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Name not shown inside LA VISTA March 31, 2019, 4:20 PM

Given the seven priorities you reviewed in the 2019 Strategic Leadership Plan, what are the key areas that we should address first?
In order of priority:
Increasing the amount and types of housing options.
Addressing long-term building vacancies in our community.
Enhancing support and opportunities for the local business environment.


What creative solutions can you suggest to make progress on the seven priorities?
Housing: Los Alamos needs a variety of new housing, including affordable housing, senior housing, and moderate-income/moderate-size housing near the townsite for citizens wanting to downsize.
Vacancies: Commercial property vacancies are a blight on the community and a contributing factor to high rental costs that impact local businesses. Council should assess fines for properties left vacant after an established period of time.
Business Environment: County should simplify permitting processes for signage, property improvements, licensing, etc. to facilitate local business opportunities.


What other suggested priorities would you add to the list as we move forward?
Next in order of priority:
Continuing enforcement of the nuisance code to enhance personal property and the general welfare of the community.
Protecting, maintaining and improving our open spaces, recreational, and cultural amenities.
Investing in infrastructure.
Supporting social services improvement.
Planning for appropriate levels of county services.

Kersti Rock inside NORTH MESA March 30, 2019, 10:37 AM

Given the seven priorities you reviewed in the 2019 Strategic Leadership Plan, what are the key areas that we should address first?
My personal perspective is that the county needs to address long term building vacancies, improve the business environment, and improve our infrastructure with a primary focus on our roads.


What creative solutions can you suggest to make progress on the seven priorities?
Long term building vacancies certainly do not present the health of our town in the best light. If property owners are unable or unwilling to lease the property after years of vacancy, perhaps the county should consider acquiring the property (ideally at a reduced rate) and repurposing the property. Possibly demolish and rebuild. New residential space might be an option to consider.

Excessively high rents are a problem for our small businesses. Find ways to work with local landlords to reduce rates at least for the first five years of a new business when start up costs are so critical. Ideally, longer term rate reductions might also be arranged, perhaps with some incentive from the county.

We lost an opportunity to improve traffic flow on Diamond and Trinity by implementing roundabouts in place of traffic lights at certain intersections. We should revisit this when possible.


What other suggested priorities would you add to the list as we move forward?
Improve the regular removal of snow and ice from all public sidewalks. There were many areas on North Mesa that were not properly addressed and made walking hazardous this past winter.

Name not shown inside NORTH COMMUNITY March 29, 2019, 4:35 PM

Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 1 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
I oppose using the property maintenance ordinance to harass homeowners when a realtor doesn't like the way their property looks. It is realtors, not residents, who want to use the ordinance to force people to conform to the realtors' values. Also, there are at least 3 vacant lots for sale now in Los Alamos, so the problem isn't merely a lack of available land. Most of the vacant lots in town are not suited for multifamily housing, which is the type of housing we need most, if we want to provide living space for more people. I hear some apartments are already being built: one on Oppenheimer, and another to be built where the Black Hole was. It is wrong to force property owners to put up a vacant lot for sale: private property is not up to the County to develop, that is the choice of the owner. Some owners may be waiting for children or grandchildren to decide if they are going to build a home here. Thirdly, we do not need to pay for more studies. We need to take appropriate action. What happened to the residential units that were going to be built above the store units in the new strip mall where Smith's Marketplace is?


Goal 2. Define and address quality of life priorities.
Support development of outreach programs that support the needs of existing, new and prospective residents, including expanded housing, retail, recreation, education & work options, and improved cellular, broadband & transportation services. (1)


Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 2 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
We definitely need more than 2 choices for cellular, internet, broadband services. Why do we only have Comcast and CenturyLink? They are both expensive and not good at customer service. They need competition. What happened to the residential units that were going to be built above the store units in the new strip mall where Smith's Marketplace is? Why don't we tax landlords who charge such high rents that small business has no chance of making it here, because of their high overhead (due to rent)?


Goal 3. Grow a separate, complementary economy to LANL.
Target/grow high-tech industry through partnerships to leverage grant funding opportunities, improve cellular and broadband infastructure and expand entrepreneurial services. (1)


Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 3 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
Los Alamos has an airport. Why don't we support that? Is the county planning to get rid of the airport and use the land for something else? Where would we put any high-tech industry? We already have trouble finding space for new housing. We do have lots of office space, though. Does high-tech industry need more than office space? The county needs to think about how these different goals may interfere with each other. We may have to make choices.


