Review: Tod’s Espresso Cafe

 

I’ve been past Tod’s a hundred times, but never went in, as I don’t generally buy coffee at coffee shops. But, I was there for a meeting, so I had the opportunity review the place.

It’s pretty impressive what they’ve done with this nondescript place, as you can see from the photo. Lots of coffee selections, as you’d expect. I only drink black coffee, and it was excellent. Happy hour is from 1PM to 2PM,  when there’s a dollar off, so that’s a great deal. Have your meeting then!

Of course, they have WiFi, with the password written on the wall, so you don’t even have to ask for it.

Tod’s is open early, even when everything else but King Soopers and the gas station is closed: 6AM weekdays, and 6:30AM in weekends. For breakfast they have Moe’s bagels with cream cheese and pastries. For lunch, they have sandwiches for $6.25 and salads for $6.50.

As I said, I’m not a coffee-shop person, but if I were, I’d think Tod’s would be a terrific place to hang out. I might go there myself if I need to use WiFi or get quick early breakfast. (And don’t want to drive all the way to Aunt Alice’s Kitchen in Longmont, which has the best breakfast anywhere, but is outside my review range.)

Review: Dannik’s Gunbarrel Corner Bar

 

Dannik’s has everything a casual bar needs to have: Open late (for Gunbarrel), until 10 PM. Sixteen draft beers, about half from Boulder County. Seven TVs. Dinner for $10. A lively atmosphere.

Think of it as a burger place, although they do have Philly cheese steaks and entrees, including a couple of unambitious seafood items. I had a steak, which was pretty good, if not great. My companion had the fish-of-the-day (don’t remember what it was), which was fine. I’ll bet the burgers are excellent, although I didn’t have one. And, you can get sweet potato fries.

There are a few Gunbarrel restaurants with bars, such as Element Bistro and Proto’s, but Dannik’s is our only true bar.

I wouldn’t go there for the food, but I would go if I were with friends looking to meet in a bar, or if I wanted to watch a game on cable (which I don’t have at home).

There were a couple of previous restaurants in the Dannik’s space, something like a southwestern grill, and a place called, I think, Bogey’s. Dannik’s is a clear improvement on them both. Dannik’s has four stars on Yelp, and some very favorable reviews.

UPDATE: I’ve gotten a complaint that my review was luke-warm, and a couple of notes from people raving about Dannik’s, so there’s some evidence that it’s better than I think. Also, a few people liked the music, which I forgot to mention.

 

 

Gunbarrel Center has adequate parking

NOTE: I posted the following on nextdoor.com a year-and-a-half ago, but just added an update today, which you can see at the end.

It seems that from posts I’ve read here and from talking to friends that it is widely believed that there is inadequate parking for Gunbarrel Center residents, so much so that I’ve heard a few friends say that it won’t be possible to shop at the Gunbarrel King Soopers. I think the people who say this are just assuming it’s true, because they have a negative view of this apartment development. While there may be several reasons to be negative, inadequate parking shouldn’t be one of them.

The bedroom breakdown for the 251 units in Gunbarrel Center is:

Jr 1br/1ba, ~540 ft2 = 9 total
1br/1ba, ~785 ft2 = 118 total
2br/2ba, ~1,150 ft2 = 113 total
3br, 2ba, ~1,320 ft2 = 11 total

Onsite car parking is:

Required Commercial Stalls – 187
Required Residential Stalls – 318
TOTAL REQUIRED – 505
TOTAL TO BE DELIVERED = 511

This includes internal on-street parking.

It looks like there are 1.27 spaces per unit.

Let’s say that 75% of 2+ bedroom units have two cars. Say 30% of 1 bedroom units have two cars. The rest of the 2+ and 1 bedroom units have 1 car. Total would be:

124*2*.75 + 124*.25 + 118*2*.3 + 118*.7 + 9 = 380 cars

This leaves 62 cars without spaces to be parked on surrounding streets, the most obvious one of which is Gunpark Dr.

