Wellington Board of Trustees 7/111/2023 by Nanci Wendland
This meeting had a lot of Resolutions and Ordinances to discuss with public comments as well as Board deliberations before voting. Ashley Macdonald, Mayor Pro Tem, filled in for Mayor Chaussee who was out sick, started the meeting with a statement that if any of the public was there to discuss the Asphalt Plant, they would not be heard. The Asphalt Plant decision made by the Planning Committee is under legal appeal and no information can be given or discussed at this time. Dan Sapienza, Town Attorney, mentioned later in the meeting that this is the first time in Wellingtons history that a decision by any committee has been taken to appeal.
There was also some board member tension towards the end of the meeting when discussing Resolution No. 23-2023 to Amend the Town of Wellington Expenditures for Fiscal Year 2022 Budget. Trustee Gaiter was very vocal about his displeasure with the Finance Department and Town Administrator and how they’ve handled the town finances. The resolution failed the vote and there was a motion to reconsider the resolution next week in a special session. Mayor Pro-Tem Ashley Macdonald disagreed with the postponement, along with three other Trustees. I’ve included their discussion in the notes below.
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Full Meeting Notes:
There were about a dozen residents present at the meeting. Comments came later in the meeting when discussing Ordinance No. 07-2023 to rezone and replat a portion of the Saddleback subdivision.
Resolution No. 22-2023 – Renew the annual Contract for the Wellington Senior Resource Center (WSRC). Jenny Jones, Public Works Program Administrator, and Dorothy McClure, WSRC Director, gave a presentation and updates on the activities and value of the Wellington Senior Resource Center. Jenny plans to educate the public better using brochures, promotions and fundraising to promote the center. Dorothy gave an update on three new programs starting this year; members are at 101; and an overview of how much the Senior Center provides to the community.
Trustee Gaiter commented how he would like them to go before the board for renewal in advance of the contract expiring. Jenny replied they usually do, but this year had some complications in timing for them.
Trustee Weigand would like Dorothy to see if seniors can get more involved in the community.
The Resolution passed: Yes – 6 No - 0
Public Hearing for proposed rezone of Saddleback Subdivision from R2 – Residential Low Density to R3 – Residential Medium Density and to approve a preliminary first Replat of the Saddleback Subdivision.
The subdivision was zoned and platted in 2018. Due to the increased Wellington water rates and lack of non-potable water available to this subdivision, the Developer was asked to reduce the size of the lots. The lots were originally designed as large 12,000-16,000’ft lots but without non-potable water for landscaping and irrigation, using potable city water for outdoors would not be cost effective or an efficient use of the city’s water.
According to the Developer, Sage Homes, Martin Gepro responded that by having narrow lots and the builder providing both front and side zero scaping, it would add an additional 53 lots but increase open spaces by about four (4) acres. The Developer has also agreed to work with the city on a detailed water analysis and present the results to the boards with their final plat request.
Trustee Gaiter didn’t see a water savings by adding additional lots.
Increase traffic has been a large concern to residents and Trustee Weigand who lives in the area. Cody Bird, Planning Director admitted that the subdivision will see an estimated 530 additional daily trips by new residents in the area. This area already has congestion at the Frontage Road and trying to get on the I25 overpass. Unfortunately, The I25 overpass is under CDOT’s control and Wellington is not a high priority for them right now.
Public Comments on the Rezone and Replat of Saddleback Subdivision:
Dawn – Suggested leaving the lots original size (less homes) and require the HOA to have zero-scaping on all homes.
Elizabeth – don’t rush into this decision. There will be negative impacts to water use, increased traffic, bussing children to schools, and emergency services. There is no fire department on the east side of I25.
Wes & Cassie Sanford – they own property to the east side of the new subdivision off County Rd 60. They see water as the big issue. Worrying about outdoor watering is only a few months of the year during summer. More homes mean more indoor use. Cassie mentioned that the south end of the subdivision is on a floodplain. The south end of their property still has standing water from all the recent rain.
Carlos – he lives near the Sanford’s, and pointed out the potholes on the frontage road, a constant flow of traffic, and that sometimes he gets off I25 at Mulberry and uses the Frontage Road all the way home north due to increased traffic at the Budweiser exit.
A Meadows subdivision resident asked why the developer couldn’t be required to put in well for their non-potable water use. No rezoning or re-platting would be necessary. Also mentioned trying to use the I25 overpass and it is taking up to 10 minutes to get across when he’s trying to take his children to school.
Rebuttal by Sage Homes
Due to the south end flood plain, yes, maybe the south end street of homes will have to be eliminated or add a crawlspace to the design. Asking an HOA to require zero-scaping only could turn potential buyers away, and having large lots means using a lot of city water at a very high cost.
