Monthly Reports by Sue Rosser

        CenCON May 2023 

Meeting Highlights from the March 27 CenCON meeting:

Kristin Eckmann, Deputy Communications Director for South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) shared these updates:
  • SMFR serves 550,000 residents across 300 square miles in the south metro area.  In 2022, SMFR fielded over 50,000 calls, of which 64% (32,000) were EMS/ambulance calls.  Although Centennial residents comprise just under 20% of the SMFR population, last year 29.5% of these EMS calls (9,433) came from our city. 
  • The public is invited to the Station #15 open house on Saturday, May 27, beginning at 1 p.m.  The tear-down and rebuilding of #15, located just east of the University/Dry Creek intersection, will now not begin until early July.  A grand opening will be held when the new station opens here next fall.
  • 37 recruits have been hired and are training now in the first of two 17-week fire academies being held this year.  SMFR is currently hiring paramedic/fire fighters, with a starting salary of $74,000/year.
  • In equal partnership, SMFR and Centennial Airport have purchased two new, large-capacity aircraft rescue and firefighting trucks that will be housed at Stations #35 and #44, which border the airport’s north and south boundaries.  These will be used to fight aircraft fires, crashes, or other emergencies at the airport and in surrounding areas, carrying up to 1,500 gallons of water and many gallons of fire-retardant foam concentrate.  
  • SMFR is seeing fires caused by electric vehicle (EV) lithium batteries, with the fires being highly combustible, quickly heating up to as much as 2,500 degrees, especially in either a collision or while charging.  Because these fires often require tens of thousands of gallons of water to extinguish, crews are now being trained with special large extinguishing blankets that can be placed on burning vehicles and surrounding areas to help prevent the fire from spreading before finally burning out.

One of our two District 3 Centennial City Council representatives, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Holt, gave an update:

  • This fall, The Centennial Arts & Cultural Foundation (CACF) will be decoratively wrapping 18 additional traffic box cabinets throughout Centennial, with three of these located along the south side of Dry Creek, on the exterior of our new perimeter wall at Yosemite, Willow Way, and Hunters Hill Drive.  Volunteer judges and local artists must sign up by May 1 and May 14, respectively, to participate in the contest that the CACF is holding to finalize the 18 box wrap designs. Visit www.centennial-art.org for more info and to sign up to create or judge box wrap designs. The artists of winning entries will each receive $2,000.
  • The Centennial Center Park Expansion project should be completed in June. The park is located adjacent to the city offices east of I-25. For a map and more info, go to www.centennialco.gov and search for this project.
  • The new 6,345 sq ft Centennial YMCA Center of Generations, located in the Streets at SouthGlenn, will be open to the public in early May, with a grand opening in early June. The center’s goal is to build community by bringing together youth and older adults in a multi-generational space that offers programming for all ages, from competitive video gaming skills (called esports) for 11 to 18-year-olds, to fitness, cooking classes, and other offerings for all ages. See www.denverymca.org/centennial-cog.

Jacob Kremin, Deputy DA, 18th Judicial District, gave additional information on human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, building on his presentation in January.  This continues to be a growing problem throughout Colorado, with the Internet being one of the main marketplaces for human trafficking. Some of the determining factors for youth falling into being trafficked and exploited include mistaking predators for friends on the Internet, school truancy, delinquency, family dysfunction, running away from home, and substance abuse and dependency.  The 18th has a dedicated prosecutor, victim/witness specialist, and a special investigator all assigned to this issue, but they are increasingly overwhelmed by its magnitude.

        CenCON April 2023

Meeting Highlights from the February 27 CenCON meeting:

Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office (ASCO) Capt. Ken McKlem, Patrol Special Operations, gave an update, including

  • Most major crime in Centennial continues to be theft from motor vehicles and auto theft.  Always keep vehicles locked and remove all valuables, and if possible, vehicle(s) should be parked in your garage overnight.
  • The ASCO Annual Open House, held at the Sheriff’s Office (13101 E Broncos Pkwy, Centennial), will take place on Saturday morning, June 3. It will include a pancake breakfast, facility tours, displays, and activities for all ages.

Centennial District 1 City Council member Robin Carnes gave the city update, focusing on Centennial’s Housing Study that was implemented in 2022 to explore housing costs and availability in the city, to understand and identify all city housing issues, define needs, and identify priorities and potential solutions.  This study, funded in part by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, is a major undertaking that involves community input and collaboration among many stakeholders, and it will likely take at least a year to complete.  The CenCON representatives presented at the February meeting, who represent many of Centennial’s varied neighborhoods, expressed spirited and differing opinions on several aspects of this topic.  For much more information about this study and the community input thus far, visit www.centennialco.gov/home and then click on these topic links:  Government>City Projects and Initiatives> Housing Cost and Availability in Centennial.  Note: In the Public Comment Feedback section, WC2 is in City Council District 3.

