand results from the district leadership to ensure every student has access to high-quality educators, programs, and facilities so they have the opportunity to succeed.

The organization currently has critical concerns mainly revolving around closer proximity to students/parents for a quality education. The city’s goal is also a quality education, but accessibility, in many cases, is the greater challenge (i.e. closing select schools and transporting students, particularly in lower-income areas). There are currently an additional 19-20 schools that are on the ‘chopping block’ facing this scenario.

Another major concern is that a hefty percentage of funding does not get to the students’ education, but rather is diverted to high administrative/overhead costs, outside contractors/services. Eve also submits that the DPS must be more open to community feedback to help in strategic planning, rather than being in somewhat a void with the neighborhoods’ voice and their more specific needs. Finally, accountability and transparency are lacking from the DPS board in making their decisions about todays and future planning.

One way mentioned to reverse some of the trends of declining student proficiency levels is to perhaps ‘refresh’ the Denver School Board; there are four board seats that are open (out of seven total) and will be filled in the November election. History shows that all board members typically vote in a block; there is a need for more independent thinking and voting freedom.

General Obligation (GO) Bond – JJ Niemann

GO Bond 2017 Facts & Current State

The current projected city bond package s is $700 – $900 million (of the approximate $3 billion total need); the possible number of projects is over 350. The decision process is:

  • Mayor appointed citizen subcommittees and the Executive Committee;

  • Mayor recommends package to the City Council;

  • The City Council places the package on the ballot;

  • Citizens decide if parts or all of the bond package will be approved by public on November 7, 2017.

Sticking points are deferred maintenance and a possible tax increase(s), along with need for more park land.

GO Bond 2017 Core Decision Criteria

The foundational criteria focus on:

  • Project readiness;

  • Bond funding eligibility;

  • Must have a 10-year usable life;

  • Equity (see below);

  • Cost considerations;

  • Critical system needs.

GO Bond 2017 Equity Index Criteria

Equity Index Components: Geographic Equity

  • Socio-economic considerations Equality vs Equity

  • Built environment

  • Access to care

  • Morbidity and Mortality

There is a great deal of contrast and comparison regarding these above criteria, which does nothing but complicate the allocation process and the public’s input and understanding. INC Board member Drew Dutcher went into some more specifics about select neighborhood issues and concerns, particularly in the GES geographic area.

JJ closes the meeting, thanks attendees for their time and effort, and looks forward to the next INC delegate meeting on June 10, 2017.

Meeting adjourned at 11:40

Submitted by Robert Inman, INC Secretary

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