By Jan Wondra
A major public hearing regarding its vision and public policy for creating and managing open space will be the primary topic of the next Cherry Hills Village City Council meeting, Jan. 7.
“We’ll begin with a 6 p.m. study session on open space, then in our 6:30 p.m. general City Council session, we will hold a lengthy public hearing allowing our citizens to express their opinions and thoughts about how we should proceed on this most important issue for Cherry Hills Village,” said Mayor Doug Tisdale.
Open space in Cherry Hills Village has been on the table frequently this past year, as the city commissioned the Quincy Farm Visioning Committee to develop a long-term vision for the generous legacy gift from resident Kat Anderson.
The work of the Public Art Commission has continued, placing major public art in Three Pond Park and at the corner of Quincy Avenue and Happy Canyon Road. Among the long-term decisions before the Village are such questions as how much open space to protect? How should the city use that open space, as natural environment, as recreational space, as setting for public art and or as community gathering space? Where should the city focus its efforts to acquire and protect open space?
With the report from the Quincy Farm Visioning Committee, also due in late January, the council deemed this first public session of the year as vital to provide direction for its open space decision-making process.
2014 budget passed
A major piece of business for the city’s final meeting of the year was the second and final read of the 2014 operating budget, which passed unanimously. Two public sessions preceded the vote; a Sept. 17 study session and a first read of the bill at the Nov. 19 council meeting. The primary discussion, prior to the vote on the roughly $6.3 million budget, centered on a question from the November session; whether to call out any additional ticket tax revenue more than $150,000 to flow directly to the Kat Anderson – Quincy Farm Open Space fund.
“My thought is to add an entry into the budget once revenue reaches that level,” said Councilman Alex Brown.
Tisdale said, “I’m hearing that we can create a mechanic to have the extra income, should we receive it, set aside for open space. But this relates to the discussion we are going to have on Jan. 7 about our open space in Cherry Hills Village. I’d encourage the council to pass the budget now, then we can address this specifically in January. There is also a question regarding extra revenue coming from the BMW Golf Tournament, which could flow to this fund. ”
“For the record,” said Councilman Scott Roswell, “I don’t want to lose sight of what we had talked about, from a broad policy decision aspect. I think we should at least add a revenue placeholder for open space. The question is do we call it an ‘excise tax’, or an admission tax, so we follow correct code language?”
Brown suggested adding a placeholder line item populated with $100, for the time being, amending the motion for first read passage. It was seconded by Councilwoman Katy Brown, and passed unanimously.
Public Works facility review continues
Public Works Director Jay Goldie provided an overview for a possible relocation of the public works facility. Cherry Hills City Council has quietly begun a review of land use, specifically the valuable land underlying its public works facilities adjacent to City Hall at 2450 E. Quincy Ave.
The land, in the very center of the village, is valuable. Its placement, maintenance sheds in the midst of the space containing City Hall, the Joint Public Safety Facility housing both the Cherry Hills Police Department and South Metro Fire and Rescue, and now the Alan Hutto Open Space, begs the question; is this the best use of this real estate? The review of possible solutions is moving forward, with several possible options for relocation identified and being prepared for discussion.
Green Building Codes adopted
Rob Zucaro, Community Development Director, reviewed the National Green Building standard, which would create a Cherry Hills Village building permit rebate program for residential owners who comply with the standard. The city has been reviewing the green building code changes since last May.
The purpose of green building codes is to reduce the effect of building construction on the environment. Moving forward, the codes would apply to new homes, not remodels.
“Historically, new construction is 50 percent of our building permit revenue,” said Zucaro.
The codes passed unanimously on first reading.
Cherry Hills Village central location snags top U.S. Suburb designation. Photo courtesy of Tom White
A survey announced Sept. 25 by The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, has named Cherry Hills Village as the No. 1 suburb in America to live. The survey, released by Coldwell Banker Real Estate, reveals its top 10 suburban picks for best places to live in America. It beat out such leafy enclaves as Clyde Hill, Wash., (near Bellevue, Wash., home of Eddie Bauer and Expedia), Wolf Trap, Va., (commuter area to Washington, D.C.), Englewood Cliffs, N.J., (only nine miles from Manhattan’s George Washington bridge) and Indian Hills, Ky.
In placing Cherry Hills Village at the top of the list, Coldwell Banker used information from Onboard Informatics, a provider of real-estate data. Cherry Hills scored a perfect 1,000 grade. Its top attributes include access to amenities such as grocery stores and banks, its proximity to good schools, ease of commuting by car and community safety.
Mayor Doug Tisdale said, “I am pleased and honored that our unique community has been recognized as the No. 1 best suburb of the United States in which to live. Credit for this great accolade goes to our visionary elected and appointed officials, our dedicated and hard-working staff, our caring and concerned citizens, and to our neighboring communities that provide many of the amenities that gave us a perfect score of 1,000.”
Cherry Hills Village, where the median sales price of homes is $1.04 million and home ownership is nearly 100 percent, is in good company on the top 10 list. Average home prices on the list ranged from more than $1 million for a Cherry Hills Village abode, to $725,000 for Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., and a modest $75,024 in East Grand Rapids, Mich.
“Cherry Hill Village is centrally located. It’s about a 20-minute commute to the downtown area and a 10-minute commute to the Tech Center and Cherry Creek,” Debbie Tilton, broker associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, said. “Many commuters are even able to avoid using the highway to get to work and several nearby light rail stations make for easy use of public transportation.”
Tisdale said, “This is not a story about living in a beautiful house. Many communities around the country enjoy large beautiful homes. This is a story about having a sense of place, about living in a community that enjoys the benefits of being a part of a great region, about having a remarkable vision of a fulfilling life in a place blessed with natural beauty.
“The Denver Post always used to say, ‘’Tis a privilege to live in Colorado.’ We here in Cherry Hills believe that the greatest privilege is to live in our Village.”
For the full suburban top 10 list, visit http://fyre.it/1rPC.
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