Goal 4. Support and retain LANL as the area's best wealth-producing employer.
Continue supporting LANL’s regional advocacy programs, including the Regional Coalition, the Regional Economic Development Initiative, the Feynman Center for Innovation and talent recruitment. (1)


Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 4 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
We don't promote local vendors: we allow landlords to push them out with high rents. We make building houses or business locations difficult by trying to enforce codes to the letter, and even forcing the county's interpretation of the code on property owners, rather than being content with a reasonable approach. I would not want to build another house here. I certainly would not take the risk of building a business here. Why was the Hilltop House not grandfathered in to the codes for hospitality buildings? The new buyer is now unable to operate Hilltop House because of costly renovations required to meet new code. The County effectively killed that property. The County needs to think further than one step ahead. Is the County happy to contemplate the empty hotel sitting there? Is it hoping that someone will make it all go away by buying the property (at a steep loss for the current owner, of course) and demolishing the building? Does this satisfy your third goal in any way?

George Chandler inside EASTERN AREA March 29, 2019, 1:52 PM

Given the seven priorities you reviewed in the 2019 Strategic Leadership Plan, what are the key areas that we should address first?
The most pressing problems are in the utilities area.

Second is Rebuilding the downtown and retail development.

Third is maintaining and encouraging quality neighborhoods without infringing on individual rights.


What creative solutions can you suggest to make progress on the seven priorities?
Utilities: DPU has ignored the charter and spent down the utilities reserves. A first priority of the DPU should be to set rates that will rebuild these reserves. That way they won't be caught short as they have been in replacing the White Rock Serwer plant and having to beg borrow and steal money for that purpose.

A critical problem that DPU has refused to address is the woeful state of many of the water mains, some of which date to the fifties and break regularly. All we need is a small movement on one of the many faults that exist downtown to create water chaos. There should be a massive project to replace these lines and move them into the streets where they can be maintained properly. Of course there are no reserves to funds such a prloject because of the short sighted spending-down mentioned above.

Finally the DPU should leave the nuclear reactor project. This is a waste of county money and effort, and is not likely to yield any useful results in th =e near future. Spend money on water projects instead!

Rebuilding the downtown and retail development.: These are tied together. Creative solutions are needed to attract franchise retail and encourage development of non-franchise retail by entrepreneurs. Attracting retail means franchise retailers who have business plans that in most cases do not match the unique demographics of Los Alamos. This requires developing a sales approach to these companies that shows them that they can follow a modified business plan to meet the Los Alamos Demographics - as Smith's did. By non-franchise retail I mean entrepreneurs who can start businesses in currently vacant properties that serve viable sectors of the Los Alamos market. This requires entrepreneurs with flexible and innovative business models.

neighborhoods: encourage the development of flexible neighborhood standards. Recognize that zoning rules constitute a contractual guarantee that protects neighborhoods from incompatible uses (example: bed and breakfasts in residential neighborhoods) and are not subject to the whim of staff in the Community Development Department. Rewrite the nuisance code to state clear reasonable standards and flexible guidelines that can be understood by citizens and enforced without dispute, and train the code enforcement people to follow the rules.


What other suggested priorities would you add to the list as we move forward?
Thanks for asking.

Greg Kendall inside DOWNTOWN RESIDENTIAL S March 28, 2019, 8:06 PM

Given the seven priorities you reviewed in the 2019 Strategic Leadership Plan, what are the key areas that we should address first?
As long as we are essentially a one-horse town we can never really grow. Let's concentrate on getting another horse! I suggest we develop a four year and graduate technical college. It would provide jobs for spouses and also for lab employees and retirees. There is so much talent here! It can help with lab spinoffs. It will create a more dynamic community with more commercial amenities for residents and will create a demand for housing which, through market forces, will lead naturally to more housing. We will have land at the end of DP road to grant to the college and the consortium could develop/manage it.


What creative solutions can you suggest to make progress on the seven priorities?
As long as we are essentially a one-horse town we can never really grow. Let's concentrate on getting another horse! I suggest we develop a four year and graduate technical college. It would provide jobs for spouses and also for lab employees and retirees. There is so much talent here! It can help with lab spinoffs. It will create a more dynamic community with more commercial amenities for residents and will create a demand for housing which, through market forces, will lead naturally to more housing. We will have land at the end of DP road to grant to the college and the consortium could develop/manage it.


