In a major agreement during the week, the Town of Lyons closed with developer Paul Tamburello for his purchase of land in the eastern corridor for $851,000. These funds will go back into the Town’s water and sanitation fund. In 2017, the Town borrowed money from that fund to purchase the defunct Longmont water treatment plant land east of U.S. 36 from the City of Longmont. The Town was able to annex the land into town limits and build a new public works building on a portion of the land. It then put the remaining parcels (4.3 acres at 4651 Ute Highway and 3.28 acres at 4652 Ute Highway) up for sale to buyers who wanted to pursue uses described in the Lyons Primary Planning Area Master Plan.
At the March 2 Board of Trustees meeting, Mayor Connie Sullivan termed this agreement/purchase as a “huge milestone for town” and described Tamburello as “a great partner.” The trustees also approved a resolution ratifying an agreement to sell a small part of the adjacent railroad right-of-way property to Tamburello. He is a realtor/developer in the Denver area known for his re-development of historic buildings in the Highlands area and support of non-profits. Tamburello is expected to bring forward a Planned Unit Development (PUD) application for commercial development.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the trustees unanimously approved a resolution that enables replacing the Fourth Avenue pedestrian bridge. It commits the Town to coming up with $355,000 so that it can accept a Safe Routes to School grant from CDOT for improving pedestrian routes from Bohn Park to the elementary school. The trustees expressed confidence that with various sources of funding from the town budget, as well as an anonymous donation of $100,000, the total cost of the bridge could be covered. The grant currently requires that the work be completed by March of 2022.
Five residents of the confluence neighborhood, three of them the parents of young children, spoke in support of the Board of Trustees accepting the CDOT grant to replace the bridge. Priscilla Cohan described the original swinging rope and plank bridge that predated the steel one, her thrill at watching the replacement being lowered into place, and its part in the old Lyons Sculpture Trail. Kara Jostes recalled crossing the bridge in her wedding dress on her way to be married in Meadow Park.
In other Board of Trustees news:
– Does one tiny home make a campground? On a 4-3 vote, the board rejected a conditional use review requesting permission for a campground with one permanent tiny home at 601 Indian Lookout Road, a 7-acre agricultural-zoned parcel. Members of the board went through definitions of a “campground” with a proposed tiny home on wheels secured permanently and hooked up to utilities, comparing and contrasting the situation with the Lyons Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinance, which encourages carriage houses for long-term rentals only on residential properties in town (not as short-term rentals or lodging businesses). The comparisons were complicated when looking at two other agricultural-zoned properties on Indian Lookout Road. One went through the official ADU process and will only be using the detached carriage house for family or for long-term rentals. The other was allowed to run a bed and breakfast out of a detached “treehouse” building, what Town Planner Paul Glasgow called “grandfathered” use as a short-term vacation rental. Mark Browning, Wendy Miller, Mike Karavas, and Barney Dreistadt voted against the conditional use review. Some indicated they thought that the proposal was an effort to sidestep recently developed policies on ADUs (including tiny homes on wheels) and short-term vacation rentals.
– Water news: Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen reported that there was a recent leak of the water pipes under Apple Valley Road near Apple Ridge Road. The pipes, laid in the 1960s, were found to be corroded and likely in need of replacement. In unrelated water pipe work, Longmont Water and Town of Lyons have rerouted the pre-flood water pipes under Apple Valley Road, and are waiting for Spring to finish up paving and related work from this past Fall.
– In a different kind of water news, the trustees directed Simonsen to pursue purchasing up to $70,000 worth of Lake McIntosh water shares, which the City of Longmont has agreed that the Town of Lyons could use for either economic development or affordable housing water shares in the future. Mayor Sullivan speculated that the town could purchase the shares and, if the shares are not used for development, they might be used for the Town to sell excess water for a profit.
– The ice rink at LaVern M. Johnson Park is now closed for the season.
– Trees also were on the agenda. Mayor Sullivan read a proclamation in support of Arbor Day, and the trustees approved an ordinance that updates policies for trees on public property. One change includes a regulation that if a healthy tree is cut down on a homeowner’s property, it must be replaced with a tree of twice the value.
– Though no cases of the corona virus had been diagnosed in Colorado as of the time of the meeting, Boulder County employee and Lyons resident Joycelyn Fankhouser is the designated person in charge of corona virus response in Lyons. There is a website established by the County for information on the virus. Discussion included concern about a lack of space in the County Jail facility for any inmates who might need to be quarantined. Mayor Sullivan added that the best hygiene is to wash hands frequently. She said the public should not buy face masks because they are needed for health workers.
– In Boulder County Sheriff Sgt. Bill Crist’s report, Crist spoke about complaints of abandoned cars on town streets. He noted that technically, they were not “abandoned,” but that he had talked to the owners and let them know they were eyesores and asked the owners to remove them. He planned to work with the Town on more useful definitions of abandoned vehicles in Town of Lyons code. Crist also reported that the state is going to use a “driving under the influence” (DUI) grant to crack down on impaired driving on Rt. 34 in Larimer County near Estes Park and Routes 36 and 7 near Lyons. The increased patrols will be advertised when they are about to commence.
– Representing the Lyons Student Advisory Commission (SAC), Lyons Middle/Senior High students Olivia Cope, Charlie Gau, and Beck Farrell reported to the Board of Trustees about several issues the commission has been examining. Eliminating student vaping is one concern. The SAC emphasis is on preventing acquisition of vaping products and getting factual information out to students. The commission plans to present vaping information to students in the elementary school in the Spring. The Mayor pointed out that there is no licensing required for the sale of tobacco products. Boulder County might pursue such licensing to help restrict access to vaping products by students. There is a Colorado bill being proposed to decrease the penalty for youthful possession and increase the penalty to establishments that sell to anyone under 21. Currently, students are ticketed if they possess in school and must appear in municipal court.
– Another focus of the SAC is to increase youth participation in local government and to encourage student voting. Still in the early stages of exploration, a proposal would allow students who are 17, or possibly 16, years old the right to vote on local issues other than Board of Trustees or mayoral positions. There is a precedent for this in several U.S. municipalities. If approved by the voters in Lyons, youth voters would be registered by the town. The SAC proposed working with the Lyons Middle/Senior High School administration to make time during the school day for presentations of the issues to interested students, so that voting students would have knowledge of the issues on the ballot.