ALAMOSA — In a congenial first meeting of the new year, the Alamosa city council approved every motion unanimously except for one on which Councilman Rusty Johnson abstained.
Because he is part of the design team for the new Alamosa High School athletic facility, Johnson abstained from voting on a measure amending off-street parking requirements for stadiums. The council changed the requirements from two parking spaces for each stadium seat to one space for each four seats, a ratio that is more in line with national standards, according to Alamosa Public Works Director Don Koskelin.
City Manager Nathan Cherpeski said, “Two to one is unusual. That’s a high number.”
Koskelin said he did not know where that previous parking ratio came from. The ordinance covering parking for stadiums was being worked on when he arrived nearly 20 years ago, he said, and Alamosa has not built many stadiums between then and now.
The change in the parking ordinance now is in response to Alamosa High School’s proposed new athletic facility approved by voters in November. Cherpeski said the school could count existing parking areas towards the parking requirements, so the new stadium would not require entirely new parking areas.
He and Koskelin said the council needs to address parking requirements in a broader sense as well, and that issue among others will be discussed in a work session with the council and city planning commission next Wednesday.
The councilors talked about parking related to Adams State’s relatively new stadium, and Johnson said the parking space ratio to seating for that stadium was nowhere near the city’s ordinance requirements. Koskelin said Adams State is a state institution, so the city’s ability to enforce its zoning standards on the university is somewhat constrained. He added that when the new ASU stadium was constructed, the university also built two new parking lots.
Councilman Josef Lucero voiced concerns about the impact to the residential neighborhood just north of the university when Adams State expands its athletic facilities in that area in the future. He said the parking encroachment into the neighborhood now is not that bad except for special events like graduation but he was concerned about future impacts.
Koskelin said generally the ASU athletic events such as track and football are not going on at the same time, however.
Councilor Marcia Tuggle said she had attended Adams State events frequently and believed the parking was sufficient.
“You are never going to prevent people from parking on the streets,” she said.
Unanimous votes by the council during its January 2 meeting included:
• Approval of the city’s animal services contract to Alpine Veterinary Hospital (Dr. Tyler Ratzlaff), new owner of Valley Veterinary Clinic, which held the contract with the city for many years. The contract includes a rate increase from $1,263 per month to $1,650 per month in 2013 and subsequent increases up to $2,000 per month by 2015. From 2016 forward the increases will be approximately 2 percent per year. The animal services contract fees have remained the same for the past five years or so. City councilors said the city could not operate a “dog pound” of its own for anywhere near the contract costs, so they appreciated the services Alpine Veterinary would provide. Alamosa Police Chief Craig Dodd said city animal control processes about 24 dogs a month currently through the vet clinic. Ratzlaff told the council a dog picked up by animal control must be held five days to be reclaimed by its owner before it can be put up for adoption, and generally the dog has another five days to be adopted or longer if it appears to be an animal with a good chance of being adopted.
• Approval of a motion directing staff to start the process of establishing a new city park on 107 acres of the Alamosa Ranch that has most recently been used for recreational activities such as the disc golf course. Creating an official park gives the city the opportunity to acquire grants such as Great Outdoors Colorado funds for trails and other improvements.
• Approval of a resolution designating the city hall entryway bulletin board as the official posting place for meeting notices. The board is visible from the outside of the building.
• Approval of the renewal of workers compensation with Pinnacol Insurance for $126,077.
• Approval on first reading and scheduling for public hearing on January 16 an ordinance granting a 10-year cable television franchise in Alamosa to Bresnan Communications (Optimum.) As part of the agreement, Bresnan will provide $15,000 to the city every five years, or $30,000 for the term of the 10-year contract, for the city’s government Channel 10.