Below are Boulder Weekly‘s five questions for Louisville City Council candidates, and their answers.
Note: Ward I candidate Emily Jasiak, running unopposed, did not respond to questions by press time.
Question 1: What
are the three most important problems confronting the City of Louisville?
list them in their order of priority and briefly describe how you would attempt
to solve your highest priority issue.
1. Improving our economic base is our
most important priority. McCaslin Avenue corridor businesses are struggling.
Sam’s Club continues to sit empty. The City needs to invest more in retaining
our existing businesses and attracting new ones, so that all of our business districts are as
successful and vibrant as our Downtown area.
2. Downtown parking is a problem that needs immediate attention. We need
additional parking and improved usage of existing parking.
3. We must manage the community’s growth and ensure that growth does not
compromise our community’s character and quality of life. Our neighborhoods must have a say
in what happens in and around them.
1. Foster more economic development by (i) improving
visibility and access to businesses, (ii) streamlining processes for small
business owners to meet city requirements, (iii) increasing the size and scope
of the economic development department, (iv) expanding cooperation in the city
between private and public organizations, and (v) solving the downtown parking
shortage. Additionally, we need to reach out to our many civic and cultural
boards and residents for input into city decision making at earlier stages in
2. Protect the vibrancy and historic feel of downtown
3. Repair, maintain, and improve city infrastructure
Flood Recovery — Ensure that repairs are handled in a timely manner; that
insurance/FEMA funds are disbursed quickly; that our community assets ie:
trails, golf course, roads, are returned in better condition than they were
before the flood.
Fiscal Responsibility — Give thoughtful consideration to all expenditures;
determine their effect on our ability to respond to future needs; insure that
we are spending with a focus and purpose.
Energizing our Retail Base — Focus on replicating the success of our downtown in
other areas of Louisville; support and invest in the businesses that currently
call Louisville home.
Deferred maintenance on community
assets, downtown parking, and vacant retail space are the top three problems in
Louisville. We need to put a higher priority on maintaining our existing
assets. The economic effects of deferred maintenance during the recession must
Question 2: Do
you believe that increasing economic development in Louisville should be a
priority for City Council? If yes, what can the city do to accomplish this
priority? If no, why not?
increasing economic development and expanding the tax base of Louisville should
be a high priority for the City Council and City staff. The amenities
(Recreation and Senior Center, Library, Open Space, etc.) and city services
that we enjoy and contribute to our quality of life must be paid for. In order
to maintain reasonable property and sales tax rates, we must increase the
retail and commercial base of the City. The City should work towards retaining
and recruiting business and retail establishments. We must continue to support
our downtown business district.
Increasing the economic base should be a priority for the City Council. One
goal would be to find business tenants for the unused properties in the city,
including the Sam’s Club and Phillips 66 properties and further development in
the Colorado Tech Center and McCaslin corridor. Important considerations
include the impact on infrastructure (roads, public amenities, schools, etc)
and on city budgets that must be stable and sustainable in the longer term. Further,
we need increased cooperation and communication between city staff, the Chamber
of Commerce, and the Downtown Businessman’s Association (DBA).
Economic development always should be a priority for Council. The
City needs to collaborate with our existing business community and support a
climate that is welcoming to new businesses. Working with our economic
development coordinator, and commercial real estate professionals, we can find
out what is attractive to retailers in comparable locations, determine what is
missing in Louisville and how that fits with our long range plan for specific
retail areas and then devise a strategy to attract the appropriate retail
businesses to the city. We must realize that there is no big box retailer waiting
to save the day.
Economic development needs to be a top
priority for Louisville. We need to recover to our pre-recession level of
service provided to citizens. To achieve this great service, we need to rebuild
our lost sales tax revenue. It is very important for Louisville to aggressively
pursue economic development. Our outreach efforts must move from being
relatively passive to aggressive.
Question 3: Should
Louisville seek to limit its growth in any fashion? Why or why not?
It is the intent of the City to
maintain its existing “small town” character and to limit growth mainly to
in-fill projects and re-development. Not every vacant lot needs to be developed tomorrow and areas in need of redevelopment should only be changed in ways compatible with existing
neighborhoods and community goals. All development must make sense %uFB01nancially and provide long-%u2010term economic bene%uFB01ts to Louisville. The City has recently
adopted a new comprehensive plan that defines its urban growth boundaries and
the types of development that should be encouraged. I support limiting the City’s
growth to what is described in the comprehensive plan.
