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In a little more than an hour Nov. 29, Westminster City Councilors covered a lot ground, from affordable housing to retail development philosophy to recycling the city’s trash collection debate.
“Today, I would say we probably will not reopen the trash discussion because we heard some pretty good voices just a few months ago that said people do not want it,” Mayor Herb Atchison said.
Atchison was joined by six councilors — newly appointed Mayor Pro-Tem Maria De Cambra, Anita Seitz, re-elected councilor Emma Pinter and newly elected councilors Dave DeMott and Kathryn Skulley — at the first town hall meeting of their new council’s terms and the last one of 2017.
It’s one of several City Council outreach events scheduled throughout the year, including twice-annual telephone town halls. Those meetings give house-bound residents the chance to hear City Council reports and state their opinions by calling in.
This time, councilors met in chapel area of Westminster’s Covenant Village, at 92nd and Wadsworth Boulevard.
Councilors opened the night with a quick rundown of city topics — business and train progress at Westminster Station, the city’s light rail station along RTD’s B-Line, affordable housing development, progress at the 88th Avenue Westminster Downtown Project, upcoming city events and city road construction and utility projects.
Mayor Atchison highlighted the city’s utility projects, noting that work at 104th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard will be coming to a head in the coming weeks as a waterline replacement project continues.
“Some of the streets may get some overlay paving this year, but some will wait until the spring,” he said. “So please be patient with us.”
But a key piece of information, he said, is to avoid the Sheridan-104th intersection early in December.
“That intersection is going to become a major piece of work,” he said. “All the work is being done along Sheridan and 104th, that’s where it all comes together — right in the middle of that intersection.”
Atchison said that work, beginning the week of Dec. 4, continue for two weeks.
Retail and development
But the point of the meeting was public concerns, and councilors tried to settle a few.
When asked how the city could expect the development along 88th west of Sheridan, Westminster Downtown, could be a success when nearby big-box developments sit empty, like the former Sports Authority at 92nd and Sheridan.
They are different kinds of stores, Councilor Seitz said.
“Sometimes, when a big box retailer goes vacant, one difficulty with that refilling that space is that not many retailers are right sized to fill that space,” she said. “Those are huge operations, and when Best Buy leaves not many stores can fill it.”
Seitz said the Westminster Downtown spaces are smaller, designed for any business.
“It may be a boutique today and a dental office tomorrow,” she said. “But the shape and scale of the building allows it to be more resilient than a big box frame that fits one type of business.”
Resident Charles Patrick asked if the city would continue promoting high density residential development, like the new construction going up east of Sheridan Boulevard at 96th Avenue.
“It seems to me this particular sight will see a huge uptick in traffic, and it will be very problematic,” Patrick said.
Atchison said the city reviews every proposed project.
“Any development project that comes in has to provide a traffic study that says they have accessible traffic, there is transportation available not only by car but public transportation,” he said. “Every project is looked at on an individual case-by-case basis.”
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