Featured Business: Manna Bakery and Deli Serving Made-From-Scratch Meals

Manna

By Carol Brzeczek

If you are a long-time resident of Littleton, no doubt you stopped in at Manna Bakery in the Woodlawn shopping center years ago. It’s still a great bakery, but at a different location— 6905 South Broadway at the intersection of Ridge Road.

After serving made-from-scratch meals and baked goods at the Woodlawn location, Debbie Chadwick sold the business January of 2000, and moved back to Amish country in northern Indiana where she was born and raised. But her kids were in the Littleton area and she soon found her way back here only to be coaxed back into business with her daughter, Eve. In June of 2012 they opened Manna Bakery in the Broadridge shopping center. They immediately caught the eye of customers from the Woodlawn days eager to see what the new Manna Bakery had to offer. And, of course, they found the same and more!

You can feel the warmth of the Colorado sun while enjoying your meal, either by the windows inside or at sidewalk tables outside. They have free wi-fi so you can stay connected if that is important.

Debbie and Eve have an array of sandwiches, salads, quiches, and soups to select from. You can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. In addition to the numerous bars, cookies, cupcakes, pies, you can get gluten free items as well. For breakfast, try the sticky buns or cinnamon rolls. And their homemade biscuits and gravy have gotten rave reviews for a down-home breakfast.

Manna Bakery & Deli is a welcome addition to the east side of town. They are open Monday – Friday 7am to 5pm, Saturday 7am to 4pm and Sunday 7am to 2pm. Don’t forget Manna Bakery when planning special events. They do it all and they do it all well.

Did You Know? Arapahoe Prevails Over the Aurora Urban Renewal Challenge

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Arapahoe County Prevails Over the Aurora Urban Renewal Challenge on TIF
(Italics are used to denote actual language from the Court’s Judgment Case #16CA0393)

On February 23, 2017 Judges Graham Taubman and J.J. Navarro found in favor of Arapahoe County on the timing of Aurora’s urban renewal tax increment financing (TIF). The Urban Renewal Law (URL):

“authorizes the use of tax increment financing (TIF) to fund renewal projects. TIF uses recently assessed property values in an urban renewal area to establish a base tax value. § 31-25-107(9)(a), C.R.S. 2014. As property values increase above the base value, increased tax revenues are allocated to the financing of the renewal project.”

At issue was whether or not all four of the TIF provisions in the Fitzsimmons Urban Renewal Plan had started.

“The parties disagree as to the meaning of “the effective date of adoption of such a provision” with provision referring to TIF. Aurora argues that the “effective date of adoption of such a provision” is different from the “effective date of the approval of such urban renewal plan,” and allows a city to delay the “effective date of adoption of such a provision” by writing a delay into the urban renewal plan.

The Assessor argues that the “effective date of adoption of such a provision” is synonymous with the “effective date of the approval of such urban renewal plan,” and that a city cannot delay the “effective date of adoption of such a provision” by writing a delay into the urban renewal plan.”

This decision has implications to Littleton’s Urban Renewal Plans, which we hope the LIFT board will take notice. The citizens of Arapahoe County should be very grateful that we have such a talented group serving the County in our Assessor’s office and the office of the District Attorney. They are looking out for us.

To read the entire Court ruling please follow click here.

Zoning Issues Continue

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By Deanna Cook

The 170 tenant-capacity, low-income housing development called Littleton Crossing will be built at 5591 South Nevada Street on the old St. Mary’s Church and school site.  After citizens were persistent in their request for council to intervene, the subject was finally on their agenda.  However, upon the advice of counsel and under threat of possible litigation from the developer, council’s discussion was very limited.  But now it is abundantly clear that the previous council rezoned this parcel of land in violation of the city’s zoning code as it did not meet the minimum lot size for rezoning.  (Councilmembers Brinkman, Cernanec, Stahlman and Stein supported the rezone and Councilmembers Beckman, Cole and Valdes did not.  Clark was not on council at the time.)  Now staff is negotiating construction design changes, attempting to mitigate the zoning violations inherent from the original wrongful rezoning.  Surprisingly, the City advised concerned citizens last week that Littleton, not the Montana developer, will be paying for those changes.

