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LEGISLATIVE WEEKLY REPORT

 

Duncan McArthur – GJARA Government Affairs Director

Lois Dunn – GJARA Government Affairs Committee Chairman

Week of September, 14th 2018

Government Affairs Column

Here’s the community update on what’s going on in Grand Junction. The following are reports from the various departments.

City Manager’s Office

Grand Junction Community Update Luncheon – On August 28th, the City Manager hosted several community leaders for a luncheon at the Lincoln Park Hospitality Suite to deliver a report on public safety in the City of Grand Junction. Staff that presented were Fire Chief Ken Watkins and Police Chief Doug Shoemaker. This initiative is to support the Strategic Plan’s directive of Community Engagement. The City Manager’s office has received very positive feedback regarding the session. These sessions will be held 3-4 times per year and include about 60 members of the community. 

Outside Magazine Mountain Bike Test Issue – Outside Magazine will be in Grand Junction from October 25th through November 4th to test for their upcoming Mountain Bike Test Issue. Originally, GJEP had to turn down the opportunity to host Outside due to the cost of sponsorship. However, the magazine was thoroughly impressed with the proposal to host the event in western Colorado and decided to come without the sponsorship and are not only conducting mountain bike testing but will conduct testing for their road bike issue as well. There will be a lot of digital content, both video and photography, as well as print in their Summer Buyer’s Guide next summer. Outside Magazine will be shooting in Grand Junction, Fruita, and Palisade. Visit Grand Junction partnered with GJEP through the proposal process. 

United Way Campaign – City employees have begun fundraising efforts for the United Way Campaign. Some upcoming activities include a chili cook-off, online silent auction, and community yard sale. The contribution of both time and money to the campaign demonstrates the compassion exhibited by our employees. 

Community Development

Development Activity – Staff received application for the preliminary/final plan for Emerald Ridge Estates, Filing 1. This is the project formerly known as the Weminuche Subdivision. The proposed preliminary plan includes 186 lots on 90 acres while Filing 1 includes 98 single-family detached lots on 52 acres. The project held a neighborhood meeting on July 11, 2018 and notice has gone out to surrounding residence regarding the submitted application. Both the preliminary plan and final plan/plat for Filing 1 will be considered administratively. 

Staff began receiving applications for short term rentals and has received more than a dozen applications. 

Staff approved a new indoor soccer facility located at 2791 Printers Court. 

Staff approved the Levande on 12th project, approving an 89-unit apartment building on 2.1 acres at 2432 12th Street. 

Staff received applications for Filings 4 and Filings 5 of the Copper Creek Subdivision for an additional 35 single-family residential lots. 

Granite Falls Subdivision Trail – Owners of the developing Granite Falls Subdivision spoke before council in July at the adoption hearing of the new circulation plan. The owner spoke to changes in the plan that impacted his site and would change the requirement for the owners to pay for the construction of a trail. Staff has since met with the owners’ group to discuss the trail that was originally required to be built as part of their development but with the recent adoption of the updated Circulation Plan is no longer required to be built. Staff and the owners have worked to find a mutually agreed upon solution which includes the owners continuing to provide an easement for a trail but not requiring them to construct the trail as part of their subdivision. This will preserve the ability of the City to develop this portion of trail in the future, should this trail segment be a priority for the City. 

Block Parties – To continue to support and enhance the neighborhood fabric of the City, Community Development works to assist neighborhoods in hosting block parties. So far in 2018, the City has helped support 10 block parties and have provided nearly $600 in neighborhood grants. The parties have reached an estimated 700 residents. 

Impact Fees – Staff solicited for request for proposals for firms experience in and capable of conducting a study for impact fees related to public safety, parks, open space and trails. The firm TischlerBise was selected and commenced their work this week. The study is scheduled to be completed prior to the end of the year. 

Citizen Satisfaction and Community Survey – Staff solicited for request for proposals for firms experience in and capable of conducting a citizen satisfaction survey as well as community survey intended to collect information related to the forthcoming Comprehensive Plan process. The firm RRC was selected and will be scheduled to complete the statically valid survey by the end of the year. An open study will also be made available online for those citizens who wish to respond to the survey outside of the statistically valid survey. 

Police Department

Commanders Grimsby and Martinez Retirement – On Wednesday, August 29th, the Grand Junction Police Department had the distinct honor of celebrating the well-deserved retirement of Commanders Tim Grimsby and Andy Martinez, who have collectively served this agency for an astounding 79 years. The celebration with the Grimsby and Martinez families, as well as friends and colleagues who have served with them over their careers, was a wonderful celebration of their contributions to public safety in Grand Junction. A promotional process to fill the positions is active and underway. 

United Way Yard Sale – The annual United Way Yard Sale, hosted by the GJPD, took place on September 7th. Jeannie Lewis, the GJPD volunteer coordinator, had been collecting donations from City employees to surpass the nearly $1,500 raised for United Way at last year’s event. 

Fire Department

Fill the Boot Campaign – The Grand Junction Fire Department in cooperation with the Grand Junction Firefighters Association participated in the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association, Fill the Boot, campaign to raise donations for Muscular Dystrophy research. Firefighters have been a part of this campaign since 1954. This event involved all crews greeting community members at many locations around the City and finished with a BBQ for participants. 

Parks & Recreation

ISA Conference – Grand Junction Parks & Recreation will be hosting the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) Rocky Mountain Annual Conference for the first time ever, on September 17th & 18th at the Avalon Theatre. Arborists from Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico will be at this conference and attendance is estimated to be 200. Beth McGrath from Human Resources will be presenting “What Makes a Good Leader” on Monday at 1 PM. 

Following the conference, on the 19th, Grand Junction will also be hosting a nationwide event – Saluting Branches. This event is “Arborists United for Veteran Remembrance” and is an opportunity for tree care professionals throughout the country to unite and provide service to Veteran Cemeteries. Our Forestry division and local tree companies will be at the Veterans Cemetery, on D Road, showing our support and assist in planting trees. Information on the event can be found here: https://www.salutingbranches.org 

Pork n’ Hops – The 12th annual Pork n Hops Challenge was held at Las Colonias Park on September 7th & 8th. 35 professional Barbecue teams from across the country participated, which is an increase of 8 teams over last year. This year’s event will also featured a cornhole tournament throughout the weekend and an amateur BBQ contest on Saturday morning.

Public Works

2018 Contract – Street Maintenance With Council approval of Change Order #2 on September 5th, Patterson Road between Hwy 6&50 and 24 Road is scheduled for September 13-17th with most of the work scheduled at night to minimize traffic delays. 12th Street from Pitkin to south end of pavement and 8th Street from Kimball Ave to Noland Ave will be completed by the beginning of October. The work authorized under the change order will place 1,500 tons of asphalt covering almost 13,000 square yards or 2.0 lane miles. 

7th Street Reconstruction from North Avenue to Orchard Avenue – The west side of 7th Street was opened to traffic on Friday August 31st. Milling of the east half has been completed and removal and reconstruction of the street section is making progress. The project is scheduled to be complete by late September. Traffic is narrowed to one lane each direction with flaggers in place at 7th Street and Orchard Avenue during peak traffic times. Access to businesses and residences remains open. 

Las Colonias Business Park/Phase II – Grand Junction based M.A. Concrete Construction started construction on $5,920,716.46 Phase II of the Park on August 29th. The contractor is focusing on the butterfly lake walls and is already taking shape. Construction is anticipated through June 2019. Eagle Rim Park provides a great vantage point of work on the project. 

Utilities

Mandatory Water Restrictions – On August 22nd, the City issued mandatory water restrictions for August, September and October. Since the restrictions have been in place, City of Grand Junction water customers have saved 12.1 million gallons of water. 

Visit Grand Junction

Colorado Tourism Office Facebook Co-op Campaign – Visit Grand Junction is participated in a Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) Facebook co-op campaign the week of Sept. 6-8, promoting “Six Ways to Explore Western Colorado’s Breathtaking Fall Foliage”. 

AAA President’s Wine Train from Denver to GJ – Visit Grand Junction assisted AAA Colorado with the second of four Wine Trains in 2018. This train included the President and CEO of AAA Colorado. Negotiations continue to occur to grow the 45+ person train from 4 to 12 tours per year which includes a two-night stay in Grand Junction. 

USA Today Best Wine Region Results – The USA Today poll for Best Wine Region in the country ended this week. The Grand Valley landed in a solid 7th place among stiff competition.

Week of September, 7th 2018

FERC Announces Jordan Cove Project Review Schedule 

            We have been following the progress of the Jordan Cover project for the past number of years from the past failure to gain approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission through the change of FERC directors with the new administration and the resubmittal of the project for consideration. Now, it appears there may be light and the end of that tunnel.

On September 1st, Ray Bucheger with FBB Federal Relations and affiliated with Lindsay Hart, LLP, responded to an inquiry about the status of the Jordan Cove approval process by sending a copy of Notice of Anticipated Schedule of Final Order for the Jordan Cover Project. Mr. Bucheger reported “last night FERC issued the Notice of Schedule for Jordan Cove. According to this schedule, FERC approval will occur in late November 2019. The project team is continuing to work with FERC and cooperating agencies on the environmental review”.  The Notice is shown below.

Project Description: Jordon Cove is a proposed $10 billion LNG project that involves utilizing the existing Ruby Pipeline extending from western Colorado to the Oregon border and serving northern California. The proposal includes extending that pipeline to Coos Bay, Oregon, converting and existing import facility to an LNG export facility and adding a power plant and refrigerator facilities. It is estimated that approximately 6,000 jobs will be created for the construction of the facilities and another 200 permanent jobs with the operation of the facility. It is anticipated that producing the natural gas in the area could stabilize the oil and natural gas industry in the region of the western slope of Colorado.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION

Jordan Cove Energy Project, L.P.                                          Docket Nos. CP17-495-000

Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, LP                                                 CP17-494-000

NOTICE OF ANTICIPATED SCHEDULE OF FINAL ORDER FOR THE JORDAN COVE PROJECT

(August 31, 2018)

On September 21, 2017, Jordan Cove Energy Project, L.P. filed an application in Docket No. CP17-495-000, pursuant to section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and Part 153 of the Commission’s regulations, for authorization to site, construct and operate a liquefied natural gas export terminal and associated facilities on the bay side of the North Spit of Coos Bay in unincorporated Coos County, Oregon.  On the same day, Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, LP filed an application in Docket No. CP17-494-000 requesting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, pursuant to section 7(c) of the NGA and Parts 157 and 284 of the Commission’s regulations, to construct, operate, and maintain an approximately 220-mile-long natural gas pipeline to be located in Klamath, Jackson, Douglas, and Coos Counties, Oregon.  The combined proposed projects, known as the Jordan Cove Project (Project), would liquefy and export about 7.8 million metric tons of natural gas per annum.

In accordance with Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, enacted on December 4, 2015, agencies are to publish completion dates for all federal environmental reviews and authorizations.  This notice identifies the Commission’s anticipated schedule for issuance of the final order for the Project, which is based on the anticipated date of issuance of the final Environmental Impact Statement.  Accordingly, we currently anticipate issuing a final order for the Project no later than:

Issuance of Final Order                                                                               November 29, 2019

If a schedule change becomes necessary for the final order, an additional notice will be provided so that interested parties and government agencies are kept informed of the Project’s progress.

Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,

Deputy Secretary.

Week of August 31, 2018

Community Development

Development Activity – Staff received multiple subdivision applications in the past two weeks totaling 194 new lots. These include an application for the preliminary/final plan for the proposed Bella Horizon Subdivision containing 16 single family lots on 4.75 acres located on West Ridges Boulevard.

Staff also received the preliminary/final plan for the proposed Patterson Pines subdivision containing 51 single-family detached lots on 8.4 acres at 2920 E 7/8 Road.

Staff received an application for a preliminary plan review of a new subdivision called Sunset Valley Estates. The proposed subdivision consists of 98 single-family lots on 24.6 acres, located at 670 29 ½ Road.

Staff also received an application for the final plan of Granite Falls, Filing Two to develop 29 lots on 36.2 acres on Mescalero Avenue.

Staff attended a neighborhood meeting for the proposed Grand View Hollow 3 Subdivision on August 22nd. Approximately 50 people attended with concerns centering on traffic issues. The proposed subdivision is located at 676 28 Road and is for 15 lots on 4.8 acres.

Short Term Rentals – Staff began implementing the newly adopted but not yet effective regulations for short-term rentals. Staff visited with some two dozen operators in the past week about permitting their short-term rental units.

Grand junction Arts and Culture Campus – A small working group met on August 16th to discuss the concept of developing a campus that would combine the Western Colorado Center for the Arts, Museums of Western Colorado and the Grand Junction Symphony. Work has been completed by the DOLA’s University Technical Assistance program to develop various conceptual design and building programming options. These designs were reviewed and will be refined and presented again to the group for further consideration in the Fall.

Fire Department

Wildland Team Update – As the Miles/Sugar Pine fire is getting closer to containment, Brush 4 has been reassigned to the Watson Creek fire located 13 miles west of Paisley Oregon and about 60 miles east of the Sugar Pine fire. The Watson creek fire is about 35,000 acres and burning in heavy timber mostly made up of Lodge Pole Pines. Currently there are about 750 firefighters assigned to the fire with 10% containment. Brush 4 will remain on the fire with a crew swap scheduled for August 24th.

Hiring Boot Camp – The Department held a “Hiring Boot Camp” for the first time this past weekend. It was well attended by potential candidates from the Grand Valley, the Western Slope, all over Colorado and surrounding states. Approximately 38 candidates attended. Camp started with a question and answer session involving representatives from the Fire Department, Fire Operations and Human Resources answering questions related to For the Weeks of Aug 13th & Aug 20th the hiring process, training opportunities, and job specific requirements. After the classroom session candidates could, if they wanted to, attempt portions of the physical ability test.

Fire Station 6 Community Meeting – On Thursday, August 23rd the Department hosted a community meeting for the upcoming Fire Station 6 project. The meeting was held at Holy Family Catholic School and had representatives from the City Manager’s Office, Fire, Parks, Community Development and Public Works. Community Development notified 120 residences that are near the project location and 23 citizens attended the meeting. The objective of the meeting was to inform residents about the need for a station and provide information about the temporary facility along with plans and timeline for the permanent station. 

Parks & Recreation Park

Breezeway Improvements – The Parks and Police Departments have been working in cooperation with the DDA to improve the breezeway at 5th and Main Street. The objective of the project is to minimize excessive loitering and provide a safe and welcome walkway for customers in the downtown area. The project was funded in part through a grant from AGNC. This is a good example of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

Downtown Fountains – As part of the newly implemented 3-2-1 plan for water conservation, fountains in the downtown area have been turned off and winterized. There are four fountains along Main Street and one at City Hall. Staff communicated these closures with DDA earlier this week.

Tiara Rado Golf Course – The 79th annual Rocky Mountain Golf Tournament was held at Tiara Rado August 16th through the 19th. A total of 151 players from 10 states participated in the Professional and Amateur categories. Title sponsors included Monument Oil Company, Enstrom’s, ANB Bank and Home Loan.

Resignation was received this week from the Director of Golf, Joe Kamby. The Department is working closely with Human Resources to expedite the recruitment for his replacement.

Senior Games – This year the Western Colorado Senior Games is celebrating its 18th year with the Parks and Recreation Department. 210 athletes between the ages of 50 and 97 competed in 57 different sporting events over the course of 7 days, beginning August 20th and running through August 26th. Ending the Games was a Pickleball Tournament with 110 participants. 

Police Department

POST Academy Student Barbecue – The Department hosted a barbecue on Sunday, August 12th, for the Western Colorado Community College POST Academy students. The first of its kind, the barbecue provided an opportunity to get to know academy students and their families. This is just one of many new initiatives the agency is implementing to reach out to potential employees and market the Department to quality applicants.

