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Work Session: Valmont City Park and Boulder Transit Village"~1-Cl ~Cnc~ ~ . City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Work Session Minutes October 6, 2003 m~~ ~ ~~n ~1~ ~ ~ ~~~ DO NOT REMOVE - PRAB File Material 13`h Street Conference Room 1720 13th Street 6 p.m. • u The following are the minutes of the October 6, 2003 City of Boulder Parks and Recreahon Advisory Board (PRAB) study sessaon A permanent set of these manutes and a tape recording (maantaaned far a percod of 6 years) are retained in Central Records (telephone: 303-441-3043). Board Present: Charles Manlove, Chair; Susan Osborne, Vice Chair, Ed von Bleichert, Pam Hoge, Suzanne O'Neill, Tom Sanford and Stu Stuller Staff Present: Jan Geden, Jeff Lakey, Frank Bruno, Doug Newcomb and Georgia Jackson Valmont Citv Park and Bouldar Transit Villaee Bruno and Newcomb were present to answer the Board's questions or concerns about the possible relocation of Pollard Motors to Valmont Crty Pazk (VCP). Bruno spoke about the process of findmg a suitable srte for the Transrt V~llage and C~ty Council's des~re to see the Transit Village move forward He also spoke about the senes of options that would be presented to Council at the Octobei 28 study session. • Hoge: Expressed concern over how the process evolved Wanted to know why Pollard wasn't told from the begmnmg that the land he requested was part of Valmont Crty Park (VCP) Bruno • Pollard is not as much :nterested an rel~catang to the pcrrk as he as interested in remaaning where he as Newcomb: Before Pollard submrtted his proposal in March rt had been made clear to him that the six acres he was mterested in were part of Valmont City Park. • Hoge. Wanted to know how Counc~l got mvolved at that pomt in time. Bruno• Believes Pollard called Spense Havlick [Council member] and told him that Pollard Motors would settle for so much money and szx acres an VCP • Newcomb• After receiving Pollard's proposal Newcomb asked Pollard for an explanation of the difference between the Yards site and the VCP s~te. Pollard sent back nine reasons Bruno • Then directed Newcomb to go back to Pollard's representative and present a flexabilaty of configurataon on the Yards sate that would be attractave to Pollard. • Osborne: What is the purpose of holdmg the October 28 study session just before the election when there could potentially be five or s~x new Council members~ Bruno Believes at as a desire on the part of departing Council members to coritcnue the p~•ogre,ss on thangs of interest to them The study sesscon will not be a time far dectsion-making - rather a time to update Council and provide inforrreation. • Sanford. Even if this Council made a decision on this issue it would not preclude the new • Council from overturnmg that decision. In Boulder there is no decision that is a 6rm decision Bruno. The October 28 meet~ng wall not be for decesion-making, rather it will be an update far Council and the decisaon will be left to the new Councal. • Osborne Thinks the city's perspective on the park site is that it is &ee land. Is there money to buy replacement land for Pollard Motors? Suggested relocating Pollard to the Park n Ride Newcomb Yes there are funds available and staff looked everywhere else fzrst. The fundang as a combarzataon of the sale of Foothalls Park-n-Rcde, Housang funds and an Intergovernmental Agreement with RTD for $2.5 maldion to go ~nto thas pro~ect The czty es not obligated to purchase a new sate for Pollard; the money wcll be used to buy the Pollard Motors site and wcth those funds Pollard buys a new sate. If Pollard chooses not to accept the offer, Council could execute the emanent domain Bruno: That certainly is an option that a future Counc~l could have. Would not recommend they do that ~ust as PRAB members would not recommend the park site as an option for relocatmg Pollard Motors. The October 28 study session is the first opportunity to get all the mformation m front of the Council. That same mformation will need to be presented to the next Council as well • Hoge: Offered options for where Pollard Motors could relocate such as the gas statron at 28`h Street and Valmont, the former McGucken Hardware site or Rayback Plumbmg. Asked if Newcomb was also pursumg properties that are not necessarily on the market Newcomb: Yes artd those property owners have been contacted. Recently contacted a property owner southeast of Arapahoe and Cherryvale to see if that property would be avaelable for purchase. • Bruno: While staff could take lots of time to find just the right srte for Pollard's relocation, one of the pressures to get this resolved is that Poilard would hke a decision soon; because • they want to make improvements to the~r property. • Newcomb: Been domg conflict management on Pollard smce their site was selected in May, 2001 Is here tomght to keep Pollard posted on what the city is domg because