The main meeting topic was a two-part presentation on Contractor Fraud.  The first was given by Senior Deputy DA Steve Fauver, Director of the Consumer Crime Unit, and Jamie Sorrells, Director of Consumer Fraud Protection, both from the 18th Judicial District.  Included was an overview of contractor fraud, common complaints against contractors, concerns that may increase the risk of fraud, and homeowner due diligence on minimizing the risk of contractor fraud.  For a comprehensive information sheet, go to www.da18.org and then search for Homeowner Contractor Fraud. Once on that page, scroll halfway down (past the color mugshots) to that title, and then click on the blue link for the two-sided PDF information sheet.  Questions or concerns?  The 18th Judicial District will consider prosecuting cases of contractor fraud if the homeowner has detailed documentation about all aspects of the project.  For more information, contact Consumer Fraud Protection, 18th Judicial District at consumer@da18.state.co.us or the hotline: 720-874-8547.

The second presentation was given by Joseph Montoya, Centennial’s Chief Building Official, who emphasized that contractors working in Centennial must be licensed and insured.  Their licensing can be through another municipality, but they must first check in with Centennial’s Building Department.  The Top 10 Guidelines For Hiring a Contractor are:  1) Don’t rush into any project; 2) Get at least 2-3 ‘apples to apples’ detailed bids;  3) Hire a licensed contractor willing to obtain permits—never be talked into pulling the permit (homeowners permit) in your name;  4) Check the contractor’s insurance and bonding; some trades have only national licenses;  5) Get references from 2-3 previous customers and ask to see photos of their work;  6) Get everything in writing, including construction documents and blueprints.  A submitted plan is a legal document that includes scale, types of materials, and specifications, and detailed scope of work; 7) Keep a job file to include all emails, texts, and documents; document all change orders, discussing their costs; 8) Understand your right to cancel within a specified time period; 9) Don’t pay more than a minimal amount up front!  Coordinate payments with inspection approvals; 10) Delays will occur—maintain communication with your contractor.

Contact Centennial’s Building Department at buildingdivision@Centennialco.gov or ask for the department using the City’s main number: 303-325-8000 if you have questions about what permit(s) are needed for any project or for any other related issues.

Not in the CenCON meeting, but of interest:

  • On March 21, the Centennial City Council approved an ordinance establishing a six-month moratorium on the construction of any outdoor pickleball courts located within 500 feet of current residences, or any vacant land zoned residential.  Because Centennial currently has no regulations in place specific to pickleball, the moratorium allows the city to proactively study the noise impacts of this fast-growing sport before issuing any future construction permits.
  • Foxridge’s recently installed Trex perimeter fence is experiencing unacceptable discoloration issues, so Trex will provide replacement materials for 45% of the entire fence.  Split Rail Fence Co., the original fence contractor, will donate half the labor costs to tear down/rebuild the fence, and the Foxridge GID will pay the other half—around $100,000.
  • There is no better way to welcome spring than to walk, bike, or drive the most beautiful collection of flowering crabapple trees in the entire Denver metro area, found right next door in Littleton.  Every year from the end of April through early May, nearly 7,000 mature crabapple trees bursting in color, line the streets and grace the yards throughout the city, especially along the seven-mile-long Littleton Crabapple Route. To learn much more and to obtain the route map, google Crabapple Route, Littleton, CO. Happy spring!
        CenCON March 2023

Meeting Highlights from the January 24 CenCON meeting:

Deputy District Attorney, Jacob Kremin, a member of the 18th Judicial District’s Attorney’s Office Special Victims Unit/Human Trafficking team, spoke about the increasing problem of human trafficking of youth in the four counties that the 18th serves - Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln. 

  • The average age of entry into a life of being trafficked is just 13 years of age. The average life expectancy once trafficking begins is only seven years, with many dying before reaching their 20th birthday.  The most frequent cause of death is homicide, drug overdose, or HIV. Traffickers control as many aspects of their victims’ lives as they can, including housing, food, clothing, communication, and transportation.
  • In August, the 18th and 40 other Front Range agencies joined the FBI in carrying out “Operation Cross Country 2022” to help identify and rescue child human trafficking victims in Colorado. In a 48-hour period, 11 juvenile victims of sexual exploitation, 27 missing or endangered children, and 11 adult victims were rescued.

