Mr. Jim Rees stated this item is to approve the Gold Hill Mesa Commercial Urban Renewal Area and the Urban Renewal Area plan. Mr. Jim Rees reminded the board that City Council approves the plans and the function of the URA is to recommend approval. The resolution written by Mr. David Neville states that the URA Board recommends to the City Council the adoption of the plan.
Commissioner Robert Shonkwiler requested clarification that it does not include the sales tax and asked when that would be decided. Mr. Jim Rees stated the redevelopment agreement draft would be re-negotiated and brought back to the board. Commission Robert Shonkwiler requested a very professional detailed Performa when it is brought back to the board.
Mr. Bob Willard, Gold Hill Mesa Metro District entered the meeting.
Commissioner Merv Bennett asked if there was any information in the commercial urban renewal plan that includes an expectation of the use of eminent domain. Mr. Jim Rees stated there was not. Commissioner Merv Bennett reemphasized that City Council is open to the use of eminent domain for public use, example SDS, but is closed if it is for private use.
With no further discussion, a motion was made by Commissioner Peter Scoville, seconded by Commissioner Valerie Hunter to approve the resolution. Motion carried 6-0 with Commissioner Nolan Schriner and Commissioner Jim Raughton abstaining.
Item 9 – Other Matters
Mr. Jim Rees stated Colorado Municipal League (CML) has introduced a bill that addresses some of the concerns presented by the Colorado Counties last year which the Governor vetoed. The bill does not provide for the requirement that the Counties wanted which stipulated that a municipality had to commit the same % of the sales tax increment into a project as was being required of the County property tax increment. It was not acceptable to any URA or municipalities. Commissioner Robert Shonkwiler asked if the County contributes any sales tax to any of the URA projects. Mr. Jim Rees clarified that the County, School Districts, City, all contribute property tax increment only.
Commissioner Robert Shonkwiler inquired about the Littleton Urban Renewal Authority ballot issue. Mr. Jim Rees stated the ballot issue comes before their voters on March 3rd. If passed any URA plan that is passed or amended that would change the way tax increments are allocated or the use of eminent domain would require a public vote. It would also eliminate the approval of their City Council. Arapaho County has an objection regarding URA plans that Littleton has already submitted and prepared that objects to the impact reports. They are in arbitration at this time. After the vote Mr. Jim Rees will provide a summary to the board. Commissioner Robert Shonkwiler stated the issue of eminent domain would be of importance to the board because of the blighted areas of Colorado Springs.
Commissioner Tiffany Colvert asked if there was a proposal of a South Nevada redevelopment plan yet. Mr. Jim Rees stated there was no formal request yet. The City had a rapid response team look at a project being proposed by Danny Mientka where the McDonalds is located at Nevada and Cheyenne Blvd. One of the proposed improvements would be a grocery store. Asked if any other projects had been proposed, Mr. Bob Cope stated there had only been conceptual plans so far. Commissioner Tiffany Colvert suggested the board be more proactive in dealing with the South Nevada blighted area and asked if the board should explore putting out an RFP to more actively look at that corridor as a whole rather than waiting for individual developers to piece meal some things together. Mr. Jim Rees stated since the URA does not have the resources to actively fund a study they were trying to work with the city as well as the developers in that area to pool all of the resources together and match it.
Mr. Peter Wysocki, City Planning Director entered the meeting.
Mr. Bob Cope stated there is a lot of opportunity to build on a concept and the city has been dealing with the three redevelopment groups on their individual projects. The City did get together with Danny Mientka on a pre-rapid response meeting to address different issues. One very important issue is how to treat the stream bed or Cheyenne Creek because of the huge flood plain issues. There has been competition between the three developers bidding against each other on properties which have made it more complicated. The three developers are at a point now where they really want to sit down with the city to talk about how this would look comprehensively, traffic, access, and how you would treat the stream all the way through. Ultimately, they would like for it to morph into an Ivywild/S. Nevada Task Force. Kathleen Krager, City Transportation Manager has agreed to do a traffic study which the city will pay for. With eminent domain off the table it is very important to work together with one vision and one plan to make progress. Discussion continued with different ideas proposed.
Mr. Jim Rees will send out to the board the same scope of services that he and Ms. Anne Ricker put together last year on South Nevada for a starting point.
Commissioner Merv Bennett said he had two issues to bring up. The first issue is regarding a request made at City Council to see the URA board meetings video tapped so people could see who is speaking. They are unable to tell from the audio recording. URA staff was directed to check with the Communications Department to see if the city has the ability to video the meeting in the Pikes Peak Conference Room.
The second issue is regarding the term, No Man’s Land. The people living along Colorado Avenue feel this reference has a negative connotation and prefer it being call The Avenue. Commissioner Merv Bennett gave an update and history on the progress and issues that are being worked on. This is an issue that has three jurisdictions, El Paso County, City of Colorado Springs and the City of Manitou Springs. The first settlement in 1858 in Colorado Springs took place in the area where the Taco Bell and 31st Street and Camp Creek meet Fountain Creek. It is very hard to know what jurisdiction you are in without looking at a map. PPRTA is funding a design and hopefully by 2016 will be able to start renewing The Avenue all the way from 31st to where Highway 24 goes over into Manitou. There are massive drainage issues and PPRTA has $12,000,000 set aside for that project and the state has provided $3,000,000 with a total of $15,000,000 set aside to deal with the drainage issues. The plan now is to deal with the highway and Colorado Avenue which is right now in the County. The discussions with some of the property owners regarding annexation have not gone well because of the tax implications. This is a long process but they are moving forward.
Mr. Jim Rees asked if Commissioner Merv Bennett felt it would ever be an urban renewal area. Commissioner Merv Bennett state the City of Manitou has already made their end of The Avenue an urban renewal area. Because of the multiple jurisdictions, there are other issues to be dealt with. There are people camping along the creek bed, humane trafficking and very aggressive panhandlers who are having a negative impact on the businesses and residents. There have been a lot of discussion and cooperation with the County, City Police Department, Manitou Police Department, Manitou Urban Renewal, Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) board members, business owners and residents on how to deal with these issues.
Mr. Peter Wysocki stated a presentation had been given to the Mayor and City Council about waving the annexation fees in order to entice land owners to petition for annexation. The board discussed various options and thanked Commissioner Merv Bennett for his presentation and requested he keep them up to date.
There being no further business a motion to adjourn was made by Commissioner Robert Shonkwiler, seconded by Commissioner Peter Scoville. The motion carried unanimously and the meeting was adjourned.
The next regular Urban Renewal Authority Board Meeting is scheduled for March 25, 2015.
Copies of the Board agendas, minutes and audio recordings are posted on the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority website.