Centennial City Council candidate profile: Brian Beatty

Planning and Zoning member looks to jump to council in District 2

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After working to help shape development in Centennial, Brian Beatty wants to take his involvement to the next level.

“I sit on the City of Centennial Planning and Zoning Commission. For almost four years I’ve been a part of that,” said Beatty, a Centennial City Council candidate for District 2. “That has allowed me to get a whole lot of experience and exposure to working with city employees.”

He lent his time contributing to Centennial NEXT — the city’s comprehensive plan, which can set priorities for aspects such as development, housing, parks and transportation. Beatty runs the local region for a construction consulting firm.

He comes from a deep background in aviation: The son of an Air Force pilot, Beatty became a pilot himself and enjoys recreational aviation. He once managed a small private airport north of Atlanta.

“I am very sensitive to airport issues, and one might consider me an airport proponent,” Beatty said. “I see the (economic) benefits of having a regional airport in our backyard.”

District 2 includes the part of the city north of East Dry Creek Road and mostly west of South Quebec Street. It excludes the farthest west part of town.

Here is a look at Beatty’s policy positions in his own words. Responses were lightly edited for clarity.

What’s the most important thing you want to accomplish in office?

In one word, I’ll say it’s opportunity. My goal is to ultimately make Centennial more attractive and usable to our current citizens, while also creating an environment where companies and residents want to come make the city their home. We talk a lot about why Centennial is such a desirable place to live, but if we don’t take time to cultivate those reasons, we will lose our identity — the reasons why people move here.

‘Smart growth’ is an often-used buzzword. What does that look like to you?

First, it’s about the wise expansion on available land. District 3 has a lot of land that is available. But it’s about making smart, difficult choices about the types of buildings, businesses and residences that we want to have in the community.

(It’s also) being very real about how increases in population can affect things like roads, utilities and public services. We want to grow and grow, (but it can strain services).

My concern has been putting the right use, the right building, in the right places. In a lot of examples … development has either lagged behind around buildings or there’s nothing at all, and so it sits there.

What is your approach to transportation and 'smart city' initiatives?

We need to be visionary about attempting new methods of movement — that’s a huge one.

Centennial is very unique in its layout: Having such a long and skinny layout almost requires us to look at new ways of movement from east to west. Ride-sharing, buses, bikes, the electric modes, those are all ways we can remove cars from the typical way we transport ourselves. This is really important as we try to reduce the through-traffic problem … especially along Arapahoe road.

What is the best way to maintain retail sales tax base in Centennial?

We been trending toward an increase in city expenditures because of population … that means an increase in costs, and that has to be offset in expanding our revenues.

Looking at new opportunities at attracting new goods and services for citizens is certainly going to be the biggest challenge. We need to take a hard look at the areas that are being underutilized.

A lot of developers get into an island mentality: If we put apartments here, we can promote mixed use. … But why don’t you provide services that others, neighbors, might have interest in utilizing? You would drive a more successful site.

What issue is city council not paying enough attention to?

Smaller, lower-cost permanent housing. Condos would be my best example. We are seeing so much expansion in multi-family, single-family on the east, but virtually no development on the startup housing.

People go to our local schools, and then they go to get that first job, and they realize they can’t afford a place in Centennial. We have no step-up, maturing, permanent housing options. You literally need two family incomes to buy a starter home in Centennial.

How can the city best take care of its increasingly aging population?

That’s a housing thing as well, providing aging-in-place options — making sure that retiring residents, or parents who want to move relatives closer, have options. It does come down to a zoning thing, making sure it promotes those uses … such as continuing care facilities.

It also comes down to providing options for getting around, whether through buses or other transportation needs. The other important thing we have is a bike trail system … there are some cities that can’t even claim that.

How can the city best address high housing costs and the regional issue of homelessness?

With the influence of the Denver metro, we can’t control in the city what happens to our housing prices. But we have to take creative steps to providing a wide array of housing options … I think trying to promote that smaller, more affordable unit has to be the focus of city council and Planning and Zoning. Maybe it’s shared housing with shared services. Maybe it’s shared office spaces — you have your room, but you share resources in the building.

With physical, emotional or psychological struggles, partnering with state agencies is essential to help keep people from having to live on the streets ... I’m a huge proponent of supporting businesses and entities that provide job training, food assistance and temporary housing … Having potential starter jobs available, we have to do that through businesses. Some cities have programs that put homeless to work with the city public works department. I think that’s a great potential option.

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