Gary Hodges for Longmont City Council, Ward 3

Vibrancy and Prosperity Platform
(a solutions-based approach)

Protect Longmont's Natural Spaces from Development

Despite overwhelming public opposition, the Boulder Commissioners voted to allow termination of the Kanemoto Conservation Easement along south Airport Road only if annexed by the Longmont Council, potentially paving the way for high-density housing. I will support preserving these natural spaces surrounding Longmont.

How do we make this happen?

If elected to City Council I will vote NO on any annexation proposal for the Kanemoto property, which will in effect preserve it as the Conservation Easement residents of Longmont have understood it to be over the past 40+ years.  My position should not be misconstrued as ZERO growth.  I recognize the motivation to build on the Kanemoto property, but ringing our city with high-density housing is not the answer.  I will support the consideration of higher-rise residential structures that contain a range of floor plans and price points in the downtown and Sugar Mill areas.  When neighborhood development is proposed I will advocate for single family starter homes that are in harmony with the surrounding area. 

What is a Conservation Easement?

Conservation easements are "voluntary agreements between landowners and Boulder County that legally restrict how land can be used. When the landowner sells the property, the conservation easement agreement remains with the property." Source:

Let's Pivot on Public Transportation

Recognize RTD’s Northwest FasTracks line is a fantasy

It's time to accept the reality that FasTracks will never extend to Longmont. We are a small city at the end of a very expensive proposed line. RTD will always conclude the resources to bring rail service here are not justified. Let’s instead focus on expanding local and regional bus transportation in lieu of rail.

How do we make this happen?

We have paid well over $60M since the 0.4% FasTracks tax was implemented!  It’s time to negotiate with RTD to eliminate this burdensome tax in return for Longmont agreeing to forgo rail.  This will lift a mammoth burden from RTD’s shoulders, which will allow the city to negotiate from a position of strength.  Increased headways to Denver and Boulder, a return of specialty routes such as the Broncos and Rockies rides, and a direct airport run will all be on the negotiating table.

Increase ridership by enhancing public spaces with functional art

Motivating people to use public transportation who have a vehicle will always be a tall order. We can begin to turn this around by encouraging transit use by Longmont youth.

How do we make this happen?

Let’s reflect back on Mayor Leona Stoecker’s wildly successful painted goose project from 2002, and use it for inspiration to transform bus stops along Main Street into functional art installations.  I would like to see Art in Public Places issue a Request for Proposals from local artists to imagine and design unique and visually appealing bus stops. With low ridership numbers we have to start somewhere, and starting with local youth makes sense.

Bike paths that best serve the public interest

Design a Longmont-Boulder pedestrian and bicycle path that better serves our city.

How do we make this happen?

The effort to construct a continuous Longmont-Boulder bicycle path in the Diagonal median is well underway.  During public comments at a recent Boulder County Planning Commission meeting it was clear the new path will not meet the needs of many Longmont residents.  In particular, the current design will not provide safe connections to communities such as Niwot.  At the commission meeting, Longmont parents spoke passionately about their desire for family-friendly biking access so their families can take advantage of Niwot's community events and summer concert series.  The city should advocate for safe access to Niwot from the new path, possibly with a tunnel under the northbound Diagonal lanes.  Funds currently allocated for the proposed tunnel at Jay Rd might instead be used to provide Niwot access.

Recognize Longmont is at a Safety Inflection Point

Enforce code violations

Residents and businesses alike report a general dissatisfaction with code enforcement in Longmont. I will push for consistency in the application of city codes.

How do we make this happen?

Persistent code violations contribute to declining quality of life for residents, and frustration with city governance. Violations from bushes blocking sidewalk access and overgrown weeds, to improperly stored boats and campers are negatively impacting many. For some there appears to be an asymmetric application of the code. One residential address receives a notice because of missing street numbers, while a nearby house has a washing machine in the front yard for months on end. A local businessman is notified about weeds in his parking lot, while adjacent city property is wildly overgrown with the same. I will advocate for consistency in the application of code enforcement, and strive to ensure city property is maintained at the same level as that expected of residents and businesses.

Take vagrancy seriously

It is past time to address vagrancy in our city head-on. As it stands now, everyone, from those living on the street to residents and businesses alike, is suffering. Let’s be the example for other Front Range communities on how to compassionately and affirmatively address vagrancy and homelessness.

How do we make this happen?

