BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER The Centennial City Council, at a meeting earlier this week, heard a...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Centennial City Attorney Robert Widner made a presentation to the Cit...
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER The Centennial city council Monday night selected Mike Sutherland, a cou...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER The City of Centennial has adopted a Value Statement, which is: In Ce...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Centennial residents opposed certain proposed residential apartment d...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER The Centennial City Council is considering updates to the city’s fisc...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Vaping was again a topic of discussion at a Centennial City Council m...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Centennial has been recognized as not only the safest city in Colorad...
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER A Centennial woman told the City Council Monday night that a drone in he...
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Vaping and e-cigarette use was the topic of an extensive discussion by t...
BY DORIS B. TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
The Centennial City Council, at a meeting earlier this week, heard a presentation by the City’s Principal Planner Jenny Houlne regarding further extensive development of the Centennial Center Park, which is just to the east of Centennial Civic Building.
The cost of the further development is estimated to be $5.4 million over the next three years. Houlne explained that the Arapahoe County Open Space Fund can be used to pay for open space and trail projects, which will be built in cooperation with South Suburban Parks and Recreation District.
A private company, Design Workshop, Inc., has assisted Centennial in developing a park plan adopted by the Planning and Zoning Commission on May 8, 2019, and approved by the Council on May 20, 2019.
The city and the Arapahoe County Board of County Commissioners entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement in 2004 that entitles Centennial to use Open Space Sales and Use Tax, known as “Shareback Funds,” for development of the park. That agreement was amended in 2012, with the amendment providing for an additional 10 years to be added to the Shareback Funds Agreement. The Shareback Funds Agreement will now extend until 2023.
Houlne said Centennial’s Open Space Advisory Board annually reviews and recommends projects to be funded by the Shareback Funds.
There will be three phases to the project. Plans for Phase 1 of the project call for an extended parking lot with a drop-off area to be built. In addition, Phase 1 will also include additional restrooms and a sledding hill. Plans are for Phase 1 to be designed in 2020 and built in 2021.
Phase 2 will include a community pavilion and is anticipated to be built in 2022. Phase 3 will include a garden path with landscaping, picnic area, and a multi-purpose lawn and is anticipated to be built in 2023. A Request for Proposals will go out later this month, followed by the selection of a consultant to oversee the project.
The planning also will include decisions on placement of trees in the park. Houlne said that the city hopes to start designing Phases 2 and 3 later this year.
The city staff met with the council in October 2018, in regard to plans for the expansion of the park, which has won awards for its innovation. The city tallied more than 300 responses to an online survey regarding the improvements to the park.
The Shareback Funds are distributed annually on or before June of each year. Centennial received about $2.9 million in Arapahoe County Shareback Funds for 2019.
Centennial City Attorney Robert Widner made a presentation to the City Council Monday night titled “Advanced Legal Topics.” It included the differences between various types of actions the Council is permitted to take.
The passage of ordinances is “the most important” action the council takes, Widner said. There are two presentations of an ordinance, the first being the “first reading” and the second being the “second reading,” which includes a public hearing on the ordinance, the term describing a municipal law.
A second type of action the council may take is consideration of a resolution, which is a formal action requiring only one consideration. As for an ordinance, the majority vote of council determines whether the resolution is passed or not.
A third kind of action is a “motion,” which is the least formal action the Council may take. Finally, a fourth type of measure is a “proclamation,” which is a ceremonial recognition and is an action of the mayor.
In passing ordinances, the Council has wide discretion, Widner said. Council immunity from lawsuit related to an ordinance is “absolute.”
When a council is taking quasi-judicial action to determine legal rights of individuals or small groups of citizens, there must be notice and a hearing, Widner said. Additionally, citizens have a right to speak to the Council when quasi-judicial action is being taken.
In regard to administrative action by the Council, there is little or no legal recourse for the public to require reconsideration of its decisions.
The land use decisions are the “big ticket” issues for the Council, the city attorney said. Additionally, the adoption of a comprehensive land use or master plan for use of land in the city is a legislative action, he stated.
The lecture by Widner was part of the orientation of new council members, who were sworn in at the first meeting of the year on the first Monday in January. There are three new council members, and one council member who was re-elected for a second term.
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
The Centennial city council Monday night selected Mike Sutherland, a council member from District 3, in the middle of the city, as its mayor pro tem, after debating whether it is necessary to select someone to fill the office.
At one point in the meeting, at least three different council members (Cathy Turley and Tammy Mauer, in addition to Sutherland) were nominated for the position, in which a member of council is elected from among those serving on council, to take the mayor’s place and run the council meeting or other function when the mayor cannot be present.
Councilwoman Candace Moon had suggested that the selection of the mayor pro tem should be put off “indefinitely.”
City Attorney Robert Widner explained to the council that the purpose of having a mayor pro tem is to fill a “gap” when the elected mayor cannot be at a meeting or other function.
Since, after discussion there was only one candidate for the position, Widner said it was not necessary for the council to vote on the issue.
Sutherland, who thanked the council for the “vote of confidence,” was sworn in by the recently appointed municipal judge for the city, Louis Gresh, who also swore in the newly elected council members.
The City of Centennial has adopted a Value Statement, which is:
In Centennial, we value kindness, integrity and diversity in order to build a strong unified and inclusive community in which all citizens feel welcome and safe. In Centennial, we value protecting the community’s physical and emotional wellbeing. The City of Centennial is committed to upholding, demonstrating and living these values and takes pride in this statement.”
There was no opposition to the adoption of the Value Statement, and at each council meeting, the statement remains up for all visitors and council members to read.
Centennial residents opposed certain proposed residential apartment developments in the Southglenn area, at a meeting of the City Council on Monday night. The four residents speaking to the council were articulate in voicing their opposition.