Law Enforcement Latino Alliance – The Law Enforcement Latino Alliance is partnering with the Department to host an outreach event on Sunday, August 26th, at 4:00 PM. The event was held in the parking lot at 2839 North Avenue. There was food and conversation about what the Law Enforcement Latino Alliance does for the community. Officers were on hand to offer free bike tune-ups and repairs to kids who live in the area and bike giveaways to kids who need a bike. There was local barbers at the event offering free haircuts. There was no speech or agenda, just an opportunity to reach out to these communities and build positive relationships.

Open House – School District 51 in conjunction with the Grand Junction Police and Fire Departments, was host to an open house on Monday, August 27th, the Harry Butler Boardroom at 455 North 22nd Street. The open house premiered a school safety video produced by all three entities, that will provide some education on how Police and Fire train together and what it means when a school is in either shelter in place or lockdown. Representatives from each agency was present to speak on behalf of their department and to answer questions from parents and students.

Public Works

2018 Contract Street Maintenance – Paving was completed on Horizon Drive between I-70 and G Road August 23rd. Striping will take place the week of August 27th. September 5th Council will consider a change order to this road maintenance contract, adding three more segments of road to take advantage of the 2018 bid prices. 

7th Street Reconstruction – The contract with MA Concrete Construction from North Avenue to Orchard Avenue started Monday June 4th with the milling of the western half of 7th Street. Xcel Energy completed all its gas main, service and meter replacements. The west side is scheduled for paving August 29-31. The east side will start reconstruction September 4th and should finish late in September. Traffic is narrowed to one lane each direction with flaggers in place at 7th Street and Orchard Avenue during peak traffic times. Access to businesses and residences remains open. 

Las Colonias Business Park/Phase II – Grand Junction based M.A. Concrete Construction was awarded the $5,920,716.46 Phase II contract at the August 15th Council meeting. Construction is anticipated from August 29th through June 2019. 

I-70 to Receive Speed Limit Reduction – The City continues to work with CDOT on reduction of the speed limit on I-70, to 70 miles per hour from just east of Exit 32 to just west of Exit 26. As part of the agreement the City will install radar speed signs for both directions to serve as additional warnings for drivers. CDOT anticipates the construction of the median cable rail to start mid-September and conclude in December. These improvements are intended to increase the safety of the public traveling through Grand Junction on the interstate and for the protection of our first responders. 

Visit Grand Junction

Downtown Farmers Market at CMU – Visit Grand Junction was a vendor at a special Farmers Market at Colorado Mesa University on August 25th. Staff gave out cookies, networked, shared area information and played games with students. 

Palisade Peach Festival Promotion – Visit Grand Junction organized a Facebook prize giveaway to promote the area and the Peach Festival and to increase engagement on the Department’s social channels. People were asked to comment on why they love Palisade, peaches or the festival. Four winners were selected at random and each received two peach festival tickets. 

Rapha Film Crew – Staff hosted the UK’s premium cycling company, Rapha Cycles marketing and film production team on August 20th and 21st. The crew filmed the Colorado National Monument and local orchards. The film will promote the area as an accessible and vibrant destination for cycling adventurers.

Media Coverage – Staff hosted Doug Brown with the Boulder Daily Camera, on August 22nd through the 24th to gather story ideas and information for his column, “Drinking with Doug”.

Week of August 24th, 2018

What is behind Grand Junction’s Short-Term Rental Ordinance? Glad you asked.

On August 15th, the Grand Junction City Council voted to adopt a short-term rental (STR) ordinance establishing requirements for the renting of personal residences for periods of less than 30 days and amended the requirements for Bed-and-Breakfast (BnB) businesses by reducing some of the regulations that burdened the operations before.

Background

The city has been considering and ordinance since 2009 as the issue began becoming an issue in many Colorado communities. STR’s have become an alternative to traditional lodging in the tourism industry throughout the tourism-based economies in the Rocky Mountain region especially in the resort areas. The growth in the number of sites listed on the Internet hosting sites has outpaced the growth in listings in much of the rest of the country. “Home Away reported in 2014 that Park City and Winter Park made their list of top 10 destinations for the largest increase in new vacation rental listings. Crested Butte was one of the top 10 in terms of destinations, showing the largest increase in travel demand”. In Frisco alone, it is estimated that as much as 50% of the housing stock is short-term rentals.

Many community members are concerned about the potential for prohibitions against STRs. There is also a concern about maintaining private property rights while considering the neighboring property owner’s right to peace and enjoyment of their property. Despite the concern about prohibition, most communities have been moving to the legalization of STRs. These community member concerns about prohibition include:

Residents who want to occasionally rent their homes or spare bedrooms short term to help pay mortgages.

  • Realtors with listings they want to be allowed to sell to investors or second homeowners who want to rent their units short term.
  • Public officials who recognize the contributions that VHR’s make to their bed base and tax revenue.

The growth of STRs in the Grand Valley had not been as prolific but it has still had an impact on existing businesses. Representatives of BnB businesses came to the city council most recently in 2016. Their concern was that STRs had an unfair business advantage as they did not have to be licensed, update their properties to address safety issues, purchase insurance or collect a lodging tax. In addition, BnBs had minimum parking requirements and zoning restrictions on areas they could be located. At the time, council had considered adopting an ordinance to address these issues and attempt to level the business playing field but, after being informed that there were only 43 STRs in the city, council opted to defer action for at least one year and reassess the situation at that time.

Grand Junction’s STR Ordinance Background

The Grand Junction ordinance was formulated after the issue was discussed by a group of stake holders comprised of 14 individuals representing STR property owners/managers, traditional lodging facilities, real estate professionals, and neighborhood associations in addition to city staff from legal, planning and Visit Grand Junction plus the contract Building Official from Mesa County. The group was asked to provide recommendations regarding the use and any regulations the City may consider adopting.

The group considered and discussed five major regulatory areas relating to potential impacts of short term rentals in a community:

  1. Protection of Neighborhood Environment. Noise, late night parties, trespassing, increased traffic, and visitors generally not being neighborly.
  2. Protection of Physical Characteristics. Absentee property owners can be less attentive to routine maintenance such as painting, lawn maintenance, tree and shrub pruning and trash removal.
  3. If the property owner does not obtain a State sales tax license, this can mean loss of both sales tax and lodging tax revenue for the City.
  4. Fairer Competition with Licensed Lodging. Lack of regulation for short term rentals may result in unfair competition for hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts that must pay higher taxes and abide by more stringent site development and building codes.
  5. Protection of Renter Safety. Health and safety concerns may be present in residential units which are rented like a commercial establishment but are not required to meet commercial building codes.

Drawing from regulations established by other communities and from their respective areas of expertise, the members of the Working Group recommended that the City focus on three areas of regulation, in order of importance: 1) Guest Safety, 2) Revenue Collection, and 3) Protection of Neighborhoods

Grand Junction STR Ordinance Description

The general description of the new ordinance establishes the following requirements:

  • A Short-Term Rental Permit issued by the City is required and can only be issued to the owner of the property. (The protects against fraudulent registration of the property).
  • Occupancy of the STR is limited to two persons per bedroom plus two additional renters including the operator.
  • A designated local responsible party must be identified. This party must be permanently available and responsible for immediately responding to complaints about violation ns of the law or of the permit terms.
  • The owner/operator must obtain a tax license from the City and comply with all applicable local state and federal taxes.
  • General safety provisions include:
    • A smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector in good working order;
    • Certify all units maintain a fire extinguisher in good working order;
    • Adequate and functional egress from each sleeping room;
    • Post a notice in a highly visible location detailing:
      • Location of building exits and fire extinguishers
      • 24-hour emergency contact numbers
      • Parking areas and parking restrictions, including a notice that parking on lawns is prohibited.
      • Noise restrictions and quiet hours.
      • Trash disposal instructions including trash pickup locations and schedule.
      • Maximum occupancy restrictions.
      • City permit number.
    • Where food is prepared and served to guests/lodgers on the premises, demonstrate compliance with Mesa County Health Dept. requirements.

 

Other STR Ordinances in the Grand Valley

The City of Fruita allows STR’s. The Fruita Land Use Code defines a VRBO/STR as a Bed

& Breakfast.  There are some requirements for Bed & Breakfast businesses depending on

the zone where it will be located.  Most residential zones require approval of a Conditional

Use Permit before the business becomes operational and approval from the homeowner’s

association (if there is one) also is required.  The Fruita City Council determines whether to

approve a Conditional Use Permit through the public hearing process.  The regulations

applicable to Bed & Breakfast businesses can be found on the city’s website.

The Palisade Board of Trustees adopted a cap on the amount of short-term vacation rental in town. Options are limited now for people wanting to use their homes for a STR (referred to as an Air BnB or a VRBO). No more than 20, approximately 20 short term vacation rentals that can occupy in the town. The change started about a year ago, which caps short term rentals at three percent of the single-family homes in Palisade. Anyone who wants to rent out their home short-term will have to get a permit. Community development directors said rentals bring in additional lodging tax revenues for the town.

 

So, you wanted to know what’s going on in Grand Junction. Glad you asked. The following are reports from the various departments.

City Manager

City Manager Intern Initiative – The internship initiative with CMU/WCCC kicked-off this week with ten requests for students beginning Fall semester 2018 and Winter 2019. Requests ran the gamut of majors including students of engineering, human resources, finance, GIS, graphic design, mass communications, water quality management and advanced automotive service. The positions will be either formal internships or part-time employment with students working up to 20 hours per week year-round. Applicant screening and interviews will take place over the next few weeks with the first placements expected as early as late August.

Thank You – As part of a mission of our swat team to execute an arrest warrant, a resident’s fence was damaged. We of course informed the resident we would cover the costs of repair by a private contractor. The resident was unable to get a fence contractor to do the work in a reasonable time-frame, so our staff combined efforts to repair and paint the fence. The resident was thankful and very complimentary of the “fix it” staff as well as the swat team’s professionalism. “ …. we wanted to thank you for going beyond your normal responsibilities to see that our fence damage in the July 18 incident were repaired in a timely manner. Speaks highly of you as a City employee.”

Training for Board and Commission Members – To support our Strategic Plan Directive regarding Communication, Outreach, and Engagement, the City will host a training, “Best Practices for Board and Commission Members” on Wednesday, September 12th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. The City Manager will give an update on important projects and events in our community, CIRSA will provide the training and board and commission members will be asked for their feedback regarding future training needs.

Community Development

Development Activity – Staff approved an additional 90-day extension for the revised Lofts development plan. The revised plan that is still under review proposes to reduce the original plan from 27 units to 21 units, reduce the number of bedrooms from 102 to 84, reduce the building size from 3 stories to 2 stories and reduce the number of buildings from 5 to 3. The original approval, however, is still valid and will be valid until June 2019.

Staff received the site plan for Sunshine Polishing at 2600 Dos Rios Drive.

Staff approved the final subdivision plan for Joyce Subdivision dividing 2.46 acres into 5 lots.

Bicycle Friendly Community Application – An application was submitted to the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Community Program for the consideration of a higher designation. The City currently has a Bronze ranking as a bicycle-friendly community and, as key initiative of the City Council’s strategic plan, submitted an application reflecting the City’s recent work in providing more bicycle infrastructure. The application looks at a variety of components such infrastructure, education, signage, awareness and City Policy. The recent adoption of the Complete Streets Policy will be an element considered during the review of the application. The City expects to hear back from the League in October.

Comprehensive Plan Update – Staff submitted a grant request to DOLA funding for matching funds for the update of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Staff also issued the RFP seeking a consultant team for the Comprehensive Plan update work.

DOLA Grant for Two Rivers Convention Center – The City received notice from DOLA that the request for $1 million in grant funds for the expansion and renovations to Two Rivers Convention Center had been fully funded. The total cost of the project is $7.3 Million.

Fire Department

National Night Out – The Fire Department participated in National Night Out with the Police Department. Fire and EMS personnel participated in events in their respective districts to get to know their neighbors and discuss Fire services. Command Staff focused on neighborhoods in the northern part of the City that will be covered by the temporary ambulance station and the new Fire Station 6. It was a great opportunity to talk one-on-one with these neighborhoods about the project.

Wildland Deployment – Members of the Fire Department Wildland Team returned August 7th from the Red Canyon Fire in Garfield County. The team, with fresh team members, was promptly redeployed to the Miles Fire in southwest Oregon on August 9th. This fire started July 15th due to a lightning strike and is currently over 40,000 acres. There are 2,262 personnel on the fire. With all the fires in Colorado, the Department evaluates any in-state needs before accepting out of state requests.

Parks & Recreation Park

Vandalism – Several parks have been the target of increased vandalism this past month. Emerson, Hawthorne, Bookcliff and Eagle Rim have seen extensive damage to their irrigation systems. Canyon View has been targeted numerous times including a break-in at concessions, broken light fixtures and damaged playground equipment. Most recently the zip line structure was dismantled and stolen. Damages at Canyon View alone have exceeded $5,000. Park staff is working with the Police Department installing hidden cameras in that area.

Botanical Gardens Irrigation – Irrigation at the Botanical Gardens is directly fed from the Colorado River. Due to minimal water flow, the irrigation system is unable to function. Crews from Parks Division and Water Division have installed a temporary irrigation system to supply water to the site.

Amphitheater Events

September 7th Six Million Dollar Band (Pork n Hops)

September 8th Blackhawk (Pork n Hops)

Police Department

The Grand Junction Police Department participated in the 35th Annual National Night Out event in Grand Junction on Tuesday, August 7th. Personnel, along with members of the Grand Junction Fire Department, attended 20 block parties throughout the City and engaged with hundreds of residents who chose to host/attend block parties to celebrate their community and help us in preventing crime in Grand Junction. Over 40 staff participated in the event, which was a record turn-out for the Department. Inflatable beach balls, sunglasses and footballs were handed out to the kids. Crime maps for areas of the City were provided and future strategies to make neighborhoods safer were discussed. The event was well received, and we anticipate even more participation next year.

Public Works

Street Maintenance – Asphalt overlay on River Road from the Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant to 24 Road is complete. 7th Street between Ute Avenue and Struthers has been overlaid and striped with bike lanes that connect downtown to the Riverfront. Horizon Drive between I-70 and G Road will be completed in early September after Ute Water finishes replacement of its water line.

7th Street Reconstruction – Xcel Energy completed gas main replacement including all service and meter replacements. Xcel’s work delayed MA Concrete by five weeks due to the additional depth needed for the gas line and other construction complexities. MA Concrete should finish replacement of aging storm drain infrastructure early the week of August 13th and start reconstruction of the west side. A late September completion is anticipated. Traffic is narrowed to one lane each direction with flaggers in place at 7th Street and Orchard Avenue during peak traffic times. Access to businesses remain open.

Chip Seal – City crews completed chipping maintenance for the downtown area and the Riverside Parkway from West Avenue to 29 Road.

Las Colonias Business Park – Phase I of the Business Park is complete. Phase II bids were received and will be presented to Council for consideration of award August 15th. Construction on Phase II is anticipated from September 4th through early June of 2019.

I-70 Speed Limit Reduction – City staff continues to work with CDOT on speed limit reductions on I-70 east of Exit 31 (Horizon Drive) to west of Exit 26 (I-70B/22 Road). As part of the agreement the City will install radar speed signs for both directions to serve as additional warnings for drivers. CDOT anticipates construction of the median cable rail to start mid-September and conclude in December. These improvements are intended to increase the safety of the public traveling through Grand Junction on the interstate and for protection of our first responders.

Utilities

Homeowners Association Adversity Workshop – Seventy-five attendees, representing Homeowners Associations from Palisade to Loma attended an after-hours leadership workshop hosted by DRIP (Drought Response Information Project), of which the Utilities Department is a member, held on July 19th. The event focused on preparing neighborhoods for adversity. Topics included Living with Drought presented by DRIP, Active Threat Response presented by Mesa County Emergency Management, Preparing for Fires presented by City of Grand Junction Fire Department, and Communicating with your members presented by Mesa County Communications Officers’ Association. Most attendees scored the evening as effective or very effective.

