Homelessness and speeding were the top concerns at Westminster High School May 3 as the Westminster City Council hosted its second town hall.
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Homelessness and speeding were the top concerns at Westminster High School on May 3 as the Westminster City Council hosted its second town hall.
City Councilor Lindsey Emmons said there are more than 17 encampments in Westminster after resident Mark Kaiser asked why it takes so long to remove those individuals off private property and clean up the site.
Emmons said staff and council created a protocol on how to compassionately remove these individuals, and it may take from one day to over two weeks.
“We have one homeless navigator on staff that is working with each of these individuals to place them in programs or homes or shelters,” she said “Something to get them within a productive means of society.”
Councilors conducted the meeting differently this time. Instead of city staff members calling on people to ask a question, each attendee wrote down their questions on cards and council members pulled those cards from boxes.
“Some of the times people got up to speak (at the last meeting) it went on for a long time, and we didn’t get to all the questions,” Mayor Nancy McNally said..
Emmons noted the city only has one homeless navigator, and it takes time to work through the encampments. However, staff is looking to hire another navigator within the next few weeks.
Mayor Pro Tem David DeMott said he and McNally toured and visited an encampment.
“This certainly isn’t just a Westminster issue,” he said.
McNally urged residents to send council members emails detailing where the encampments are so they can send the information to the correct place.
On the topic of housing, City Councilor Bruce Baker read a question from John Link asking how many apartments is enough?
“Bruce’s answer, we are there,” he said.
City Councilor Sarah Nurmela disagreed.
“Over two-thirds of the city’s developable area is single-family homes,” she said. “That’s not going to change, but what has changed is the economics of living.”
She sees apartments as opening the door for those who can’t afford to buy a house to live in Westminster and said many young people can’t buy homes because of insurmountable student loan debt.
DeMott had a different take.
“The answer isn’t ‘I want you to live in an apartment because you can’t afford a home,’” he said. “Let’s figure out why Colorado has gotten so damn expensive so people can live the American Dream again.”
“I’m not saying we need to put apartments everywhere, it’s a piece of our living options,” Nurmela responded.
“We have racing occurring throughout the city,” Nurmela said.
She said the Westminster Police Department is working with other jurisdictions to help mitigate the issue.
Peggy Reynolds asked how racing between 112th and 120th on can be eliminated.
“There’s a lot of things to consider,” McNally said, pointing to the police department’s staff is limited at night.
She also said residents can use an app from the police department to report the activity. A link to the app is on the city’s website.
DeMott said there is a task force among the region’s different police departments that is trying to tackle the problem.
“We need your eyes out there so we know where they are happening,” he said.
City Councilor Obi Ezeadi would like an analysis done on where in Westminster most of the speeding is taking place and prioritize those areas.
He also suggested barriers like roundabouts to slow down the cars.
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