Both Ashley Macdonald, Mayor Pro-Tem and Cody Bird, Planning Director reminded everyone that this is a preliminary step. Once this ordinance is approved, then the Developer and Builder can propose a detailed plan with infrastructure improvements and final lot size and design. The final Plat is what would be denied or revisions requested.
Each Trustee offered a review of nine (9) conditions (see presentation) and its negative or neutral impact on the community.
The vote on Ordinance No. 07-2023 Rezoning a portion of Saddleback Subdivision from R2 Low Density to R3 Medium Density passed with
Yes – 3 and No – 2 (Gaiter and Weigand).
Ordinance No. 08-20223 Adopting all references to the National Electric Code, 2020 Edition that went into effect January 1, 2021. This is a clean-up ordinance to update documents referencing the old, prior code to the new code.
Approved Yes – 6 No – 0
Resolution No. 20-2023 and 21-2023 Petitions for Annexation of the Sage Farms Annexation and the Village at Sage Farms Annexation to establish a date, time, and place for a Public Hearing.
300 acres and 2 separate parcels for commercial activity at Hwy 1 and County Road 58 want to be annexed into Wellington. According to Dan Sapienza, City Attorney, this is an early process and its too early for any detail questions, and/or concerns.
Approved Yes – 6 No – 0
Resolution No. 23-2023 Amend the Town of Wellington Expenditures for Fiscal Year 2022 Budget. Presented by Patti Garcia, Town Administrator and Meagan Smith, Deputy Public Works Director.
There is an invoice from North Poudre Irrigation Company (NPIC) for November 2022 water usage that came in almost $600,000 over budget. According to Patti and Meagan, this is a typical budget amendment, and costs are based on a 1983 agreement with NPIC. Interest Rates increased by NPIC caused the budget overage. However, the Finance department, and Patti and Meagan, were able to find an additional $500,000 from other capital improvement projects that came in under budget and can use those funds to pay this bill.
Trustee Gaiter wants to know the details of where those additional funds are coming from. Which projects? Meagan replied that they had a list and would send it out to the board members later.
Trustee Tietz and Weigand also want to see the details of where the funds are coming from and would like to postpone the vote until the next meeting if possible.
Ashley Macdonald, Mayor Pro-Tem said working with NPIC is delicate and the bill needs to be paid. Why not use the $500,000 found? It’s important to pay the bills and why should it matter which projects are being used?
Failed Yes – 3 No – 3 (Tietz, Weigand, Gaiter)
A motion was presented to review the $500,000 and reconsider the vote at a special session meeting next week. Motion was approved.
OTHER BOARDS Update
Library Board update given by Ross LaGenese, Library Director
Ross thanked everyone for supporting the library and gave a list of donors and asked that town residents support the businesses around town. The 2023 year-to-date numbers have increased. There are 212 new patrons with over 18,900 items checked out. All library events have been well-attended, and Ross is considering new Pilot Programs based on community input.
Ross started a Youth Council through the library. These youth are designing and developing programs in the community based on input from Wellington youth. They currently have almost $8,000 in donations and are very excited to make a positive impact in Wellington.
Town Attorney, Dan Sapienza: he let the board know that his department is reviewing and summarizing a 1900-page appeal with eight (8) hours of video attached. He plans to get the appeal packet completed by Tuesday of next week and to the board on Wednesday next week. There is a Planning Commission hearing scheduled for July 25, 2023.
Trustee Gaiter report: Gaiter issued a scathing list of concerns about the Wellington Finance department and the lack of oversight by the Town Administrator. Why was Patti Garcia just now bringing this November overdue water bill to the board’s attention that is over by almost $600,000?
The Finance department has been $3.8 million in the negative because of water.
From January 2022 through June 2022 there were no town finance reports provided.
In June of 2023 the Finance Director resigned.
There is no Cash Handling Policy.
Back in 2022 all GL account numbers and budget numbers for wages and salaries were changed.
Trustee Daily discussed what she learned at the CML (Colorado Municipal League) seminar the last week of June: homelessness, affordable housing, and how the town staff should not work in an atmosphere of fear and policing their work.
Meeting adjourned at 9:38PM
Follow up on the Asphalt Plant decision appeal, July 25th. Watch for any special sessions before then.
Stay up on any changes to the Saddleback Subdivision planned for the Southeast side of Wellington between County Road 60 (south) and Ronald Reagan Blvd to the north, east of I25. Traffic both during construction and additional homes added to an area with minimal highway access and no emergency services nearby are the biggest concerns.
Can’t wait to see what the new Youth Council proposes and puts in place. This meeting showed a lot going on in the town of Wellington: Library space and offerings, Senior Center participation in the town, and of course water limits on all future growth.