Pollard is interested m workmg wrth the city Newcomb is not sure when Pollard may get tired of the long drawn out process. Hoge What htzppens af they get tared of at ~ Newcomb: They could stop tallang with the city and then there would be no Transit Viilage. Hoge. Then the only option would be to condemn the property Bruno Does not think he could wrrte an economic policy that would be posrtive enough to overcome Crty Council condemning a busmess The reality would be that the Transrt Village would be a dead ~ssue. The option would then be to build a Transit Center on ~ust a portion of the Pollard Motors site. • Stul]er: Was the proposal that came to Newcomb's office in March a public document that the PRAB can see~ It would be very helpful to see the nine reasons why Pollard re~ected the Yards site Newcomb. Those are on my list to share at the study/inforn2ation session • von Bleichert. Can the PRAB get those reasons why Pollard hked the VCP site before the study session~ To the PRAB it seems premature for Pollard or the city to say that VCP is the ideal site given that Pollard's preference for the site is based on certam assumptions from the VCP site plan, that might not come to fruition if Pollard Motors is located on that srte Specificaliy, those assumphons are the hghted intersection and the road if Pollard Motors changes the site plan sigmficantly by putting the~r busmess there, the things that attracted them Co the site rrught not exist any more • PRAB Swdy Session 10/06/2003 - Page 2 • • Osborne: The history of the purchase(s) of land that Pollard Motors is situated on should not be hard to obtam. Pollard was ongmally on a smaller site and began buymg up land with knowledge of the future development of 30`h and Pearl Street • Osborne: The PRAB likes the idea of the Transit Village but wants to keep the park whole • Hoge; Feels hke Pollard is ~ust being d~fficult when they are empbaCic about wantmg the VCP site Bruno • Pollard as emphatic about one thing and that is that they do not want to move. • Manlove: The market today is very different than it was a few years ago. There are a lot more potential opportumties out there Newcomb Is lookang anto every opportunaty he can thank of Just recently looked anto the Exabyte bualdang that was vacated. Manlove. Is a little concerned that the idea of free land had to do with the amount of funds that aze available for the pro~ect Bruno and Newcomb No, funds woulcl have to be provided ~rc additaon to the land whether it as the Yards sate or the VCP site. • von Bleichert: Can the PRAB see the hst of all those properties that have been considered and those that are future alternative options~ Newcomb. That wall he an the anformataonal update for the study sessaon. Will take any and all suggestaons for where to relocate Pollard Motors. • Manlove. Suggested land north of Pollard Motors on Che west side of 30~' Street where Yhe RV repair place ~s located and the farmer Ford Office srte There are about three properties there that may be ready to sell Newcomb; Pollard wants sax acres whach as difficult to fcnd. Findang three acres ts no problem • Manlove• Suggested Rayback Plumbmg and Flowerama as a possible site to relocate ~ Pollard Motors • von Bleichert: Any other city-owned land besides the city Yards site that were proposed~ Newcomb. Not aware of any besides the Yards and VCP that were considered appropr~ate • Stuller• What capacity does the crty have to move forward ~f this issue is resolved~ Newcomb: Could start the process raght away and it would take approxamately eaghteen months before constructzon would begin • Osborne. Could the Transit Village be started with the anticipation that it would be completed at some future? Could the Transit Village be done in stages~ Newcomb. Would love to do that af Pollard did not have Chrysler Corporataon pushang him to bucld a new showroom. If the Transat Center was started and Pollard bualt a new showroom, Pollard would never want to move from his current site. • von Bleichert. What kind of timeframe and process will Bruno suggest to get these questions answered and that Council will accept~ Bruno It beg~ns wath the study session on the 28`" and wall have to have Che same ircteractaon wath the next Councal By January staff will have to be presenting informataon that will lead to a decasaon. Does not thcnk Pollard can be held beyond that tirneframe • von Bleichert• Have Pollard and Bruno discussed what the PRAB would need to do to re- design the concept plan, to decide whether or not there will be a road and traffic signal there. Is the money there to get these answers in the approprrate time frame? Newcomb. Both Housang and Transportation have offered up money to help offset such costs Geden The other point is that it's not ~ust a matter of makmg some drawmgs, there have been some promises to the communrty and a commumty process piece that would be a real challenge to meet m