What other suggested priorities would you add to the list as we move forward?
As long as we are essentially a one-horse town we can never really grow. Let's concentrate on getting another horse! I suggest we develop a four year and graduate technical college. It would provide jobs for spouses and also for lab employees and retirees. There is so much talent here! It can help with lab spinoffs. It will create a more dynamic community with more commercial amenities for residents and will create a demand for housing which, through market forces, will lead naturally to more housing. We will have land at the end of DP road to grant to the college and the consortium could develop/manage it.

Greg Kendall inside DOWNTOWN RESIDENTIAL S March 28, 2019, 7:26 PM

Goal 1. Increase the availability of housing in the County, both affordable and market rate.
Identify and assess developable properties, including processes, tools and funding to prepare vacant or blighted properties for residential re-development. (2), Provide finanical assistance for Affordable Housing by enhancing and expanding existing housing assistance programs. (3), Reinforce neighborhood beautification through continued support of the property maintenance ordinance, and the facilitation and funding of community-based programs. (5)


Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 1 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
As long as we are essentially a one-horse town we can never really grow. Let's concentrate on getting another horse! I suggest we develop a four year and graduate technical college. It would provide jobs for spouses and also for lab employees and retirees. There is so much talent here! It can help with lab spinoffs. It will create a more dynamic community with more commercial amenities for residents and will create a demand for housing which, through market forces, will lead naturally to more housing. We will have land at the end of DP road to grant to the college and the consortium could develop/manage it.


Goal 2. Define and address quality of life priorities.
Support development of outreach programs that support the needs of existing, new and prospective residents, including expanded housing, retail, recreation, education & work options, and improved cellular, broadband & transportation services. (10)


Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 2 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
As long as we are essentially a one-horse town we can never really grow. Let's concentrate on getting another horse! I suggest we develop a four year and graduate technical college. It would provide jobs for spouses and also for lab employees and retirees. There is so much talent here! It can help with lab spinoffs. It will create a more dynamic community with more commercial amenities for residents and will create a demand for housing which, through market forces, will lead naturally to more housing. We will have land at the end of DP road to grant to the college and the Consortium could develop/manage it.


Goal 3. Grow a separate, complementary economy to LANL.
Target/grow high-tech industry through partnerships to leverage grant funding opportunities, improve cellular and broadband infastructure and expand entrepreneurial services. (5), Target/grow retail and hospitality industries by implementing the County's Tourism Strategic, Brand Action, MainStreet and Creative District Master plans, and supporting the Santa Fe Regional Airport as a regional hub. (5)


Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 3 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
As long as we are essentially a one-horse town we can never really grow. Let's concentrate on getting another horse! I suggest we develop a four year and graduate technical college. It would provide jobs for spouses and also for lab employees and retirees. There is so much talent here! It can help with lab spinoffs. It will create a more dynamic community with more commercial amenities for residents and will create a demand for housing which, through market forces, will lead naturally to more housing. We will have land at the end of DP road to grant to the college and the Consortium could develop/manage it.


Goal 4. Support and retain LANL as the area's best wealth-producing employer.
Consider methods to diversify the economy that also support the Lab's mission by promoting local vendors to provide LANL and community products and services, supporting the Lab's efforts and success in recruiting and producing talent and businesses. (10)


Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 4 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
As long as we are essentially a one-horse town we can never really grow. Let's concentrate on getting another horse! I suggest we develop a four year and graduate technical college. It would provide jobs for spouses and also for lab employees and retirees. There is so much talent here! It can help with lab spinoffs. It will create a more dynamic community with more commercial amenities for residents and will create a demand for housing which, through market forces, will lead naturally to more housing. We will have land at the end of DP road to grant to the college and the Consortium could develop/manage it.

Name not shown inside BARRANCA MESA March 27, 2019, 5:41 PM

Goal 1. Increase the availability of housing in the County, both affordable and market rate.
Identify and assess developable properties, including processes, tools and funding to prepare vacant or blighted properties for residential re-development. (5), Reinforce neighborhood beautification through continued support of the property maintenance ordinance, and the facilitation and funding of community-based programs. (5)


Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 1 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
We looked for and bought a house in Los Alamos Co in 2017. We moved from North Community to Barranca Mesa. I noticed a few things during this time.

