Mike Sutherland has lived in what is now Centennial for 23 years. He is an attorney who has practiced law in the private and public sectors in Colorado since 1984, and he’s currently the benefits counsel for the Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado. He is a former member of the Foxridge Improvement Association Board. Sutherland is running for city council unopposed.
He has a bachelor of science in business administration degree in management and a law degree from the University of Denver.
Campaign website: sutherlandforcentennial.com
Why do you want to serve on the Centennial City Council?
I want to build on the strong foundation established by the current and past city councils to make Centennial the preferred place to live, work and play in Colorado.
What would your approach be to managing growth and development in the city, if elected?
Centennial adopted a new land development code in 2011 that strives to balance development and redevelopment plans with the interests of Centennial residents. The city took particular care in creating zoning districts designed to preserve the character of neighborhoods while permitting commercial development in appropriate areas. Using my 12 years of experience as a Centennial planning commissioner, I will consider each new development proposal on its merits while applying the land development code and other city land development plans.
Amid rising housing prices, what can city council do to ensure young families are not priced out of the city?
City council cannot ensure affordable market prices for young families. Housing prices are affected by multiple factors not within city council’s control. City council can work with city planners to identify areas for development and redevelopment of new, attainable, for-sale multi-family housing.
The city can provide efficient processes without exorbitant fees for developers to obtain approval for plans to keep costs down for new product home-buyers. For existing home-buyers, the city can provide referral lists of resources for mortgage lenders, renovation contractors (and so on) to connect future residents with professionals to assist with home-buying.
What can city council to do improve traffic flow in Centennial?
The Go Centennial pilot project should be transformed into a permanent program funded by a public-private partnership with a transportation provider with incentives for ride-sharing to public transportation. Council should direct city staff to increase recruitment of employers to locate in Centennial to draw driving-through cars off the roads. Council must direct city staff to coordinate with CDOT to use existing technology to regulate traffic-signal timing to optimize traffic flow. Council needs to lobby multiple government agencies for sources of funding for roads and multi-modal infrastructure improvements to accommodate increased traffic and alternative modes of transportation.
What two issues need more attention than the current city council has given them?
Transportation issues — a master transportation plan was prepared a few years ago, and it has only recently been resurrected as part of the Centennial NEXT city comprehensive plan review. Plans need to be timely implemented. Many areas in the city have no sidewalks or they are deteriorating.
Repairs need funding. Intersection improvements are lagging. (The) city IT department is short-staffed and under-funded. Council must provide funding to ensure cybersecurity and up-to-date technology for the city to operate securely and efficiently.