Visit Grand Junction

Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) Completes New State Tourism Regions – The CTO has spent the last year with the State Regional Branding Committee, defining new tourism regions of the state based on unique history, geography, culture, activities, etc. Grand Junction was being sought by the northwest and southwest regions. We landed in the southwest with Telluride, Montrose, Ouray and Pagosa Springs to name a few. The region has been coined “Mountains and Mesas.” The new regional tourism map will encourage new partnerships with our neighboring communities.

USA Today – Best Wine Region Voting – The Grand Valley has been nominated by USA Today for the Best Wine Region in the nation. The public can vote once per day, per device, through August 20th at 10:00 AM MST. Visit Grand Junction is currently running a Facebook ad linked to USA Today to encourage people to show their Colorado pride by voting for the Grand Valley. This type of national recognition provides great public relations and awareness for our entire valley, including familiarity of other notable industries such as outdoor recreation. Please consider voting, as we are only in 11th place (we’ve moved up 5 places since VGJ posted this past week).

Farmers Market To be more involved with the community and receive resident feedback, staff continues to participate at the weekly Grand Junction Farmers Market. Stop by to see the mobile Visitor Center, chat with staff, and check out all the games we’ve added to the “Fun Zone” including giant Jenga, Connect 4, cornhole, ladder toss and more!

 

Week of August 10, 2018

So, what is Mesa County up to wanting to De-Bruce for TABOR? Glad you asked.

Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese has been discussing a proposed ballot initiative to exempt grants from Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) from the TABOR limitation on revenue to the county.

The issue came to the forefront when Mind Springs approached Mesa County about applying for a DOLA Grant to assist with the expansion underway at their facility in Grand Junction. While Commissioner Pugliese questioned the necessity of Mesa County making the grant application, she was assured that the county was the only entity that could make such an application request.

When reviewing the impact of receiving the grant for Mind Springs, it was determined that the grant would be included in the revenue subject to TABOR limitation caps. So, if the county was to accept the grant, they would then exceed the TABOR cap and be required to refund that amount to the taxpayers. In effect, Mesa County would be funding the Mind Springs project when the intent was to get assistance from the State of Colorado for the project.

For Mesa County to be able to receive a grant from the State of Colorado for this project or other projects that may arise in the future, it is necessary for the county to go to the voters with a ballot initiative to ask for exemption of the state grants from the TABOR revenue cap.

The county can apply for and receive federal grants. However, the number and types of grants are limited relative to the state and federal grants bring a lot of “strings” with the money.

The county is in the process of drafting the ballot language and plan to finalize the initiative’s language in the next week, so the issue can be reviewed by the public. The intent is for the question to be on the Mesa County Commissioners’ Aug. 27th agenda and, if approved, referred to the November 2018 ballot. The initiative will be asking for an exemption of state grants from the TABOR Revenue Cap with no increase in taxes.

Below are the talking points on the issue prepared by the county.

FACT SHEET ON STATE GRANTS AND

 THE TAXPAYERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS (TABOR):

  • Mesa County Board of County Commissioners are supportive of TABOR.
  • Federal Grants are exempt under TABOR, which means Mesa County can take as much federal money (with all the strings!) as we are capable of justifying.
  • State grants are not exempt under TABOR.
  • State money is already subject to the state TABOR cap, so we are, capping it twice, which was not intended by TABOR.
  • Mesa County has been historically successful in being awarded state grants, especially for infrastructure projects and public health. However, when we are too successful, we run the risk of hitting our TABOR cap and therefore, not applying or turning grants away.
  • Mesa County has been budgeting very tightly to our TABOR cap, so we do not exceed it so that we do not have to ratchet down our Mesa County budget.
  • By exempting state grants from the TABOR cap, Mesa County government will be in a better position to assist non-profits in obtaining grants to fund important projects in our community.
  • Myth: Exempting state grants from TABOR will allow Mesa County government to grow.

Fact:  This is false.  For example, when we receive grants for infrastructure projects, those projects are bid out to the private sector so in essence, we are growing the private sector; not government.

Fact:  Most of the grants we receive are for capital construction projects so when the project is completed, the grant is extinguished.  In other words, this money does not result in a permanent increase in Mesa County’s budget.

  • State grant money is generated from many different sources, including oil and gas revenues generated from land in Mesa County. This money should be returned to Mesa County and used for the benefit of Mesa County residents.
  • State grant money is our taxpayer money. If we do not take advantage of its benefits in Mesa County, this money will go to other communities.

 

**Let’s bring Mesa County taxpayer money home to work for Mesa County residents**

At past presentations and discussions of the issue, those in opposition stated:

  • Concern over growth of govt.
  • Wanting a ballot question for each grant request
  • Think the county should be paying refund. (Amount would be minimal).

 

 

 

 

Week of August 3, 2018

So, you wanted to know what’s going on in Grand Junction. Glad you asked. The following are reports from the various departments.

Citty Manager

Foreign Trade Zone Update – After approval of the Grand Junction Regional Airport designation as a User Fee Airport from the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Grand Junction Foreign Trade Zone Team reached out to the Port Director and Assistant Director in Denver and a Customs and a Board Protection Facilities Representative on Friday, July 20th. Two configurations for space were submitted and approved for work to begin on drawings based on the unique nature of the facility. Once the updated specifications are received, a simple drawing of the preferred build-out space will be submitted to CBP for review and possible modifications. The next step will be more detailed drawings and a firm estimate of capital costs. Beginning the application for Foreign Trade Zone designation is dependent on approval from CBP on the space configuration. Once started, the application process will take up to ten months to complete.

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Show – City Manager, Greg Caton, Visit Grand Junction Director, Elizabeth Fogarty, along with a local contingent from Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade attended the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Denver on July 23 – 26. The Visit Grand Junction team designed a unique marketing campaign for the show to create awareness of the Grand Valley as an outdoor mecca that provides a multitude of options for visitors and potential new residents and businesses.

Community Development

Development Activity – Staff received an application for Filing 1 of the proposed Enclave Subdivision located at 667 29 ½ Road. Filing 1 includes 20 single family lots on 10.71 acres in an R-5 zone district. Staff also received an application for an update to the Airport’s Civic and Institutional Master Plan. Staff approved a site plan for All Secure Storage for an outdoor storage facility on 3.9 acres located at 2793 Riverside Parkway.

Lincoln Park Historic District – Signs indicating the newly expanded historic district were designed and printed by the City’s Sign Crew and were erected this week. The signs can be located at the four main entry points into the Lincoln Park Neighborhood and Historic District.

Volunteers – The Community Development Department has recently utilized two volunteers to assist with special projects. One volunteer assisted in the office approximately 12 hours per week and has created FAQ sheets for property owners looking for information ranging from fencing their property to how to engage in the development process. She has also helped inventory of number of historic properties in the Emerson Park Neighborhood. The other volunteer, a student from Montana State University, worked with GIS and the Community Development Department to map the locations of the recently installed signs on historic structures in the downtown area. These volunteers have been great assets and concluded their volunteer work with the City last week.

Fire Department

Fire Department Baby Boom – On July 24th Candice Freeman with Cherry Creek Mortgage, Claudine Bogart with Frame Deport, and Daniel Donnie Flores with the Daily Sentinel Digital Agency delivered seven decorative displays featuring the Grand Junction Fire Department baby boom story for each station.

Farmers Market – July 12th and August 9th the Department is collaborating with the Parks Department and the Downtown Farmer’s Market to help recruit utility users to round up their utility bill for children’s recreation scholarships. The Department will also promote employee opportunities at this event.

Police Department

Crisis Support Team – The Crisis Support Team, or co-responder program, is in full swing. In January of this year, the City of Grand Junction was selected as a recipient of a Colorado Department of Human Services grant to fund a Crisis Support Team. The program officially kicked off July 1st with two teams; one from the Grand Junction Police Department and one from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. Each team includes a law enforcement officer and mental health specialist from Mind Springs, trained to intervene on calls for service where a mental health issue may be a factor. With the combined response of law enforcement and mental health services, the team streamlines the resources available to someone in crisis sooner rather than later. Not only does the team provide critical services quickly to the consumer, they also potentially reduce non-criminal calls to 911.

The City received $362,500 for this grant cycle, which runs from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. The grant covers salaries and benefits of all staff on the team, including employees from Mind Springs. Some of the funds also cover costs associated with vehicles for the teams. Strong media coverage is expected over the coming weeks to inform the community about this level of expanded service.

Community Resource Unit – Officers with the Community Resource Unit spent a weekend with kids from across the country who have lost a law enforcement parent in the line of duty. COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) sponsors an annual rafting trip from Moab each year. The Department hosted 20-25 kids who flew into Grand Junction before and after the rafting trip. Through generous community donations and partnerships, the Department provided meals, lodging, entertainment and chaperone for the week-long trip.

National Night Out – Preparations for National Night Out are underway. Currently there are 18 neighborhoods registered. Grand Junction Parks and Recreation will waive shelter reservation fees for any neighborhoods wanting to utilize those facilities to host their event. Online registration closed on July 31st. Events will take place around the City on Tuesday, August 7th. For more information, click on the following link: https://grandjunctionpolicedepartment.com/2018/05/30/register-your-neighborhood-for-national-night-outgvcopbeat/.

Parks & Recreation

Trail Repairs – Continued hot temperatures in the area have caused several sections of developed concrete trail to heave. A section of the Blue Heron area was repaired last week.

Noxious Weed Alert – Park staff is assisting to educate local property owners of Flowering Rush – a noxious weed that has recently been discovered within the City limits of Grand Junction. The Flowering Rush is an aquatic/semi-aquatic plant that spreads rapidly and can quickly overrun slow-moving waterways and lakes. It is a beautiful plant when in bloom, but the aggressive nature of the plant has placed it on the highly-destructive, noxious weed list. The Colorado Department of Agriculture Noxious Weed Program has issued an alert due to the discovery of Flowering Rush plants in a tributary to the Colorado River within Grand Junction City limits. It is the property owner’s responsibility to eradicate this evasive species from any lake or pond on their property. The Colorado Department of Agriculture, Mesa County Noxious Weed Program and the City of Grand Junction’s Weed Abatement Program are teaming up to notify property owners within and around the area the plant was discovered, about their responsibility in keeping the Flowering Rush from reaching the Colorado River. The web site for more information is; www.co.gov/ag/weeds

Las Colonias Amphitheater – Toto Saturday, August 11th

Public Works

Street Maintenance – Asphalt overlays including striping on River Road from the Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant to 24 Road are done. 7th Street between Ute Avenue and Struthers is overlaid and was striped the week of July 23rd. Horizon Drive between I-70 and G Road will be completed early in September after Ute Water completes replacement of water lines.

7th Street Reconstruction from North Avenue to Orchard Avenue – Xcel Energy has completed the gas main replacement and continues to work on service line and meter replacements. Xcel has delayed MA Concrete work by approximately six weeks due to the additional depth needed for the gas line and other construction complexities. MA Concrete will continue work the week of July 23rd to replace aging storm drain infrastructure and reconstruct the street. Traffic is narrowed to one lane each direction with flaggers in place at 7th Street and Orchard Avenue during peak traffic times. Access to businesses remains open.

Chip Seal – City crews have completed chipping maintenance in the area south of Grand Avenue between 1st Street and 28 Road and north of the Colorado River. Riverside Parkway from West Avenue (City Shops) to 29 Road was the last segment to be chipped. Fogging will be completed July 27th with striping for much of the area completed in the next two weeks.

Las Colonias Business Park – Phase I of the Las Colonias Business Park is still approximately one month ahead of schedule with project completion estimated by the end of July. The last of the asphalt on Phase I was paved July 23rd. Phase II is advertised for bids and is scheduled for Council consideration for award at the August 15th Council meeting. Construction on Phase II is anticipated from September through early June 2019.

Orchard Avenue Reconstruction Design Neighborhood Meeting – Mesa County has hired Grand Junction based Rolland Engineering to design the reconstruction of Orchard Avenue between Normandy and 29 Road. The City will be partnering with Mesa County on this project. A neighborhood meeting was held on Tuesday July 31st, to discuss the design process, design to date and construction scheduling.

Visit Grand Junction

Community Communications – Visit Grand Junction is initiating new community communications to share what is being accomplished within the department, announce media coverage and provide opportunities for residents and businesses to participate in VGJ’s programs. The Department has received very positive feedback from the community regarding the new communications.

Summer Media Familiarization (FAM) Tour – Staff hosted Hug Magazine, a French digital magazine for women working in the tourism industry. The magazine founder and an accompanying journalist toured the Colorado National Monument, Grand Mesa, several wineries and went paddle boarding on the Colorado River. A 15-page article of their experiences will be featured in the November 2018 issue.

Habitat for Humanity – Site Inspection Sales staff hosted a site inspection with the meeting planner for Habitat for Humanity’s 2020 Camp Colorado Conference. They toured area meeting and lodging properties to accommodate the estimated 200 attendees. Grand Junction was selected as a potential location for the conference due to the exceptional work of the local Habitat for Humanity office.

WEEK OF JULY 26, 2018

Community Development

Development Activity – Staff received an application for a new Outline Development Plan for the project at 2524 F ½ Road called Elevation 4591. This project proposal was previously denied by City Council. The plan now proposes 18 dwelling units on 3.23 acres. Staff received an application for a site plan review at 2809 North Avenue for U-Haul on the old K-mart site.

Staff also received an application for a new Planned Development zone district and Outline Development Plan for a proposed development of 3.37 acres at 2501 Monument Road with an R-O (residential-office) default zone district.

A neighborhood meeting was held on July 11th for the proposed subdivision on the property recently rezoned to R-2 on the 26 Road, LLC property. This is the property that previously proposed the Planned Development and associated subdivision known as the Weeminuche Subdivision. The project proponents presented a plan for 186 units on 90 of the 151 acres for a proposed subdivision now called Emerald Ridge. Neighbors in attendance at the meeting continue to be upset by the proposed development and with the City’s recent rezoning action. Amenities such as sidewalks along 26 ½ road that were proposed with the ODP are now omitted from their preliminary plan proposal. Dan Wilson (former City Attorney) was present and offered to help put together a citizen initiative to put this issue on the ballot. Staff anticipates the applicant submitting for the preliminary plan of the subdivision within the next two months. The plan will be reviewed administratively. In the event of an appeal of that administrative decision on a subdivision, the appeal is then heard by City Council.

Fire Department

Spirit Ride – The Department hosted the Spirit Ride at Fire Station 3 on July 9th. The Spirit Ride is a national event raising awareness of the Slow Down – Move Over law and honoring the lives of first responders who died because of being hit by motorists. Grand Junction Fire Department, Grand Junction Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Dan’s Towing, Girardi’s Heavy Haul, and Ace towing were all present at the event and escorted the convoy on its way to Green River Utah.

Glade Park Lightning Strikes and Fires – There have been lightning strikes over Glade Park causing several wildfires to start. The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control has been flying one of the two state Multi-Mission Aircraft over the area after storms to detect fires. The aircraft are outfitted with detection and communication equipment to provide information to fire crews on the ground about a fire that is just starting

Ambulance Replacements – The Department received the first of three replacement ambulances purchased in 2018. This ambulance was partly funded through the Colorado State EMT Grant for $76,500.00, with a full acquisition price of $200,303.75. New features for this ambulance include a heavy-duty chassis, gas engine and a creative configuration in the back allowing providers the option of sitting in a seat with a safety harness while providing patient treatment.

The Department was also notified of an award for this year’s Colorado State EMT Grant for the purchase of an additional ambulance and equipment to be received in 2019.

Parks & Recreation

Jr. Service League – A community service project was recently completed by the Jr Service League at the park located along the Riverfront Trail. The project included clearing weeds, planting flowers & Shrubs and painting the shelter.

Tiara Rado Open House – An open house was held at Tiara Rado on Tuesday, July 17th from 5:00 – 7:00 PM. This event will be held to celebrate improvements at Tiara Rado including renovations to the restaurant, new food vendor, renovated hole # 14 and a new parking lot. The new Director of Golf, Joe Kamby was also introduced during the event.

