Home Builders Assosciation Questions

The Denver Home Builders Association routinely meets with elected officials throughout the Greater Denver Area.  Their Board meets with Candidates for about 15 minutes to talk about developer concerns.  Here are the questions I was provided with and the answers I gave.

I very much enjoyed my conversation with them.  They were very concerned about the increased schedule time when we started talking about my Smart Growth Strategy.  I was able to tie that back to their own self-stated desire to be more involved with municipalities when development and impact fees are being discussed.  Although they asked a lot of questions on the questionnaire, all we really talked about were their schedules and fees.

Update:  Apparently I was the only person that offered any resistance to their high growth, high-density agenda, as they provided over $5000 dollars worth of support to my opponents who have not provided any transparency on how they would manage growth.  The answer appears obvious to me, Randy Reed and Jason Grey support a continuation of growth with minimal resident and council oversite.



    
Candidate
Questionnaire │ Fall 2018  │Town of
Castle Rock

Name:
Charles Fletcher III
Email: charles@charlesformayor.com
District/Ward:
Town of Castle Rock
Address:
303-562-6376
Phone:303-562-6376 City: Castle
Rock

This document is in Word Format so that you
can fill it out on your computer.

  1. Please
    tell us about yourself and why you are interested in running for office.  

I am a resident of Castle Rock for almost 20
years, and have been an active volunteer, currently serving on the Planning
Commission.  Previously I was the Char
for the Water Commission and I have served on several committees for the Town
of Castle Rock.  I volunteer in multiple
Douglas County Schools.  Finally, I
volunteer as a Community Safety Volunteer for the Castle Rock Police
Department.

Professional I do digital product management,
with an emphasis on competitive business intelligence and consumer cost
transparency.

Running for Mayor is a way that I can continue
to serve my town and community.  I have
spent the last decade being an active volunteer in my community to learn about
how the Town functions, and to listen to my neighbors and fellow residents
about their excitement and concerns for the town’s future.

  • What
    do you identify as the top two issues facing the Town of Castle Rock and how
    should they be addressed?  

  1.  Growth has been the number one concern of
    residents for over 20 years.  Here
    is my answer from my website on how growth should be addressed.

Smart
Growth is purposeful growth.  It is an enhancement and continuation of our
community.  Castle Rock needs growth, it’s part of the 20-year
forecasting, it enhances our Town and it brings positive attention. 

But
Smart Growth is not “anything goes”.  Smart Growth is not retail without
primary employment to support the community. Smart Growth is about balanced
growth across all of Castle Rock

This
is my approach should I receive your support.  Zoning and Site
Development Plan (SDP) review needs to happen earlier with boards and citizen
outreach.  Boards and Council should be empowered to have a stronger
conversation with developers earlier in the process.  New development
needs to enhance Castle Rock as a whole.  Outlying areas that refuse to annex
because of our design guidelines should not be eligible for town service
partnerships, including water and sewer services.  We need to be a leader
of Douglas County policy and not an enabler of bad policy.

Town
incentives and special accommodations need to be reserved for Primary
Employers, not for additional retail. This allows us to focus on
bringing jobs to town that allow people to live, work and shop all in
Castle Rock.  Retail is welcome, but we should focus our limited resources
on the positive impact of more people around that are able to spend money, not
to offer the same few people more choices on where to shop.

  1. Water is a top concern and a
    constant source of questions within the town.

Castle
Rock residents and developers need to understand that Castle Rock growth means
that we need to treat water as a rare and precious commodity.  We feel the
pain when we see our water bills.  Castle Rock Water has been planning for
the growing expense of water.  Rates and fee increases are real but low
and steady and grow at a forecasted and predictable rate.  Denver Water saw a 25-35% increase in
2016 for some of their customers.

We
should put a larger emphasis on the variable portion of the bill so that
residents have more control over their expenses based on their personal
conservation efforts.  The highest tier of watering surcharges should be
increased dramatically to highlight the danger that can happen when members of
the community do not recognize the importance of the common shared resource.

Long-term
infrastructure and design within Castle Rock Water are sound, with
purchasing of additional supplies, increased renewable water capacity and
supply, and cutting-edge storage solutions that are being explored.

Commercial
and residential irrigation continues to be the largest use of water. 
Steps have recently been taken to curb the planting of water-intensive lawns in
new developments, but the town needs to push further to reduce high water
landscaping for all new construction, and to create appropriate incentive
programs so existing homeowners can affordably but quickly embrace low water
use options, returning even more control of the water bills to the users. 
The Town needs to aggressively partner with HOA’s to update requirements
that are appropriate to Castle Rocks needs as a community.

  • What
    do you believe is the appropriate role of town government in guiding or
    managing growth and what role does residential development play in your vision
    for the future of your municipality?

There are several arms of government, even at
the town level that need to be addressed.

Town staff should be available to help
developers (residential or commercial) understand the town’s rules and
vision.  Town Staff should be the initial
point of contact to help answer basic questions and to start preparing data in
a way that allows others within the town government to provide their reviews.

Elected and appointed officials should serve as
a different role.  They are the voice of
citizens, and represent they represent residents, including desires and
concerns.  They should provide
constructive feedback through town staff to help direct projects early in the
process, before any party has had a major financial expense.