Get to Know Littleton’s Employees: Aaron Heumann – Transportation Engineering Manager

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Name: Aaron Heumann

How long have you worked for Littleton: I started working for the city at the end of 2016, so I have been working in Public Works for 15 months now. However, I had been interested in working for the city ever since Craig Faessler, the previous City Traffic Engineer, resigned from the position in 2008. I had inquired as to when the city would hire a new traffic engineer for eight years until Mark Relph was hired on as the new Public Works Director and determined the need to once again fill the position.

Job Responsibilities: As the city’s Transportation Engineering Manager, my responsibilities extend between Public Works and Community Development. On the Public Works side, I am responsible for the operation of the 60 existing traffic signals in the city, along with the pedestrian signals, emergency signals and school zone flashers. I am also charged with determining the appropriate location for any new traffic control devices. I direct our traffic crew on the configuration and maintenance of pavement markings utilized on the city roadways and the type and location of regulatory signs installed to direct motorists and pedestrians. Then there are special projects and studies that arise, such as evaluating and improving key corridors in the city, developing and revising signal timing coordination, studying locations for pedestrian safety, conducting vehicular speed studies, studying parking conditions, and addressing a variety of council and resident concerns regarding anything from transportation operations and accommodations to neighborhood traffic calming needs to school safety concerns. I also am responsible for data collection in the form of traffic volumes, speed data, and accident data, and evaluating the information for historical changes and identifying locations of concern. There is also regular collaboration among all of the engineers who work in Public Works with regard to ongoing roadway and utility construction projects, and coordination with adjacent municipalities and regional agencies. I attend regular meetings with the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), CDOT and Arapahoe County, as well as working with our neighboring cities and counties on specific projects and teaming opportunities, such as the Platte Canyon Road Task Force.

For Community Development, I am responsible for reviewing any development projects for potential impacts to traffic operations on adjacent roadways, the location and allowance of access driveways, the internal project circulation and parking configuration, as well as assuring the City Code and federal regulations, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, are adhered to appropriately. I also assist with providing any planning for the future of the city, whether that may be through updates to the city Comprehensive Plan or Transportation Plan, or participating in master planning studies, such as those currently under way for our two light rail station areas, or review and improvements to our standards and codes by which we abide. I also work with other agencies on planning for the region, such as the Arapahoe County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Planning currently ongoing.

What is your favorite part of the job: In many ways I am a typical engineer in that I like to solve problems. I take a lot of pride in the city in which I live, am raising my family, and work, so I find the most joy in resolving issues in the city and improving the safety and operations for everyone, no matter how big or small.

Hobbies: I try to stay busy outside of work. I have been a board member for South Metro Housing Options for more than 11 years, I am currently the president of my neighborhood HOA and have been for the past three years, I am a past president for my local professional society section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and a co-chair for the upcoming Western District of ITE conference that will be held in Keystone in the summer of 2018. My wife and I have two boys we adopted from Guatemala, so we attend a weekend summer camp for adoptive families of Latin American countries, where I have volunteered as the soccer coach for the past several years. Having coached soccer for many years, I have resolved myself to being the team manager for my oldest son’s competitive soccer team as part of the Littleton Soccer Club. In fact I just returned from an out-of-state tournament with the team where I chaperoned the 16 players in Dallas, TX. Finally, I enjoy exercising, so in addition to currently training to run my fourth marathon next month, I also take Krav Maga (Israeli self defense) fitness classes two or three times a week, and go on long road bike rides when I have a chance on nice weather weekends.

Personal Statement: Life has thrown me some curves over the years, but I believe in trying to stay as positive as possible and focusing on the long vision and not worrying about the little things. This past year has been an especially challenging roller coaster ride. On the one hand I started my dream job of working as the traffic engineer in the city I love and chose to live and raise my kids. Unfortunately, on the other hand I had to witness the rapid deterioration and eventual succumbing of my hero and inspiration when my father passed away to a combination of illnesses, including a rare cancer and Alzheimer. As a retired professor in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois, my dad taught me how to integrate engineering and planning, the importance of being involved in your children’s lives and an active participant in your community, and to treat everyone with compassion.

