Monthly Reports by Lori Bell

        CenCON February 2018  

Mark Gotto, City Manager for Ting, and Ting Construction Managers, Mike Garcia and Ryan Johnson, provided a construction update regarding Ting.  Years ago, the City of Centennial funded a $5 million fiber ring around the City with the goal of anchoring institutions such as the Library, Sheriff, Fire Departments and other districts and to provide a foundation for a public/private partnership and lease to move fiber into homes.  Ting is the first and, to date, only company that has entered into a lease with the City and has selected Willow Creek 1, 2, 3, Hunters Hill and Walnut Hills as its first beneficiaries of the lease.  Ting advised that its service will increase the value of homes, retain and attract businesses, and reduce costs and increase access to services.

Currently, Ting has three drills operating in the five neighborhoods.  Delays have arisen due to ice, frozen ground and snow removal impeding on Ting’s right of way, which is denoted by a two-foot wide double stripe of paint on the ground.  Notably, Ting will not dig past the right of way on residential property unless the resident signed up for Ting.  During construction, Ting is making efforts to keep traffic flow moving by working between 8am and 4pm, when residents are away at work and school.   

Ting uses “cabinets” to house the fiber for the neighborhood.  There will be one large cabinet situated near existing utility boxes and smaller cabinets at the beginning/end of streets, depending on the network design.  Small “handholes,” also referred to as “flower boxes,” which look like a sprinkler system box with a green cover and contain conduits, will be placed in front yards, within the City’s right of way.  100% of homes will have these boxes, regardless of whether the resident signed up for Ting, in order to accommodate all who currently and later choose to have Ting services.  Between one week and 72 hours prior to installing flower boxes in yards, residents will receive fliers advising of impending work and HOA’s and management companies will be notified, as well.

Fiber from these boxes will then be run into homes via a six-inch trench through the yard and to the side of the house.  Ting plans to have personnel contact homeowners in advance of work to discuss their preferred location for the fiber to enter the house.  Ting advised that the fiber is not very pliable, so Ting undertakes efforts to hide the fiber along the house.
        CenCON January 2018 

Arapahoe Libraries are “fine free” as of January 16, 2018.  The Library District explained that it does not operate or rely on fines in creating its budget, and the Library does not want people to avoid the library because they owe a five dollar fine.  According to the Library, most people return books and other materials.  However, if a patron does not return materials 30 days after the due date, the patron will be billed for the replacement cost of the material.

The Fire Districts reported on recent merger developments.  As of January 1, 2018, South Metro and Cunningham Departments merged.  The merger made sense, as the two departments worked closely together over past years. 

Now, talks are underway regarding a merger between South Metro and Littleton Fire District, which is generally the area west of Holly to Columbine High School.  Littleton Fire District serves approximately 80,000 residents.  Two years ago, South Metro expressed an interest in unifying the departments.  The Departments looked at numbers, service levels, and long-term stability.  An example of a fairly common problem involves 911 calls – the station servicing the location of the call may be located nine minutes away, but another station outside the service area may be located across the street.  Also, the ability to perform inspections is almost nonexistent with the Littleton Fire District, due to financial constraints.  Unlike South Metro, Littleton does not have the benefit of the significant Tech Center tax base to support its operations. 

Littleton is now on board and ready to move forward with efforts to merge with South Metro.  The issue of the merger, along with a mil levy increase to 9.25, will be on the ballot for Littleton voters in May.  The goal is to pass everything and start the merger and unification process in 2019.  If the mil levy does not pass, the measures will be placed on the November 2019 ballot.  Further, the Highlands Ranch Fire District, which contracts with Littleton for fire services, will look to merging with South Metro in the next few years.  Once the mergers are complete, the South Metro Fire District will stretch from Parker to Chatfield.

South Metro proudly reported that it has achieved an ISO rating of one, which is the highest rating by the Insurance Services Organization.  The rating is important, as property owners may see a reduction in their insurance premiums.
        CenCON November 2017

The City of Centennial’s Parking Committee is looking at parking in residential areas and issues pertaining to “regular cars.”  The goal is to address complaints where, for example, homeowners have ten cars around their house, and it looks like a used car business.  A proposal has been submitted to set the maximum at three vehicles, or the number of licensed drivers plus one, as the total vehicles allowed in driveway, yard and street.  This would not limit the number of cars you can own or park in your garage.  This ordinance would not pertain to unlicensed or non-operational vehicles, which are currently addressed by the stockpiling code. The committee will work on refining the proposal before submitting it to City Council.

The Arapahoe and I25 project is at “substantial completion” with limited work, such as striping and median completion, remaining. 

City Council passed an ordinance establishing truck routes throughout the City. Semis are now limited to the main arterials unless other routes are required for a specific destination. 

Arapahoe County Commissioner, Nancy Sharpe, advised that a 389-million-dollar budget is being proposed for 2018. Of that, 179 million will come from the general fund.  County revenues are up 5%, and expenses are up slightly more than 5%.  Arapahoe County is a Tabor limited county, which means the County must have a structurally balanced budget and cannot spend more than what it receives in revenue.  The proposed mill levy for next year will be the lowest at 12.839 mills – the County operates by lowering the mill rather than deal with refunds.

Arapahoe County has adopted the Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan.  The County first identified a comprehensive system of on-street and trail facilities to safely connect cities and neighborhoods, thereby encouraging walking and riding for recreation and transportation.  Efforts are now underway to complete and integrate seamless connections throughout the County.

