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Wellington Board of Trustees 9/12/2023

by Nanci Wendland

From the Town of Wellington website: The purpose of this board is to provide outstanding municipal services for the community of Wellington both today and tomorrow.

Meeting Summary*

Safe Routes to School: Are school-age children really crossing I-25 from East to West?

A concerned parent spoke at the meeting saying she sent the Wellington Town Attorney an MOU (memorandum of understanding) over the summer so the board could add a discussion on safe routes to school before the start of the new school year. She did not hear back from the attorney’s office and made another request at this meeting emphasizing how important this issue is: school children have been seen crossing I-25 from the east side of town to get to school on the west side. She suggested there needs to be better planning for safe routes to and from school in Wellington.

Can Wellington residents run a small vehicle detailing/repair shop in their personal garage? Currently the Town Occupational code does not allow any type of vehicle business from a personal garage in the town of Wellington. One of Wellington’s residents does vehicle detailing in his personal garage and is being threatened by a neighbor to shut it down. The Trustees admitted there are many residents who work on vehicles in their garages for money without being caught. Several residents in support of garage businesses believe the town is losing revenue from licensing and taxes by being so strict. They are asking for the board to support their businesses.

Other Meeting Notes:

Guidance was sought from the board regarding the 2024 elections, local and federal. Town Clerk Muhs asked three (3) questions: should elections be conducted at polling places only, or use mail in ballots; should the board elect the Town Clerk as the authorized Election Official to choose the Election Judge and Poll Watchers (the final vote was unanimous Yes); and should the town budget for a single election in 2024, or add funds for multiple elections during the year? The vote was Yes to plan for multiple elections in 2024.

Notes for Question #1: The board Trustees each gave their opinions with several Trustees wanting polling places only to minimize cost and have election results quicker. Absentee and mail-in ballots require postage cost and are not counted until after the polls close which can take another day to tabulate and verify. Other board Trustees believed that voting is a bedrock principle of democracy and voting should be as easy as possible for all residents of Wellington. Studies support higher voter participation when using mail-in ballots, along with Larimer County being a leader in Colorado for mail in voting. According to Trustee Daily, “since most residents prefer mail in voting, if the town uses polling places only, then it’s saying the town doesn’t want to hear from most of its residents.” The board decided to wait for a vote. Town Clerk Muhs will investigate the use of absentee ballots for everyone who wants one without exception.

How can Wellington get the attention of Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)?

Suzette Mallette from the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) gave a presentation updating the transport plans for the front range over the next 10-15 years and the effect on the town of Wellington. (

Mallette gave a little background on transport planning. Planning is designated by the census. The size of the town along with proximity to a large urban area determines who is eligible for Department of Transportation monies. There is currently no plan for I-25 expansion north of Highway 14.

Colorado is divided into boundaries. The Northern Front Range boundary includes Fort Collins, Windsor, and Greeley. These are the designated large urban areas with hops and jumps required for surrounding communities within 1 ½ miles. The state is currently reviewing boundaries and it’s possible that Larimer County might be considered its own large urban area. But until decisions are made, the town of Wellington will remain part of the Upper Front Range boundary which includes Wellington, Estes Park, and Larimer County.

Why are boundaries and jump distance important? Wellington is a rural town that is not part of a contiguous urban area within one and a half miles, and consequently not available or considered for transport projects until 2031. Wellington is on the transport project list for an improved I-25 and Highway 1 interchange at that time, but nothing else is scheduled for the I-25 off-ramp or frontage roads. Due to the high growth of Wellington and increased traffic, the town was hoping for some road expansion relief sooner.

Mallette offered ideas to the board and a couple of board members seemed anxious to get involved. One suggestion is to join the I-25 Coalition Group who meet the first Wednesday of each month via Zoom. Mallette recommends promoting the town, its growth, and transport needs. She recommended the board start advocating for funds now and think out of the box. Federal grants are available if the town can match the funds.

Mallette recommends Wellington start exploring how much they can comfortably afford.

Mallette said, “Wellington should be a squeaky wheel. Squeaky wheels get noticed.” Both Trustee Tietz and Trustee Mason seemed anxious to get involved and said they don’t mind being a squeaky wheel.

Action Items

The board voted unanimously in favor of an Intergovernmental Agreement with Larimer County and Emergency Management Services for funding assistance from the County for disaster/mutual aid relief.

The board also voted unanimously in favor of a new liquor license for the Old Colorado Brewing Tavern in Wellington to start serving wine and cocktails in addition to their own brew beer.

The meeting ended with all Trustees and Mayor Chaussee agreeing that safe routes to school are a high priority and will be addressed at the next board meeting. They also want to make progress on deciding property tax relief for Wellington homeowners who are experiencing inflation, high water rates, and increased property tax.

Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Next Meeting: Tuesday, September 26, 2023 @ 6:30 p.m. The Leeper Center, 3800 Wilson Avenue, Wellington, CO

​Agency Website:

Date & Meeting Time:

Sept. 12, 2023; 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Members Present:

Trustees – Jon Gaiter, Rebekka Daily, Brian Mason, Shirrell Tietz, David Weigand: Mayor Calar Chaussee

Members Absent:

Mayor Pro Tem – Ashley Macdonald

Others Present to Note:

Ethan Muhs, Town Clerk; Sargeant Cherry from the Sheriff’s office; Dan Sapienza, Town Attorney; Patti Garcia, Town Administrator; Suzette Mallette, Metropolitan Planning Organization; approximately 7 town residents.

*Citizen Observers further the commitment of the League of Women Voters to its principle of Citizens Right to Know, however, we are not acting as journalists. Omissions and errors are possible. It is assumed that users of this information are responsible for their own fact-checking. This could include contacting a government clerk, conversing with an elected official or staff, and/or asking us to speak to the Observer who attended.

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