Police Department

Mesa County Law Enforcement Town Hall – The Department along with the Colorado State Police and other area law enforcement agencies, hosted a Mesa County Law Enforcement Town Hall on Tuesday, July 17th at Victory Life Church in Fruita. The purpose of the event was to show support between law enforcement entities around the Western Slope, as well as entertain questions about the status of policing in today’s world from law enforcement’s perspective.

National Night Out – The annual National Night Out celebration is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, August 7th, from roughly 5:00 to 9:00 PM. Chief Shoemaker will be attending, as well as several Officers. The focus of the celebration is to reach out on a personal level to various block watch/neighborhood groups to address concerns and answer questions about quality of life and how the Department can work better with them as partners in the fight against crime in the community. More information about National Night Out (NNO) can be obtained by visiting the following website: http://www.gjcity.org/residents/public-safety/police-department/national-night-out/.

Anyone interested in registering a group can contact the Department’s Community Resource Unit (CRU): Community Resource Unit (970)549-5331 CRO@gjcity.org

Public Works

2018 Contract Street Maintenance – Asphalt overlays on Horizon Drive between I-70 and G Road will be completed early September after Ute Water completes replacement of its water line. This $2,434,381 contract is being completed by Elam Construction and will overlay 14 roads totaling 20.4 lane miles including the addition of 6.1 bike lane miles.

7th Street Reconstruction from North Avenue to Orchard Avenue – The contract with MA Concrete Construction started Monday June 4th with the milling of the western half of 7th Street. Xcel Energy completed the gas main replacement and continues to work on service line replacements and meter replacements. Xcel’s work has delayed MA Concrete by approximately four weeks due to the additional depth needed for the gas line and other construction complexities encountered. MA Concrete will continue work the week of July 23rd to replace aging storm drain infrastructure and reconstruct the street. Traffic is narrowed to one lane each direction with flaggers in place at 7th Street and Orchard Avenue during peak traffic times. Access to businesses remain open.

Fogging and Striping – City crews have completed chipping the area south of Grand Avenue between 1st Street and 28 Road and north of the Colorado River. Because this area includes the busy downtown core, crews have scheduled the work utilizing four Sundays to minimize impacts to business and the traveling public.

Riverside Parkway from West Avenue (City Shops) to 29 Road was the last segment to be chipped. Fogging and striping remain for much of the area and will take approximately three more weeks to complete.

Las Colonias Business Park – Phase I of the Business Park is still approximately a month ahead of schedule with project completion estimated by the end of July. The last of asphalt on Phase I was placed on July 20th. Phase II is advertised for bids and is scheduled for Council consideration for award at the August 15th Council meeting. Construction on Phase II is anticipated from September through early June 2019

I-70/29 Road Interchange – As a follow-up to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mesa County to jointly fund a preliminary study for the I-70/29 Road Interchange, Mesa County has hired David Evans and Associates out of Denver to complete the Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study of 29 Road from Patterson Road (F Road), crossing I-70 and landing on a new connecting road North of I-70 to the airport. The PEL study is a precursor that will be used to identify transportation issues and environmental concerns with the Project. The intent of the PEL study is to develop the purpose and need for the Project, determine Project size, and develop and refine a range of alternatives. The PEL study will link planning to environmental issues and result in useful information that can be carried forward into the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process as part of CDOT’s Policy Directive 1601 Planning Process. The cost of the study is estimated at $400,000 and will split evenly with Mesa County. This PEL study is planned for completion by April 2019.

I-70 at Horizon Drive to receive speed limit reduction – As follow-up to City requests, CDOT has conducted a speed study that confirms the need to reduce the speed limit to 70 miles per hour from just east of Exit 31 (Horizon Drive) to just west of Exit 26 (I-70B/22 Road). As part of the agreement the City will install two new radar speed signs, one for westbound I-70 east of Exit 31 and one for eastbound I-70 west of Exit 26, to serve as additional warnings for drivers. CDOT continues to work towards a median cable rail for the same stretch with anticipated installation later this year. These improvements are intended to increase the safety of the public traveling through Grand Junction on the interstate and for the protection of our first responders.

Visit Grand Junction

Destinations International Annual Conference – Visit Grand Junction Director Elizabeth Fogarty, attended the Destinations International Annual Convention in Anaheim, California July 7th through the 13th. This is a premier event for destination marketing and management professionals that provides a unique opportunity to connect with and learn from peers and thought leaders from inside and outside the industry including economic development and sports tourism.

Barbara Bowman Retirement – After 28 years of dedicated service, Barbara Bowman retired from Visit Grand Junction on July 6th. During her tenure she has attended over 150 tradeshows to promote Grand Junction domestically and internationally as a favorable destination for adventurers, tour operators and meeting planners. She also served on the Colorado Tourism Office and National Tour Association Board of Directors. Barb plans to travel with her husband starting with a trip to Germany later this month. There will be an Open House scheduled at the Visitor Center sometime in August when Barb has more time to visit with everyone who has enjoyed working with her over the years.

Recent Coverage – Because of a Visit Grand Junction Media Familiarization Tour (FAM) in September 2017, Grand Junction received coverage in Abenteuer und Reisen, a German travel magazine. The reporter visited the Colorado National Monument, Bin 707 Foodbar, Main Street Bagels, Cafe Sol and Junct’n Square Pizza.

Rally North America – Due to Visit Grand Junction’s efforts, Rally North America chose Grand Junction for the 2nd stage of their multi-state scavenger hunt benefitting COPS – Concerns of Police Survivors charity. The car owners were welcomed on July 10th by Mayor Pro Tem, Bennett Boeschenstein, before heading “screeching” west to their next stage.

WEEK OF JULY 6, 2018

GJARA Government Affairs Committee to Form Candidate Committee

With the completion of the primary election, the Government Affairs Committee will begin the process of forming a committee to interview the candidates. After completing the interviews, the committee will make recommendations to CARPAC for consideration. There are no contested races at the local level, so the committee will determine how to proceed with candidate support of those local candidates if any.

The races for Colorado Legislative offices are contested. The candidates selected for the general election include:

State Senate District 7:

Ray Scott – Republican

Chris Kennedy – Democratic

State House District 54:

Matt Soper – Republican

Erin Shipp – Democratic

Chase Thea – Independent

State House District 55:

Janice Rich – Republican

Tanya Travis – Democratic

 Participation in the committee is limited to association members. Contact Lois Dunn, Committee Chair, to inquire about participation.

City of Grand Junction Reports:

City Manager’s Office:

DOLA Grant Request – The City recently requested that the scope of the DOLA grant received for Las Colonias Business Park be expanded to include the river recreation area. We just received notice that our request was denied. Therefore, we will be exploring other funding sources for the river recreation area.

Letter of Support – Governor Hickenlooper sent a letter of support to U.S. Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary, David Bernhardt, supporting the Department of Interior’s consideration to move the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters to Grand Junction.

Community Development

Development Activity

Staff received an application for the development of seven new townhomes at 741 Main Street. Staff also received the final plan application for Phase II of the Bella Dimore subdivision to develop 13 single-family detached lots and six attached two-family units for a total of 19 lots on 4.43 acres at 598 Sinatra Way

Staff approved the final plan for Phase One of Graff Meadows Subdivision consisting of 23 residential lots within a planned 47 lot subdivision. Staff also approved the final subdivision plan for Willow Wood Village at 3147 Teller Avenue to develop eight single-family lots on 1.48 acres.

For commercial projects, the site plan for a new Stop ‘N Save at 723 Horizon Drive was approved.

Fire Department

Community Outreach

On June 20th Community Outreach held a Block Party in the Ridges neighborhood to educate residents about wildfire risk reduction for their property.

On June 25th Community outreach conducted a CPR class and Station tour for families of the Hispanic Affairs Project.

Wildland Team Deployment – Firetruck Brush 4 and four personnel have returned to the 416 Fire, north of Durango. The fire started on June 1st, is 36% contained and has burned 35,195 acres. Overall, there are 357 total personnel on scene with a total cost to date of $25,600,000.00.

Parks & Recreation

Golf Division – During the past 6 months, a number of changes have been made throughout the Golf Division. Initially, a thorough evaluation of the overall management structure was completed. Management proposals were received from six highly reputable firms from throughout the region and country. It was determined to be in the best interest of the City and the golfers to keep operations with City staff. As part of the process, it was decided to modify the current management structure to include a Head Professional at Lincoln Park and a Director of Golf at Tiara Rado. This will allow each professional to focus solely on those courses. Brian Franco is serving as Interim Head Professional at Lincoln Park, and Joe Kamby will begin as Director of Golf on July 1st. Joe brings over 20 years of golf experience to Tiara Rado from the Vail area. Additionally, a Financial Analyst will be shared with the golf division and general fund and provide budgetary and analytical support for both courses. During the transition, we have experienced challenges in maintaining the highest level of customer service. In the past two weeks, several additional staff members have been assigned to Tiara Rado to assist with operations, making significant progress there.

Several other changes have been made in past months to improve the overall experiences for all golfers. Some of these improvements include:

  • New flooring in the restaurant at Tiara Rado
  • Secured new food services vendor at Tiara Rado
  • Kitchen equipment upgrades at Tiara Rado
  • Carpet replacement at Lincoln park and Tiara Rado
  • Renovated hole #14 at Tiara Rado
  • Parking lot overlay at Tiara Rado (at right)

Tournament play has increased at both courses and league participation is up from previous years. The turf at Lincoln Park experienced significant winter kill from the conditions this past season and is now recovering well, while the conditions at Tiara Rado are excellent.

Police Department

Police Chief – The Department is pleased to welcome Doug Shoemaker as the new Chief of Police. Chief Doug Shoemaker was sworn in on Monday, June 18th, by City Clerk, Wanda Winkleman. in front of family, friends, and guests.

Educational Video – The Grand Junction Police Department is collaborating with Mesa County School District 51 and the Grand Junction Fire Department to produce an educational video for parents and students about what should be expected in response to a school lock down in Mesa County. The video will talk about how these agencies plan and prepare together for a coordinated response. It’s anticipated to be rolled out to parents and the community at the beginning of the school year.

Public Works

2018 Contract Street Maintenance – Asphalt overlays and striping have been completed on West Main Street and most of the lower downtown area including 10th Street between D Road and Winters. 7th Street between Ute Avenue and Struthers will be completed mid-July. River Road, from the Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant to 24 Road will be paved the first week of July. Horizon Drive between I-70 an G Road will be completed early September after Ute Water completes replacement of its water line. This $2,434,381 contract is being completed by Elam Construction and will overlay 14 roads totaling 20.4 lane miles including the addition of 6.1 bike lane miles.

7th Street Reconstruction from North Avenue to Orchard Avenue – The contract with MA Concrete Construction started Monday June 4 with the milling of the western half of 7th Street. Xcel Energy completed the gas main replacement and continues to work on service line replacements. Xcel’s work has delayed MA Concrete by approximately three weeks due to the additional depth needed for the gas line. MA Concrete will continue work the week of July 2nd to replace aging storm drain infrastructure and reconstruct the street. Traffic is narrowed to one lane each direction with flaggers in place at 7 th Street and Orchard Avenue during peak traffic times. Access to businesses remain open.

Chip Seal – City crews are three weeks into the chip sealing of Maintenance Area 8 which includes the area south of Grand Avenue between 1st Street and 28 Road and north of the Colorado River. Because this area includes the busy downtown core, crews have scheduled the work utilizing four Sundays to minimize impacts to business and the traveling public.

Las Colonias Business Park – Phase I of the Business Park is still approximately a month ahead of schedule with project completion estimated by the end of July. Phase II will advertise for bids the week of July 2nd and is scheduled for Council consideration for award at the August 15th Council meeting. Construction on Phase II is anticipated from September through early June 2019

Mesa County Project along I-70 (The following is included because of the high number of inquiries the City is receiving regarding the project.) The Bosley Wash Detention Basin on the north side of I-70 between Clifton and Palisade, at the base of Mount Garfield, is being excavated for the construction of a detention basin to protect residents and structures in the Bosley Wash Basin area. The area had numerous flooding events in the late 1990’s through early 2000, including a fatal accident in 2006 when I-70 flooded. The $2.2 million-dollar project is primarily funded by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency with a match funded by Mesa County. The project should be completed in November.

Visit Grand Junction

Summer Media Familiarization (FAM) Tours – Visit Grand Junction hosted GolfTravelWeekly.com, NortheastGolfer.com, and Arizona Golfer. Writers golfed at both The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa and Tiara Rado Golf Course. Staff also arranged a visit to the Gateway Canyons Car Museum.

Visit Grand Junction hosted The Denver Post to cover the Grand Junction Rockies (and possibly some wineries) for a story The Denver Post is scheduled to run July 15th.

Visit Grand Junction hosted Real Food Traveler for the Colorado Lavender Festival this past weekend.

AAA Colorado Wine Train from Denver to Grand Junction – Visit Grand Junction staff assisted AAA Colorado with the first of four Wine Trains in 2018. Continued negotiation has grown the 45 plus person train to 12 tours per year which includes a two-night stay in Grand Junction.

 Visit Grand Junction Mobile Visitor Center – Staff will be attending the Farmers Market every week in the mobile Visitor Center to be more visible, network with the community and share information with guests.

Campaign Complete for Summer Outdoor Retailer Show – Staff and agencies have designed a new campaign for the Denver Outdoor Retailer Show for July 2018. The campaign is designed to include Palisade and Fruita with the tagline It All Comes Together Here.

WEEK OF JUNE 22, 2018

City of Grand Junction Reports:

Community Development

Mosaic Metropolitan District – Staff received an application for the formation of six individual Title 32 Metropolitan Districts collectively known as the Mosaic Metropolitan Districts NO. 1-6. The proposed districts will be organized to serve the needs of a new community known as the Mosaic Planned Development that has previously been submitted to the City for review. The property included within the proposed districts consists of 68.2 acres of land within a boundary of 23 Road to the east, 23 2/4 Road to the west, H Road to the North and I-70 to the south. Staff anticipates this will be scheduled for a June 26th Planning Commission review and a July 18th hearing by City Council. The Applicant will be seeking a November election for the formation of the districts.

Development Activity – Staff approved a grading permit for Filing one of the Granite Falls subdivision. Filing one is comprised of 31 single-family lots and is part of a 99-lot subdivision. This subdivision is expected to receive full approval by the end of this week. The subdivision is located at 413 South Camp Road. Staff also approved the ninth filing of Heritage Heights subdivisions for an additional 14 single-family lots on 10.81 acres at 637 25 Road and approved a 6,000-square foot warehouse expansion for CAPCO at 1328 Winters Avenue.

For the Weeks of June 4th and June 11th Staff received an application for the development of 8 new townhomes at 3178 D Road on 1.14 acres in a project called Townhomes at River Park as well as an application for the final Plan of Sienna Creek Subdivision comprised of 8 single-family lots on 4.676 acres located at 2052 Broadway. An application for Filing 3 of Pear Park North Subdivision was also submitted which includes the development of 17 single-family lots on 3.28 acres located at the northwest corner of 30 Road and D ½ Road. Also received is an application for a new Taco Bell store at 2897 North Avenue.

Project Workflow and Staffing – After falling behind in project review during the vacancy of a development review engineer and with the increase in project number, size and complexity, the department is currently meeting nearly all deadlines for the review and comment on planning projects. Being able to meet these deadlines has been aided by the filling of the vacant development engineer position in January, as well as with the replacement of a part-time administrative staff with a new full time associate planner. In addition, the department has transitioned its part time planning technician to a full-time position. Filling these positions has been critical in assisting the City in keeping pace with the development community as applications and planning clearance numbers continue to increase over last year’s numbers. Additionally, the complexity and size of projects has increased in new applications for large, complex and/or controversial subdivisions applications and new applications types such as the formation of Metropolitan Districts. In anticipation of the retirement of a Senior Planner from the department in October 2018 as well as the department’s Community Services Manager in late Spring of 2019, the City Manager has authorized filling these two positions early to ensure a seamless transition and important transfer of knowledge.

