Below are Boulder Weekly‘s five questions for Lafayette City Council candidates, and their answers.
Question 1: What are
the three most important problems confronting the City of Lafayette? Please
list them in their order of priority and briefly describe how you would attempt
to solve your highest priority issue.
1. Right now, citizens in Lafayette and
5 other front-range communities are fighting a powerful industry to protect our
communities, our children, our property values, and our health and safety from
fracking and its toxins. Until now,
residents have been fighting this battle alone. It’s time for the Lafayette city council to get off the
sidelines and join with residents to protect our valuable and special
community. Our health and safety are at stake.
2. Promote economic development both
downtown and in outlying areas.
3. Build out the city and city services
to accommodate new residents while maintaining Lafayette’s unique small-town
ambiance and cultural heritage.
My three items include future development at US 287 and
Arapahoe Road, continued economic development and revitalization to provide a
wider variety of retail and service opportunities in Lafayette and CO Hwy 7
improvement to reduce traffic congestion and promote better safety. The recent decision by Erie to withdraw
from various intergovernmental agreements limiting development in the area of
Highway 287 and Arapahoe Road required Lafayette to also withdraw from the
agreements as well. This crucial intersection
must be treated carefully so as not to foster unneeded sprawl and increase
congestion on the surrounding roads.
economic terms, we need to resolve the lack of a sustainable revenue stream
resulting from limited economic development in our downtown commercial area.
Careful revitalization of
our downtown commercial sector would increase revenues and enable Lafayette to
support programs and services to improve our quality of life.
2. In social terms, we are a
diverse but rather fragmented and unequal community. We can leverage our rich cultural diversity to enhance the
character of our city and create an inclusive community.
3. Massive residential and
commercial developments around Lafayette threaten our small town and
agricultural lands with additional commuter roads, undesirable suburban sprawl
and inappropriate development.
It is important that a linear main street
model be constructed that reflects the institutional strengths of Lafayette.
Since there is strong affection for downtown Lafayette, we would expect people prefer to walk.
There would be numerous street level attractions to hold the attention of the
pedestrian: storefronts, street amenities, art, signs, and hopefully, architecture.
Since food and beverage is replacing traditional retail in downtown retailing,
more restaurants would be expected. Local, independent retailers should
continue to dominate downtown.
2. Passing 301 to bring more clean renewable energy to Lafayette.
3. Passing 300 banning fracking.
I wouldn’t use the word problems, but the items that
Lafayette needs to continue focus on would be (1) Recent storms had some impact
on Lafayette’s water transmission from source to storage resources. Funding
will be required to ensure the city can maintain water resources. (2)
Encouraging more business in town; while employment and shopping opportunities
have increased in the past few years I believe the city needs to encourage
investment in the Lafayette Tech Center and on hwy 287 to improve the tax base.
a. A City
Council that utilizes industry talking points in order to make City policy. I
am taking action to solve this issue by running for City Council myself. I encourage others to also participate
by running for elected office!
b. Xcel, the
utility monopoly, points to Lafayette’s electricity usage (and the usage of
others) as a justification for the PUC to allow them to build more coal-fired
plants. As a solution, I was one of the originators of Ballot Issue 301 which
will allocate dollars to the goal of increased renewables thereby reducing the
dependence upon Xcel/coal for Lafayette’s residents, businesses, and the City
local business growth by making Lafayette a mecca for renewable energy
businesses and renewable energy consumers.
Question 2: Do you
believe that increasing economic development in Lafayette should be a priority
for City Council? If yes, what can the city do to accomplish this priority? If
no, why not?
Yes. Sales taxes support local public services and so are
critical to the financial health of the community. Lafayette has more opportunity to add larger stores in zoned
areas, which would mean more tax revenue for us rather than neighboring
communities. And it also has a
walkable and eclectic downtown—a unique feature and something missing from
newer communities with large housing developments and strip malls. Lafayette’s Downtown Vision Plan is an
impressive roadmap for revitalizing the downtown area, particularly the phased
approach to Public Rd development and the proposal for multifamily housing in
the downtown mix.
