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Author: Miranda Fisher

Parks, Recreation, Open Space Advisory Board Vacancy – Applications Due August 7, 2020

The following Appointed Volunteer Advisory Boards and Commissions have vacancies and/or reappointment positions available:

 

The Parks, Recreation & Open Space Advisory Board (PROSAB): The PROSAB maintains the Town of Nederland and Surrounding Areas Open Space, Trails, Parks and Outdoor Recreation’s Master Plan in conformance with the Town’s vision and with the direction of the Board of Trustees.  PROSAB members serve for three-year terms.

·       One vacancy – terms expire June 1, 2023

 

Interested parties should complete an application located at: https://nederlandco.org/government/town-boards/ and return it to the Town Clerk, Miranda Fisher.  Applications can be submitted via email, in person at Town Hall, 45 West First St., or through postal mail at Town Hall, P.O. Box 396, Nederland, CO 80466.

Applications are due by 5pm on Friday, August 7, 2020.

Board of Zoning Adjustment Envision 2030 Responses

The Board of Zoning Adjustment met on July 9, 2020 and gave the following answers to the SWOT questions provided.

STRENGTHS

  • What are a few of the BZA’s greatest achievements over the last decade?
    • Theme: Minimal variance requests over the last decade
      • Very few variance requests and minimal disputes.
      • The BZA has met and made positive rulings every time there has been a request.
      • The BZA in collaboration with the PC and BOT has helped to improve and clarify the Town building codes, decreasing the number of variance requests.
    • Training by the Town Attorney and Jefferson County.
  • What are some of the BZA’s most valuable assets?
    • Theme: Staff and board knowledge, experience and expertise
      • Cynthia Bakke, Deputy Zoning Administrator, is able to head off variance requests by being transparent with property owners and letting them know prior to purchasing a property would might require a variance. Bakke also educates applicants to the five points of criteria that need to be met.
      • Staff recommendations are helpful prior to discussing the application. Their perspective if greatly appreciated.
      • Experienced members with seasoned abilities to think through BZA issues, as well as new members who bring enthusiasm and fresh perspectives.
      • BZA board members are able to easily interact with Town staff who help to make the process work accurately and smoothly.
    • Complete and comprehensive information allow the BZA to make good decisions that are rarely challenged.
    • An ordinance was passed within this past decade that clarified the guidelines requiring all five conditions be met.
    • The BZA is set to meet quarterly but meetings typically are canceled because there are no applications to review. Historically the BZA met monthly.
  • What makes the Nederland BZA unique?
    • That we have a separate BZA for a town with only 715 structures.
    • Nederland is a mountain community with odd shaped and non-conforming lots with interesting terrain which makes for unique cases.

 

WEAKNESSES

  • What have been the BZA’s biggest challenges over the last decade?
    • The BZA has come close to being short members.
  • What are some of the disadvantages of being a small mountain community as it relates to the BZA?
    • Because everyone knows one another, disputes can be acrimonious and personal. When people know BZA board members, applicants often assume that their relationship will help to get extra consideration in favor of their request.
  • What should be the BZA’s main focus area for immediate improvement?
    • Theme: Training BZA members so they are more familiar with the municipal code.
      • All BZA members should become more familiar with code and previous cases that have come before the Board.
      • Annually the BZA needs to discuss and be reminded of the purpose and roll of the board.

 

OPPORTUNITIES & THREATS

  • What programs, services or amenities could the BZA offer today that aren’t currently available?
    • Theme: Online resources for BZA and public:
      • A “case-book” of what has come to the BZA within the last 10 years that outlines what the issues were and the resolutions. Make this information available to the public through the website.
      • Have the meeting minutes accessible on the website, including the ability to make the document searchable.
    • The BZA has an opportunity for members to really help citizens who request variances, as well as neighbors and the Town as a whole as variances enhance properties, usually enhances a neighborhood/Town as a result of enhancing that property, and helps clean up past mistakes such as the crazy plating of Big Springs or Old Town.
  • What resources does the BZA lack?
    • No responses received for this question.
  • What obstacles does the BZA face?
    • The variance criteria have usually provided a good structure and concrete guidance for BZA decisions, but there still have been some “interpreting” attempts, especially when the Town vision is brought in, in particular around the uses of solar power and other “green” proposals are involved.
    • More reliance on computer/internet technology, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be challenging for individuals who are not technologically savvy and can devastate productivity and efficiency.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

  • Is there anything else you’d like the community to consider as we move forward with Envision 2030?
    • The BZA and Envision 2030 should be separated and the BZA should only focus on the Nederland Municipal Code 16-231 – 34
    • Short term rentals distort the local rental market in a town where 40% of our residents rent. The trade-off of property ownership rights vs. the need for adequate long-term rental stock will affect who can live in Nederland and who cannot, as well as the character of the town.
    • Needing focus are downtown development.
    • Annexation of surrounding property.
    • The BZA needs to know the sentiments of all residents, not just the subset who come to BOT meetings. We are all tactics, and no strategy. Strategy gives the citizen boards context and direction, with the support of a majority of our residents.
    • Would like the Town to look into ways to hold hybrid meetings that allow people to call in and participate still.

Parks, Recreation, Open Space Advisory Board Meeting – Thursday, July 17, 2020 @ 7pm

Please join us for the Parks, Recreation, Open Space Advisory Board (PROSAB) meeting on Thursday, July 17, 2020, at 7pm. The meeting will be held virtually through WebEx and is open to the public.

