Board sets three term goals

town nedJohn Scarffe, Nederland.  The Nederland Board of Trustees discussed a resolution setting goals for economic sustainability, infrastructure and housing during a regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at the Nederland Community Center. The Board’s goals for the 2016 to 2018 term arose out of a retreat attended by all members of the Board and Town management staff.

Mayor Kristopher Larsen said the goals came out of a goal setting session the Board had a month ago moderated by Gary Suiter.

The first goal, economic sustainability, will involve the Nederland Downtown Development Authority (NDDA).

That goal will be further developed during a joint session with the NDDA on Wednesday, June 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Nederland Community Center. The priority is to pass the Downtown Development Authority debt authorization in 2016.

The calendar should aim for a ballot referral at an August Board meeting for a November vote by NDDA members. The Board hopes to clarify the purpose of the NDDA and improve the “messaging” of the master plan update which is now underway.

The Board will also be considering the Economic Development Task Force report recommendations, which would reinstitute the Chamber of Commerce, support local job growth, the environment and land use code changes.

The Board’s second goal will be infrastructure and the Town Shop, to be developed during a work session on July 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Elements to explore include streets, storm water and funding for the 2014 Master Infrastructure Plan. The Board will be considering future generations in design and development as well as natural methods of storm water control.

Larsen said the third goal will be the housing situation and projects that will advance workforce housing, including places that can be lived in by town staff. This goal will be developed during a joint session with the Planning Commission on August 24, 2016 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Items for discussion will include available land for housing. “The Town of Nederland needs to formally commit to developing the existing Town Shop site on Fifth Street for affordable housing, per the original intention of the Mud Lake Intergovernmental Agreement,” according to retreat notes.

The Board asked staff to draft the definition of affordable housing to be adopted by the Board. The Board will also discuss land use code changes in support of housing and density codes.

Trustee Kevin Mueller asked how the success of meeting these goals will be measured. For infrastructure, as an example, “to reduce flooding and increase groundwater,” would be a measurable goal.

“We can measure an increase in vegetation if we go in and place vegetation,” Mueller said. “That’s something we can measure. That’s what I’d like to recommend.” He suggested similar goals for housing and sustainability.

Larsen replied that, in terms of metrics, some things can be added tonight, but as part of the work sessions the Trustees could lay out the metrics they want. Mueller said, “If we’re going to adopt goals they should be measurable.”

Trustee Stephanie Miller agreed but said she would like to think about it and get input. “We need to create the goals and bat them around a little bit. This is a two-phase thing, and we need to say we’re going to create measurable goals.”

Trustee Julie Gustafson said she likes the idea of measurable goals. “We can work with town staff, who will be implementing these, and make sure these are what they have.”

Larsen suggested that in the fourth paragraph of the resolution they could add a statement to include measurable metrics for each of the policy goals and an agenda item at the work sessions for each of those.

Mayor Pro-Tem Charles Wood said the Board adopted a Sustainability Action Plan that included measurable goals. “It’s there and is a good standard. We should visit those and see what the STAR program tells us.”

The STAR Community Rating System awards points to communities that support best practices on community-level conditions and outcomes, according to the STAR website. STAR’s framework of seven goals, 44 objectives and 500 outcome and action measures supports local efforts to assess social, economic and environmental progress. In 2014, Nederland was named one of 20 STAR Leadership Communities, and Town staff members have been tracking points awarded toward the program.

Larsen said packets from staff for the work sessions could include relevant materials from STAR, and Miller agreed. “That would be great, and we’d like to achieve that goal of being a STAR community.”

Mueller then pointed to the housing goal and said one goal would be increasing affordable housing by making changes to the municipal codes that allow property setbacks. “That’s a clear explanation of what we want to do. I think the language is shallow.”

Larsen directed staff to include STAR related items and where the Town stands on them before each work session, and Miller said Trustees should submit goals they want, so they can be a part of the packet.

Wood said, “The STAR goals are the measurement. We already have goals. We don’t need to set new goals.”

The Board approved the resolution establishing the three goals with the addition of the paragraph about metrics as a part of each work session. Mueller voted against it.

The next meeting of the Nederland Board of Trustees on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 has been canceled due to a lack of quorum, and the Board may not have a quorum for the July 5 meeting. The Board will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19, at the Nederland Community Center.