Economic development is important for the community, having
a vibrant business community provides for a wide variety of goods and services
to be available in Lafayette, increases employment opportunities and provides
tax revenue for city government without raising tax rates on individuals thus
funding desired city services. The
city can encourage businesses to locate in Lafayette with our quality of life,
streamlined development process and if appropriate financial incentives. It is important for the city to support
the expansion of current business activity by encouraging residents to shop at
home and purchase more in Lafayette and less outside of town.
Yes, absolutely. The city needs to take a proactive
approach in establishing partnerships with businesses that align with the small
town character of Lafayette. The
focus would be in revitalizing the Old Town business area with a group of
small, local businesses that collectively can create a desirable destination
for visitors. The revitalization
of downtown requires collaborations between urban planners, developers and
business tenants and the urban development authority. The vision includes small
artisan businesses, arts galleries, studios, Latino and international markets,
ethnic restaurants, cafes, business and areas that combine affordable housing,
retail fronts and public plazas.
Yes, I believe there should be a very limited increase in
economic development in Lafayette, and those plans can best be made by an Economic Development Task Force selected by the Council. The task force’s
function would be to encourage
the creation, expansion and retention of the manufacturing, retail, and
commercial base of Lafayette, by reviewing and making recommendations on the
Yes, economic development is vital for Lafayette. There have
been 3 city vision plans developed over the past dozen or so years without much
action on previous plans. After the latest plan delivered in 2011 the City
Council decided to create a separate urban renewal board to focus on economic
development downtown. Work from this board is already producing results and
more is coming. This is a priority for Lafayette.
Yes, by making Lafayette a mecca for renewable energy
businesses and renewable energy consumers.
Question 3: Should
Lafayette seek to limit its growth in any fashion? Why or why not?
My understanding is that the community will be completely
built out at a population of 35,000. Subdivision building permits are currently phased in, and that helps for
orderly growth of city services. But there’s no reason to say that the community should remain at its
current size or that a population of 35,000 is too large. Lafayette is a desirable, affordable,
diverse, and family-oriented community that will continue to be a draw to
In 1995 Lafayette voters passed a Residential Grown
Management Charter Amendment which has been renewed several times since 1995,
most recently in 2012. This
Charter Amendment currently limits growth in Lafayette to a reasonable level
averaging about 2% per year for the next six years when the voters will again
be presented with the renewal option.
Yes, Lafayette needs a
long-term vision of the sustainable levels of growth to ensure our collective
quality of life. Given that we
currently have 25,000 people living in 9 square miles, it is prudent and
necessary develop a sustainable model to ensure that Lafayette remains a unique
small town surrounded by thriving local agricultural lands, horse farms and
open space buffers. This visionary effort to protect
the small town and rural character of our city will improve quality of life, attract
visitors and contribute significant sales revenue to support many of our
employment, educational, social, cultural and recreational programs.
Yes, I would not to see Lafayette to a population
beyond 40 or 50 thousand.
I believe Lafayette should try to maintain its
small-town charm, even though we try to rejuvenate downtown, but avoid high or
large office buildings and such department or apartment buildings. Any big-box stores should be on U.S.
287 near Walmart.
Citizens voted last year to limit residential growth to 1200
new homes over the next 6 years, while grandfathering in existing planned
developments. Ideally the market will determine the pace at which builders decide
to build while staying within current restrictions.
Yes, we should limit outward growth. If we need to build more
business/residential space then that should be accomplished by building upward
or in areas that need to be revitalized.
Question 4: Are you
for or against ballot measure number 2A, which would commit the citizens of
Lafayette to an additional 20-year franchise agreement with Xcel, and why?
I am against a further 20-year commitment to Xcel and for
the excise tax replacement tax. The hype about US energy supplies is Wall Street bubble talk. We will have a short reprieve of
increased fossil fuel supplies before further unconventional drilling is simply
uneconomic and the bubble bursts, much like the housing market did. Now is the time to press forward
aggressively, at the local, state, and national levels, to force development of
new energy sources.
I’m for the Franchise Agreement which provides about
$750,000 annually in franchise fees to the city which are used for general
government purposes. The Franchise
includes an “undergrounding fund” which currently holds $1.4 million and
increases approximately $180,000 annually. This fund pays for undergrounding overhead wires on projects. Without a franchise the undergrounding
fund will not exist and city taxpayers will have to pay extra for any project
where wires are moved from poles to underground. Lafayette has been a leader in solar energy and the programs
that the city has participated in will not be available without a franchise.
