Council candidates discuss role of design review committee days before election

In the final days before Election Day, campaign materials from a candidate for Castle Rock City Council have reignited the dispute over which commission approves downtown development.

During the November 1 council meeting, a public commentator and business owner shared a campaign flyer from Dean Legatski, who is running against incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Bracken for District 3. The flyer criticizes the council for revision of the design of the city.

The Castle Rock Design Review Board is a “city-appointed review board that has sole authority to approve site development plans in the Downtown Overlay District,” according to the comments. of City Manager David Corliss at the meeting. The office is composed of seven members appointed by the municipal council.

Legatski’s campaign flyer raised concerns about parking, traffic, infrastructure and the character of downtown developments, linking them to the Design Review Board. The flyer also claims that the Design Review Board can commit taxpayer dollars to developers.

“I think a lot of people are confused by the name because it says critical, but it’s really engaging,” he told Colorado Community Media. “All is not bad (within the Design Review Board), but there is no recourse.”

Bracken disagreed with Legatski’s view, noting that design review committee meetings include a public hearing and that the city council is responsible for any financial agreements or partnerships with downtown developments. town.

“Any member of council or resident can attend these meetings and sit at the table, so not having a say in (design review committee discussions) is not true,” he said. he declares.

The Design Review Board has no authority over financial agreements or public funding, Castle Rock Director of Development Services Tara Vargish confirmed to Colorado Community Media.

“City council is the only (body) that can approve a funding deal with a developer, whether they’re downtown or outside of downtown,” Vargish said.

Vargish said the Design Review Board works with city staff to ensure downtown projects meet city code for infrastructure and zoning. Council can approve parking differentials for the town center development, but Vargish said that hasn’t happened.

“City-appointed council are reviewing site development plans for the town centre, and it’s the look and feel of the building, and staff are doing the work to ensure it meets all codes. “, said Vargish. “We generally wouldn’t let (a development) go to a public hearing until it met all of the city’s requirements.”

Council members are divided over the fact that the Design Review Board is the only city body to approve downtown development, with members Tim Dietz, Laura Cavey and Caryn Johnson having tried unsuccessfully to reduce the authority of the council on town center development last year. Several votes and attempts to dismantle or remove the power of the board failed in 4-3 votes.

Bracken said he is “100% comfortable” with the current role and functions of the design review board.

“Our downtown is wildly successful,” he said. “Our process is in place and working extremely well.

If elected to council, Legatski said he would try to shift responsibility for downtown development to the city council.

“If citizens don’t like (the Design Review Board’s decisions), they don’t choose the Design Review Board, so it’s not a transparent process,” he said.

Election day is November 8.

Castle Rock Town Council,

Castle Rock Design Review Board,

Dean Legateski,

Kevin Bracken,

Election 2022,

Castle Rock Council Election

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