        CenCON September 2017 

The Arapahoe County Sheriff wants residents to know that there is a metro-wide effort to stop street racing. Progress is being made with obtaining no trespass letters. Because shopping centers are private property, Sheriffs cannot remove and arrest racers who are congregating in shopping center parking lots. The owners and businesses need to affirm that they do not want people on their property. The main racing clubs have been pretty much eliminated from Centennial, as there are no longer places for them to meet; thus, it is the splinter groups that we are seeing. The Sheriffs are continuing efforts to make congregating and racing as inconvenient as possible by citing vehicles for any violation and towing vehicles from parking lots.

The Sheriff reported on the motor vehicle accident locations in Centennial and three of the top five are in the vicinity of Willow Creek: 1) The 9300 to 9900 block of Dry Creek Road, which is the block between Yosemite and Chester. All manner of accidents are accounted for including rear-ends, t- bones, head-ons, and side to side swipes. This stretch is particularly difficult due to the exit from I-25 west onto Dry Creek for vehicles headed to southbound Yosemite, combined with the westbound backup on Dry Creek. 2) 7500 to 7600 block of I-25 in both directions, which is the Dry Creek overpass. 3) The 8299 block of South Chester, which is close to County Line.

        CenCON June 2017 

The Mayor and Council members confirmed that the old Safeway shopping center went to auction and was purchased by investment firm Jewel Capital.  Jewel Capital targets areas with compelling growth potential.  Following the sale, the City’s economic development team met with the new owners to share the results of the citizen survey conducted earlier in the year.  The team reported that the owners seemed genuinely interested in being good neighbors.  The owners intend to take the next 30 to 60 days to conduct a due diligence study of the property and growth options.  With respect to the recent talk of a gun shop opening on the property, the mayor advised that this was an inquiry only regarding zoning – no further action has been taken.  Notably, gun shops fall under the classification of an Amusement, which is permitted under the shopping center zoning.  Prior to the sale, the previous owners leased the former Safeway building to Vasa Fitness.  This lease will not be impacted by the recent purchase.

Council members reminded residents that the Division of Wildlife is continuing to track coyote sightings.  If you encounter a coyote, you can report the encounter on the City’s website.  Nextdoor complaints are not received by the City or Division of Wildlife.  The Division of Wildlife will try to relocate coyotes that are causing problems or acting aggressively toward people.

The City is changing its code regarding the number of marijuana plants a residence may possess/grow.  Currently, the limitation is six plants per person for a household maximum of 30 plants.  The new regulation will impose a limit of 12 plants per household to bring Centennial into line with State and County regulations.

The City has enacted an ordinance prohibiting outdoor stockpiling/storage of junk, inoperable vehicles, etc., unless located within a fully enclosed structure.  Details of the ordinance can be found on the City’s website.  Notably, the ordinance does not impact Willow Creek II and its current covenants.
        CenCON May 2017 

Jennifer Guetschow, Planner II, provided an update on the progress with Centennial NEXT.  Centennial NEXT is a 12 to 18-month initiative to engage the public, both businesses and residents of Centennial, to create a vision for the City between now and 2030.  This vision is conceptual and is not necessarily a guarantee of what will be built or developed.  Centennial NEXT is gathering public input for two master plans:  the City’s Comprehensive Plan and the Trails and Recreation Plan.  Residents and business owners’ input is needed to help shape the vision that will guide the City and the future of parks, open space, trails and recreation.  This is necessary because during the 13 years since Centennial became a city, Centennial and the Denver Metro region have seen significant growth.  With growth comes diversity, changes in preferences for housing, transportation, public services, shopping, recreation and entertainment.  Phase I, which included committee meeting, public outreach and public hearings, identified the following vision statements to address in the next phase:  Guiding Vision Statement; Community Design and Identity; Economic Development; Housing and Demographics; Parks, Open Space, Trails & Recreation; and Transportation.  New surveys to address the details of these visions are coming out the first week of May, and your responses matter.  To participate, please see centennialco.gov/centennialnext.

        CenCON March 2017  

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department advised that there has been an increase in gas pump skimming devices. The Shell station at Arapahoe and Quebec had 30 victims of skimming in one day.  Popular stations can have 100 victims in 15 minutes.  The thieves will often park nearby and use Wi-Fi to access the information from credit cards used at pumps via skimming devices, and often purchases are made before customers finish pumping gas.  The sheriff recommended that customers ensure that the red security tabs on gas pumps are intact.  If broken, do not use.  

The City commented on the upcoming auction of the “old Safeway” and advised that the entire center will be auctioned.  The recent resident survey resulted in 700 responses in the first 36 hours and into the thousands through the duration.  The City will consider the input and share with potential bidders, although in the end it may not have a say with the future owner.

Councilman C.J. Whelan reported on the status of the Fiber Master Plan.  To recap, in 2013 a resolution was passed to enable the City to look into providing telecommunication services, and through 2014 the City worked to gather information to determine its options.  Phase 1 began in 2015 with the hiring of a consultant to inventory the infrastructure and fiber that was already in place and provide ideas for future expansion and development.  The options available to the City range from providing infrastructure only, providing services to the government, forming a public-private partnership, being an open access provider, being a retail provider for business only, and being a retail provider to residential customers – in which case, the City would essentially be the internet provider.  The City’s Fiber Works Commission, formed in December 2016, recommended that the City focus on public private partnerships and providing open access service.  

The estimated completion of the project is one and a half years from kickoff, which is the current status.  Phase 1A is east of Peoria, and 1B is between I25 and Peoria.  These phases should be complete during the summer of 2017.  Phases 2, 3, and 4 will involve further east and west build out.  Ting was the first provider to jump on board, but a second company is also coming on board.  Mr. Whelan emphasized the importance of signing up for Ting, as the company will gauge interest in determining which neighborhoods to start service.