Kristin Eckmann, Communications Director for South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR), shared these updates:

  • 38 candidates completed the Fire Academy in December, and 39 recruits began in February.
  • More can be learned about SMFR through numerous informative videos on www.YouTube.com by searching “South Metro Fire Rescue”.  As mentioned previously, after the reassignment of Station 15’s fire apparatus and staff, it will be demolished in March, totally rebuilt, and in service again by mid-2024. 

Centennial District 4 City Council member, Don Sheehan, gave an update on Centennial’s snow removal policies and the challenges that the city has faced this winter in grappling with the snow and ice. For comprehensive information about the city’s plowing priorities, plowing routes, and much more, go to www.centennialco.gov/home and search for ‘snow.’  Plowing complaints?  Call 303-325-8000.

The main meeting topic was the January 3 start-up of the new Arapahoe County Health Department (ACHD), presented by Nancy Sharpe, the new ACHD Board president (and former Arapahoe County Commissioner) and Heather Baumgartner, ACHD’s new Director of Planning & Health Promotion.  The 2023 ACHD budget is $21.3 million, of which nearly 70% is funded by grants, contracts, and fees for service. The health services provided will be essentially the same services that were offered in previous years by Tri-County Health Department (TCHD), but will cost around $800,000 more this year, mainly due to a loss of economies of scale. Ms. Sharpe and Ms. Baumgartner are available for ACHD presentations to groups. To learn more, go to www.arapahoegov.com/2250/Public-Health.

TCHD began providing public health services to residents of Arapahoe, Douglas, and Adams Counties on January 1, 1948, and ceased operations permanently on December 31, 2022, just one day short of its 75th birthday.  Why this change?  The mask, vaccination, and school and business closure mandates implemented by TCHD were seen by some as controversial and overreaching, especially by Douglas County, whose county commissioners voted to secede from TCHD and form their own health department in September of 2020.  Adams County followed a month later, leaving Arapahoe County standing alone, with no choice but to do the same.  

Not in the CenCON meeting but of interest: Our library provider, Arapahoe Libraries, has joined Denver Public Library in deciding not to do any testing for methamphetamine (meth) residue in our libraries at this time.  This contrasts with Littleton, Englewood, Arvada, Boulder, and Colorado Springs, which all tested their libraries and found positive results, necessitating month-long library closures to carry out expensive cleanup. This complex problem pits possible health concerns against a lack of existing meth residue standards for public spaces, significant remediation expense­­, and ultimately, how available library and other public restrooms will be for patron use in the future. An excellent article on this topic can be found by googling ‘Colorado Sun, why do Colorado libraries keep closing for meth contamination?’

        CenCON February 2023 

Because the Centennial Council of Neighborhoods (CenCON) doesn’t meet in December, this is an update for some items mentioned previously, and others that may be of interest:

The City of Centennial continues to replace the old span-wire holding up traffic signal lights with the more aesthetically pleasing and sturdy mast arms.  Of Centennial’s total of 87 lighted intersections, all but seven now have mast arms—six of those remaining to be replaced are at intersections west of I-25. 

The colorful art-wrapped traffic boxes scattered throughout the city are part of Centennial’s Traffic Box Art Wrap Pilot Program, implemented to celebrate Centennial’s 20th Anniversary of incorporation in 2001, and to enhance community character.  Vinyl murals have been installed on 20 of the 85 Centennial-owned traffic control boxes across the city.  As funds permit, additional boxes will be wrapped in the future.

The city’s homeless outreach coordinator has not yet been hired; this position is funded until 2025. The coordinator will work to find and identify homeless individuals and families in the city and connect them with services, address concerns from businesses and residents about any encampments, and act as a go-between with law enforcement, as Centennial’s 3-year-old urban camping ban is enforced.

On December 5, the Centennial City Council unanimously approved an ordinance allowing construction and development in the district (formerly Jones District) of a mixed-use fitness complex with rooftop greenhouse.  Lettuce and other greens (no marijuana or mushrooms) will be grown hydroponically and marketed through grocery retailers throughout the front range.  This complex will be located immediately north of IKEA, with construction beginning very soon.

Centennial enjoyed a high (72%) voter turnout in the November 2022 General Election - 57,498 voters cast votes.  The only municipal issue on the ballot, the proposed 3.5% lodging tax, was defeated by 55.8% to 44.2%.

Despite winter weather delays, the Arapahoe Bridge over the Dry Creek Replacement Project, located immediately east of the Arapahoe Rd/University Blvd intersection, is still on schedule and within budget, and still scheduled for completion this summer.  Work hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., M-F, with one lane of traffic open in each direction.

