Longmont’s hard-working citizens need increased affordable housing more than ever. We should restore the 10% affordable housing requirement for new development. Although the original law had some flaws it should have been fixed, not scrapped.
I am a firm supporter of affordable housing for Longmont’s residents. The affordable housing requirement for developers was voted out by the two incumbent Council candidates.
Fracking Ban within City Limits
The Colorado Oil and Gas lawsuits against the city of Longmont’s modest proposal to ban fracking inside the city limits is a direct attack against Longmont’s home-rule. City Council must vigorously and aggressively defend Longmont as there is no other governmental jurisdiction that will protect the people of Longmont against fracking inside the city limits. Our community has a right to protect the health of ourselves and our children and to protect our property values. As Gordon Pedrow, our respected former City Manager, said, “Land-use regulation and zoning regulation is the primary tool for a quality community.”
I stand with the thousands of Longmont residents who believe in and used our home-rule status to ban fracking within our city limits. Home-rule gives power to the city to decide its own zoning rules and regulations without state interference. The two incumbent council candidates did not support our home-rule to protect our property values and constitutional right to clean air and water.
We want to encourage developers who share our vision of a vibrant, diverse, and economically balanced community. Development must pay its way. That means the developer should pay his fare share for the increase in taxpayer burdens due to his development, such as increased school, roads, and utility expenses. We want to encourage developers who welcome that responsibility because they have a creative vision for Longmont. We do not need to subsidize developers who buy land cheaply because it has restrictions based upon the Longmont Comprehensive Plan, yet these same developers then seek variances from the Plan gaining them more profit that they take and depart with. These changes in original agreements and expectations are often over the strenuous objections of current individual property owners adjacent to or within the development.
Renewable Energy Credit
The future lies with renewable and sustainable fuels. Longmont is fortunate to own its own utility company. Although our utility produces energy using coal, we can help offset the carbon emissions with more incentives to home builders and residents to rely on solar and wind energy to power their homes and cars.
I strongly support renewable energy and the diversity and quality of jobs it will bring. The Renewable Energy Credit was a modest start forward, but the two incumbent Council candidates terminated it out of short-sighted thinking.
Longmont voters, myself included, overwhelmingly voted in 2004 for FasTracks RAIL to be built to Longmont. Voters still want rail to come to Longmont, and so do I.
RTD and the communities along the proposed northwest corridor rail line are currently taking part in a study to determine the latest cost and ridership figures for the various rail and transit options in our area. Once we know more from the Study, I can have a more up-to-date position on how FasTracks is doing. Whatever the Study reveals, however, I strongly support rail to Longmont, and as quickly as possible.
This small blessing to help those in chronic pain, medical marijuana should be regulated, strictly enforced for health and safety, zoned appropriately, and supported. When handled appropriately, it will bring in much needed tax revenue. According to the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR), medical marijuana “may offer broad benefits for pain from nerve damage from injuries, HIV, strokes, and other conditions,” including epileptic seizures. Watching my lovely and kind 85-year-old neighbor and friend suffer from the excruciating pain of terminal cancer was a deciding factor for me. Medical marijuana gave this wonderful lady enough relief from the pain and nausea that she was able to focus her last months on her beloved family and pets, not her pain.
Medical marijuana is also effective for treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Suicide is the leading cause of death for our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Unfortunately, PTSD is not currently an recognized legal condition for medical marijuana in Colorado as it is in Maine, New Mexico, and many other medical marijuana states. Either this state restriction should be changed or, to ensure access to treatment for those suffering from PTSD, Longmont should move forward with the dual-use medical/retail marijuana licensing established by the state of Colorado.
Medical marijuana was banned from Longmont with the votes from the two incumbent Council candidates.
Twin Peaks Mall/ The Village at the Peaks
It is not enough to have a shopping area that benefits the developer’s need to fill the space and maximize his profit. Longmont needs a vision for its future, not just two years from now, but 30 years from now. If we are investing roughly $27 million in the mall, we need to examine how it promotes our vision. Recruiting companies bringing sustainable jobs is only one part of a better future. Our mall is a HUGE part of that vision creating a quality of life that consumers want to participate in and the City can be proud of.
Respectful and Fair Community Relations
Longmont has several minority groups that currently comprise about 35% of our population. Everyone should feel safe and welcome in Longmont because that is the kind of town we value. When people are treated with disrespect or passed over for opportunities they have earned, we all suffer. We all lose out on the talent, intelligence, and passion our whole community could share. We become a poorer town, both economically and morally.
A City Council civil rights liaison to work with the various non-governmental organizations supporting many in these populations would help move us move forward TOGETHER in a more respectful and equitable way. As the saying goes, “We all do better when we ALL do better.”