that hmeframe That land is attached to land thaY has bond • obligations PRAB Study Sesvon 10/06/2003 - Page 3 • Geden• Asked the PRAB to consider whether it makes sense to have a public hearmg m • October. What would the public hearmg be about as there is not yet any kind of direction to consider and no decision being made~ • von Bleichert Do all of these issues have to be decided by January? Bruno Yes All of thes informataon should be provaded during the Council study sesseon in terms of what a possable tameltne could look like. • Osborne• People m the community need to have the opportunity to express why park land should not be turned mto a car dealership. When should that pubhc heanng happen~ Bruno. Suggested havang the publac hearircg after the Councrl study session when all of the anformateon would be avaalable. Sanford. Feedback from a pubhc hearing would be better received by a new Council in November or December Bruna The Councal study sessaon wall be vadeotaped to be shared with the rzew Councal Hoge. Holdmg a pubhc hearmg m November rrught build momentum with the pubhc who do not want a car dealership m Valmont Crty Park. • Osborne: Role of the PRAB at the Council study session~ Bruno. Certainly PRAB members should be there but u hasn't been determaned who w~ll sat wcth Council members He inv~ted all PRAB members to attend. Bruno thanked PRAB members and then lefr the meeung with Newcomb. Transit V~llage Letter to Council Members Board members worked together to crafr the following letter to be sent to City Council members: October 6, 2003 Dear City Council member, As we look forward to the study session on October 28, we as members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board have chosen this opportunity to write to you directly We are wrrtmg this letter in early October and reahze that the staff Study Session Memorandum may well address some of our issues. Parks and Recreation Department staff has done an admirable job of researchmg and recording the process for the development and approval of the sile plan for the Valmont Park While concerned about the proposal to take future park land as a partial trade for Pollard's car dealership land, they have worked dingently to encourage us to thmk about options for a redesign of the park. However, we are the citizens chosen by you to oversee Boulder's parks You have entrusted us wrth the duty and responsibility to manage and advocate for our precious park resource You can understand our concern, unanimous on the board, with this strange turn of events ~ To a person, we support the encouragement of alternatives to the automobile, a diversity of housmg opporturuties and the Transit Village But as a group we have been put in the posrtion of bemg considered an obstruction in the way of an important city project because • we aren't willing to be silent when important aspects of our city's largest park are PRAB Study Session ]0/06/?A03 -Page 4 • proposed to be taken away This is unfa~r and a breach of normal process. It is unfair, not merely to us as a Board but to the various constituencies that contributed ro the development of a final approved plan for Valmont City Park By abrogatmg the appropriate process, it ultimately is unfair to the crtizens of Boulder And it is also unfair to you who were placed m a position of moving forward w~thout the mformation and history the Parks Board is charged to provide. Thc memorandum from our staff lays out the facts • a park plamm~g process takmg many years and costmg hundreds of thousands of dollars • clear and unammous Cily Council direction that Valmont was to be the location of the new commumty park and that 13 acres of City Yards ]and would be a part of the park • 72 pubhc meetings, concept plans, site plans and an annexalion approved by the City Council as well as the Plamm~g Board and • an adopted park plan and cuculation plan that would be made ~rrelevant by the proposed land trade The followmg effects should be considered as well• 1. The proposed land deal would undermine the unique qualities of Valmont City Park, which is planned to be an innovative blending of active recreation and environmental sensitivity that reflects the values of our community - We and ~ the parks staff have worked hard to refine the ideas m the master plan to balance active recreation wrth opportunities to provide wildlife corndors, to preserve some natural and historic places, to protect and contam pra~rie dogs, to develop a gray water irrigation system and to assure that there are safe alternaYives to Che automobile for eventual park users Trading the planned entrance of the park, which is today an active pra~rie dog colony, to a car dealer seems to fly m the face of the envuonmental care which the park is planned to exemphfy. 