The Niwot LID advisory board is back at full strength, following the appointment of three new members late last month. Joining the six current members are residential representative Lisa Rivard, and business representatives Cornelia Sawle, owner of the Niwot Inn, and Mary Coonce, co-owner of Porchfront Homes, who was also elected to the Niwot Business Association’s executive board recently. The three fill the vacancies left by the departures of Harris Faberman, Carrie Wise, and Jay Champion during the past several months.
The three newcomers were on hand for the board’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 5. After spending several minutes on introductions and opening discussion, treasurer Bruce Rabeler presented his report for March, starting with the new district revenue report from Boulder County. According to the report, the LID earned $17,787 in December 2018, bringing the unadjusted total for the year to $186,652. However, a questionable deposit from early 2018 could lead to a downward revision to $181,652, which is just a slight increase over 2017 ($180,717).
Rabeler attributed the flat revenues to the absence of Colterra, and noted that 2018 revenues in the accommodation/food service sector fell by more than 11 percent. That was offset by a 26 percent gain in the retail sector, however.
“Those two sectors make up about 77 percent of revenue, and they still did this past year, but retail was higher than accomodation/food service, and possibly the dispensary had something to do with that,” he said.
Moving on to the budget report, with no pending funding requests, Rabeler reported that LID spending was unchanged, at $38,401, against the budget amount of $132,854 or about 29 percent.
With no funding requests to deliberate, the board moved on to New Business and Niwot Economic Development Director Catherine McHale with a quarterly marketing report. She noted that businesses are “cautious” about relocating or building in Niwot due to the county’s moratorium, and “people are taking a wait and see approach.”
She then provided an update about her recent marketing efforts on behalf of the town, including a luncheon for commercial brokers, the ongoing Big Town advertising campaign and various internet and social media campaigns.
In Old Business, county liaison Mark Ruzzin reminded the board that the land use department is collecting feedback about coming updates to the housing and economics section of the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan. Last month, two county planners gave a presentation to the committee about the potential revisions to the plan, which will then be used to inform future updates to the land use code, planned for later this year. The LID board has the option to submit a policy statement on behalf of the community or to submit comments as individuals via the county’s website (https://bit.ly/2QxgOAD).
Ruzzin then reminded the LID committee about the upcoming commissioner’s hearing to consider the NRCD Land Use Code updates, and opened the topic for official discussion by the board ahead of that proceeding.
Guest Tony Santelli, president of the Niwot Business Association and former member of the LID, asked for a two-part addendum to the LID board’s October 2018 resolution in opposition to the moratorium.
“One is the probable codes that will be finalized in the next week or so are detrimental to the businesses. And secondarily, the fact that the alley access not being addressed is causing us to have an unacceptable risk to pedestrian safety on 2nd Avenue. Because of lack of alley access, vehicles are continuing to cross the sidewalk day and night, and that is an unacceptable situation for us.”
The board then debated the new language for more than an hour, with most members speaking in favor of adopting it, though Rabeler, who is both a resident of 3rd Avenue and 2nd Avenue property owner was opposed. Resident Jim Eastman spoke to the issue of whether the LID board should remain neutral in this issue and finally argued that its duty to promote “economic vitality” in the community made staying neutral against its mission.
Unsurprisingly, the alley’s vague treatment in the code updates generated some strong comments.
“There isn’t a property owner in Niwot that hasn’t been betrayed by this process,” member Anne Postle said. She owns property in Block 5 of the NRCD and developed Southpaw Commons last year. “We all know that the alley was the biggest issue, and the alley has been ignored. The alley is still the biggest issue and we have no answers and we have no direction and that is a betrayal of the process.”
Ultimately, the LID board adopted compromise language that “urges” the commissioners to extend the moratorium for 30 days beyond the March 20 deadline “to conduct further stakeholder outreach to lead to revisions of the NRCD I Land Use Code and strongly consider the NRCD I business property owners’ proposal as the basis for these land use code revisions.” The updated resolution was then submitted to the county commissioners to consider ahead of their public hearing on the matter on March 12.
With no Old Business or public comment, the meeting was adjourned. The committee will meet next at 7 p.m. on April 2 at the Mountain View Fire Station.