Life Time Fitness is proposing to convert part of their existing athletic turf field on the southeast corner of their property (immediately north of Heritage Greens) to eight outdoor pickleball courts and an adjacent shaded viewing area. If approved by Centennial’s P & Z and City Council, the pickleball courts will be built this year.

The South Suburban Parks & Rec District is also building outdoor pickleball courts.  Ground has been broken for six new courts, a shelter, benches, and picnic tables along the south side of the Lone Tree Rec Center parking lot, with a June completion date scheduled.  Four additional outdoor courts are planned near the Cook Creek Pool.

Registration is now open for the new South Suburban pickleball league at the South Suburban Sports Complex for men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles. For more information contact Brian Cole, SSPRD Pickleball Coordinator at bcole@ssprd.org or 303-483-7031.

Rich Meredith, longtime CEO of The Hudson Gardens & Events Center on South Santa Fe Drive, has retired, and SSPRD assumed management of all HG assets and programs late last year.  SSPRD will develop an updated master plan for this community asset in 2023. (www.hudsongardens.org)

        CenCON November 2022
  • The eighteenth Judicial District has announced that their 10-person team of prosecuting attorneys who obtained a conviction in June 2022 for the August 1981 murder of Sylvia Quayle has been selected by the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council as the 2022 Outstanding Trial Team of the Year.  This prestigious award recognizes one prosecuting team annually for exceptional work in solving challenging cases, out of the thousands of cases brought to trial each year.
  • Captain Ken McKlem of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) reported that as part of Colorado’s RAVEN multi-agency law enforcement task force, personnel from ACSO, Aurora, and the eighteenth Judicial District have been investigating recent gun club burglaries, resulting in the confiscation of stolen guns and arrests being made - no specific details were given.
  • The top crime committed in Centennial and throughout Colorado is auto theft and encounters related to these thefts are becoming more violent.  The Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Taskforce (C-MATT) now projects that 41,600 cars will have been stolen statewide in 2022, up 12% from last year.  For the second straight year, Colorado will again likely be the number one state for auto thefts per capita. Of all US cities, Denver, Aurora, Westminster, and Pueblo are ranked 2, 3, 8, and 9 respectively for per capita motor vehicle theft.

The main November CenCON meeting speakers were outgoing President, Jeff Kutzer, and President-Elect, Karli Phifer, of the Community Association Institute, Rocky Mountain Chapter (CAI-RMC).  CAI provides education and resources to the volunteer homeowners who govern community associations.  Willow Creek 2 HOA is one of approximately 7,800 HOAs (of 9,900+ total) that are members of the CAI-RMC in Colorado. 

  • Their presentation centered around the passage of Colorado House Bill 22-1137, which was signed into law by Governor Polis on June 3, 2022. The law went into effect on August 10.  Parts of this new law will be revisited in the upcoming 2022-2023 legislative session to correct confusing and contradictory language and unintended expensive and paralyzing consequences for Colorado’s 9,900+ HOAs and other community associations. 
  • HB22-1137 was created in late 2021, in response to the outcry from owners of 50 homes, out of a total of 4,600 homes within the Masters Homeowners Association (MOA), which comprise part of Denver’s Green Valley Ranch.  These 50 homes were foreclosed on in 2021 for various HOA covenant infractions, after accruing fines, added interest, and finally liens over more than two years, some totaling up to $20,000.  These homeowners argued that some violations for which they were cited were nitpicky and/or punitive; others said they had ignored numerous notices sent to them by the HOA, believing the correspondence was fraudulent.  The MOA stated that enforcement came only after much warning - that all homeowners were provided written notice of any violation and an opportunity to cure that violation, and only after repeated notices and nonpayment did legal intervention and foreclosure finally occur.
  • Note: WC2 HOA has not foreclosed on any home in the nearly 50 years of our HOA’s existence.
  • As the law is now written, it adds significant costs and seriously impacts all HOAs in collecting dues and enforcing covenant policies. These impacts have been discussed in detail over many months by our WC2 HOA Board of Directors and TMMC, our HOA Management Company, necessitating the revision of several of our policies to be compliant with the new law as it currently reads.   
  • It’s worth remembering that out of the thousands of CAI-RMC members, our WC2 HOA earned their coveted “Community Association of the Year” award in 2020 for demonstrating excellence in all facets of association management, operations, governance, and volunteer leadership. Our covenants and other governing documents have served us well, but some changes have had to be made and the added costs will have to be dealt with to comply with this new law.