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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