About 75% of respondents to the most recent resident satisfaction survey indicated homelessness is a significant or severe problem in our city.  It’s clear the public is demanding a comprehensive and durable solution.  Quality of life for residents of Longmont is being undermined, and our business community is suffering mightily.  The bottom line is urban camping and public drug use cannot be tolerated.  We must send a clear message that if our laws are violated freedom will be lost.  In short, any person found camping or using drugs will be detained and then screened for health and shelter needs. Upon release a shelter bed and a treatment plan, if necessary, will be offered, giving the individual a chance to get back on their feet. Refusal of services and they must leave our city or freedom will be lost.

The city has made some positive moves on urban camping, which is great and I applaud our council on this point, but there is clear evidence it persists, and open drug use is ongoing. This year I have seen with my own eyes Fentanyl use along north Main Street.  Let’s be the example for other Front Range communities on how to compassionately and affirmatively deal with vagrancy and homelessness.

Attract and retain Longmont Police Officers

Many residents and business owners have expressed concern about increasing crime in Longmont. Maintaining a fully staffed police force with a mix of veterans and rookies is key to a healthy department. Let’s make our city the preferred Front Range municipality for police officers to work!

How do we make this happen?

In 2020 SB217 was signed into law that, in part, ended qualified immunity for police officers.  The merits of SB217 can be debated, but it has absolutely had a negative impact on retaining police officers in the profession.  Salary and benefits are primary tools to attract and retain officers.  Using salary as a retention tool isn’t ideal as nearby cities can easily match or exceed pay.  A better way is with creative benefits, particularly those that demonstrate a city’s commitment to its police force.  Let’s protect our police officers with a significant liability policy that covers them from lawsuits when acting in good faith.  Such a policy would demonstrate Longmont’s commitment in a tangible way that meaningless platitudes like “We support our police officers” don’t.

Other ideas to explore:
1. Scaled retention bonuses tied to years of service
2. Bolstering medical coverage support in the gap years between retirement and Medicare
3. Housing assistance

Summertime Playground Fun!

Summer days can be sunny and hot in Longmont! Let’s build gazebo-styled coverings over some local neighborhood play areas to provide comfortable shade with equipment that isn’t scolding hot.

How do we make this happen?

Summer days can get really hot in Longmont, and that limits outdoor activities available to families with young children. Covering play areas would also extend equipment lifetime since it will be out of the direct sun. In the winter covered parks will also offer snow-free playgrounds for families with cabin fever.  If elected I’m hopeful to be the liaison to the Parks and Recreation advisory board.  In life I prefer to do fewer projects at a high level rather than more that are merely acceptable.  Ultimately, I believe covering a few playgrounds will provide higher quality family recreation opportunities leading to greater use of these wonderful facilities.

Fight for HOA Self-Governance

I will fight to protect the right of HOAs to self-govern.

How do we make this happen?

The current council has plainly expressed a willingness to wrest rights from HOAs, and force them to build high density development in their natural spaces.  I personally prefer not to live under the rules of a HOA, but I completely respect those who find them beneficial. If fortunate to be elected I would never vote to take city control of any HOA land.

Councilmember Martin advocates for wresting land use control from HOAs.

After Martin’s comments Council then votes unanimously to oppose SB23-213, but recommends it be reconsidered with amendments, including what Councilmember Martin advocated for.

My comments that night on SB23-213.

Align Government Notifications with Resident Expectations

Whether at council meetings or knocking on doors, it’s obvious there is a misalignment of government notifications with resident expectations. Let’s figure this out and fix it!

How do we make this happen?

I believe the city is following notification rules and procedures as expected, but it’s clear there is a mismatch between government communication efforts and resident expectations.  This has come to light on topics ranging from the St Vrain Greenway progress, to the garbage pick-up schedule.  I love that Longmont is utilizing GIS to display information about our city, and I believe this technology can be leveraged to solve these notification issues.  We also must continue providing some printed materials for those who prefer notifications as a hard copy.  I’ve met with residents (including me!) who miss the garbage and recycling pick-up calendar that was distributed annually not long ago.

Promote a Vibrant, Walkable Main Street Corridor

Imagine driving Main Street and instead of boring bus stops there are functional art installations that delight and encourage Longmont youth to take advantage of public transportation.

How do we make this happen?

Let’s use Mayor Leona Stoecker’s painted goose project from two decades back as inspiration for bus stop art installations that will excite youth of all ages and encourage the use of public transportation.  We’ll partner with Art in Public Places to solicit proposals from area artists, and then have models built of selected projects that are then voted on by the public.

Talk to Gary Hodges