Woodland committee prepares to review city charte

By Beth Dodd

Gretchen Anne Bundy-Ladowicz, Peter Scanlon, and Eric Smith have been approved by the Woodland Park City Council to serve on a new committee that could play a key role in changing the town’s official charter and mini-constitution.

The WP Charter Review Advisory Committee will include three city council members and four citizens. The council members are Mayor Pro-Tem Carrol Harvey, who is heading the effort, and Ken Matthews and John Schafer. The fourth citizen position is still vacant.

The committee, which held its kick-off meeting on March 4, plans to meet the first week of every month. All meetings are open to the public, and will be held in the upstairs conference room at city hall. According to Harvey, the group received a detailed legal analysis of the charter review process during their inaugural session.

Their ultimate goal will be to recommend potential ballot initiatives to the city council for possible revisions of the WP charter, first adopted in the 1970s. If approved, the initiatives would be voted upon during the April 2016 election.

Items that the group will consider are expected to include the method for selecting replacements for prematurely vacated elected positions and changes to the restrictions on city incentives for private developments.

The charter review has been sparked by the controversial appointment of Mayor Neil Levy in the wake of the resignation of former Mayor David Turley. Levy’s name was picked out of a bowl to break a tie on the last day before the city council had to name a new mayor.

The issue of city incentives has been voted on twice in the last 25 years, with residents opposing any plans to offer any financial perks to private developers. Right now tax incentives for new development are only available from the DDA for businesses inside the Downtown Development Authority District. But some questions have arisen regarding this DDA-only incentive system.

The three Woodland Park residents selected for the Charter Review Advisory Committee all have strong ties to the community.

Eric Smith is a former councilman and mayor pro tem for Woodland Park . He is the owner of P2G, the developer of the new 168-unit, seven-building Trail Ridge Apartments off East Sheridan Avenue next to Safeway.

Gretchen Anne Bundy-Ladowicz served as a U.S. Navy attorney and also worked at NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs . She was one of the five possible mayoral candidates considered to replace Turley in August 2014.

Peter Scanlon is a retired senior insurance executive. He is on the Woodland Park Arts Alliance Board of Directors and has also been involved with Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity.

For more information on the charter review advisory committee, call 719-687-9246, or visit the city’s website.