your voice matters – Estes Park Trail-Gazette

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In August 2021, the Estes Park Planning Commission unanimously recommended a modification of the Estes Park Development Code which would allow taller constructions in the city center, provided that certain design criteria are respected. Now this amendment is forwarded to the city’s board of directors for consideration and decision, including a public hearing on Tuesday, September 28. We need to hear from you on this issue!

The proposed change would increase the maximum building height in the downtown commercial zoning district from 30 feet to 42 feet currently. This number was chosen to allow three full stories above grade for mixed use or commercial buildings; a purely residential building could have four floors with a careful design. The amendment requires any building over 30 feet in height to include the following design details:

· The highest storey should be “set back” from the lower walls of the building at least eight feet on each side facing a right-of-way or public property;
· Blank walls cannot measure more than 10 feet by 15 feet;
· The walls of the building should include two items from a list of design features, such as windows, doors, trim, change of roof line, or several other choices.

The change is recommended for several reasons:
· Encourage residential redevelopment on upper floors, or even entirely residential buildings in certain areas of the city center;
· Allow more commercial space to improve economic options for homeowners and owners;
Make the city center more resilient to our inevitable natural hazards, such as flooding (much of the city center is on the recently revised floodplain maps) and fires (many buildings in the city center are currently constructed with a wood frame.)

The city council’s public hearing will provide the public with an opportunity to express themselves and be heard on this issue. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. on September 28 and participation is encouraged online (Zoom) as well as in person in the City Council Chamber, City Hall, 170 MacGregor Ave. More information is available at www.estes.org/boardsandmeetings. Members of the public are encouraged to submit specific comments on the amendment using the public comment form at https://dms.estes.org/forms/TownBoardPublicComment (also linked to www.estes.org/boardsandmeetings) to review by city council.

City encourages public participation in budget process

Estes Park City Council will consider the 2022 municipal budget proposal in study sessions and public hearings in September, October and November. Study sessions are scheduled for September 30 from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and October 7 from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 170 MacGregor Avenue.

These sessions will be broadcast live via www.estes.org/videos. The public is encouraged to observe the study sessions, although public comment is not part of the process until the October 26 and November 9 city council meetings. Members of the public are encouraged to submit specific comments on budgeting using the public comment form at https://dms.estes.org/forms/TownBoardPublicComment (also linked to www.estes.org / boardsandmeetings).

Public hearings on the budget take place at city council meetings on October 26 and November 9, with final adoption slated for November 9. The public is encouraged to comment during these public hearings, which take place at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chamber. and on Zoom for those who wish to participate remotely, and will be broadcast live and recorded at www.estes.org/videos. The mask is compulsory in the municipal council room. Agendas and meeting documents are available at www.estes.org/boardsandmeetings.

Each study session will include presentations on different funds within city government. The September 30 study session will focus on the capital improvement plan, an overview of the general budget, including pay and benefits, general government (legislative, city attorney, judiciary, office of the city ​​administrator, city clerk’s office, finance, human resources and benefits, and workforce housing), core funding from outside entities, community reinvestment fund, community center fund, vehicle replacement fund, museum, information technology fund, risk management fund, visitor center, events and community development (planning and building permit divisions).

The October 7 study session will focus on policing, public works overview, facilities, parks, open space fund, conservation trust fund, engineering, fund for street improvement, fund for trails, transit, parking, streets, fleet maintenance, fund for electricity and communications, fund for water and global summary from the budget.

Each year, the process begins with creating a budget calendar at the start of the year, usually in March or April. Then, departments begin to review their budgets and potential needs for the following year.

Strategic planning meetings are held in June with the mayor and the board of directors to determine priorities and advise on budget preparation. Departments then prepare their base budget requests as well as service proposal change request forms taking into account the strategic plan and submit them to the CFO. A base budget is then prepared without any operational changes as a starting point for the budget. Then, the departments categorize the service proposal change request forms for the entire general fund, identifying the priority changes they wish to submit to the city administrator for review.

The city administrator, in collaboration with the finance manager, then identifies the changes to be included in the recommended budget. The financial director then prepares the draft budget which will be examined with the municipal council during the budget study sessions. Once the budget is approved in November, it is printed and submitted to the state of Colorado by the end of January.

The budget process forces City staff and its elected city council to make difficult decisions to balance the City’s limited revenues with the cost of providing its basic services, as well as to accommodate ever-increasing demand. extended public services. Although fewer than 6,000 residents live within the city limits, millions of
clients also rely on City services. Instead of property taxes, which are kept low for its residents, sales taxes feed the revenue into the City’s general fund so that visitors share the tax burden and support services like street maintenance, parks, etc. police services and many others.

Financial information for the Town of Estes Park, including budgets and the annual financial report, is available at www.estes.org/finance. For more information, please call the Finance Department at 970-577-3560.


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