Fire Department

New Records Management System – Image Trend, a web-based records management system (RMS), was implemented on Wednesday, May 30th. Image Trend replaced High Plains which no longer met federal and state requirements. The new RMS was adopted by all but two fire departments in Mesa County. Grand Junction Fire Department, City of Grand Junction-Information Technology, and Clifton Fire Department coordinated building, training, and implementing the new system.

Image Trend will allow EMS crews to start the documentation process with initial patient contact using iPads. The format streamlines the documentation process and gets the information to hospitals quickly and securely. Image Trend automatically reports all required EMS data to the State of Colorado and forwards all billing information to our EMS billing company. The system will also be used for fire incident reporting and assisting the Department in gathering needed data for fire service accreditation.

Fire Academy Graduation – Nine recruits graduated on June 15th at the Avalon Theater after completing a 15-week Fire Academy. The recruits were trained in all aspects of firefighting from basic fire behavior to an advanced skill of controlling the fire flow path in a structure fire. Prior to graduating, the recruit class completed a service project. June 1st recruits served the community through the Lunch Lizard program at Lincoln Park by hosting a firefighter fitness course for kids and teaching hands-only CPR. This was the kick-off day for the Lunch Lizard Program and a great way for the recruits to interact with kids.

416 Fire – On Monday, June 4th, Brush 4 was dispatched to the 416 Fire, approximately 10 miles north of Durango, Colorado. Since deployment, Brush 4 has been assigned to Division Y (Yankee) providing structure protection. The fire has grown to over 29,000 acres and is 15% contained. The crew is expected to remain on the incident for another week.

Parks & Recreation

Downtown Ambassadors – The 2nd annual downtown ambassador program rolled out on Memorial Day with 9 volunteers. The ambassadors are on main street Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Helping to make the downtown area a safer, friendlier place, ambassadors act as eyes and ears for the City and to support the Police Department, Visit Grand Junction, the DDA, and Parks and Recreation. They can be identified by blue polo shirts, name tags and visors. The program will run through Labor Day.

Park of the Month – Hawthorne is the featured Park of the Month for June. The link to the description page can be found at: http://www.gjcity.org/siteassets/parks-and-rec/pdfs/parks/meet-me-at-the-park/meet-me-at-the-park—june2018.pdf

Coming soon to the Amphitheater

July 14 Grand Valley Biker Rally

July 20-21 Colorado Riverfest

Colorado Discoverability – Park crews have recently completed landscaping for the newly built Colorado Discoverability complex on Struthers Avenue. CDA will pay a monthly fee to the Parks Department for ongoing maintenance.

Stocker Restrooms – The renovation of the west restrooms at Stocker Stadium is nearly complete. The work was completed in combination with local contractors and stadium staff.

Police Department

Heroes Behind the Badge Blood Drive – Law enforcement won the annual Heroes Behind the Badge blood drive. This year, the $500 donation was awarded to the Western Colorado Married to the Badge Spouses Auxiliary, a non-profit organization that supports families of law enforcement officers in need.

Special Olympics – The Department participated in the Special Olympics of Colorado Summer Games, held in Grand Junction June 8 th through the 10th. Interim Chief Mike Nordine ran in the Olympic Torch during the opening ceremonies. Throughout the weekend, officers from law enforcement agencies across the state, awarded medals to the more than 800 athletes who competed in track and field events, swimming, soccer, and power lifting.

Virtual Ride Along – The Department hosted a virtual ride along on social media, Saturday June 9th on Facebook. The ride alongs are popular with the community and provide an opportunity for people to get a behind the scenes glimpse of what a night on patrol in Grand Junction looks like. Virtual ride alongs occur roughly once a quarter and alternate between Facebook and Twitter.

416 Fire – At the request of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Department sent Sergeant Sean Crocker and Officer Scott Donaldson to Durango to assist law enforcement with needs that have arisen due to the 416 Fire. They are being used to patrol evacuated areas and for traffic control in the event of additional evacuations and fire movement. The City will be reimbursed for costs incurred because of the deployment.

Country Jam – Public Information Officers (PIOs) from across Mesa County including the Grand Junction Police Department assisted law enforcement efforts for Country Jam that weekend. PIOs set up a Joint Information Center to manage communications for the event and were available to assist with crisis communication if needed.

Public Works

2018 Contract Street Maintenance – Asphalt overlays and striping have been completed on West Main Street and most of the lower downtown area. 10th Street between D Road and Winters will be completed the week of June 18th. 7th Street between Ute Avenue and Struthers will be completed in early July. River Road from Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant to 24 Road shoulder work continues in anticipation of paving the first week of July. Horizon Drive between I-70 an G Road will be completed later this summer after sewer and water lines have been replaced. This $2,434,381 contract is being completed by Elam Construction and will overlay a total of 14 roads totaling 20.4 lane miles including the addition of 6.1 bike lane miles.

7th Street Reconstruction – MA Concrete Construction started Monday June 4th with the milling of the western half of 7th Street. Xcel Energy has completed the gas main replacement and continues to work on service line replacements. MA Concrete will step back in the week of June 25th to replace aging storm drain infrastructure and reconstruct the street. Traffic is narrowed to one lane each direction with flaggers in place at 7th Street and Orchard Avenue during peak traffic times. Access to businesses remain open.

Neighborhood Pavement Preservation Program – This contract with Andale Construction, Inc., of Wichita Kansas for the 2018 Contract Street Maintenance High Density Mineral Bond Project was completed June 14th. The material used encapsulates the street in a thick layer of pliable asphalt material that provides a tight surface to help keep moisture out and help extend the life of the asphalt. 17.2 lane miles of residential streets in 11 different subdivisions across the City were treated in the eight-day project. As part of the installation, it was imperative that traffic was kept off the surface overnight. Residents with mobility constraints were provided shuttle service by the contractor.

Chip Seal – City crews are one week into the chip sealing of Maintenance Area 8 which includes the area south of Grand Avenue, between 1st Street and 28 Road and north of the Colorado River. Because the area includes the busy downtown core and, in an effort, to minimize impacts to businesses and the public, crews will work four Sundays in a row to complete the work.

Sewer Line Replacement – On June 19th, MA Concrete began work on the replacement of the sewer line between G Road and the I-70 Roundabout. Ute Water will also replace their water line to freshen up the utilities before an overlay and crosswalks are constructed later this summer.

Curb, Gutter and Sidewalk Repairs – The Train Depot received new curb, gutter and sidewalk the week of June 11th. The City paid for the replacement of the curb and gutter while the Depot owner had the City’s contractor replace sidewalk at his expense in a public/private partnership.

Utilities

Kannah Creek Water Supply Line Repair – The Utilities Department has been working to repair a pipe leak near the Kannah Creek area. The leak was the result of a split of an 18-inch diameter cast iron pipe installed in 1948. The pipe was repaired within three days with no interruptions in service to our customers. The repair was especially challenging due to the difficult terrain (100-foot elevation drop) requiring construction of an access road to the break area. A partial segment of pipe with a total length of 10 feet was replaced. The remaining sections of aged water supply line infrastructure has been identified for replacement in the department’s capital improvement plan. An estimated 3 million gallons was lost out of the flowline initially because of the line break. Once the break was identified, water was conveyed to Juniata Reservoir via the Juniata Enlarged Ditch, so there was minimal interruption in supplying the reservoir.

Western Colorado Children’s Water Festival – 26 City employees volunteered at the 25th annual Western Colorado Children’s Water Festival on May 14th and 15th. The Festival was held on the Colorado Mesa University campus. Volunteers from Public Works, Park and Recreation, Fire Department and Utilities Department taught a variety of classes ranging from identifying bugs under a microscope to responsible water use. The Western Colorado Children’s Water Festival is the second largest festival of its kind in the nation. Participants included 2,500 fifth grade students, 120 teachers from 10 school districts and four counties and 375 presenters/volunteers. In addition to providing presenters, the City of Grand Junction Utilities Department is an underwriter of the Festival and participates in planning and organizing the Festival each year. Through the Drought Response Information Project (DRIP), Utilities staff will continue participation in outreach events about responsible watering during this drought season.

Visit Grand Junction

Redlands Mesa Golf Course – Due to Visit Grand Junction hosting a press trip, Redlands Mesa Golf Course was ranked number 1 in the State of Colorado (ahead of the Broadmoor courses on the list). This serves as an example of “behind the scenes” work that Visit Grand Junction coordinates and funds, which produces results that benefit the community.

Colorado Association of Destination Marketing Organizations Summer Retreat – Staff will be attending the Colorado Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (CADMO) Summer Retreat on June 14th and 15th in Glenwood Springs. They will connect with and learn best practices, including what is trending in the industry from other CADMO members and guest speakers. Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) will also be providing an update on various marketing initiatives and wildfire messaging.

 Familiarization Tour – Carlo Ferrari – June 6th through the 9th, staff assisted Italian journalist, Carlo Ferrari with a story about various bike trails in the Grand Junction area. He focused on road biking and cycled over Colorado National Monument, the Fruit and Wine Byway, and One Riverfront Trail. His experience about the Monument speaks volumes – “we rode what I think was the most dramatic and amazing trail in 15 trips to the USA.” Staff also worked with journalist Andrew Collins June 9th and 10th who is writing for Fodor’s National Parks of the West Guidebook. Grand Junction and the Monument will be included.

Week of June 15, 2018

GVDD Drain Service Fee Ruled an “Impermissible Tax”.

Approximately three years ago, the Board of Directors for the Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) adopted a drainage fee assessed on all properties within the boundary of the GVDD. The purpose of the fee was to provide funding for capital drainage improvements intended to resolve drainage issues within the district boundaries. To avoid the revenues generated by the fee from being mixed with the revenues from the mill levy tax, GVDD created a GVDD Enterprise; a quasi-governmental entity intended to operate in the manner of a business. GVDD’s goal was to avoid the fee being declared a tax by having it assessed and collected by the enterprise.

GVDD was created in 1915 with the purpose of operating and maintaining the tail ditches built for irrigation return flows and ground water seepage for the agricultural industry in the Grand Valley. The mill levy tax on the properties in the GVDD was assessed in 1923 to fund the operations of GVDD.

In the early 1900s, the City of Grand Junction was able to direct discharge storm water directly to the Colorado River because of the city’s proximity to the river. As the city grew, it became expedient to use the tail ditches for drainage which the city started doing in the 1960s with permission of the GVDD. As the urban area began to grow and fill in the boundary of the GVDD more and more ditches were piped and used more for the storm drainage generated by the urbanized areas. Much of the drainage infrastructure that was built was undersized as GVDD intended the improvements to serve as its original function of return flows and seepage resulting in many areas of the city having inadequate drainage system. As areas of the urban area began experiencing flooding on a more frequent basis, it became apparent that the drainage system in certain areas needed to be upgraded in certain areas.

After the fee was adopted, as expected, there was quite a backlash from property owners in the GVDD boundary. The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce began hearing from its members about the impact of the fee on their businesses. The fee included $36 per year on all residential properties and $36 per year for every 2,500 sq. ft. of impervious surface on their commercial properties. Public structures, non-profit operations such as churches and schools were included in the assessment. GVDD argued that non-profit and school properties should pay for drainage service for the same reason they pay for water and sanitary sewer service.

Representative from the Chamber contacted GVDD and attempted to negotiate what they believed was a more reasonable approach to funding the drainage improvements but GVDD was unwilling to relent on their original assessment amount or the properties included. As a result, the Chamber approached Mesa County about joining forces and, together, they filed suit in District Court to block the fee assessment as an illegal tax. The case came to trial on June 5, 2017.

On June 8, 2018, Judge Lance Timbreza issued a 43-page reviewing the case and ruling that states that since the waters in the pipes and ditches resulting from irrigation return flows, groundwater seepage and storm water are comingled, it is not possible to segregate them for the purposes of assessment. In addition, the legislation establishing the scope of GVDD’s operation also includes addressing storm water as well as return flows and seepage and these processes are not separable. The mill levy tax being collected by GVDD is being used to fulfill GVDD’s obligation for storm water besides return flows and seepage. Therefore, the fee is an increase in tax revenue. In addition, GVDD established the enterprise for the sole purpose of avoiding the requirements of bringing the issue to the ballot for voter approval that the enterprise was not a valid entity. He therefor determined that the fee was an impermissible tax and found in favor of the plaintiffs.

GVDD was now faced with the prospect of appealing the ruling or refunding the fees collected to date. Subsequent to the ruling, GVDD staff indicated that it was their opinion, based on the wording of the ruling, that on the Chamber and Mesa County were due a refund. However, during an executive session on June 11, 2018, the GVDD Board voted 2 to 1 to not appeal the ruling and to refund the fees.

GVDD is now faced with how to fund the refund the fees as a substantial amount of the revenue has been used for hiring of personnel, operations of the enterprise and construction of a fee improvements. In addition, TABOR provides for a 10% interest assessment on taxes illegally collected compounded the dilemma being faced by GVDD.

Many challenges are yet to be addressed not the least of which is how is the Grand Valley now going to address the still existing drainage problems. With the GVDD fee putting a bad taste in so many property owner’s mouths, it will be even more difficult to come to a resolution.

NAR Sending Call to Action for NFIP

A message form CAR reads: “NAR is launching a Call for Action (CFA) on Monday, June 18th!  This CFA will be sent to all REALTOR® members and will be asking the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program”.

“Congress has been passing shorter extensions because, while there is broad agreement that the 50-year-old NFIP needs a major overhaul, there is not yet agreement in the Senate over how to do that.

For example, independent actuaries have shown that the private market could offer better coverage at lower cost than the NFIP for many property owners. However, some Senators are concerned that, if allowed to choose between private plans and overpriced NFIP policies, some policyholders could leave, taking revenue that NFIP could use to pay the claims of the policyholders who remain. While Florida Citizens has tested and proven this argument to be unfounded, in the Senate, it takes at least 60 votes to move legislation and so it is taking some time for both sides to find a way forward.

What NAR members can do in the meantime is keep reminding Congress:

  • Don’t let the NFIP lapse. Each lapse costs 40,000 property sales per month.
  • Without reauthorization, NFIP cannot issue or renew policies in 22,000 communities where flood insurance is required for a mortgage.
  • The House Flood Reform Bill (H.R. 2874) would fully reauthorize the program for five years.
  • The Senate should take up and amend the House bill to strengthen the flood mapping and mitigation provisions but retain the private-market and NFIP-rate reforms”.

Week of June 7, 2018

Real Estate Economic News

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Name Change

Acting Director Mick Mulvaney has announced a name change for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Director Mulvaney commented that the agency is consistently referred to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau when discussing the agency in discussing the name change.

The change includes the adoption of a new seal shown at left. The agency commented on the meaning behind our new seal:

The seal depicts an eagle with its wings raised across a blue field. Three stars above its head stand for the bureau’s three pillars: to serve, lead, and innovate. The eagle’s breastplate is a shield symbolizing protection.

The scale on the seal represents the traditional symbol of justice. The key represents consumers’ financial security. And the beacon of fire symbolizes transparency in the financial marketplace, along with vigilance and the revelation of knowledge.

City of Grand Junction:

The following is information from the City of Grand Junction outlines some of the activity at the city. Please feel free to let me know if there are any other topics you may have questions about.

Public Safety

911 Phone System – The Public Safety Unit of the Information Technology Division and the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center successfully replaced the 911 phone system early morning on May 29th. The new system is a high availability, West Safety Services Viper/Power 911 System that is capable of supporting NextGen 911 features as they become available in Colorado. It replaces a six-year-old Airbus DS Communications Patriot 911 system that was implemented as part of the Public Safety Building project in 2012 and has now reached end-of-life. The cutover was extremely complicated, both because of the complexity of the systems and because 911 services must remain fully operational throughout the process.

 

The early morning hours (4:00 AM to 7:00 AM) were selected to minimize the number of calls processed during cutover. The Dispatch center successfully handled thirty incidents during the critical 911-line cutover period and 530 incidents throughout the day as implementation activities were ongoing. No 911 calls were dropped during the process.

Full implementation of the system was completed by the end of the week involving many hours of afterhours work by staff and contractors. The new system is expected to serve the community for the next five years and will be linked with a similar system in Garfield County later this year to provide an additional level of redundancy that will ensure uninterrupted service for both counties.

