The View from Ward 2: Issue #4

Updated: Feb 24

Committee of the Whole Meeting

The meeting began with a presentation from the Director of Planning & Development, Bryce Sylvester, and members of the Resiliency Task Force. The Resiliency Task Force was formed in 2018, with the objective of providing long-term planning guidance to the administration and City Council. Comprised of 13 volunteers, the Task Force was guided by ReThink Advisors, Irwin Lowenstein and Puck Mykleby, and by members of Lakewood's Planning & Development Department. The group met monthly for over 21 months starting in April of 2018.

At Monday's meeting, the Task Force provided an update to Lakewood's Community Vision and their Action Guide. They implemented a comprehensive strategy for citizen engagement and community buy-in that resulted in reaching over 500 people, a significant improvement over the 130 people reached during the 2012 update process. A significant product of the Resiliency Task Force is the Action Guide. The Guide identifies specific actions, along with the departments that can execute such actions, that would bring the Task Force's recommendations to life. For instance, the guide recommends that Council and the Planning & Development department evaluate accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to provide more housing options. The Resiliency Task Force provided Lakewood with recommendations that will certainly improve the city for years to come, now it is up to us to turn those recommendations into policy.

The next item on the agenda was to review all 23 applications received for the vacant At-Large position. Council unanimously voted to enter executive session to have a thorough discussion about the candidates. After a robust discussion, Council invited the following 15 applicants for interviews:

  • Lindsey Grdina

  • Steve Skantzos

  • Susannah Selnick

  • Mark Schneider

  • Emily Christescu

  • Ray Cushing

  • Jennifer Pae

  • Laura Rodriguez-Carbone

  • Virgil Wahome

  • Kyle Baker

  • Jeff Wise

  • Tom Einhouse

  • Nora Katzenberger

  • Sarah Kepple

  • Kevin Dugan

Click here to watch the Committee of the Whole meeting.

Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan Discussion

On Wednesday morning, Councilmember Tess Neff, Mayor Meghan George, Attorney Louis McMahon, and I met to discuss the Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan. Mr. McMahon, a key member of the project team, provided us with a very informative overview of the plan. Councilmember Neff, Mayor George, and I all shared concerns about managing affordability with the necessary improvements we must make to our unique storm water and sewer systems. I look forward to further discussing the plan in the future and to continue coming up with innovative ways to comply with EPA regulations. Click here to read the plan.

Lakewood Democratic Club Meeting

I attended the Lakewood Democratic Club's first meeting of the year on Thursday. The meeting was packed with residents, elected official, and candidates that are all excited for the 2020 election. Lakewood Ward 2 residents, Sarah Kepple and Jay Ketchaver, gave an excellent presentation on the importance of getting involved this year and how each one of us can contribute to the canvassing effort.

Meeting with Planning & Development Department

Friday morning, I met with David Baas from the Planning & Development Department and Ward 2 Neighborhood Patrol Officer Angela Ortiz to discuss various issues that residents have brought to my attention regarding streets and safety. After a productive discussion, we were able to identify next steps and we plan on meeting again in the near future.

Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

After my meeting at the Planning & Development Department, I joined our community's business and civic leaders at the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce's 2020 Speaker Series Luncheon. Mayor George gave a presentation about her first month in office and provided us insight into her vision for the future. I, along with everyone else in the room, am excited for the future of Lakewood.

D.A.R.E. Graduation

Also on Friday, I attended Lincoln Elementary School's 5th Grade D.A.R.E. graduation. D.A.R.E. officer, Ptl. Dave Acklin, instructed the students about the dangers of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use and discussed important life skills like stress management, healthy communication with friends and family, and understanding media influences. During the ceremony, four students were selected to read their essays. These students shared their career goals, which included software designer, doctor, athlete, and baker and how drug and alcohol abuse would impact their lives. Please join me in congratulating the graduating students!

At-Large Interviews

On Saturday morning, Council interviewed 10 applicants for the vacant Council At-Large seat. All interviewees were impressive. We are lucky to have so many people with such a diverse skill set that are willing to serve our community. The remaining five applicants were interviewed on Monday, February 3 prior to the Council Meeting.

Accessory Dwelling Units

During my campaign I often spoke about how Lakewood should consider adding provisions for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) into our Planning and Zoning Code. As I have written before, ADUs can provide options for our seniors to age in place and add more diverse housing options in Lakewood. This Thursday, the Planning & Development Department will inform the Planning Commission that they will begin researching ADUs with hopes of reporting back their findings by the early summer. If you are interested in voicing your support, concerns, or questions, the meeting will be held Thursday, from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM at the Council Auditorium.