I believe that the city needs to think
strategically about our energy requirements and leverage new technologies to
improve efficiency and reduce costs. I would also like to see a reduction in our dependence from
coal power plants, and support alternative energy production. I believe we can
re-prioritize our energy policy without the undesirable budgetary restrictions
that this ballot measure proposes.
I am strongly against and will vote NO on
ballot measure 2A! A 20-year renewal of the franchise of predominantly
coal-burning utility Xcel and its emitting of greenhouse gases would be a
serious mistake by voters of Lafayette in these days of existing and continued
development sources of renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, and
geothermal. The website http://lafenergy.com/
provides much more information on Lafayette’s Energy Future and the Utility Occupation
Tax alternative to Xcel’s
Franchise Fee. I was to get able to get over 150 signatutes to I’ll vote YES on 301.
Yes, I believe the franchise should be renewed. This is
simply a right of way agreement. With or without this franchise agreement Xcel
will be the primary energy provider for the city as determined by the PUC. With
the franchise the city determines how to spend franchise funds based on needs
within the city. The citizen initiative for an occupation tax collects similar
revenues but restricts how funds can be spent and this could have negative
impacts on city services.
I am against it because Xcel has NOT been a good corporate
citizen. They have had the
resources and opportunity to invest in renewables and instead they have
continued to invest in coal. Please compare Xcel to the example of Germany and you will see what
could have been accomplished here!
Question 5: Are you for or against ballot
initiative number 300, the citizen initiative which would restrict oil and gas
activity within the city limits of Lafayette, and why?
I support question 300. Fracking is a toxic industrial
activity that doesn’t belong in our community in proximity to homes, schools,
playgrounds, parks, and open spaces. Grassroots citizen groups—not elected officials—are fighting laws that
pre-empt local decision making, elevate corporate rights above human rights,
and force communities to accept harmful activities despite residents’
opposition. Lafayette’s ballot
initiative, a community rights amendment, says that we have a right to clean
air and water and to community self-determination. It fights laws that make it “illegal” for people to assert
their rights and “legal” for corporations to violate them.
I am against initiative 300 because it contains provisions
that override the US and Colorado Constitutions as well as Federal and State
law, which I believe will be challenged in court and are likely to be struck
down by the courts costing the city untold legal fees that could better be used
to benefit Lafayette in other ways. I am strongly in favor of working with state legislators to impose
greater setback requirements, allow for local zoning control, stringent
inspections with a sufficient number of inspectors and meaningful penalties for
violations, all of which can be done legally.
I strongly oppose fracking in Lafayette, and I
believe that municipalities need to advocate for the right to protect their
community and their natural resources from unwanted industrial practices,
inappropriate development, toxic exposure and the misuse of agricultural
lands. I support the right of
people to campaign for our entitlement to clean water, clean air and protection
from pesticides and toxic waste at the state legislature and even federal
level, to avoid placing the city of Lafayette in legal jeopardy.
I strongly support and will vote YES on ballot
measure 300. I spoke with many
voters about signing a petition to put this issue on the ballot, and nearly 200
did as part of the 2000 that put it there. The process of gas or oil extraction
known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is based on drilling down below our
aquifer (water), then turning the drill to a horizontal direction for over a
thousand feet, when a mixture of water, sand, and toxic chemicals is pumped at
very high pressure to break up the shale and release the gas or oil. There has
been found by scientists many cases where the fracking process has resulted in
serious contamination of the nearby air and public water! For this reason I support 300 to ban fracking within
I am against the initiative. Lafayette has not received a
permit request for drilling in 20 years. There is currently a 3 year moratorium
in place. There is no need for a ban that is illegal by state law and could
cost the City money in litigation costs when we have had no interest in new
drilling. The wording of the initiative is too broad and can have negative
impacts on the city. It was reported in September that a technology company
decided not to relocate to Lafayette because the initiative could have an
impact on their business.
I am in favor of Initiative 300 because Fracking is a toxic
industrial process that does not belong within ANY city limits!