Town Council specifically needs to balance the
interests of current residents with new and future residents.  Council also needs to recognize and respect
individual property rights of land owners.

  • What
    are your thoughts or position on Limited or No-Growth initiatives (at either
    the local or state level) in regard to residential construction?

I believe the market will adequately decide
growth rates. The role of the municipality is to make sure that impact fees are
appropriate and timely to cover major infrastructure costs.  If there are specific logistical concerns
around timing/location of projects those should be handled individually.  The local government needs to be a partner,
not an adversary.

  • What
    is your position on transportation at the local, regional and state level?

Until all jobs, education and social activities
occur online, transportation needs to be a major factor in all zoning and site
plan reviews. 

Castle Rock in particular is very far behind on
developing a robust transportation model that addresses the needs of low
primary employment suburban areas.  This
will require partnerships with regional and possibly state agencies, but the
ultimate responsibility for Castle Rock transportation needs to reside with
Castle Rock residents and their elected officials.

  • There
    are a number of ways local codes, regulations and fees add to the cost of
    housing.  In turn, there is economic and other benefit to the local and
    regional community when development occurs and catching up with the state’s
    high demand for housing will help with the supply/demand issue facing many
    areas.  More and more families and individuals are seeking more attainably-priced
    homes.  Given the increasing costs of
    development and need for more attainable housing, what role do you think local
    government should play in either curbing the costs of development or
    seeking ways to promote more attainable housing options? 

Fees are not the primary contributor to
increased housing costs.  Increased
housing costs are based on companies trying to maximize their revenue.

Specific policies regarding this should be
presented by land development professionals, however I will say that it is
dangerous and irresponsible for a municipality to waive a primary source of
income for any reason.

If affordable housing is a Town’s goal (a big
assumption, many residents view their properties as investments), then the town
needs to clearly outline any such affordable housing requirements in zoning and
SDP rules.

  • What
    do you know about your County’s building and development permit process and do
    you have any ideas to improve or streamline it?  

The Town has its own permitting process
separate from Douglas County.  I have a
good level of familiarity with the process, but I am not an expert on the
details around each individual step.

Part of the County difficulty is that people
want to avoid annexation, but they want the advantages of CR as a neighbor,
meaning their process involves extended negotiations with multiple entities,
especially when developers outside of town are trying to avoid Town
restrictions (height, light, density, skyline, etc.).

Within the Town of CR the process tracks
favorably to performance SLAs, however developers might feel the process is
longer due to the number of iterations. 
Per my Smart Growth platform outlined above and available on my website,
more empowered boards, involved earlier in the process to speak to resident
issues as opposed to just the Town staff and the legal requirements, could make
the initial phases of the process take a but longer, but again this would occur
before significant and detailed plans have been created.  This cooperation and conversation would then
benefit everyone as the process moves forward.

  • Are
    you aware of how much impact fees contribute to the cost of housing in the Town
    of Castle Rock and how it impacts the municipality, home buyers and the home
    building industry? 

Yes.

  • How
    familiar are you with the Construction Defect issue that plagues builders,
    contractors, counties, and municipalities across the state as they seek the
    construction of more for-sale/attached/multi-family units?  Despite some recent advancements in the past
    year, construction defects will continue to be a highly-debated issue.  Please tell us your thoughts or position on
    this issue, and if you have any ideas to help promote the construction of more
    for-sale units. 

This has been an ongoing issue for many years
now.   I am open to hearing ideas from
industry professionals, but I do not have any further to offer in this area.  

  1. If elected, how would
    you involve and work with the home building industry?

I would continue to engage them as a valued
investor within the community.  MY
emphasis would be to make sure that their development enhances the community,
while I would respect their need to make a profit.

In quasi-judicial settings, I would maintain
the needs of the quasi-judicial process to maintain as much objectivity and
fairness as possible.

In reality, I would prefer to see early stages
of developers and town government engage in meaningful conversations that
address both legal requirements, but also elements identified in Town’s Vision
and Master Planning documents that might not be municipal code but are
important to the community.

  1. Are you interested in a
    contribution and/or endorsement from the MHC?

If the Metro Housing Coalition (MHC) provides
your campaign with a contribution, to whom should we make the check out to?
(i.e. The Committee to Elect XXX, etc.). 

Please make check out to: Committee to Elect
Charles Fletcher

Address and zip code: 3621 Golden Spur Lp

                                       Castle
Rock, CO 80108

Thank you for taking
the time to answer these questions.  Here
are the next steps:

  • If you are interested in
    interviewing with the Metro Housing Coalition, please return this questionnaire to ctalbert@hbadenver.com  or  by mail to HBA of Metro Denver, 9033 E.
    Easter Place, Ste. 200, Centennial, CO 80112

  • This questionnaire is due by Friday, September 7, 2018 or
    sooner if you’d like to be interviewed the week of September 10th.

  • Sean Maley of CRL Associates will
    reach out on behalf of Chérie Talbert, HBA Senior Vice President and
    Director of the Metro Housing Coalition to schedule a time for a 30-minute
    interview at the HBA of Metro Denver offices in Centennial.

  • If you have any questions, please
    call Cherie at 303-551-6734 or email at ctalbert@hbadenver.com and we
    really look forward to meeting with you!

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