For the Record: Impact Fees Revisited

By John Watson

Citizen impetus caused the City of Littleton to enact impact fees. Impact fees are enacted to compensate the municipality for the loss of income from the creation of residential property zoning and construction which do not adequately compensate the city for services required, e.g.  Police, fire, museum, library, transportation and facilities.  The impact fees went into effect in 2015 for construction permits which were requested after the ordinance went into effect.  The state law requires that the impact fees be segregated funds and be used for the improvements identified, e.g. police, fire, museum, library, transportation and facilities.  At the request of citizens I have revisited the effect and practice of the impact fees on the City of Littleton.

Under the new administration at the City of Littleton (Manager Mark Relph) the staff was very courteous and accommodating as if they wished to help with this project. Quite unlike the pulling teeth experience with the prior management (Michael Penny).  The building department collects that impact fee when the permit is obtained. The Building Department furnished me with an impressive list of 55 pages of projects which paid impact fees since 2015. Due to the volume of information I will limit my discussion to the effect of impact fees in 2016. During that period the impact fees collected were $3,335,728. Impressive. The fees expended were less than half of that amount. The spent impact fees went principally for the Trailmark Fire Station. That is a tortured rationale for the use of impact fees for the affected areas since it does not appear that any of the impact fees were collected from Trailmark but most were spent there.  Another principal expense was a street in Littleton Village but that development is paying impact fees and that is understandable.

That information comes principally from the City Finance office. They pleasantly produced very transparent and detailed accounting records of the impact fees collected and expended. The information is available from the city website under the finance section as well. Impressive. The funds are segregated. They are properly collected by the Building Department at the time of issuance of the permit.  There is nearly $2,000,000 in funds collected from 2016 for expenses for the impacted areas.

The impact fees will always pale in comparison to the income from retail sales taxes but have been significant during this building boom experienced by Littleton since 2015 and will compensate the citizens for the expenses of the high density apartments permitted by the city. The performance by the new city management and staff is vastly improved. Impressive.

Gardening: Take it Outside

By Betty Harris

As a watercolor artist who is hooked on gardening and teaching, I tend to be very aware of my surroundings. Recently I read some advice given by one artist to another. That advice: “take your act outside”. He said this because he knew it would impact the quality of her work. Let’s explore that concept, not just from the artist’s but from the citizens’ point of view.

An artist who does watercolors looks at the landscape and often “sees” it as a watercolor and imagines what it would look like on paper and the techniques needed to recreate an illusion that would remind him or her of this view. An arborist might look at it in terms of what needs trimming or thinning and where the dead trees are. A landscaper might see it as needing to be rearranged and some flowers, bushes, paths or benches added. A farmer might see it as a potential farm land that could grow corn and hopefully generate a profit. Basically, everyone sees things a bit differently based on our own personal slant on life. An environmentalist would see it as needing to be protected while a developer might see it in terms of profit or loss. Children would see it as a place to play and have imaginary adventures like I did as a child. Children still do this, don’t they?

Some see the world around them as potential profit or something to be exploited or like my mother did and ask “what’s it good for?” It is really our LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM. Without it life lived inside a bubble just to survive would be poor indeed. Humans really depend on nature for more than they ever think it provides like water, shade, oxygen, food, beauty and a calming peaceful existence. Perhaps we should think in terms of protecting it so that we might live a decent existence rather than of what we can make of it or do with it.

A 1500 Sanskrit text said, “Upon this handful of soil our survival depends. Husband it and it will grow our food, and our shelter and surround us with beauty. Abuse it and the soil will collapse and die, taking humanity with it”. It would seem the ancients were wiser than we are.

Yesterday I was talking with my baby brother, he’s 58 now, about how dry our winter was and somehow we ended up talking about California’s drought and that they have been sucking water out of the aquifers to use to frack oil and gas wells. Then when the water is totally ruined and polluted, they inject it back into the ground as if they can actually control where it goes. They seem not to be concerned that it will pollute the same aquifers that are needed to provide the fresh water that they started with. It still surprises me when people are not aware of this but since he works all the time and comes home to fall asleep in front of the TV he must have missed this.

We humans, citizens of this planet and stewards of the same, need to take a bit of the watercolorist’s advice and take our act outside. Which reminds me, I have to prune my apple tree and my blue mist spirea today.