Council members did not respond to the mainly older residents who told them that the proposed apartment buildings provide for development that is too “dense,” specifically 57 residents per acre.
The developments are proposed for the Shops at Southglenn shopping area. One proposed apartment building would be in the space that formerly was occupied by the Sears department store.
Diane Gimber, of 6917 South Madison Way, in the Cherry Knolls Subdivision, said she has been educating herself about Centennial and she is not opposed to development. At the same time, she said she and her husband oppose the proposal by Northwood Raven, a development company, to build a large apartment building in the Southglenn area.
Gimber said she and her husband have been learning about the city, and have traveled to visit other cities, to see similar developments. The density, 57 people her acre, is simply too much, she said. “The Shops at Southglenn was not intended to have 57 residents per acre.”
Another Centennial resident, Denzil Inman, of 6917 S. Madison Way, also in Cherry Knolls, told the council that many residents in the area around the Shops at Southglenn “are trying to respond to developers’ requests for three amendments to the Master Development Plan for the area. The developers are requesting “to double height, drastically increase residential apartments, and reduce retail by almost half.”
Inman said developers should “reconsider” their thinking. Many residents have “spent dozens of hours trying to get up to speed” with the various development plans for the area, he said. Since March 2019, residents have studied the various plans for the area and have attended numerous meetings” about the proposed modifications to those plans.
It appears “from our side that the process is rigged in favor of the developers,” Inman continued. “We have been lectured that the developers have property rights and all they have to do is satisfy their amendments will be approved and all they have to do is jump through the hoops” of the five criteria in the Master Development Plan.” The residents’ objections “have had little effect on the city or the developers,” who appear to be “confident” that they will get to do what they want.
The actions of the city, in letting the developers have their way, has been “very destructive and wasteful,” Inman continued. “We’ve lost trust in both the city and the developers.” Neighbors “have wasted hundreds of hours of our valuable time, but one good thing has happened,” and that is that “our neighborhoods have come together into an organization of several hundred people.”
A third speaker, Jane Mataich, said that 57 residents per acre “is very high density” and is in violation of the city’s own codes. No one will be able to shop at the Shops at Southglenn because “there won’t be any parking available,” she said. She added that the city staff is “outstanding” but that they appear to be “lobbyists for the developers.”
A fourth resident, Ron Phelps, who recently lost a bid to unseat Candace Moon as council representative in District 1, the eastern-most area of Centennial, also spoke in regard to the proposed residential development, stating that he represented a group called The Neighbors of the Streets at Southglenn. Citizens are “becoming engaged” to oppose the dense development, he said.
Phelps stated that he believes that the proper amount of land around each home should be one-third acre. Centennial is largely a “bedroom community” and is not set up to accommodate such dense residential development, he stated. Phelps said there are 470 “engaged citizens” opposing the developers’ proposed plans. He stated that the developers have not tried to work with the group that he represents. Phelps said he has talked to the developers via telephone, and they are not willing to consider plans other than the dense apartment development.
Phelps also stated that residents have “lost trust” in the Centennial City Council. He predicted that the anti-apartment group will “fight this plan” and is “willing to learn and do whatever is necessary” to prevent the dense development.
The Centennial City Council is considering updates to the city’s fiscal policies.
At its meeting Monday night, the council heard a report by Doug Farmen, Finance Director, in regard to the city’s financial policies. The issue of updating fiscal policies will on the agenda for the council meeting on December 16.
The Centennial Budget Commmittee met four times in 2019, discussing the revenue, expenditure, budget, debt, fund balances, reserve, and capital improvement program policies.
The adopted budget of the city contains an estimate of anticipated revenue from all sources for the coming year, as well as estimates of the expenditures necessary for the operation of city departments.
Department directors have a responsibility to monitor their department’s budget on a regular basis.
Vaping was again a topic of discussion at a Centennial City Council meeting on Monday night, with one vaping shop owner recommending to the council that the city increase the age for purchasing vaping products be raised to 21.
A married couple who own a vaping shop at 5210 East Arapahoe Road in Centennial, spoke to the council about a possible flavor ban for vaping products. Sarah Walter and Shaune Walter, owner of the store, told the council that vaping flavored products has helped many people to get off of tobacco products.
Ron Castagna, of 5403 S. Idalia Way, told the council that there was a time a few years ago when it appeared that the smoking issue was being addressed. Now, however, vaping has “set things back,” he said.
In an interview, Cigarettes are “very carefully engineered” to produce addiction, Castagna said. He added that there are many children today who are addicted to vaping.
Centennial has been recognized as not only the safest city in Colorado, but also the 43rd safest in the entire United States by 24/7 Wall Street. No other Colorado cities made the list.
The 50 safest U.S. cities were identified by violent crime rates in cities with at least 100,000 people from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 2018 Uniform Crime Report. Centennial has approximately 120,000 to 125,000 residents.
The total number and the rates of murder, rape, manslaughter, robbery, and aggravated assault, which are included in the violent crime rate, as well as burglaries, larceny, and motor vehicle theft (property crimes), also came from an FBI report.
According to 24/7 Wall Street, there were only 181 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Centennial. Non-violent crimes such as motor vehicle theft and burglary are also not especially common in Centennial. There were 1,754 property crimes for every 100,000 people in 2018, well below the national property crime rate of 2,200 crimes per 100,000 residents.
“Being a safe community has remained a priority for Centennial since it was incorporated in 2000-01,” said Councilwoman Candace Moon. “The City is especially appreciative of the continued partnership it has with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. We thank the men and women of that office who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep our city safe.”
Wealthier cities tend to be relatively safe and Centennial is one of the wealthiest in the nation. More than one-half of all Centennial households have incomes of more than $100,000 a year, well above the median household income of $57,652 nationwide.
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