2. No longer would the city's largest park have visibility from Pearl Street - The site plan was destgned to locate the largest park buildmg and the parkmg lots to support it and the six proposed softball fields near to and visible from Pearl This is in arder to encourage automobile access from Pearl rather than Valmont. Street capacrty and neighborhood safety would be best served by this arrangement. The largest park buildmg and rts planned parkmg would have to be relocated m the trade 3. Moving the park building and parking to take primary access from Valmont will have a ripple effect on other planned park uses - Most hkely open playmg fields will be reduced. We know from a 2002 cit~zen survey (and our own experience) that the crty is woefully short of practice fields for our kids. The effect on other planned park uses will depend on the eventual sitmg of the recreation building and rts parkmg. ~ 4. There will be an impact on wildlife corridors - The final design for the conidors has not been established However, rt is clear that the corridors will be constricted PRAB SWdy Sess~o~ ] 0/06/2003 -Page 5 and greatly impacted by the nighttime illuirunation and fencing a car dealersh~p • would require 5. Significant efforts have been made to reduce conflicts between existing prairie dog populations and the planned uses of the park - The current design recognizes the ongomg effort that will be requ~red to successfully manage this challenge. It is unclear how the presence of a private entity in the midst of other public lands will affect the city's goals with regard to wildlife management For example, how will the Pollard car dealership react to the presence of prairie dogs adjacent to and on the~r site~ Recent decisions bring to hght that a private m- holding would be allowed to engage m extermmarion should a conflict ar~se. In order to subdivide and rezone park land for the car dealership, a new site plan for Valmont Park must be developed and approv0d - There is a plannmg process for amendmg an approved srte plan and we believe this process must be substantially completed prior to action on the Pollard land trade It is basic good planning to first assure all approvmg bodies that there is an acceptable alternative site plan for the park befare actmg on a subdivision and rezomng of land that presumes a change to the adopted park plan. 7. There are time and uncertainty factors in the subdivision and rezoning process that haven't been taken into account - Even wrth an amended park master plan, the Plannmg Board must act to approve comprehensrve plan and zonmg changes to allow the auto dealership use A subdivision must be approved as well It isn't • clear to this Board that the criteria for a rezomng can be met. It is our sense from listenmg to City Council members m pubiic and private meetmgs that from the first there was a rxusunderstanding about the status of the park plan - and of the former city yards land that has been part and parcel of the approved site plan smce 1998 We also understand that the idea to trade park land to the car dealer came not from crty staff but from a representative far the Pollards wrth no current knowiedge of crty plans or processes We would suggest that the search for land far the car dealership be re-opened Considermg that the park land that is dear to us is considered a"C" srte by the Pollards, what about lookmg along Arapahoe, 30`h Street and 28`h Street for redevelopable land, not only vacant land. It is important that those mvolved m makmg decisions about the Pollard relocation realize that the Valmont park land is not Free city land. There has been a sigmficant mvestment of Parks and Recreation funds mto this land. There are substantial financial and polrt~cal costs to reopenmg the master plan process and to subdividing and rezoning the parcel the Pollards have targeted. And importantly, there are community costs to reducmg future park land The voters approved park land purchases, acknowledging how scarce available land within the city was becoming The purchase of the land for Valmont Park was expensive, and a ~ part of the decision to locate oar city's largest park there was in fact motivated by the PRAB Study Sess~on 10/06/2003 -Page 6 adjacency of the yards site and the ability to include tkus land, with its Pearl vis~bility and • access, within the boundaries of the park. In closing, we request that the Valmont City Park land be removed as an option from considerat~on Sincerely, Boulder Parks and Recreat~on Advisory Board Charlie Manlove, Chair Susan Osborne, Vice-cha~r Pam Hoge Tom Sanford Suzanne O'Neill Ed von Bleichert Stu Stuller As the agenda for the October 27 PRAB meeting was very hght and PRAB members decided not to have a Public Hearmg on the Pollard Motors/Transrt Village issue, the October 27 PRAB meeting was canceled. The meetmg ad~ourned at 8.44 p.m • APPROVED BY PARKS AND RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD. ~~` -~`?`~`-~-~-__ Charles Manlove Board Chair Attest ~ \ ~ Georgia Jac on Recording Secretary • PRAB Study Sess~on 10/06/2003 - Page 7