Dispatch Training – During response to a medical emergency, 911 dispatchers are the link between the patient and the responders. Often this means providing medical instruction over the phone to bystanders that may be helping the patient. To help dispatchers understand what is happening at the scene and how important their role is, the fire department presented a class on Cardiac Arrest and Narcotic Overdose for dispatchers from Mesa, Garfield, and Pitkin Counties. On duty crews participated and demonstrated what this type of medical incident may look like.

Parks & Recreation

Junior Service League Park – The Parks Division has coordinated a community service project scheduled on Saturday, June 2nd at the Junior Service League Park. Members of the Community Giving Committee of the local Junior Service League will be at the park volunteering for several improvement projects including removing trash and debris, shelter painting and shrub planting.

Amphitheater Event -The summer season will kick-off this weekend with the following upcoming events at the Las Colonias Amphitheater:

  • June 9th Brian Seltzer’s Rockabilly Riot

Starburst Award – The Colorado Lottery selected the City of Grand Junction and the Las Colonias Park Amphitheater as one of 11 winners of the 2018 Starburst Awards. Starburst awards recognize excellent use of Lottery funds for the betterment of communities via public projects. Since 1992, the Starburst awards have highlighted creative work in Colorado that has a high economic and social impact from rural to urban and from plains to peaks. The Las Colonias Amphitheater project had 13 funding partners for the $3.6 million project and used $350,000 of Conservation Trust Fund dollars. The Colorado Lottery is tentatively planning to attend a Council meeting in July and an event at the Amphitheater to officially present the award.

Development and Projects:

Public Works

As part of the street maintenance effort, the Department has several street maintenance projects underway starting in the next couple of weeks:

 

2018 Contract Street Maintenance – Asphalt overlays and striping have been completed in the Rimrock (Walmart/Lowes) and West Independent area. Preparatory work continues on West Main Street and lower downtown (south of Pitkin Avenue) with paving scheduled over the next two weeks. River Road from Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant to 24 Road shoulder work continues in anticipation of paving 3 rd Street to 4 th Street in June. Horizon Drive between I-70 and G Road will be completed later this summer after sewer and water lines have been replaced. This $2,434,381 contract is being completed by Elam Construction and will overlay a total of 14 roads totaling 20.4 lane miles, including the addition of 6.1 bike lane miles.

 

7th Street Reconstruction from North Avenue to Orchard Avenue Reconstruction on 7th Street begins Monday, June 4th . During reconstruction, traffic will be reduced to two lanes, one each direction. All business and residence access will be maintained, though may vary slightly during phases of construction. The $1,410,769.05 contract will be completed by MA Concrete Construction. Xcel Energy will be replacing gas lines during the reconstruction as well. The schedule for construction is from Monday June 4th through mid-August.

 

Neighborhood Pavement Preservation Program – The Program begins June 7th. This high-density bond material encapsulates the street in a thick layer of asphalt material that provides a tight surface to help keep moisture out and help extend the life of the asphalt. 17.2 lane miles of residential streets in various subdivisions across the City will be treated. As part of the installation, it is imperative that traffic is kept off the surface overnight. In order to maintain access to residences, only half of the street will be completed at a time or shuttle service will be provided by the contractor. This project is scheduled to be completed in seven working days provided there are no weather delays.

 

Chip Seal – Chip Seal maintenance will begin June 10th south of Grand Avenue between 1st Street and 28 Road. North of the Colorado River begins June 10th. Because the area includes the busy downtown corridor, crews scheduled the work utilizing four Sundays in a row to minimize impacts to businesses and the traveling public.

 

Carson Lake Dam Rehabilitation – Carson Lake Dam (aka Hogchute Reservoir) was reclassified as a High Hazard Dam in 2015 due to increased development in the lower Kannah Creek basin downstream of the dam. While no pressing issues have been identified by the State Dam Safety Engineer, work has been initiated to address potential modes of failure on the 70-year old structure. To facilitate engineering work, Carson Lake will be drained beginning in late August or early September. Water Department staff has met with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) personnel to afford them time to initiate a fish salvage plan for this summer. CPW has opted to lift the bag limits for all trout species in Carson Lake effective June 8, 2018. All other fishing regulations that pertain to Carson Lake will remain in effect. The City is coordinating with CPW on a press release, which should come out shortly before June 8th.

 

Visit Grand Junction:

2018 Telly Award – Visit Grand Junction’s video, “River Adventure”, produced in partnership with Miles Media, won a 2018 Gold Telly Award. The Telly Awards honor excellence in video and television across all screens and represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, and production companies from around the world. Check out the video here https://youtu.be/ISub3UktlS8.

 

Media Familiarization (FAM) Tour – Visit Grand Junction assisted the Colorado Tourism Office in hosting prolific freelance writer, Alex Schechter, and Jon Cariveau, Marketing Director with Moots. They stayed in downtown Grand Junction and enjoyed dinner at Bin 707 Foodbar before partaking in a gravel grinding hut trip from Grand Junction to Moab via the San Juan Huts. Alex will be writing about his experience in The New York Times. He also writes for several other well-known publications such as Travel+Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, New York Magazine, AFAR, Hemispheres, Monocle, and the Wall Street Journal.

 

Los Angeles Times Travel Article – Grand Junction was included in the Los Angeles Times article, “Detours worth taking on your next road trip”. https://lat.ms/2x3Dm3F This coverage is a result of a hosting journalist, Jenn Fields, in 2016.

 

Grand Junction Off-Road – Attendance for the Off-Road Mountain Bike event grew from 700 to 750 registered riders this year. At a 4 to 1 attendance ratio for the event and with roughly 80% of participants traveling from outside the Grand Valley, 750 registered riders suggest an estimated 2,000 plus mountain bike specific out of town guests.

 

This year’s event received a heightened amount of media coverage with representatives attending from Velonews International, Bikeradar, Pinkbike International and Marathonmtb International.

 

Community involvement this year includes $8,500 in funds from 2017 Hail the Trail program, utilized in building longtime desired trails that are available to the community year-round. $30,000 in funds annually from Epic Rides spent toward the collaboration with Downtown Grand Junction on the production of the Downtown Music Festival.

Week of June 1, 2018

Real Estate Economic News

Congress Continues to Consider Dodd-Frank Roll-Back

Since the adoption of Dodd-Frank, considered the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the establishment of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and its countless regulations, the real estate industry has experienced several unintended consequences. Not the least of these consequences is the limitation on the production of housing stock to meet the housing needs of the nation.

During the past year, House of Representatives and the Senate have both passed bills intended to rollback the impacts of Dodd-Frank while still maintaining consumer protections. This effort was supplemented with the President naming an interim Director of CFPB who has instituted several policies intended to reign in the freewheeling CFPB operations. The impacts of Dodd-Frank are illustrated by the current rate of housing production reported by economist Elliot Eisenberg, former Chief Economist for the National Association of Homebuilders, who publishes various comments on the economy that relate to the real estate industry. Below is a sampling of these comments during the last month.

Dwelling Disappointment
Seasonally adjusted annualized April housing starts were 1.287 million. While that is up 10.5% year-over-year, and 8% YTD, housing growth is painfully weak, and all because of single-family activity. Multifamily has fully recovered and will henceforth move sideways. However, single-family starts of 894,000 are at solidly recessionary levels despite being 107 months into the current economic recovery, the second longest in US history. Thus, we currently underbuilding by 250,000 units/year!

Congress now needs to reconcile the differences in their bills and send the result to the President for signature to complete the process.

City of Grand Junction:

The following is information from the City of Grand Junction outlines some of the activity at the city. Please feel free to let me know if there are any other topics you may have questions about.

Development and Projects:

Lowell Village Metropolitan District – The formation of the Metropolitan District for the Lowell Village project (R-5 school site) was postponed due to issues related to the transfer of title with the property. The project representatives will be seeking a Metropolitan District election in November for the formation of the District.

Preliminary Approval for Customs Officer – The City of Grand Junction has been pursuing the creation of a Foreign Trade Zone in the area. As part of the process, assistant from the Governor’s office was requested. The Interim Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection responded positively to the Governor’s request that the Grand Junction Regional Airport be designated a User Fee Airport last week. This is a good first step. The City now has three years to get that office established and a Memorandum of Understanding signed. A consultant is working with customs officials in Denver to secure specifications for the space, so we can begin working on something that will meet with their approval while being affordable for all involved.

 

Insurance Service Office Information – Insurance companies, realtors, home and business owners frequently call the fire department to inquire about the Insurance Service Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification rating on a certain property. In partnership with the City’s GIS department, a webpage and interactive map was created on the fire department website to help community members determine the ISO classifications for individual properties within our service area. Here is the link. https://arcgis-tst.gjcity.org/Fire%20ISO%20Map/

 

Ute Water’s Western Colorado Water Festival – Community Outreach participated in the Ute Water Festival on May 14th and 15th at CMU, teaching fire safety. This year marked the 25th anniversary for the Water Festival involving 5th graders from across western Colorado. District 51 and homeschooled 5th graders included over 360 participants and over 2,500 5th graders from across western Colorado attended. With our current drought situation, this year’s theme was Responsible Water Use.

 

Parks & Recreation:

 Outdoor Pools – The Lincoln Park Pool hosted its first school pool party on Tuesday May 22nd and will host the School’s Out Party on May 25th. The pool opens for regular summer schedule on May 26th. Through an ongoing Intergovernmental Agreement, Grand Junction Parks & Recreation Department will once again manage the Palisade Pool this summer. School parties will begin on May 24th and the pool will be open to public on May 26th for regular summer hours. Swim lessons start the week of June 4th at both Lincoln Park and Palisade.

Memorial Day at Orchard Mesa Cemetery – The Parks and Recreation Department Cemetery Division, in partnership with the Grand Junction Area REALTORS® Association (GJARA), will create an “Avenue of Flags” during the Memorial Day weekend in honor of all veterans buried at the Orchard Mesa Cemeteries. Beginning Friday, May 25th, members of the GJARA will line the cemetery roadways with flags encompassing every section of the Cemetery. Flags will remain in place until Tuesday, May 29th.

Kids in Parks Day – Kids in Parks Day was celebrated on May 19th at Hawthorne Park from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. This national day of play, celebrated every third Saturday of May, connects kids and families with their local parks and helps community members to embrace their role as park stewards. This year’s inaugural event was held at Hawthorne Park where many of the park’s trees have declined in health recently, so much so, eight of them have been removed. A new design of the southwest corner of the park along with new cultural and irrigation practices will support more opportunities for increased neighborhood and community use. The community is invited to help plant 15 – 20 new trees to support the park’s new design.

 

Visit Grand Junction:

 National Travel and Tourism Week, May 6 to 12 – Visit Grand Junction joined the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week by creating a short video to be posted on the CTO’s Facebook Page. Staff represented all the “INGS” that locals enjoy, in partnership with Outdoor World and their new Mercedes-Benz RV. Check out the video here http://bit.ly/2rHuR96.

U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow (IPW) Tradeshow – Visit Grand Junction (including the City Manager) attended the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow (IPW) tradeshow in Denver the week of May 21st. IPW is the travel industry’s premier international marketplace with over 6,000 international & domestic tour companies, journalists and marketing partners from 70 different countries. Staff had over 40 private appointments with journalists, including Peter Greenberg from CBS News. Staff also conducted 58, 20-minute pre-scheduled appointments with international tour companies and marketing partners.

Familiarization (FAM) Tours

  • A spring outdoor adventure themed media FAM tour recently hosted journalists from publications which include Roots Rated, 5280, Vail Daily, Colorado Expression, Bold Betties, and Backpacker.
  • Prior to attending the IPW tradeshow, tour companies from Las Vegas, Netherlands, Germany and China will be hosted by Visit GJ staff for tours of the area. Following IPW, staff will welcome representatives from 20 different tour companies.

Colorado Tourism Office Regional Branding Workshop – Over 90 valley-wide community leaders joined Visit Grand Junction in Regional Branding Workshops conducted by Destination Think! the Colorado Tourism Office’s (CTO) contractor tasked with identifying new travel regions within Colorado and determining the “Place DNA” of each region. These regions will create and support new partnerships & itineraries within areas of the state where data shows (via Arrivalist) guests are traveling based on seasonal patterns. These initiatives will provide additional economic impact to our area through destination development campaigns.

Week of May 21, 2018

 

Government Affairs Column

2018 Legislative Wrap-Up

The 2018 session of the Colorado General Assembly came to an end on May 9th ending a year with almost 800 bills being introduced. Although it is an election year and several bills brought forward were only intended to create a campaign issue for the upcoming elections, have a split legislature, with the Democrats holding a majority in the House and the Republicans holding a majority in the Senate, any bill sent to the Governor for signature certainly had bi-partisan support, some after major compromises on both sides.

The session was marked by several different issues but seemed to have less housing and real estate issues that usual. One new subject that was emphasized this year was re-useable water for use in growing hemp, marijuana and even flushing toilets. None of the bills associated with the topic passed as the use of this water requires substantial infrastructure construction and the suitability for agriculture was not really known.

CAR’s Legislative Policy Committee tracked approximately 80 various bills. The bill list can be viewed at http://statebillinfo.com/SBI/index.cfm?fuseaction=Public.Dossier&id=24584&pk=761

As far as housing/real estate issues, several bills were passed while many more were defeated. A sampling of the bills that passed include:

Real Estate Commission Flexibility in License Periods:

HB18-1227, cleans-up a few lingering issues with the 2017 real estate sunset bill. The bill gives the Division of Real Estate the statutory authority to change the expiration date of real estate licenses from an anniversary date to a calendar renewal on December 31st of the third year after issuance.  It also corrects the problem of inadequate education offerings for some rural areas or local boards during that transition period.

Previously only one type of education service provider could offer the transition course, which meant members would have to travel long distances to meet their requirements.  Additionally, the transition course was only updated once in five years whereas the annual update course is new each year.  Now the number of continuing education requirements will remain the same under the amendments, but in the transition license period two annual update courses will be required and the rest of the requirements can be met with elective courses.  On April 23rd, Governor Hickenlooper signed this bill into law.
Affordable Housing

SB 18-007 – Affordable Housing Tax Credit

The bill renamed the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to the Affordable Housing tax Credit and extends the program through 2024 after originally being scheduled to expire in 2019. The program has been used to support development of affordable housing rental units and has historically generated over $60 million in private sector money used for development of affordable housing. The bill was sent to the Governor for signing on May 11, 2018.

HBll 18-1315: Manufactured Home Sales Tax Exemption

This bill expands the sales and use tax exemption for manufactured homes.  Currently, 48 percent of a manufactured home price is exempt from state sales and use tax, this bill would completely exempt the purchase of a new manufactured home from state sales tax.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average sales price of a new manufactured home in Colorado in 2016 was $66,100, and households that live in manufactured homes make on average $30,000. As this type of housing is taxed as personal property it meant that the tax on the purchase would cost approximately $1,000, which is considered a significant closing price burden for the working families that traditionally purchase manufactured homes. This legislation will ease that burden and increase the availability of affordable housing for hard working Coloradans. The bill was sent to the Governor this week.
Squatter Prevention:

SB18-015 – Protecting Homeowners and Deployed Military, will prevent the unauthorized occupation of property statewide by creating an emergency civil court process that a property owner may pursue when a squatter illegally takes up residence in their home. This is a common sense public policy solution that: 1) Gives rightful property owners a remedy to remove squatters and lessen damages to private property; 2) Gives law enforcement officials the tools and necessary procedures to remove squatters, 3) Protects consumers from becoming a victim of housing scams; and 4) Deters fraudulent transfers of real estate and squatter events that threaten private property rights. The bill was unanimously adopted on May 8th by both the House and Senate chambers and will be sent to the Governor for his signature on May 17, 2018.

Ballot Initiatives

There is a potential for a very long ballot this November. The legislature has referred one issue regarding redistricting to the ballot, but numerous other issues have been approved to circulate petitions.

