Littleton City Council formulates goals for next two years

-A A +A

Need for more commercial space discussed

By Ramsey Scott

Littleton’s newly elected City Council wants to see commercial space grow in the city over the next two years —and might look at annexation as a possible means to that end.

The council is in the process of adopting its new goals and vision statement for the next two years, which will be ratified at the regular meeting on Jan. 7. 

While promoting economic vitality has been a key focus for previous councils, this group wants Littleton to look at ways to expand retail space, including possible annexation of retail property. 

“This council is saying we want to look at alternatives on the revenue side so we aren’t having cuts in our service delivery,” said City Manager Michael Penny. “They’re basically saying to staff that we are open to looking into commercial annexation.”

Penny said annexation is a complex process that must follow strict state laws. Littleton would be looking around the area for landowners to partner with for annexation. 

“It is an aspirational mind-set more than anything specific at this time,” said council member Bruce Beckman. 

Beckman said the main purpose of looking at annexations, along with other ways to revitalize retail areas within the city limits, is the need for more revenues. 

“In my opinion, the council must deal with the reality that the cost of providing quality city services is increasing and that revenue must keep up in order to provide those services,” Beckman said. “Looking around the city, we see great opportunities for underutilized commercial space to be repurposed so as to generate retail sales.”

While Littleton will continue to look at ways to increase revenue, the city is considering taking a more passive approach to environmental sustainability. 

City Manager Michael Penny, during a study session on the goals document Dec. 16, asked whether or not the council wanted to remove “promote environmental sustainability” as one of its goals. 

Penny said several items city staff brought forward to promote environmental sustainability in the private sector, like a plastic-bag fee and stronger sustainable building codes, had been rejected by the council.

“(City staff) has spent a lot of time and energy, and it was feeling like there was a disconnect,” Penny said. “The study session was a good opportunity to reconnect on that, and I thought they had a great conversation.”

Several members of the councils called it governmental overreach to force private businesses and citizens to build within specific “green” parameters and use certain materials. 

“During our workshop, we settled upon a support-of-sustainability objective,” said Mayor Phil Cernanec. “We have shied away from a dictating position, allowing for folks to make their own good decisions. As a group, I feel we believe in environmental sustainability and allowing for personal choice.”

Beckman agreed that the council should be more a voice of encouragement and not a guiding hand. 

“My opinion is that it is appropriate for local government to facilitate, rather than to dictate through ordinances or building codes, the implementation of anything specifically labeled as ‘green’ or ‘sustainable,’ ” Beckman said. “Within the city offices and operations, the choice for several years has always been to move in the direction of environmentally sustainable options if they were available.”

Penny said Littleton would still pursue environmental efficiencies within city operations and if opportunities present themselves. 

“These are goals and initiatives, and not lines in the sand,” Penny said. “… It’s really a good vehicle to the communicate to the community to say what this council’s goals and objectives are for the next two years. They’re telling us, ‘These are our primary goals and objectives, and every one of them is fluid.’ ”


Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.