First, people want single family housing -- NOT high density housing, people want a yard for their kids. Second, there is a lack of starter homes(duplexes/quads) are in very short supply here, or are mostly rental units, which are hard to come by too. I don't know how you solve that, but I don't think the A19 in WR can be counted as "affordable" with a start price of $300K. There are not many homes for sale in the $200K range ever.

Third, I know the weed ordinance and code ordinance have been very controversial, but we need to have something like that. Los Alamos looks like a dump. How can the county encourage residents to clean up/maintain/update/service their properties without being heavy handed? I suggest removing the anonymous reporting element, and training the county staff better. Some of the example of abuse on the code enforcement were ridiculous. Perhaps establish a better due process procedure for weeds and code enforcement. And the County could do a whole lot more at educating people, encouraging better stewardship and/or basic education for residents.


Goal 2. Define and address quality of life priorities.
Conduct a comprehensive quality of life community survey, including residents and non-resident employees (5), Support development of outreach programs that support the needs of existing, new and prospective residents, including expanded housing, retail, recreation, education & work options, and improved cellular, broadband & transportation services. (5)


Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 2 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
It would be nice to have better rec facilities pay for the pool expansion and a splash pad from the CIP funds. My quality of life concerns are: cleaning up blight, maintaining roads/parks & public areas, and keeping the taxes & utility rates low. My other issue is the ridiculous nature of the permitting process. I shouldn't have to get a permit to put up a fence, or put a shed on my property -- let me blue stake things, and do what I want.


Goal 3. Grow a separate, complementary economy to LANL.
Target/grow high-tech industry through partnerships to leverage grant funding opportunities, improve cellular and broadband infastructure and expand entrepreneurial services. (5), Target/grow retail and hospitality industries by implementing the County's Tourism Strategic, Brand Action, MainStreet and Creative District Master plans, and supporting the Santa Fe Regional Airport as a regional hub. (5)


Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 3 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
It would be nice to have more business up here. I think simplifying the process to open a business would help. It would help if rents were lower. That could be achieved by zoning LANL offices back to the Lab mesa -- they have how many square miles of open land over there? It would be good to capitalize on the National Park aspect of our town with secondary businesses.


Goal 4. Support and retain LANL as the area's best wealth-producing employer.
Create an environment to support LANL talent recruitment and retention efforts through expanded housing (for rent/purchase), amenities (retail, restaurants, entertainment), and community welcome and orientation sources/services. (2), Consider methods to diversify the economy that also support the Lab's mission by promoting local vendors to provide LANL and community products and services, supporting the Lab's efforts and success in recruiting and producing talent and businesses. (4), Improve and market hospitality offerings (ie. full service hotel and event space) to secure Los Alamos as host town for LANL and external high-tech science events. (3)


Do you have additional comments you would like to offer about Goal 4 and your rankings - or other activities that the County should consider?
I wish we'd get out of the Regional Coalition & Econ Development groups. They're corrupt and a waste of money. I've long thought an event center or some sort of meeting space would be beneficial to Los Alamos. The question is where to put it? The old Smiths? Or the old Hilltop House? Both of those are eye sores. I would love to support local vendors, but LANL has made purchasing so hard. How does the county fix that? When we came here years ago, if you needed something for LANL you could just go buy it in town. Now you really can't.

George Marsden inside EASTERN AREA March 26, 2019, 8:06 AM

Given the seven priorities you reviewed in the 2019 Strategic Leadership Plan, what are the key areas that we should address first?
Housing and social services are the areas that need the most attention. The others are important, but without workforce housing that addresses the needs of everyone from the clerk at Smiths to the Lab Director our opportunities to improve life in Los Alamos are severely limited. Affordable housing for those on fixed incomes and/or low wage service industry jobs is very important.

Any hope for economic growth (other than an expansion of the LANL mission) is predicated on having workers to fill those jobs. Workers who can afford to live locally are the most connected to community and would provide the most stable workforce for service/retail businesses. Besides, $10/hour does not cover the cost of any kind of commute from a neighboring community.

The social services needs do much to serve that same needed workforce population (besides being the total duty of a community to look after EVERYONE in its population). The Social Services department needs to be staffed and funded adequately to serve the community. We are way better than we were 10 years ago, but still far behind what a community as well resourced as we are should have.