 

Legislative and Congressional Redistricting:

With a 2020 census right around the corner that appears ready to give Colorado an eighth Congressional seat under reapportionment, there is a widespread belief among leaders in both parties and from advocates for unaffiliated voters that Colorado’s redistricting processes must be reformed to increase the competitiveness of legislative and congressional seats. Rather than give the line drawing responsibilities to the General Assembly, Senate Concurrent Resolutions (SCR) 004 and 005 refer these reform concepts to the 2018 ballot for Colorado voters.

SCR 18-004, amends the state constitution to create an independent congressional redistricting commission that is responsible for redrawing the U.S. congressional districts after the census rather than the General Assembly. And similarly, SCR 18-005, amends the state constitution to create an independent legislative redistricting commission that is responsible for redrawing the state senate and state representative districts after the census. The commissions are both made up of 12 members that will develop a congressional districts map or a state legislative districts map that uses a variety of factors, including competitiveness. The map must be approved by a super majority (8) with a minimum of 2 unaffiliated members.

This legislation gives Colorado voters a chance to determine if a more fair and neutral process for redistricting should be instilled in Colorado. The changes to the existing line drawing systems could increase the likelihood of making legislative and congressional seats more competitive as potential legislators would have to appeal to a broader array of voters who maintain diverse opinions on issues that come before the U.S. Congress and the State Legislature. Both concurrent resolutions were sent to the Governor.

The initiative being circulated for signature include:

Number Issue Name Petition Due Date
#66 Limit on Local Housing Growth 8/6/18
#82 Issuance of Identification Documents by Dept. of Revenue 6/28/18
#83 State Income Tax 7/19/18
#93 Funding for Public Schools 7/11/18
#94 Severance Taxes on Oil & Gas 7/11/18
#97 Setback Requirements for Oil & Gas Development 8/6/18
#108 Just Compensation for Reduction in Fair market Value by Government Law or Regulation 8/5/18
#109,  #110 & #112 Just Compensation for Damage Due to Government Law or Regulation 8/6/18
#111 & #113 Taking Property for Public Use 8/6/18
#123 #146 Transparency in Health Care Billing 8/6/18
#126 Payday Loans 8/6/18
#164 Prohibit Sales of Smartphones to Preteen Minors 8/6/18
#167 Authorize Bonds for Transportation Projects 8/6/18
#169 Compliance with Federal Immigration Law 8/6/18
#178, #179, #180 & #181 Regulation of Oil & Gas Development 8/6/18

 

Details and text of the petitions can be viewed on the Colorado Secretary of State’s webpage at https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/index.html

 

City of Grand Junction:

The following is information from the City of Grand Junction outlines some of the activity at the city. Please feel free to let me know if there are any other topics you may have questions about.

Development and Projects – Staff received a request for the rezone of the property at 465 Meadows Way, a project previously reviewed and heard by the City for the proposed Fossil Trace cluster development subdivision. A request was also received for a new subdivision preliminary plan for a project called the Enclave Subdivision located at 667 29 ½ Road. The project is proposing a 39-lot subdivision on 10.71 acres.

Staff approved a site plan for Atlasta Solar at 1111 South 7th Street for an addition of 3,507 square feet.

Staff approved the site plan for an additional 35,000 square foot building that is part of the Corner Square development located at 1st and Patterson between McAlisters and Walgreens.

Planning Commission:

The City received a letter of resignation from Planning Commissioner Jon Bushorn effective July 1st. Jon has served the City in this role since January 2012 and was in the middle of his second term that was scheduled to conclude in October 2020. Jon will be taking a sabbatical with his family and traveling around the globe for much of next year.

April Snow Levels and Water Supply

As of April 9th, the average snow depth across the City’s watershed was 29.3 inches (equivalent to 9.5 inches of water as shown by the red line on the graph). Our snow pack is above the historical minimum levels but only 59% of the historical average for the 1988-2018 survey period.

 

May Snow Levels and Water Supply

As of May 2nd, the average snow depth across the City’s watershed was 19.4 inches (equivalent to 6.8 inches of water as shown by the red line on the graph). Our snow pack is above the historical minimum levels but only 37% of the historical average for the 1988- 2018 survey period. Total water stored in City reservoirs is 9,169 acre-feet representing about 1.5 times the City’s average annual water demand. Given the low snow pack, it is anticipated that the City will need to draw more from stored water versus direct flow from Kannah Creek. Given the current reservoir levels and drought conditions, staff does not anticipate having excess water available to sell to local ranchers for supplemental irrigation. The City did not sell excess water for supplemental irrigation in other recent dry years (2002, 2003, and 2012). Staff is coordinating with Grand Valley partners (Ute Water Conservancy District, Clifton Water District, Town of Palisade) to implement voluntary water conservation measures and public outreach as outlined in the Drought Response Plan (DRP).

 

Wildfire Season – Community Outreach has been working with agencies throughout the valley to deliver unified messages about the upcoming wildfire season. The information that went out this week on Stage 1 Fire Restrictions was part of the process and as we go through the season, the group will continue to coordinate messages to reduce any confusion.

 

Smoke Detectors The department has partnered with the American Red Cross for the kick-off of the “Sound the Alarm” campaign, where volunteers install smoke detectors in high risk homes.

 

Community Center Survey

Participation in the online survey has been excellent thus far. Over 2,000 responses have been received to date, and the link will remain open until next Monday. The survey can be accessed at gjsurvey.org/2018.

 

Park Vandalism – Over the weekend of April 23rd, vandals destroyed bathroom fixtures in both the men and women’s restrooms at Westlake Park. The vandalism occurred during the daytime hours prior to being locked for the evening. The fixtures have been replaced and the restrooms were re-opened early this week.

 

Spring Clean Up – Despite the landfill shutting down for three days due to windy conditions, City crews and contractors completed the Spring Clean Up on schedule. Volumes removed were up 16% and tonnage was up 20%.

 

 

 

Week of May 11, 2018

Affordable Housing

With shrinking inventories of housing available on the market leading to increasing increases in home prices, affordable housing is becoming a growing issue in communities across the country. While Grand Junction make be “late to the party”, the trend is being seen here as well. As housing becomes out of the reach of more-and-more families, many are looking to government programs to provide the solution. One such program is Low income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) such as those administered by the Colorado Housing Finance Authority (CHFA).

CHFA recently announced the LIHTC awards for the first allocation round of 2018. CHFA is the entity allocating federal and state LIHTC in Colorado. For the first round of 2018, CHFA received eight applications with requests totaling $5,720,262 for state LIHTC.

The awards totaled $4,748,177 in support of construction of 533 affordable rental housing units. The projects are listed in the graph below:

Location Project Developer
Aspen, CO Aspen Affordable Housing Aspen Housing Partners
Denver, CO The Colburn Gorman & Company
Poncha Springs, CO Deanza Vista Sleeping Indian, LLC
Ft. Collins, CO DMA Plaza DMA Plaza, Inc.
Denver, CO Emerson Street Apts. Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corp.
Denver, CO Olin Hotel Apts. Senior Housing Options
Boulder, CO Red Oak Park II Boulder Housing Partners
Aurora, CO Residences at Hoffman TWG Development, LLC
     

 

The Grand Junction Housing Authority received an allocation of LIHTC in 2017 and the second phase of their Hightower II, a senior housing project is under construction. The project is located on Wellington east of 7th Street.

Created in 1973, CHFA also invests in loans to low- and moderate-income homebuyers through a network of participating lenders and makes loans to affordable multifamily rental housing developers and small to medium sized businesses.

CHFA is a self-sustaining public enterprise with CHFA issued debt not being an obligation of the state (making it exempt from TABOR limitations).

City of Grand Junction:

The following is information from the City of Grand Junction outlines some of the activity at the city. Please feel free to let me know if there are any other topics you may have questions about.

Development and Projects – Staff received a request for the rezone of the property at 465 Meadows Way, a project previously reviewed and heard by the City for the proposed Fossil Trace cluster development subdivision. A request was also received for a new subdivision preliminary plan for a project called the Enclave Subdivision located at 667 29 ½ Road. The project is proposing a 39-lot subdivision on 10.71 acres.

Staff approved a site plan for Atlasta Solar at 1111 South 7th Street for an addition of 3,507 square feet.

Staff approved the site plan for an additional 35,000 square foot building that is part of the Corner Square development located at 1st and Patterson between McAlisters and Walgreens.

Planning Commission:

The City received a letter of resignation from Planning Commissioner Jon Bushorn effective July 1st. Jon has served the City in this role since January 2012 and was in the middle of his second term that was scheduled to conclude in October 2020. Jon will be taking a sabbatical with his family and traveling around the globe for much of next year.

April Snow Levels and Water Supply

As of April 9th, the average snow depth across the City’s watershed was 29.3 inches (equivalent to 9.5 inches of water as shown by the red line on the graph). Our snow pack is above the historical minimum levels but only 59% of the historical average for the 1988-2018 survey period.

 

May Snow Levels and Water Supply

As of May 2nd, the average snow depth across the City’s watershed was 19.4 inches (equivalent to 6.8 inches of water as shown by the red line on the graph). Our snow pack is above the historical minimum levels but only 37% of the historical average for the 1988- 2018 survey period. Total water stored in City reservoirs is 9,169 acre-feet representing about 1.5 times the City’s average annual water demand. Given the low snow pack, it is anticipated that the City will need to draw more from stored water versus direct flow from Kannah Creek. Given the current reservoir levels and drought conditions, staff does not anticipate having excess water available to sell to local ranchers for supplemental irrigation. The City did not sell excess water for supplemental irrigation in other recent dry years (2002, 2003, and 2012). Staff is coordinating with Grand Valley partners (Ute Water Conservancy District, Clifton Water District, Town of Palisade) to implement voluntary water conservation measures and public outreach as outlined in the Drought Response Plan (DRP).

 

Wildfire Season – Community Outreach has been working with agencies throughout the valley to deliver unified messages about the upcoming wildfire season. The information that went out this week on Stage 1 Fire Restrictions was part of the process and as we go through the season, the group will continue to coordinate messages to reduce any confusion.

 

Smoke Detectors The department has partnered with the American Red Cross for the kick-off of the “Sound the Alarm” campaign, where volunteers install smoke detectors in high risk homes.

 

Community Center Survey

Participation in the online survey has been excellent thus far. Over 2,000 responses have been received to date, and the link will remain open until next Monday. The survey can be accessed at gjsurvey.org/2018.

 

Park Vandalism – Over the weekend of April 23rd, vandals destroyed bathroom fixtures in both the men and women’s restrooms at Westlake Park. The vandalism occurred during the daytime hours prior to being locked for the evening. The fixtures have been replaced and the restrooms were re-opened early this week.

 

Spring Clean Up – Despite the landfill shutting down for three days due to windy conditions, City crews and contractors completed the Spring Clean Up on schedule. Volumes removed were up 16% and tonnage was up 20%.

 

Week of April 27, 2018

The following is information from the City of Grand Junction outlines some of the activity at the city. Please feel free to let me know if there are any other topics you may have questions about.

Development and Projects – Staff received a request for a site plan review for a new O’Reilly Auto Parts store at 2701 Highway 50. Since 2010 the City has reviewed and approved the construction of 43 accessory dwelling units. Of those, half (17) were approved in the last 15 months. This follows the nation-wide trend in the increase in demand for these types of units. The Airport is planning a significant update to the Civic and Institutional Master plan. The first step in the update process is to hold a neighborhood meeting. This meeting has tentatively been scheduled for May 3rd. First Quarter planning and building statistics and charts are attached.

Bike Month – May is Bike Month and there are number of events planned within the Grand Valley, some of which the Urban Trails Committee and staff are involved with assisting or planning. The month begins with Bike to Work Day on May 2nd and concludes with a Bike Month Celebration at Las Colonias Park on May 30th. A calendar of all the events are attached.

 Rosedale Fire – An After-Action Review for the Rosevale Fire was held in the Grand Junction Police Department Konzak Training Room on Friday, April 13th. Approximately 75 first responders from the Grand Junction Fire and Police Departments, Clifton Fire Department, Lower Valley Fire Department, Palisade Fire Department, Central Orchard Mesa Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management, the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Mesa County Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Management, Grand Junction Regional Communication Center Incident Dispatch Team, Mesa County Joint Information Center (JIC) Team and the American Red Cross, all met for over two hours to discuss the Rosevale Fire. Participants reviewed the incident and discussed things that went well and more importantly ways to improve or be better prepared for future incident

 Visit Grand Junction:

Camping World Video Shoot – Visit Grand Junction is assisted Camping World with a video shoot around the Grand Junction area, April 16th through the 19th. Camping World is the largest RV distributor in the US and is a 3.5-Billion-dollar company with over 120 locations. They are filming their 2018 Brand Anthem, which is essentially their statement piece for years to come. The video will be distributed on their website, social channels and potentially air as a TV spot.

Norwegian Air French Group Media Familiarization Tour – In partnership with the Colorado Tourism Office, Visit Grand Junction is hosting a Norwegian Air French Group Media Familiarization tour on April 20th and 21st. Journalists from American Legend Magazine and Rolling Stone Magazine will experience the Colorado National Monument, downtown and the Riverfront Trail. Norwegian Air just began operating a direct flight between Paris and Denver, making all of Colorado more accessible for the French market.

 Los Colonius Historical Exhibit – A class at Colorado Mesa University developed an exhibit, The Evolution of Las Colonias: The Shaping and Reflection of Grand Junction’s Past, as part of a public history project. The exhibit was open April 16th through April 19th and will open again April 26th through June 15th. The exhibit will include historic photos, artifacts, and oral history. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will be in the Tomlinson Library

Colorado Oil Production Reaches Record Levels

The March 2018 Colorado Outlook: Economic Fiscal Review by the Colorado Office of State Planning and Budget highlights the strength of the Colorado economy, buoyed by the rebounding oil industry. Colorado oil production is currently at its highest level on record, though job growth in the industry has not kept pace. Advancements in technology and the efficiency of drilling techniques have allowed production to increase more quickly than employed. While employment in the oil and gas sector is on the rise, it has not fully recovered from the 2015 downturn.

Even as oil and gas employment lags production levels, job growth in the industry remains strong. The mining and logging sector, which includes oil and gas, which includes oil and gas, experienced the highest percentage of year-over-year employment gains in 2017 at 15.2 percent. The strong showing helped propel Greeley and Grand Junction to the top of the list by metro area.

View the full forecast document (goo.gl/YfafiV), which not only looks at the oil and gas, but also details economic indicators spanning from housing permits to retail trade.

Figure 9. Year-Over-Year Job Growth by Metro Area, December 2017

Source: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment modified estimates

Area 1 = Greeley 6.2%

Area 2 = Grand Junction 3.9%

Area 3 = Ft. Collins/Loveland 2.7%

Area 4 = Denver 2.5%

Area 5 = Colorado Springs 1.7%

Area 6 = Boulder 1.1%

Area 7 = Rural Colorado 0.5%

Area 8 = Pueblo 0.3%

Area 9 = Statewide 2.2%

 

Week of April 13, 2018

The following is information from the City of Grand Junction outlines some of the activity at the city. Please feel free to let me know if there are any other topics you may have questions about.

Development and Projects – The last two weeks include a variety of approvals and applications. For commercial development, Staff approved a major site plan for a new 3,674 square foot ANB Bank building at 12th Street and Patterson Road, as well as a new Starbucks located at 1350 North Avenue (The former Johnson House of Flowers site).

Staff also issued a planning clearance for the interior remodel for St. Mary’s Vascular Surgery Clinic. The City received an application for the major site plan review of the Corner Square Commercial building at 360 W Park Drive. This is the site that had been previously excavated at 1st Street and Patterson Road adjacent to Walgreens and McAlister’s Deli. The project is proposing a new 35,700 square foot commercial building.

For residential development, Staff approved the Apple Glen Subdivision with 52 single family lots on 14.95 acres at 2366 H Road, the Sage Meadows Subdivision of 31 single family lots at 2839 Riverside Parkway as well as Copper Creek North, Filing 3 of 18 lots on 3.2 acres.