Website: https://townclerk.my.webex.com/townclerk.my/j.php?MTID=mfa31c6761d070e4ded56a78767f838cc

Meeting number: 126 649 4152

Password: u3S82PDYbVT

Join by phone: +1-415-655-0001 US Toll

Access code: 126 649 4152

Password: 83782739 from phones and video systems

Click here for the meeting agenda!

Town Hall Hours: Week of 7/13 – 7/17

Monday, July 13th: By Appointment Only
 
Tuesday, July 14th: By Appointment Only
 
Wednesday, July 15th: 9am – 5pm
 
Thursday, July 16th: By Appointment Only
 
Friday, July 17th: 9am – 5pm
 
To make an appointment, please call 303-258-3266 ext. 0. Thank you!

Official Message from Mayor Larsen on Behalf of the Town of Nederland regarding House Explosion

Since the explosion on July 3, a multi-agency team has been investigating a property in the Big Springs area. This team includes the Nederland Police Department, Nederland Fire Department, and the Boulder County Regional Bomb Squad. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and other federal agencies, and the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office also assisted in the investigation.

During the investigation, law enforcement officials discovered homemade explosives and incendiary devices. Some of these explosives were deemed too dangerous to transport and were detonated on location. Town officials and law enforcement recognize that these detonations may have been unsettling and wish to reassure members of the Nederland community that the detonations were both necessary and carried out with the utmost care. Community safety has been, and will remain, the top priority.

Because the investigation is ongoing, law enforcement cannot release additional details at this time, however the majority of the explosive material found on site has been eliminated.

The Nederland Town Marshall, Town Administrator, and Mayor wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the dedicated first responders who have worked long and difficult hours to keep Nederland safe. All involved agencies have been forthcoming with information with town staff, but until this point in time we have been unable to share these details with our community.

Update from Town Hall Regarding House Explosion

We understand there are a lot of questions about the home explosion in Big Springs and subsequent controlled detonations. The property of the house explosion is an active crime scene and there is an ongoing investigation. The Mayor and Town Administrator are participating in a debrief on site today and a press release is forthcoming.

Lost Lake area near Nederland to close over human-bear safety concerns

Hessie Trailhead, trails remain open for day use only to Wilderness boundary

BOULDER, Colo. (July 7, 2020) – The Roosevelt National Forest and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are closing the area around Lost Lake to all use starting Wednesday, July 8, 2020, over safety concerns with a bear in the area.

This bear has been involved in conflicts at the campground since 2017, entering unoccupied tents, retrieving people’s food left unsecured and showing little fear of humans. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is confident it is the same individual bear due to matching descriptions from conflict reports.

“We are concerned for the safety of backcountry campers, as this bear has become an issue,” said Kristin Cannon, Deputy Regional Manager for CPW’s Northeast Region. “For the time being, we feel it is best to keep campers safe and close down the area.”

The entire area is closed to camping from the Hessie Trailhead near Nederland to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area boundary. Day use along the King Lake Trail or Devil’s Thumb Trail will be permitted; but the Lost Lake Trail spurs off of King Lake Trail will be closed and no use will be permitted beyond that trail junction.

“This area closure is a rare step that we take only in the most critical circumstances and is necessary for public safety,” said Boulder District Ranger Angela Gee. “We understand that this is the height of camping and hiking season and our hope is this closure will be brief.”

The closure will remain in place until further notice.

“We would like to remind the public that no matter where you are camping this summer, especially if you are in the backcountry, please use a bear resistant canister to store any scented items and pack out all trash,” said Jason Duetsch, Area Wildlife Manager for CPW. “This is the best way to avoid dangerous bear encounters and to prevent unnatural food rewards.”

Helpful links:

 

Board of Zoning Adjustment – July 9, 2020

Please join us for the Board of Zoning Adjustment meeting on Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 7:00pm. The meeting will be held virtually through WebEx and is open to the public.

Website: https://townclerk.my.webex.com/townclerk.my/j.php?MTID=m4420169a8abaa5f80f78bf7ea10bf2eb

Meeting number: 126 595 5221

Password: bZGWbyRB996

Join by phone: +1-415-655-0001 US Toll

Access code: 126 595 5221

Password: 29492972 from phones and video systems

Click here for the meeting agenda!

Message from Mayor Larsen regarding House Explosion

So, who else is tired of the explosions in town this week?
It’s frustrating for all of us, even more so for our friends and neighbors in Big Springs. As I’m sure everyone is aware, a small explosion happened at a house Friday evening and ever since, experts from a number of agencies have been investigating the house and detonating some of what they’ve found.
The worst part of it is the uncertainty. Our first responders were exemplary in sharing information during the first hours after the explosion. As they learned more of what was in the house, other agencies got involved, from the County upwards. Once that happened, information became harder and harder to get as the active investigation progressed.
And I know that’s not what any of us wants in these cases. We want to know what is going on in the house. What are they finding that caused the explosion? Is there more still in the house? What are they destroying in the subsequent detonations that shake our homes? And, most importantly, is there any danger to anyone in town?
I wish I could answer all those questions for you, but some can’t be answered at this time. What we do know is that we have our police and fire departments working with county, state, and federal agencies to ensure that anything that is too dangerous to remove, whether because of what it is or because it is some unlabeled and unknown container, is safely contained and eliminated on site. Yes, that means another day of occasional detonations. We’re fortunate that the original explosion was as limited as it was.
We do know that the house now is no threat to the neighborhood. And in time, we’ll know more details of what happened and why. It’s incredibly frustrating to live with this uncertainty and what, if anything, we can do to prevent dangers like this in the future. I know it will be a topic of discussion at the Board of Trustees and hope anyone with creative ideas will help us and share those ideas.