What creative solutions can you suggest to make progress on the seven priorities?
To support the creation of more start-up and tech firms, the county could partner with the lab and perhaps seek grant funding to start free or low cost business advisement service. Given the plethora of smart retired folks in town, you might be able to have a large portion of the direct advisement be done by trained volunteers.

My thought would be to focus specifically on the coming wave of workers retiring from the lab. Historically folks high up the ladder at the lab have had lots of opportunities to start consulting firms and do work for industry or in DC. The folks lower down the ladder often do not have the connections or background to start their own firm and find clients, BUT many of them are global experts in their little corner of science/tech and should have the same opportunity to monetize the experience learned during their decades of service. This includes the many technicians who may not have a graduate degree (or any degree), but are respected experts in their field whom upon retirement could supplement their income well as consultants on specific processes for the LANL, industry, or perhaps other national labs. Just picture a team techs of a folks who had worked together at the lab for decades forming their own little consulting firm or startup. It might be something lab related, or maybe they build a state the art garage to refurbish racer engines (based on a conversation overheard one day).

We must move past a paradigm that looks only at the model of a top scientist or lab official creating a startup, or an outside tech firm choosing to locate here. Figure out a way to have a shared workspace with a reasonable rent and some folks to advise folks on starting their own business and see what happens.

Empty Buildings/Economic Development/Housing
For the county staff and counselors that are not aware, about 8 or 10 years ago LA was approached/worked with an organization called PLACE (https://www.welcometoplace.org) who are focused revitalizing neighborhoods by creating housing and workspaces out of repurposed buildings and integrating creative arts. When they presented here they were looking at the idea of expanding their scope to STEM as a creative expression. There should be a bunch of notes around about this somewhere. There were some great ideas, but at the time County Council got cold feet and it died. It would be worth looking at again, even if only for ideas of what we might do ourselves.

If the solutions to all of this was obvious or easy it would already have been done. We need to consider some more creative thinking, but make it palatable for those who are more conservative (rightly so) in their thinking.



What other suggested priorities would you add to the list as we move forward?
Since it is not specifically listed, but would impact a number of the priority areas identified, we need to consider a community broadband initiative that gets fiber to the home. Even if the county would not act as the ISP, get fiber out to all the neighborhoods and then allowing 3 party providers to sell services based on that would be really nice and attractive to businesses. It is at times comical that our high tech little town has such mediocre internet service.

Hannah Miller inside NORTH MESA March 25, 2019, 6:27 PM

Given the seven priorities you reviewed in the 2019 Strategic Leadership Plan, what are the key areas that we should address first?
Recreation and Infrastructure


What creative solutions can you suggest to make progress on the seven priorities?
Organization, Thoughtfulness, and Perseverance (Not very creative, but hopefully, effective)


What other suggested priorities would you add to the list as we move forward?
Renew action towards the Capital Improvement Projects put on hold (Splash Pad, Pool Extension)

Name not shown inside WESTERN March 25, 2019, 3:57 PM

Given the seven priorities you reviewed in the 2019 Strategic Leadership Plan, what are the key areas that we should address first?
My biggest priorities are housing, local business, and vacant properties, which are all tied together. I don't think we can increase local businesses without improving reasonably priced housing options in town. I do not work for the lab and most of my coworkers can not afford to live on the hill (or in white rock). I was formerly on the board of the cooperative market and it was very challenging to hire and retain staff- mostly because they could not afford to live in town unless they had a parent or spouse that was partially supporting them, and the coop is able to pay better than many small, local business start ups might be able to. I don't think we can increase small businesses without having more housing options in an affordable price range in both the rental market AND available for purchase. People don't want to rent forever; someone making a salary of 50,000 a year would be able to buy a house most other places in this state. I also think the vacant properties- both commercial and residential- are a huge problem in this town. I hope this is an issue that can be solved. I would like to see more businesses on "main" street, not more N3B offices.


What creative solutions can you suggest to make progress on the seven priorities?
None


What other suggested priorities would you add to the list as we move forward?
Edited to add: I have read through several other responses. Though I don't think it needs to be said to this current county council (because I believe they are already on board with the idea), I absolutely do not want us to roll over and accept that we are a just a company town. Los Alamos has much more to offer than just LANL and I hope we can become a vibrant and welcoming town to new residents and tourists alike.