Of course, my figures of 75% and 30% are just guesses. You can plug in your own guesses, and get anything from more than enough onsite parking to not nearly enough. For example, if only 50% of the 2+ bedroom units have 2 cars and only 20% of the 1 bedroom units, there are only 19 extra cars. If all of the 251 units have 2 cars, there’s a need for 502 spaces, which leaves 184 extra cars to be parked offsite.

From a Google map, I measured Gunpark Dr. between Spine and Lookout as 2000 feet, with parking on both sides, for a total of 4000 feet. There are 10 driveways and one street. Assuming a loss of 40 feet each, that leaves 3600 feet for parking. Assuming 18 feet per car, there’s room for 200 cars. So, even if one assumes 2 cars for each of Gunbarrel Center’s 251 units, all of them can be parked onsite or on Gunpark Dr. Absent Gunbarrel Center, there is essentially no overnight parking on Gunpark Dr. now, as the adjoining buildings are all commercial.

While I suppose one might object to the use of Gunpark Dr. for parking by Gunbarrel Center residents, this doesn’t seem fair to me. It’s a public street, and even residents of single-family homes with driveways and garages often use the public streets for parking. Most public streets in Gunbarrel are designed for that, especially Gunpark Dr., which, for some reason, is unusually wide.

UPDATE: Yesterday I left the house about 6:45AM to go to Longmont, but took a few minutes to swing by Gunpark Dr. and the King Soopers parking lot. I had heard from a developer friend who knows Gunbarrel better than anyone that the apartments were almost fully rented, so this was a good time to see what the parking situation was. I think the offices are mostly vacant, and I know the retail is, but neither of those need any parking at 7AM on a Sunday.

I would say Gunpark Dr. had about 30 or 40 cars, mostly clustered next to the Gunbarrel Center apartments, as you would expect. There was still room for another 150 or so cars. The King Soopers lot was nearly empty; it had maybe 25 cars. Since the store was open, those were mostly customers and employees.

So, I can say with some certainty that between my theoretical analysis and my actual observation early on a Sunday, Gunbarrel Center created no parking problem and no problem finding a parking space to shop at King Soopers.

Review: Beyond the Mountain Brewing

Beyond the Mountain is Gunbarrel’s newest brewery, the sixth, joining Asher, Avery, Finkel & Garf, Gunbarrel, and Vindication. It’s in a new building, across from where the Leanin’ Tree museum was, and next to Medtronic:

This place is gorgeous, easily the best-looking brewery in Gunbarrel, nicer even than Avery:

That’s Miriam, Tap Room Manager, in the photo. The brewery is behind the glass windows, not hidden away, as it is in some Gunbarrel breweries, such as Asher and Vindication. Beyond doesn’t have nearly the room that Gunbarrel Brewery has, so they can’t hold big events, like the recent comic-book show that Gunbarrel had, but the space is much more attractive than Gunbarrel’s vast factory.

The brewery “grew out of a mutual love of artisanal beer and live music between two lifelong friends,” so music is big here, or will be. Not only are some of the beers brewed in conjunction with local bands (no idea what that means), but there’s a big music stage:

They don’t have any live bands scheduled yet, but at the end of the month they’re going to be showing a Phish stream on that screen that rolls down. (If you’re a Phish fan you no doubt know what that means. I think Gunbarrel had one a few months ago.)

They’ve only been open about three days, so I forgive them for not having my favorite pretzels, or any stouts or porters. Miriam tells me the pretzels will be coming. Maybe some stronger beers, too.

The beer I had, an amber, was excellent. Here’s the opening list:

Note the reasonable prices for a pint.

It’s early yet, so we don’t know exactly where Beyond is going to go, but judging by the looks of the place, they’re off to a great start. And if you’re west of 63rd St., you no longer have to drive an extra two minutes to get to Asher or Avery.

Beyond is only open five days a week, and maybe that will change at some point, too:

HOA Board Meeting Minutes Finally Posted

Two-and-a-half weeks after they were supposed to be posted. The page has HOA Annual and Board minutes under the same heading, but at least the minutes are finally posted.

As far as the minutes themselves go:

  • Most of the meeting was held under executive session (I was asked to leave), contrary to Colorado law, and
  • My own participation was incorrectly documented. The minutes say that I asked to be present (it was a public meeting; no need to ask), that I was there to discuss a particular set of issues (not true; I never gave a reason why I was there), and that I threatened to work against Bylaw changes (I only said I would be against them if they made changes to the voting percentages).

Still, it’s a small victory, as the Board has never before announced a meeting nor published minutes. Let’s hope they continue doing this.

Also, since the Board doesn’t know how to take and post minutes promptly, let me suggest a way:

  1. Take the minutes on a laptop into a Google doc. (Any middle-school kid knows how to do this.)
  2. Set the doc for public sharing.
  3. Post the link to the draft minutes on the website. Or, if that’s too hard, send an email to Fruition telling them to do it, since we pay them up to $1000 per year for website maintenance.

Gunbarrel Green HOA Board Breaks the Law to Maintain Secrecy

At the October Gunbarrel Green HOA meeting, I accused the Board of operating in secret, pointing out that they never announce publicly when and where Board meetings are held, and never publish minutes of their meetings. HOA President Janet Reutcke sharply disagreed with my accusation. She gave no particulars, but I guess she meant that if anyone could discover when and where a Board meeting was held, they would be allowed into the room. Or maybe she didn’t even think about what I had said, but just resented the criticism. If so, she’s going to like this article a lot less.

At that HOA meeting, to ensure that future Board meetings would be public, I got a motion passed. According to the draft minutes of the HOA meeting, which were posted on the HOA website:

Marc Rochkind made a motion for the following
All board meeting minutes be posted to the website.
Draft minutes should be posted 3 days after the meeting
Approved minutes as they are available.
Notice of board meetings should be posted 1 week in advance.
Motion seconded.
Motion passed.

Accordingly, notice was posted in a paper newsletter that I received around Nov. 1, and I emailed back that I would attend the meeting. In a subsequent email I was told that it would be at Janet’s house on Nov. 15 at 7 PM, and I attended the meeting. The newsletter had invited anyone to email Gina Hyatt (a former Board member who’s still very active in HOA affairs) if they wanted to add items to the agenda, and I did so.

I was the only non-Board member in attendance on the 15th, other than Gina. It was mentioned that two people wanted to attend, but had not registered, so did not come. Janet called them, but they did not attend. (Perhaps they had other plans, since the meeting was about to start.) I think that requiring registration to attend a public meeting is possibly illegal, but that’s a minor matter compared to the more egregious illegalities that took place.

Anyway, the meeting began with a discussion of my added items, for about an hour. Then I was told that the Board would go into executive session, and I had to leave. There can be no dispute about this, because the minutes say:

Marc was told that the meeting would be moving into executive session and he left about 8 p.m.

Note that not only was I told that the executive session would begin, but that I was explicitly told to leave.

Here’s where the HOA Board broke the law, and possibly lied, as well. Let’s work it out: Either the Board did or did not enter executive session.

If the Board did not enter executive session, I was lied to in order to get me to leave the meeting, even though both the HOA Bylaws and State law require that HOA Board meetings be public.

If the Board did enter executive session, which is more likely, what followed was illegal, according to the minutes, which document that the following took place after I left the meeting:

  • Discussion and action about several covenant violations.
  • Treasurer’s report discussed and approved.
  • Architectural Committee report.
  • Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation Review Committee report.
  • Community Projects Committee Report.
  • Approval of up to $800 for entry arch decoration, and discussion of additional lighting.
  • Discussion of Boulder Rural Fire and Rescue issues.

The minutes are here, on my private website. They have not been posted to the HOA website in draft or final form, as required by the motion passed at the Oct. HOA meeting, but that’s a topic for another article.

There isn’t anything in the Bylaws or Articles of Incorporation that allows the Board to go into executive session, so I don’t know if that’s even allowed, but, assuming it is, State law restricts what can be discussed. Here’s a summary from State HOA website:

Colorado law requires all board meetings to be open to the members of the association, unless the board goes into an executive session. Colorado law (C.R.S. 38-33.3-308(4)) allows the executive board or any committee thereof, to go into executive or closed session and can prohibit owner attendance for the following limited matters:

  • Matters pertaining to employees of the association or the managing agent’s contract or involving the employment, promotion, discipline, or dismissal of an officer, agent, or employee of the association;
  • Consultation with legal counsel concerning disputes that are the subject of pending or imminent court proceedings or matters that are privileged or confidential between attorney and client;
  • Investigative proceedings concerning possible or actual criminal misconduct;
  • Matters subject to specific constitutional, statutory, or judicially imposed requirements protecting particular proceedings or matters from public disclosure;
  • Any matter the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of individual privacy.
  • Review of or discussion relating to any written or oral communication from legal counsel.

Prior to the time the members of the executive board or any committee thereof convene in executive session, the chair of the body shall announce the general matter of discussion as enumerated in the statute.

Contrary to law, the chair did not “announce the general matter of discussion as enumerated in the statute.” She only said that the Board would enter executive session.

The only one of these “limited matters” that applied to the Nov. 15 “executive session” was “[a]ny matter the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of individual privacy,” and that would apply to the covenant violations. Indeed, in a Nov. 13 email to me from Janet, she said this:

Just wanted to let you know that the meeting this Wednesday will be held at my house at …, at 7pm. I have put you first on the agenda and we will try to give you ample time for your questions and comments, etc. We will need to move into executive session afterwards, as we have quite a few private matters involving various residents. No secrets, just issues that require us protecting their privacy.

So, the Board broke the law by discussing the treasurer’s report, the architectural committee report, the Bylaws and Articles, the community projects, the arch decoration and lighting, and the fire department during executive session.

Or, as I said, the Board both broke the law and lied when it told me to leave what the law requires to be a public meeting.

Why is the Board so secretive about such innocuous things (other than the covenant violations)? Beats me. You’d think they would want people to know what they do, almost all of which is pretty good. Here’s a recent post at nextdoor.com, a public community forum:

Ruth Osborn, Boulder Country Club 24 Nov
I don’t think $100 [for HOA dues] is reasonable. They use most of that money for litigation against our neighbors for not following their rules.

Wow, if Ms. Osborn only knew that the Board does so much more than that!

Back to the main story here: When I complained to Janet that the Board had illegally gone into executive session, she said this in a Dec. 2 email to me:

I can honestly say that I had no idea you wanted to stay longer. When I told you ahead of the meeting that we would need to break into executive session, you didn’t mention anything about wanting to stay.

Janet seems to think, or is claiming she thinks, that I wanted to attend the executive session. But, whether I did or didn’t is irrelevant, because what followed was either not an executive session or was an illegal executive session. She also is trying to blame what happened on me, because I didn’t insist on staying. Actually, I was thinking of objecting to being told to leave, but this was her home, and I don’t think I can legally refuse to leave someone’s home once asked. That’s probably trespassing or some other crime. Also, I was trying to be cooperative. So Janet’s email to me is bullshit. (The Board needs to stop meeting in members’ homes.)

I don’t think the Board was knowingly breaking the law. Let me be very precise about what I think they were doing:

  • They wanted me out of the meeting. I know this because I was asked to leave.
  • They don’t know what an executive session is; they think they can have one whenever they want to be secretive about what they’re doing.

This is another case of our HOA Board, and specifically our HOA President, Janet Ruetcke, not knowing how to run the HOA. I don’t know how long Janet has been President, but it’s been at least since 2012, so let’s say 5 years. In that 5 years, here’s a list of some things she doesn’t know:

  • That the Bylaws call for nomination for election to the Board to be made by a nominating committee. There has never been one.
  • That the vote for the Board be by secret written ballot. (Done for the first time at the October meeting, at my insistence.)
  • That Board members serve for three-year terms. Up until last October, there was a voice vote at every meeting to re-elect the entire Board. But, when I placed my name in nomination, thinking I might replace one of the five members of the Board, Janet suddenly announced that she was the only one up for election. This had never happened before.
  • That according the Articles of Incorporation, which are very clear about this, increasing dues requires 60% of the entire HOA membership. (Janet and other Board members think they can vote at a meeting, which was done in 2016, because the Bylaws are unclear. But they Bylaws say that the Articles are in control. They don’t know this. I wrote about this recently, and all the details are there.)
  • That all Board meetings are to be public.
  • That at the Oct. HOA meeting we required that draft Board minutes be posted within 3 days of the meeting.

In her 5 years on the Board, Janet has:

  • never taken the time to study the Bylaws, the Articles of Incorporation, and the relevant Sate law, or
  • has been unable to remember what she learned, or
  • is deliberately breaking the law.

It has to be one of those three; no other possibilities.

Should Janet Reutcke resign? I think she should, but I’m sure she won’t, and  most HOA members probably don’t want her to. But maybe many of us would ask her to at least commit (in writing, along with an apology) to following the Bylaws, the Articles, and State law in the future. And, she should not use whatever loopholes she can discover to continue to operate in secret. Everything the Board does should be open, including any emails exchanged between Board members that aren’t about the limited matters that are allowed by law for executive sessions.

Meanwhile, my advice:

  • Assume that all communication from the Board is manipulative and possibly dishonest, and
  • Never vote by proxy for anything, such as Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation,  Covenant, or dues/fees/assessments changes.

We have a secretive, dishonest, possibly unethical HOA Board, and we need to be very careful they don’t do us serious harm.

Gunbarrel’s Six Breweries

I’ve now reviewed all five six:

Asher
Avery
Beyond the Mountain
Finkel & Garf
Gunbarrel
Vindication

They all know how to brew great beers, but there are differences:

  • Avery is the only one with a full restaurant
  • Vindication has $1.50 off on Mondays
  • Gunbarrel and Asher have food trucks (call to make sure one is there)
  • Finkel & Garf is very close to Gunbarrel shopping and restaurants
  • Asher is organic
  • Avery and Gunbarrel are the most adventurous with exotic brews
  • Gunbarrel has more activities than all the others combined.
  • Beyond the Mountain is the newest and has the most attractive tap room.

Review: Finkel & Garf Brewing

Finkel & Garf is a father (Eric GarFINKEL) and son (Dan GARFinkel) operation, the closest of Gunbarrel’s breweries to downtown (i.e., Lookout and Spine). It’s just a block north, halfway between Lookout and Aperitivo:

Like the other industrial-space breweries, it’s not much to look at on the outside, lacking Asher’s tree:

But the inside is very nice:

The snack shelves and lights look good. Wood chairs would be better, and maybe they’ll upgrade at some point. The plastic is comfortable, however, and the colors speak to Finkel & Garf’s playful theme.

All pints at Finkel & Garf are $5, except maybe the High ABV Imperial Red (confusing sign):

Finkel & Garf is the only Gunbarrel brewery other than Avery to sell cans, which are the best way to package a beer other than returnable bottles:

(Photo from their website; not from me.)

You can buy Finkel & Garf cans in stores, such as Hazel, or from the tap room.

Their Oatmeal Milk Stout won a gold at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival, and it’s pretty good, as are their other brews.

There are lots of games at Finkel & Garf; notice the legos on the tables in the photo above. Even their logo features toys:

If I have a complaint, it’s that they don’t have On Tap Kitchen Salt & Vinegar pretzels, just stale Synder’s. Lots of other packaged snacks, too, none of which I’ve tried. On the other hand, the Snyder’s were only $1, and the On Tap are $3, 3/5 of what the pint costs. Maybe it’s me–I like pretzels with my beer. (I paid $7 for a baked pretzel at Avery, and it was worth the $7.)

To summarize: Finkel & Garf gets top marks for its beer, its attractive tap room, and its convenient location.