The next Salida City Council regular meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6 immediately following a joint work session with the Planning Commission. The complete agenda and packet are here.
Consent Agenda Focuses on Contract Matters
The consent agenda will consider final settlements for two projects, a change order for the Salida Skatepark, a ground lease at Salida Airport (Harriet Alexander Field), as well as the city’s share of a n FAA grant-supported contract to seal cracks and improve the airport’s runway.
This popular feature of each Salida City Council meeting follows next. Topics vary, but often include feedback on Salida’s downtown, housing and the arts as well as general concerns about living in the city.
Participants are welcome to sign up for up to 3 minutes of input on any topic, however, topics that are already part of a same-day formal public hearing (for example, short term rental tax/ballot issue or specific zoning or liquor license decisions) will be deferred to those scheduled hearings and not taken during general public comment.
Newman Annexation and High Density (R-3) Zoning
In a series of agenda items, the Newman land parcel at 7680 CR 140 is slated to move through two ordinances on second reading and, after holding public hearings, may progress to a pair of linked resolutions.
As reported by AVV on Aug. 16, the Planning Commission had recommended approval of these items in a public hearing on July 25, followed by a first reading in council; tonight’s second reading gives the public a final chance to weigh in. If Ordinances 2022-15 and 2022-16 are both final-approved, Resolutions 2022-40 and 2022-41 in the multi-step process will then consider findings of fact that the proposed annexation has met the requirements of the State of Colorado. Formal approval of the annexation itself includes three, staff-suggested conditions.
Notes in the packet state that the property owners have paid the wastewater system development fees and are in the process of connecting to the city’s wastewater system. They have requested to be allowed to connect to the city’s municipal water system and pay the system development fees of $14,979 over a period of five years.
Ballot Questions Imposing/Increasing Occupational Lodging Taxes on STRs; Updated Dollar Amounts
Ordinance 2022-17 is a final reading and public hearing on what has been a contentious issue meant to raise restricted funds to address the workforce housing issue.
If approved, ballot language will be submitted for the November 8 consolidated general election, imposing new and increased occupational lodging taxes (OLT), but only on short-term rentals (STRs).
The ballot language, as currently proposed includes two parts with updated amounts,: 1) a new Occupational Tax on all Short-Term Rental licenses of $1,000 per year, and 2) an increase/change in the existing Occupational Lodging Tax applied to the 230 Short Term Rental Business License holders, from a maximum of $4.82 per bedroom per night to up to $15 per bedroom per night.
Both of these measures would be used to generate revenue restricted to promote affordable housing stock and otherwise help Salida’s workforce to live in the city. The two measures (if both are adopted by voters) would generate an estimated $275,000 and $525,000 respectively, in the first year.
The combined revenues are thought to make an incremental but significant difference in the short term of the housing crisis. Longer-term measures will also be needed to help Salida catch up to its share of the workforce housing gap, noted in the 2022 Chaffee County Housing Needs Assessment.
The proposal (as updated) reflects considerable back and forth between council members, staff, residents and STR license holders this summer including letters to the editor and comments posted in AVV.
It is recognized that a possible, future ballot initiative to move Salida from a statutory city to Home Rule status might allow Salida to fine-tune such taxes, target out-of-state, absentee/second homeowners and help reduce the burden on local, owner-operated STR individuals.
It should be noted that either OLT will likely be passed on to STR guests. Given the continued surge of visitors to Salida, it could be asked; would these increases really affect their enthusiasm for staying in Salida.
The success of such a Home Rule initiative is not certain and adoption would be a few years down the road while the workforce housing crisis gets worse every month. It is incumbent on council members to address the questions some have raised as to exactly how and on what housing options the newly restricted funds would be spent.
Voter confusion may be already occurring, with at least one person mistakenly thinking that new monies might just end up in the General Fund or be spent on recreation or other areas.
To respect everyone’s time in the expected lengthy public hearing on this issue, city council suggests that concerned residents closely read pages 122-127 of the packet to be informed about the background and details of the proposal and ballot language, avoiding duplication of comments, if possible.
High Side! Bar & Grill Amplified Sound Permit
The applicant, located at 300 West Sackett Avenue on the riverfront has requested 12 additional amplified sound dates, running through October 29, 2022. These are above and beyond the 60 event dates already allowed per site, through application to the City Administrator. As such, a hearing seeking public input is required, followed by council approval.
Staff notes it has received only one complaint this season, regarding amplified sound events at High Side!, and that complaint was based on erroneous information about the hours of operation during a holiday weekend.
Jane’s Place Development Agreement
Resolution 2022-42 is a formal follow-up to Ordinance 2021-08 which approved the Jane’s Place Planned Development in June, 2021. The project is to be owned and operated by the Chaffee Housing Authority (CHA) at 3rd Street and Highway 291.
The Development Agreement formalizes responsibilities for the parties and the packet notes that the most relevant areas are in Sections 5 and 6 of the full agreement, contained in the meeting packet.
Purchase of Land at Salida Airport – Harriet Alexander Field
In Resolution 2022-43, council members will consider authorizing the purchase of 12.7 acres of land for $600,000 from Tracy Guccione and David Padoven. The parcel is at the western end of the runway, adjacent to the Salida Airport. Acquiring this land is recommended in the Airport Master Plan.
The purpose of the planned purchase is to preserve the airport’s Runway Protection Zone adjacent to CR 140, as well as to allow for potential runway expansion that could allow for larger airplanes to land.
As usual, the City of Salida is responsible for half of the costs of the contract, or $300,000, with Chaffee County contributing the other half.
City Finance Director Aimee Tihonovich notes that this amount would need to come from the City’s General Fund reserves, as the acquisition was not budgeted for in 2022. Available, unrestricted reserves are deemed to be more than adequate for this purpose. If approved a Colorado Real Estate Commission standard purchase and sale agreement (included in the packet) will be executed.
Meeting Concludes with Council, Mayor, Treasurer, Attorney, and Staff reports.
To register to listen and participate in the Regular City Council Meeting click on Go To Meeting. You will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. To simply watch the meeting with enhanced audio and video, “LIVE”, click on the City’s broadcast channel.
As a reminder, City Council Regular Meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month at 6:00 p.m. at 448 East First Street, Room 190. Council Meetings are open to the public and participants may choose to attend in person or virtually.
Featured image: Salida City Council members Dominique Naccarato, Justin Critelli, Mayor Dan Shore Jane Templeton, Alisa Pappenfort and Harald Kasper pictured in April, 2022 work session. Not shown, but attending virtually is Council Member Mike Pollock. Merrell Bergin photo