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Longmont City Council Members List Projects, Issues Expected to Get Attention in 2019

January 3, 2019
Kevin Mulshine, of HMS Development, left, Leion Bartholomay, VFW Post 2601 quartermaster, and Longmont Councilwoman Bonnie Finley, pictured Oct. 30 with a tiny home like those that will comprise a veterans' village. Seeing ground breaking on the village by year's end is among Finley's priorities for 2019.
Kevin Mulshine, of HMS Development, left, Leion Bartholomay, VFW Post 2601 quartermaster, and Longmont Councilwoman Bonnie Finley, pictured Oct. 30 with a tiny home like those that will comprise a veterans' village. Seeing ground breaking on the village by year's end is among Finley's priorities for 2019.

Open forum

Longmont City Council later this month will hold an open forum at which residents will get five minutes to speak on any topic, including any issues, problems or concerns they think council should address this year.

When: 7 p.m. Jan. 15

Where: Civic Center council chambers, 350 Kimbark St.

Longmont City Council members have varied to-do lists for the New Year.

Councilwoman Marcia Martin says she will be working this year on the possible creation of a new community arts and cultural center.

Councilwoman Polly Christensen will continue her efforts to increase the number of affordable housing units available to people who want to live and work in the city.

Councilwoman Bonnie Finley ( says she hopes by year’s end to see ground breaking on a “Veterans’ Home Village,” a project she and others have been working on that could provide 25 tiny homes on 2 acres southwest of Rogers Road and Hover Street that would serve as housing for veterans experiencing homelessness.

Councilwoman Joan Peck says she will continue pursuing the possibility of providing peak-hours Regional Transportation District commuter rail service in Boulder County, linking Longmont to Denver on that Northwest Rail line.

Meanwhile, one of the things Councilman Aren Rodriguez says he is interested in studying “possible alternative public transportation models outside of RTD.”

Councilman Tim Waters says one of his top 2019 priorities will continue to be for the city to create “new criteria and tools for evaluating, or ‘scoring,’ development proposals.”

Mayor Brian Bagley says he will be working with other agencies, organizations and interested parties toward achieving a goal of “making sure every child gets a high quality education,” especially pre-kindergarten early learning, and “reaching out to learn what we can do to make that happen.”

Those were among the goals, projects and services city council members listed when asked to identify some of the things they expect they will be trying to address — individually or collectively — in 2019.

Said Martin: “I am working to enable the construction of an arts and cultural center, preferably along the river corridor, which will include a robust convention center, a state-of-the-art performing arts venue and a five-star hotel.

“The interaction among these three amenities will provide extraordinary resources for the STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics — facilities for higher education that we hope to nurture here in Longmont,.”

She said, “The arts center will provide a dedicated facility for our extraordinary local performing arts community, as well as bringing in national-caliber attractions. Longmont can become a center for cultural events and gatherings of all sorts in northeast Colorado, enjoying the best and most accessible location in the area, with proximity to mountain parks, skiing and sensational scenery.”

Bagley said of the possible conference center: “We need it.”

Bagley and Waters both noted that city staff is continuing further research into the feasibility of another new community facility, an indoor ice skating rink and competitive swimming pool.

After pushing the issue for several years, Councilwoman Polly Christensen achieved a personal goal on Dec. 11 , when council adopted an inclusionary housing ordinance detailing affordable housing mandates that must now be followed by builders and developers of residential projects.

Council contact information

Mayor Brian Bagley: 303-651-8602, brian.bagley@longmontcolorado.gov

Mayor Pro Tem Polly Christensen, council member at large: 720-606-3665, polly.christensen@longmontcolorado.gov

Ward 3 member Bonnie Finley: 303-774-3612, bonnie.finley@longmontcolorado.gov

Ward 2 member Marcia Martin: 303-774-3617, marcia.martin@longmontcolorado.gov

Member at large Joan Peck: 303-774-3619, joan.peck@longmontcolorado.gov

Member at large Aren Rodriguez: 303-774-3615, aren.rodriguez@longmontcolorado.gov

Ward 1 member Tim Waters: 303-774-3614, tim.waters@longmontcolorado.gov

“I have led the way on affordable housing and will continue to promote fiscally sound, just, creative ways to save and increase our housing stock,” Christensen said.

Waters said the inclusionary housing ordinance was “a big step toward our goal to provide housing and support services that end the risk of homelessness in our community.”

Martin said she is “working with several independent agencies in Longmont who seek to prevent and mitigate homelessness in Longmont. I am not doing this as a member of council, but as a responsible and concerned member of the community.

“Serving on the council has raised my awareness of the difficulties of staying securely housed in this economy, both because of the aftereffects of the recession and because of the disproportionate cost of housing in our most desirable location,” Martin said, adding that “having an impact on this is one of my main goals for the New Year.”

Finley, who was the only dissenter in last month’s 6-1 vote to adopt the affordable housing mandate, said that now that it is local law “we will need to revise our codes, streamline our development process and look at other ways to incentivize builders so they don’t just go somewhere else to build.”

Said Waters of the system he would like to see established for rating development proposals, “I am aware of other communities that have produced rigorous and sophisticated systems — criteria, tools and processes — for scoring new projects based on their contribution to a triple bottom line: residents, the environment and developers.”

He said council has directed city staff to “create, adopt or adapt a Longmont approach to evaluating and scoring development proposals based on their contribution to our people, our planet, and to profit.

“I know both city planning and public works departments are working on this and I am looking forward to seeing the results of their efforts early in 2019 and seeing our Planning and Zoning Commission using a new approach to guide their decision making by the end of the year,” Waters said.

Rodriguez said in addition to taking a look at public transit options beyond what is provided by RTD, he is interested in evaluating city roadways and traffic systems for improvements, “including the possibility of not just adding more lanes, but in some cases reducing lanes on streets where the flow of traffic has decreased over time.”

The Veterans Village tiny homes plan — a pet project of Finley’s being led by Veterans Community Project, a Kansas City, Mo.- based nonprofit, and locally by organizations that have formed the Longmont Veterans Housing Coalition — is more of a community project than a city project, she said.

“But the city needs to ensure it can go forward by doing a couple of things, the first of which is a metro district for the area. And council and staff need to change some of our zoning regulations to make that happen,” Finley said.

Bagley noted that one of the goals in a “work plan” council adopted in October was to “provide high quality pre-K opportunities for all our children so that they have a good start in life.”

Children “who get love and education at an early age have emotional and intellectual stability in later life,” he said.

The full work plan, its visions and goals can be at tinyurl.com/y8wll2gt

Said Finley: “The council’s vision to make Longmont a place where children thrive also would “be well served by an idea we are looking at to make sure every child in Longmont has a college fund.”

Finley said she, Waters and Eric Hozempa, executive director of the Longmont Community Foundation, “are looking at how best to approach this and make it happen.”

Christensen said, “I personally want to see that our town has opportunity for everyone, not just those who can afford to go to college. There needs to be opportunities for adults to retrain for new careers, and for young people to train in skilled trades that pay well and provide satisfaction.”

Waters predicted that early this year “residents will see individual or combinations of council members working — and leading — on transportation, early childhood learning, corridor development, cultural and economic development options.”

Contact Staff Writer John Fryar at 303-684-5211 or jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc

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