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MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Monday, August 22, 2005
LAND USE HEARING
The Board of County Commissioners met at 3:00 p.m. with Rob Helmick, Principle Planner. Chair Pro-Tem Gibson presided (due to Chair Rennels’ loss of voice) and Chair Rennels and Commissioner Wagner were present. Also present were: Larry Timm and Al Kadera, Planning Department; Doug Ryan, Environmental Health Department; Traci Downs, Engineering; George Hass, County Attorney; and Angela Myers, Deputy Clerk.
Chair Pro-Tem Gibson opened the meting with the Pledge of Allegiance and asked for public comment on the County Budget and Land Use Code. No one from the audience addressed the Board regarding these topics. Chair Pro-Tem Gibson explained that the following item is on consent and would not be discussed unless requested by the Board, staff or members of the audience. Mr. Helmick indicated that a correction to Item 4 of the Staff Recommendation section for this item should be made in the last line, where the word “south” should be changed to the word “east.”
1. HERITAGE HILL MINOR LAND DIVISION – 05-S2429: This is a request for approval of a Minor Land Division in order to divide a 35.02-acre parcel into one 32.27-acre parcel (to remain under a Legacy Land Trust Conservation Easement) and one 2.75-acre lot (to accommodate residential improvements). No additional building sites are proposed. Mr. David Jessup, President of the Sylvan Dale Development Company, owns this 35.02-acre parcel. A portion (32.27 acres) of this 35-acre parcel is under a conservation easement with the Legacy Land Trust (recorded at #99020695). This application requests that a portion of the parcel that is under easement be split off from a 2.75-acre lot. This 2.75-acre lot is a building site for a single-family residential use. The parcel is currently vacant.
Staff recommends approval of the Heritage Hill Minor Land Division File #05-S2429 application with the following conditions: 1. The following fees shall be collected at building permit for the new single family dwelling: Thompson R-2J school fees in lieu of dedication, Larimer County fees for County and Regional Transportation, the Larimer County Park Fee in lieu of dedication and Drainage Basin fees. The fee amount that is current at the time of building permit application shall apply. 2. Passive radon mitigation measures shall be included in the construction of all new residential structures in this development. Radon detection test are required in all new residential structures on this site. The results of these tests shall be submitted to the Planning Department once the structure is enclosed but prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy. As an alternative, a builder may present a prepaid receipt for a radon tester that specifies that a test will be done within 30 days. A permanent certificate of occupancy can be issued when the prepaid receipt is submitted. 3. At the time of final plat, the plat shall clearly show a building envelope that reflects that all structures shall not be located within the 125 setback from Larimer County Road 29, a major collector, or any side or rear setbacks. 4. At the time of final plat, the plat and all Grant of Easement documents and exhibits shall clearly reflect the shared access for the use of Lots 1 and 2 from the front lot line extending east for 50 feet, per Larimer County Engineering. 5. All conditions shall be met and the Final Plat recorded by February 22, 2006, or this approval shall be null and void.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Wagner moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Consent Agenda item with the minor change indicated by Mr. Helmick.
Motion carried 3-0.
2. JACKSON ZONING VIOLATION – 04-ZV0240: Mr. Kadera explained that the owners would like to have an opportunity to discuss the possibility of a non-conforming use on the site and asked that the item be tabled until September 12, 2005. Mr. Kadera indicated that staff does not have any objection to doing so.
M O T I O N
Chair Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners table this item until September 12, 2005, at 3:00 p.m.
Motion carried 3-0.
3. PETERSON ZONING VIOLATION – 04-ZV0224: Mr. Kadera explained that the complaints received from the neighborhood had to do with what they called storing junk and assorted household items outdoors and remodeling the home without first obtaining a building permit. When staff notes were prepared on this item, Mr. Kadera explained that the property owners had applied for a building permit but had not yet acquired it. In the meantime, they have acquired a building permit and are proceeding under it. Mr. Kadera indicated that he has visited the site a couple of times to looked at the items being stored there and does not see anything on the site that constitutes a violation. Staff is, therefore, not recommending that the Board find a violation of the Land Use Code in this regard. Since the building permit has been obtained, Mr. Kadera indicates that there are no longer any issues with the Petersons regarding this item. Discussion ensued regarding the nature of the stored items and the cleanup that has taken place.
Chair Pro-Tem Gibson welcomed the property owner to comment. Frank Peterson approached the Board and explained that the building permit has now been obtained. He addressed the types of items that have been cleaned up and the types of items still present at the site. He indicated that the neighbors did not approach him directly and that he was not aware of the issue until he received the citation.
Chair Pro-Tem Gibson noted that there was no public present to comment on this item. Discussion ensued among the Board regarding the situation and the fact that no action need be taken by the Board at this time. Chair Pro-Tem Gibson indicated that there would be no action made on this item.
