BY FREDA MIKLIN
At its regular city council meeting on June 4, Mayor Russell Stewart began by calling for approval of the agenda. Mayor Pro Tem Katy Brown immediately moved to amend the agenda to remove an item listed as “Community Security Shelter Code Amendment.”
CHV has specific requirements in its municipal code for guardhouses, which are commonly found in gated communities in the city. Typically, the streets within a gated community are private roads, making general maintenance and snow removal on those streets the administrative and financial responsibility of the homeowners, unlike public roads, which are maintained and plowed by the city.
Included in the information provided to city council for the meeting was a new proposed ordinance, or code amendment, permitting community security shelters. A memorandum from the city manager indicated that CHV’s current municipal code only allows guardhouses on private streets. It soon became clear that a community security shelter is similar to a guardhouse, but potentially used in neighborhoods with public streets.
Council member Al Blum seconded Brown’s motion to remove the community security shelter code amendment from the agenda. Mayor Stewart explained that the purpose of putting it on the agenda was to have a public discussion on the subject, which is permitted under CHV city council rules of procedure. That explanation did not appear to change Brown or Blum’s position on Brown’s motion.
Hoping to keep the issue of the shelters open for discussion, Mayor Stewart asked the city attorney whether it was legally required that the agenda be adopted by a vote at the start of the meeting. That led to a debate about Robert’s Rules of Order that didn’t resolve anything.
Council member Weil was asked by the mayor if he wanted to discuss community security shelters. Weil, who lives in Cherry Hills Farms, began “I think we have some appetite for this type of structure. It’s not about Cherry Hills Farms…”
Mayor Pro Tem Brown interjected, saying, “Sorry, but doesn’t discussion…have to pertain to the motion, which is the approval of the agenda…? After some back and forth, Mayor Stewart said, “The chair rules that the agenda item which covers security booths or guardhouses is part of the agenda and it’s fully within the debate.”
That led to other council members stating their positions. Council member Mike Gallagher said, “There is an appropriate way to handle this. It shouldn’t start with city council. It should start at the Planning & Zoning Commission.”
Council Member Dan Sheldon was uncomfortable with the order of events. He said, “Why are we discussing the merits of an agenda item when a council member moved and another seconded removing the item from the agenda?”
Council member Al Blum agreed with both Gallagher and Sheldon. He said, “This should start at Planning and Zoning. Also, we have a pending motion to remove it from the agenda? We should vote on that.”
Council member Afshin Safavi said, “I’ve heard people talk about this. I’m all for it. If people want to go ahead and have a security shelter, I’m all for it. I want to vote for what people want.”
Weil shared that this issue had come up four years ago and city council had rejected the idea. Brown agreed, saying, “The decision four years ago was that it was inappropriate to have guard houses on public roads. If it is going to be considered again, it should begin at Planning and Zoning.”
After a half-hour of debate that was mostly about parliamentary procedure, Mayor Stewart finally acquiesced and called for the vote on Brown’s original motion. Brown, Sheldon, Blum, and Gallagher voted to amend the meeting agenda to remove the item about community security shelters from city council’s agenda for that meeting, including the proposed new ordinance permitting them. Weil and Safavi voted to retain it. The issue was removed from the agenda.
A few minutes later, Mayor Stewart said, “I’ve talked to people who support the concept,” prompting Blum to respond, “Didn’t we just vote not to discuss this?” The mayor said yes and moved on to other business.
2018 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |