Montrose, CO — City Councilors met for a work session Monday morning, September 19, to hear from a company conducting a housing needs assessment in the community and consider an extended IGA with Montrose County, a new annexation, and a pair of Municipal Court matters.
Councilors Barbara Bynum, Dave Frank, Doug Glaspell, David Reed, and Ed Ulibarri met in City Council Chambers along with city staff.
The following is a summary of the primary topics discussed during the meeting.
Watch the meeting here.
HOUSING NEED ASSESSMENT CONSULTANT INTRODUCTION
City Councilors were introduced to the team that will be conducting a housing needs assessment throughout the community in the coming weeks and months.
Community Engagement Specialist Ross Valdez said the City of Montrose awarded a professional services agreement to Points Consulting to conduct a housing needs assessment within the city. The assessment is funded through the DOLA Innovative Housing Strategies Planning Grant with a partial match from the city.
Brian Points of Points Consulting delivered a presentation to the council reviewing the company’s approach to the housing assessment, which will include compiling and interpreting key documents, collecting data, and conducting market research for the Montrose area.
Points said the work will help city administrators better understand the local housing market and the most important challenges to local housing accessibility and affordability. He said the work will also help area non-profit housing advocate partners be better informed and have better information to target grant dollars to help the people they serve.
Ross said staff is assisting Points Consulting by connecting them with key partners throughout the community.
DISCUSSION OF GRAFFITI FUND MONIES
City Councilors were presented with a potential ordinance that pertains to graffiti and graffiti removal in the city's Municipal Code.
Municipal Court Judge Charles Greenacre said the city collects funds from fines for graffiti enforcement. Greenacre said there is no such graffiti removal fund because the city’s Municipal Court does not get many graffiti cases.
Finance Director Shani Wittenberg said the city has spent nearly $50,000 from 2017 through today, on graffiti removal throughout the community. The Municipal Code revision, which would need to be approved by city ordinance, would designate other sources for graffiti removal funds such as the city's current victim's impact fund.
City Attorney Ben Morris said he would work up language for a code update for the council to consider at a future City Council regular meeting. The goal of the code change would be to allocate more funds for graffiti removal from fines paid to the Municipal Court.
Municipal Court Judge Charles Greenacre said a Colorado statute passed in 2021 states “each municipality shall provide independent indigent defense for each defendant charged with a municipal code violation for which there is a possible sentence of incarceration. Independent indigent defense requires, at a minimum, that a nonpartisan entity independent of the municipal court and municipal officials oversee or evaluate indigent defense counsel.”
Greenacre said the City of Montrose has a few years to fall into compliance and said he is working to find a solution that could include hiring outside lawyers to serve as court-appointed attorneys to serve indigent defendants when they are arrested and charged with crimes handled by the city’s Municipal Court.
Greenacre said the problem is finding attorneys to hire locally that will work for lower-than-normal rates to represent indigent defendants. He said the city is looking to offer $125 per hour to attorneys wishing to participate in the program. Greenacre said the city is on track to begin on January 1, 2023, and will bring updated information to the City Council once it becomes available.
HILLTOP NORTH ADDITION ANNEXATION
City Councilors were presented with a draft plan for the Hilltop North Addition Annexation.
City Planner William Reis said the Hilltop North Addition is a proposed annexation of approximately 10.01 acres in size. The parcel is located east of 6600 Road, addressed as 540 6600 Road. It is within the city’s Urban Growth Boundary, City of Montrose Sewer Service Area, and the Tri-County Water Service Area. Annexation of this property will allow for future multifamily residential development.
City Council will consider approval of an annexation ordinance and a zoning ordinance at the first and second readings.
September 19: Council Work Session Overview
October 4: Council Resolution to set a hearing date
October 12: Planning Commission zoning hearing
November 15: City Council Annexation hearing, 1st reading of annexation ordinance, and 1st reading of the zoning ordinance
December 6: 2nd reading of annexation and zoning ordinances
Proposed Zoning: “R-4” High-Density District
Applicant: Hilltop Health Services Corporation
INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT WITH MONTROSE COUNTY FOR LIQUOR LICENSING SHARED SERVICES
City Councilors were briefed about renewing an intergovernmental agreement, IGA, with Montrose County for processing applications for liquor licenses.
City Clerk Lisa DelPiccolo said the city entered into an agreement with Montrose County in September 2021 for the City Clerk's office to process applications for liquor licenses and permits in unincorporated Montrose County. Both parties would like to extend the agreement and have it remain in place until terminated by either party with 60-days advance notice.
The Board of County Commissioners will remain as the liquor licensing authority for these licenses and permits. Under the terms of the agreement, the city retains the application fees. The City Clerk oversees application processes, forwards information to county staff members for review, and presents the applications to the BOCC.
The IGA is scheduled for consideration by the BOCC on September 21.
Municipal Court Judge Charles Greenacre said he is looking to update the city’s traffic code since the city’s current code models dated back to 2003. Updating the traffic code would take an ordinance of the City Council, Greenacre said, but the ordinance would also need to address fines, penalties, and the court’s fee schedule.
Finance Director Shani Wittenberg said the annual city budget retreat with the City Council will begin this Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. Wittenberg said the public’s Budget Open house will be held on October 18 at 4:30 p.m.
City Engineer Scott Murphy said the city has begun its community outreach efforts with regard to the West Main Revitalization Project.
Police Chief Blaine Hall said the city is preparing for the grand opening of the new Public Safety Complex scheduled for September 27 at noon. Mayor Dave Frank will welcome Colorado Governor Jared Polis and other state officials will also be in attendance.
All City Council meetings are recorded and made available online via the city’s website and cable channels 191 for Charter subscribers and 970 for Elevate subscribers. Replays of council meetings are also broadcast at 6 p.m. on the same channels on days that the council is not in session.
In addition, each regular meeting is archived on the City of Montrose’s YouTube channel.
Residents can watch all regular City Council meetings and work sessions live and on-demand through the city’s Public Meetings Portal.
For more city news visit CityOfMontrose.org.