Continued residential growth will be limited, in part, by availability
of suitable sites and should be carefully reviewed and managed by City staff
and the Planning Commission throughout any new projects. Going forward, I
prefer to see greater emphasis placed on retail and commercial development. This
emphasis will help offset the city costs for the proposed new residential
units. Funds from an expanded commercial tax base would ideally be used to
provide existing and enhanced services to all residents in the form of
recreational facilities, and expanded programming and facilities for cultural
and community activities.
Growth in Louisville is already limited by the City’s master plan
and the availability of developable land. Any growth that happens in the next 5
years must be appropriate for the area of the City that it is intended,
compatible with existing development and must make economic sense for the
Louisville should place reasonable
limits on growth. In Louisville we have limited access to water and water
storage; we are limited in our footprint and existing infrastructure. We need
to be mindful of our limitations and ensure that our community will retain its
small town character and remain well served with any additional growth. We need
to collaborate with BVSD when adding new housing to understand the impact to
classes, illustrate where natural resources including water will come from and
be stored, and ensure that growth pays for itself for required city services.
Question 4: Would
you support or oppose a ban on hydraulic fracturing or fracking in Louisville
city limits? Why?
believe that fracking in not an acceptable practice in densely urbanized
environments. There must be reasonable set-backs and protections from drilling
operations that protect the life, safety, and environmental concerns of our
residents, particularly around schools and residential districts. The
leadership for developing tough and comprehensive fracking rules should come
from the State and Federal governments. Local governments should have strong
input in the rule-making process.
to whether I would support a complete moratorium on fracking in Louisville, it
would depend on the specific language of the proposed moratorium proposal.
Hydraulic fracturing is a new process to acquire fuels for our society
that will provide income for businesses, residents, and communities. However,
there have been negative impacts and unintended consequences from hydraulic
fracturing in our neighboring communities that raise concerns for our
residents. The City Council must gather the needed relevant information and
resident opinion before making decisions that would potentially have a large
impact on the city and its residents. Ideally, I would seek a balance between
business and community interests. Because of this, I support a moratorium until
such information and opinion is collected and evaluated.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is not appropriate in any high
density residential or retail district. It is also not appropriate in areas
near schools, public parks or other areas where there are large numbers of
people in close proximity, including the Colorado Tech Center and the McCaslin
corridor. The State needs to take this issue more seriously and work quickly to
enact stringent rules around safe extraction of all gas and minerals. Leaving
it to each community to enact a patchwork of bans and moratoriums is not an effective
solution to this continuing problem.
If the people bring forward an
initiative pertaining to fracking I will support their efforts. This has been a
grass roots movement in other communities and I support that kind of effort
here in town. The Federal Government has allowed loopholes in our environmental
health and safety regulations regarding fracking, and local municipalities are
therefore left to find ways to protect ourselves from potential threats.
City Council is currently considering a moratorium on retail marijuana
businesses until the end of 2014. If that moratorium passes and you’re elected,
what will you do with the moratorium: let it expire at the end of 2014, extend
it or attempt to end it early? Why?
City Council approved a moratorium in order to allow the Council and staff
additional time to develop the rules and regulations surrounding the sale of
retail marijuana in our community, which could include a permanent ban. The
moratorium will also permit additional opportunities for residents to make
known their views on this issue. Whether Louisville should allow retail
marijuana sales has become a very divisive issue within the community. I agree
that there should be more time to decide whether we should allow retail
marijuana and to facilitate a community conversation and
input. I would like to see these decisions made in early 2014.
Legalization and commercialization of marijuana poses challenges for our
society, especially in small municipalities. While I support the current
moratorium, I also support an early end to it by approving the very restrictive
guidelines the Council nearly approved in September 2013. These regulations
only allow for the two existing medical marijuana stores to apply for a
recreational license this year. Following this path allows commercialization to
increase slowly, giving the community opportunity to fully evaluate this new
aspect of our community.
The City passed a moratorium on
October 1 with instructions for staff to bring back regulation language after
the election. Whoever is elected will be faced with this issue. If elected, I
will review staff recommendations, consider how it impacts our existing
businesses and then make the determination about whether to end the moratorium
The majority of people in every precinct
in Louisville voted in favor of amending our Colorado Constitution to regulate
limited use of marijuana by people 21 or older & for the licensing of
cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities and retail stores. The role of
our government is to carry out the will of the people and therefore I would
adhere to that by implementing regulations that allow legitimate business
people (not criminals) to sell marijuana. I am for buffer zones around parks
and schools and to initially limit the size and number of stores to prevent an
unnatural market boom.