Woodland Park Metropolis Council mourns the lack of Mayor Val Carr – Colorado Springs Gazette

The Woodland Park City Council started its Feb. 18 meeting with a moment of silence for Mayor Val Carr, who succumbed to COVID-19 on Feb. 16. Council ended the meeting with kind words about him and condolences for his family.

Mayor Pro Tem Hilary LaBarre said many citizens have called her asking about the next steps for filling the late mayor’s position. She said the city charter gives several options for replacing a mayor but it’s too soon to discuss them.

“This was entirely unexpected and we need time,” she said. LaBarre will continue as acting mayor until council makes a decision.

LaBarre spoke with emotion about the loss and said the city is exploring naming something after Carr as a memorial. She suggested a park pavilion.

Each council member offered condolences to Carr’s family and friends. Several honored him with memories of his deep love for his wife Sherry and his family, his passion for public service and music and his hard work and dedication to his community.

“I only met him a few months ago but my favorite memory of Val was at Christmas,” said Michael Lawson, Acting City Manager. “He was wearing a top hat and belting out carols.”

Councilman Robert Zuluaga shared the same memory and praised Carr’s love of knowledge and the conservative values they shared. He said a prayer for the mayor and his family.

Councilman Jim Pfaff said Carr became one of his closest friends in the short time they knew each other.

After giving her condolences, Councilwoman Kellie Case said that, under the circumstances, council should consider pulling its resolution to reassert the city’s rights in opposition to Gov. Polis’ COVID-19-related restrictions.

The resolution was introduced at the Feb. 4 meeting, at which time council’s vote to approve ended in another tie vote.

“We’re at Level Blue,” Case said. “We so close to the end of this.”

Case previously compared approving this resolution to throwing a bomb at the COVID-19 recovery process. No one commented on her suggestion.

The first item on the Feb. 18 agenda was a rerun of the first item on the Feb. 4 agenda — appoint members to the planning commission. On Feb. 4, council tied its votes on the appointment of Peter Scanlon or Bob Carlsen.

With only six council members, the vote on these two applicants tied again at the Feb. 18 meeting. In Woodland Park, a tie vote on any item is an automatic tabling to the next meeting.

While interviewing Scanlon, a question came up about the moratorium on enforcing a 180-day limit on long-term camping in camper trailers and recreational vehicles in city campgrounds. LaBarre said there will be a work session on the question and the moratorium should be extended.

Pfaff asked if this was the right time to bring this up and when was council informed about a work session and moratorium extension.

“I’m informing everyone right now,” said LaBarre, who later added that council should take another look at the resolution on tie votes. “Do we continue tabling or do we just let the question die?” she asked.

Council reappointed Larry Black to the Historic Preservation Committee.

Councilwoman Stephanie Alfieri asked the appointments to be continued to the March 4 meeting because council received the applications the day before the Feb. 18 meeting. She was overruled on the Historic Preservation Committee reappointment but council approved her request to table the appointments to the Keep Woodland Park Beautiful Committee and Board of Adjustment.

Valerie Lundy asked to speak about her appointment as a permanent member of the Board of Adjustment. She is currently an alternate to the board.

Lundy said she submitted her application on Feb. 5 and LaBarre assured her that the delay was the city’s error and not hers.

In other business, the council approved the purchase of 1.5 water shares in Twin Lakes Reservoir. It also approved making the city website the primary instrument for publishing public notices. 

Planning Director Sally Riley updated council on the comprehensive plan update. She said a list of stakeholders is being prepared and stakeholder interviews will start soon. Subcommittees will be formed in March.

“We’re hoping that each subcommittee will include one councilmember, one planning commissioner, one staff member and six or seven community members,” she said.

Logan Simpson, the city’s comprehensive-plan and land-use-code-review consultant, is reviewing city and county plans and maps and is drafting a community engagement plan.

Council also approved an agreement for legal services with Murray Dahl Beery & Renaud. Geoff Wilson will represent the law firm as city attorney.

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