The City also received an application to rezone the 151-acre property at 26 and 26 ½ Roads that previously withdrew application for an ODP/PD for the Weeminuche Subdivision.

Community Center Feasibility study – A statistically valid survey will be distributed in April as part of the community center feasibility study being conducted by Perkins + Will, in collaboration with Parks and Recreation and PLACE (People for Local Activities and Community Enrichment). The survey will be distributed to 3,500 households in the City by mid-April. An online survey will follow distribution to community members who were not randomly selected for the statistically valid survey. Results will be used to develop the conceptual plan and final program for the proposed center.

Tiara Rado Restaurant – Staff has been working on transitioning a new food service provider for the restaurant at Tiara Rado. Texas Food Company (owned and operated by Brent Miller) has been providing service over the past year. Brent also has the food service contract for the stadium and swimming pool at Lincoln Park. We are in the process of extending those contracts with him. A new contract has been offered to the operators of Warehouse 2565 for Tiara Rado. They have held a similar contract at Redlands Mesa Golf Course and were very successful there. They intend on beginning operations at Tiara Rado April 15th under the name of The Clubhouse.

Spring Clean-up – Spring Clean-Up began April 9th. The two-week program helps residents dispose of yard waste and unusable household items. The program has been around since the early 1900’s and is one of the City’s most popular residential programs. North of North Avenue started the week of April 9th and South of North Avenue starts the week of April 16th.

29 Road & Unaweep Ave. Traffic Signal – This new signal at 29 Road and Unaweep Avenue went “live” the afternoon of April 5th. The signal will help residents west of the intersection get onto 29 Road and alleviate congestion and delays. The project was funded with Transportation Capacity Payment (TCP) revenues and was completed by in-house transportation staff.

 Visit Grand Junction – The 2017 Annual report for Visit Grand Junction is now available. Highlights include increases in lodging tax collections, website sessions, and social media followers. In addition, Visit Grand Junction was the recipient of two HSMAI Adrian Awards that recognize creative excellence and best practices in travel and tourism-related marketing. You can view the report here: https://bit.ly/2IrDM4s

Historic Preservation – Historic Preservation Joe Hatfield, leader of the 7th Street District, will be organizing this year’s 7th Street Historic District Walking Tour which will be held during Historic Preservation Month on May 5th. The DDA has offered to participate by having the historic Lowell School (R-5) open for the tour as well. The Historic Preservation Board reviewed a request for an expansion to the Lincoln Park Historic District at their April 3rd meeting. Their review and recommendation will be considered by the City Council at a meeting in May.

Rose Dale Fire – The brush fire was reported at 7:27 PM on April 2nd and within the first 10 minutes of the fire, dispatch received 45 911 calls. The fire resulted in no injuries or fatalities with at least one house and pole barn destroyed along with personal property and other out buildings. Firefighters defended a number of structures where the fire burned right up to the foundations, including the Deep Rock Water building where crews extinguished a fire on the roof but kept the fire from penetrating the interior of the building. Additionally, firefighters dealt with strong erratic winds, burned power lines, an open natural gas valve and burning vehicles, tires, trash and unknown hazardous materials.

A unified command system was set up at the command post on Rosevale road and included Grand Junction Fire and Police, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management and the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center Incident Dispatch Team. City Manager Caton was at the command post for most of the fire along with other agency representatives from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control and Xcel Energy. Ultimately 20 different agencies assisted in the incident, including 11 fire agencies. The BLM sent resources to the scene and Delta County fire agencies were requested and staged at the Mesa County Sheriff’s office. Approximately 60 fire and police units were on the scene or at the staging area on South Redlands Road. Evacuation notices were sent to 363 homes and several evacuees were sent to the Safeway parking lot until an evacuation center could be set-up by the Red Cross. Since the fire, over 400 people have signed up for the Emergency Notification System through dispatch.

The fire burned approximately 10 acres and was 100% contained by 11:45 PM. Fire Department personnel remained on scene for over 22 hours, finally clearing the scene at 5:32 PM on April 3rd. Above are a map and drone photo of the burned area.

 Los Colonius Business Park – The following is an article that appeared in the Colorado biz Daily magazine about the Los Colonius Park Outdoor Business Park.

GRAND JUNCTION PLAN TARGETS OUTDOOR-FOCUSED FIRMS

The $30 million project, Riverfront at Las Colonias Park, will blend passion for the outdoors and business

Located adjacent to downtown Grand Junction along the banks of the Colorado River, the $30 million project, called Riverfront at Las Colonias Park, will blend passion for the outdoors into a business environment. Located within the 147-acre Las Colonias Park, the business park will embrace the natural environment with outdoor meeting zones scattered among the buildings and recreational amenities that include an open space park, aerial adventure course, bike trails, retail outlets and a river recreation zone. All buildings will use sustainable design practices.

“The idea with this cluster of outdoors businesses is that they’re complementary to each other — they’re not competing,” says Greg Caton, Grand Junction’s city manager. “We’ve gotten a tremendous amount of interest. Along the river, we’re developing some restaurant-oriented pads, and we’ve had interest in those as well.”

The development broke ground in March and is funded through a public-private partnership with a projected $10 million public investment split between the business park and the recreational area, as well as a $20 million investment from the private sector.

Bonsai Design, a company that builds aerial adventure courses across the country, plans to invest $2 million into new facilities on the site, including a $600,000 research and development building that will include a zip line and challenge course that will be open to the public.

Under terms of an agreement with the city, Bonsai will lease up to 4.5 acres in Las Colonias for $20,000 a year for 25 years. The city will contribute $1 million toward the construction of the new facilities and waive certain fees, as well as real and business personal property taxes over a 10-year period, totaling about $117,000. The state of Colorado has agreed to provide the company with $75,000 in cash incentives to support new job creation.  In return, Bonsai will add 15 new employees, bringing its staff up to 50 people with an average annual salary of $55,000. The expected economic impact from Bonsai alone is $23 million.The total economic impact of construction of the project is estimated at more than $41 million. To the west of Las Colonias, the city owns another 66 acres at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers that will be developed as Riverfront at Dos Rios, which is in the master planning stage.

Margaret Jackson Margaret Jackson is an award-winning journalist who spent nearly 25 years in the newspaper industry, including seven years as a business reporter for The Denver Post covering residential and commercial real estate. She can be reached at myjackson7@gmail.com.

Week of April 6, 2018

Associated Members for Growth and Development (AMGD) was formed in 1989 by Linda Romer Todd and the late Larry Rasmussen. It is an informal group of local groups, associations and interested individuals that meet monthly for the exchange of information. The meetings are currently held at 7:30 am on the first Wednesday of the month in the Patricia Teck Classroom at the Grand Junction Area REALTORS® Association. All members are welcome to attend.

Economic Development

The AMGD meeting for April 2018 featured representatives from Grand Junction Economic Development Partnership (GJEP) and Visit Grand Junction (VGJ), formerly known as the Grand Junction Visitors and Convention Bureau. These two entities are an integral part of the economic development effort in Grand Junction and the Grand Valley.

GJEP

Robin Brown was recently appointed as the Executive Director of GJEP. Robin is known to many for her efforts in fundraising for the Avalon Theater Foundation, Director of the Downtown Business Improvement District and managing her own marketing firm. The GJEP Board felt that Robin was well suited to take the organization forward after the loss of Kristi Pollard to the Lakewood Economic Development organization.

Steve Jozefczyk is the Deputy Director at GJEP and is primarily responsible for relocation of companies to the Grand Junction area. Cilia Kohn is the Director of marketing and Communications and is primarily responsible for marketing the Grand Valley regionally and nationally.

When considering new business relocations, GJEP has created a 1, 2, and 3 levels of ranking the prospects. This allows them to concentrate their efforts on the businesses that are more likely to make the move here.

When they lose out to another community, they analyze the trends to determine what aspects of the Grand Valley that may be a detriment to companies making the move here or what about their presentation that needs to be improved. One issue they are having to address is the workforce and lack of trained or skilled workers. This is an issue for many companies because they are having to invest in the training of employees only to have them move on to another company. While people have always looked to job jump to climb the occupational ladder, the trend seems to be that they are doing so more rapidly than in the past causing great expense to companies in developing their work force.

Another challenge for the community is a lack of available office space. Robin also believes housing in the downtown area is desired and necessary.

GJEP is currently in conversation with over 30 companies about their considering the Grand Valley. One recent success is Kimberly Trailers, a manufacturer of small travel trailers. The company is planning to construct a manufacturing facility in the new named Dos Rios at Riverside (formerly known as the Jarvis property).

Another effort being discussed is the relocating approximately 300 to 400 employees of the Bureau of land Management to the Grand Junction area over a three to four-year period. When the idea was originally brought forward by Sen. Cory Gardner, many thought this was just a pipe dream but now, it is becoming a serious possibility. The Current Omnibus Spending Bill signed by President Trump includes funds allocated for the relocation of 50 BLM employees, but the location has not been designated.

GJEP is also involved with the creation of a Free or Foreign Trade Zone to serve local manufacturers in reducing import duty costs of raw and partially developed materials unused in the manufacture of their products. The application has been submitted to Washington DC and a response is expected by the third quarter of this year.

Opportunity Zones are another item on GJEP’s plate in conjunction with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. OEDIT describes the process on their website.

The Opportunity Zones Program was enacted as part of the 2017 tax reform package (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) to address uneven economic recovery and persistent lack of growth that have left many communities across the country behind. In the broadest sense, the newly enacted federal Opportunity Zone program provides a tax incentive for investors to reinvest unrealized capital gains into low-income urban and rural communities.  In Colorado, Opportunity Zones may help address several challenges:

  • Promoting economic vitality parts of the state that have not shared in the general prosperity over the past few years
  • Funding the development of workforce and affordable housing in areas with escalating prices and inventory shortages
  • Funding new infrastructure to support population and economic growth
  • Investing in startup businesses who have potential for rapid increases in scale and the ability to “export” outside the state of Colorado
  • Upgrading the capability of existing underutilized assets through capital improvement investments

This economic and community development tax incentive program provides a new impetus for private investors to support distressed communities through private equity investments in businesses and real estate ventures. The incentive is deferral, reduction and potential elimination of certain federal capital gains taxes. U.S. investors currently hold trillions of dollars in unrealized capital gains in stocks and mutual funds alone— this is a significant untapped resource for economic development.

Opportunity Funds which invest in Opportunity Zones provide investors the chance to put that money to work rebuilding the nation’s distressed communities. The fund model will enable a broad array of private equity fund managers and investors to pool their resources, increasing the scale of investments going to under-served areas.

Visit Grand Junction

Elizabeth Fogarty was recently appointed the Director of VGJ most recently coming to Grand Junction from Visit Estes Park where she resided for over 13 years and was CEO of Visit Estes Park for the last 3 ½ years. During her tenure in Estes Park, the organization won awards from the Governor’s office for their marketing programs.

VGJ will continue marketing priorities, but will also concentrate on Advocacy, Education and Value. Educating is relative to local business and sharing with them what VGJ is doing and how VGJ can help them grow their business through progressive marketing initiatives. Interacting with local businesses on this level is an expansion of the operation and will prove to be a great benefit to local business as a resource to assist with their marketing efforts if they so desire.

VGJ is also working on developing a destination brand for the Grand Valley. Branding a community includes specific steps and considerations including:

  1. Branding is not about creating logos and slogans.
  2. Differentiation – how are we unique. What sets us apart from everyone else. Elizabeth commented that outdoor recreation on its own does not differentiate our area because it is something that almost every city in Colorado and across the western United States is involved in. Figuring out what sets us apart will result in a successful brand. Outdoor recreation will be an important pillar within the destination brand, however.
  3. Perception – what people think you are and not what you say you are.
  4. Promise – a brand promise will emerge during the process. We can only market to the level of the experience we can deliver.
  5. Name synonymous – Your name must be synonymous with your brand. Such as Nashville is to country music.
  6. Branding is built on product – not just marketing. Must have product to back up brand.
  7. Roll out a brand – If the organization creates the brand in a vacuum, then there is a lack of ownership within the community and thus the brand launch fails. It is imperative that the community be a part of the process.
  8. Focus Groups – related to brand research – Although there may be benefits, it’s ultimately not a recommended strategy to gain intel for the brand.
  9. Ownership – the entire community needs to own the brand after it is agreed to. Community must be brand ambassadors.
  10. Team Sport – Branding and marketing, to be successful, means the community is hitting on all cylinders going forward and celebrating the same message. Advocacy by all involved is necessary for success.

Ultimately, economic development starts with a visit before people and businesses choose to relocate here. Enjoyable vacations to the area breed future economic development by enticing people to move and invest in the area. A strong brand will create inspiration to consider the area and convert to vacationing and ultimately moving. Both organizations, VGJ and GJEP are complementary

Week of March 30, 2018

Los Colonius Business Park – The City previously approved an amendment to the Master Plan for the eastern portion of Los Colonius Park to be developed as an Outdoor Business business park. The plan calls for building pads to be developed to be leased to outdoor business companies intermingled amongst a park setting. The official ground breaking for the start of the infrastructure is scheduled for March 31st at 4:00 PM at Los Colonius Park on Riverside Parkway and 9th Street.

Development and Projects – According to the Bray Report for January through February 2018, median home prices have now surpassed the per-recession peak with the current price at $227,000. The median home price last peaked at $226,000 in 2007. The median home price for 2017 was $219,000. Countywide new home construction continues to experience growth (up 52% YTD) with the continued high demand and low inventory of resale product on the market. Interest rates remain relatively low at 4.625% for a 30-year fixed loan.

A new Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan was submitted for the proposed Orchard Park Subdivision near the Southwest corner of 29 1/2 Road and Ronda Lee Road. The Plan includes the development of 20 lots on 4.3 acres in an R-4 (Residential 4 du/ac) zone district.

Staff approved site plans for the Grand Valley Catholic Outreach expansion at their downtown location as well as a site plan for the construction of a new 9,740 square foot Discount Tire store at 2496 Highway 6 & 50. Staff will be meeting on March 22nd with a group of downtown neighbors and representatives from downtown neighborhood associations, to discuss the proposed Lowell Village Town home project on the R-5 School Site.

Arts and Culture Campus Feasibility study – A project kick-off meeting was held on March 9th to discuss goals and objectives of the feasibility study as well as spatial needs and growth plans for the three different organizations including the Museums of Western Colorado, Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra and Western Colorado Center for the Arts.

Amphitheater Artwork City – Staff is working closely with the Arts Commission and the Lions Club on a new art project to recognize the long-term commitment the club has made to the riverfront and the Las Colonias Park Project. After a call for artists was advertised, the group evaluated ten submissions, and selected artist Jim Agius from Paonia. The committee liked his bronze sculpture because it was whimsical, dynamic, included music, and the string of pearls representing the Riverfront. The group will be in negotiations regarding his sculpture to incorporate more lions into the piece.

Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program – The Utilities Department is partnering with the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program to educate customers about the importance of the program to water users and the community. A bill stuffer will be distributed that includes information about how residents can participate in fishing tournaments to remove non- native predatory fish such as smallmouth bass, northern pike, and walleye that threaten endangered native species.

Visit Grand Junction:

Restaurant Week March 19th through the 25th – Restaurant Week to date, has been a great success with 15 restaurants participating. Visit Grand Junction was one of the sponsors and invested in the marketing campaign.

Collett Tours Familiarization Tour – Collette Tours FAM, one of the largest tour companies in North America was hosted by Visit Grand Junction. They will contract over 750 guests in 2018 for a 2- night stay vacation package.

Denver Travel Adventure Show – Staff will be attending the Denver Travel Adventure Show at Colorado Convention Center, March 24th and 25th. Over 10,000 travelers and agents will be attending.

Best of the Rockies Contest – The Grand Valley landed 5 awards in the Elevation Outdoors “Best of the Rockies” contest. Congratulations go to Colterris Colorado Grand Valley Wind for best Winery, Hot Tomato Pizzeria for best restaurant, Colorado National Monument for best road bike ride, Horsethief Bench Loop for best mountain bike trail and North Fruita Desert Campground for best campground.