4. COLUMBINE LODGE POSSIBLE ZONING VIOLATION AND NON-CONFORMING USE DETERMINATION: Mr. Kadera explained that the Columbine Lodge has been in place for many years. The Assessor’s records indicate that the main building was built in about 1930. There are several manufactured homes and a number of cabins on the site along with the general/convenience store. It seems that everyone agrees that there has always been some amount of camping in the meadow, but there are no definite records to establish a specific number of camp sites. He went on to explain that the important date in this case is November 29, 1973. This was the effective date of the amendment to the O-Open Zoning District that established a Special Review requirement for travel trailer parks, campgrounds and resort cabins. Obviously the activities at Columbine Lodge pre-date the change in the zoning. In order for the non-conforming use to remain, it must have been established prior to the change in zoning and must not have been abandoned for more than 12 consecutive months. It is the property owner’s responsibility to document the level of use and the ongoing nature of the activity. A recent amendment to the Land Use Code put all decisions concerning non-conforming uses in the hands of the County Commissioners. Staff is hopeful that the Commissioners will be able to establish a specific limit on the camping activity at Columbine Lodge based on the testimony at this hearing.
Discussion ensued regarding the 1973 date, the property size and the number of structures on the site. Mr. Kadera indicated that information regarding the site details should be obtained during this hearing.
Chair Pro-Tem Gibson invited the property owner to address the Board regarding this topic. Max Arment approached the Board and shared a copy of the plat. He explained the structures on the plat and how the open spaces have been used, including where and how many tents are typically on the site. Discussion ensued regarding the types of structures on the site, when they were placed there and how they have been used. Discussion continued regarding the septic system(s) present on the site and the restroom facilities provided by the owner.
Chair Pro-Tem Gibson then opened the meeting to public comment. Kristie Lahnert, adjacent property owner, approached the Board and explained where her property is located in relation to the subject property. She indicated that there have been significant issues regarding noise control at this site. She explained that she initially contacted the owner directly when the issues arose, resulting in no noticeable improvement. She went on to explain that she then began contacting the Sheriff’s Department, which will only respond if they do not have other more pressing matters to attend to. Discussion ensued regarding specific experiences with the crowds at this location and their behavior, her perceived increase in the number of campers being allowed at the site, and use (now discontinued) of the adjacent farm land for additional campers. Discussion continued regarding Ms. Lahnert perception of sanitary conditions at the site.
David Mitchell, attorney and friend of Ms. Lahnert, approached the Board. He commented on the increased number of campers being allowed on the site and the fact that historically five to ten campers have been allowed on the site at any one time. He also addressed the disturbing quality of activity at the site, which he believes represents a Class 2 or 3 Public Nuisance as defined in Statute 16.13.304. He explained that, before action can be taken against the owner for the public nuisance, the Board needs to serve the owner with an order to stop the current activities that are creating the disturbance.
Chair Pro-Tem Gibson closed public comment and provided Mr. Arment another opportunity to address the Board. Mr. Arment agreed there were too many campers allowed on the site last year and indicated that fewer campers have been allowed on the site this year. Discussion ensued regarding the number of campers being allowed on the site, the noise caused by the concentration of campers after local concerts end in the evening, and the space where the tents are located. Significant discussion continued regarding the septic system(s) and rest rooms present on the site, their capacity and trash removal.
John Arment, son of the property owner, approached the Board and explained that Ms. Lahnert removed a fence and the brush that was dividing her property and the subject site, and how such removal affected the privacy and noise impact on Ms. Lahnert.
Discussion continued regarding Mishawaka and the services needed to support the public attending the events there. Further discussion ensued regarding whether the camp sites are provided free of charge, the number of actual camp sites, the typical number of campers utilizing each site, and how the property is advertised. Discussion continued regarding the number of campers typical in the area prior to there being concerts at Mishawaka versus current numbers, how many full-time residents are living on the property in the mobile homes and cabins and the status of each of the structures on the site.
Discussion ensued among the Commissioners and staff regarding the current standards for property of this type, specifically with respect to restroom facilities, septic systems and potable water supplies. Discussion continued regarding the requirements for non-conforming use, the owner’s responsibility to provide compelling information regarding historic use and current use, and what action might be taken by the Commissioners. Chair Rennels requested that the issue be tabled until definitive information can be provided regarding capacity and condition of the current septic system(s) and well(s) on the site. She went further to request that Mr. Arment also provide better documentation as to the historical use of the site.
Commissioner Wagner requested that the owner be limited to no more than five to ten camp sites while the matter is being tabled.
M O T I O N
Chair Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners table this matter until September 26, 2005, at which time additional information regarding the capacity and condition of the septic system(s) and well(s) currently on the site is to be provided by staff and more detailed information regarding historical use of the site is to be provided by Mr. Arment. During this 30-day period, the owner is to limit the number of camp sites to no more than ten at any one time.
Motion carried 3-0.
5. LARIMER COUNTY ROAD NAMING AND SITE ADDRESSING SYSTEM RESOLUTION AMENDMENT: Mr. Timm began by stating that Section 5.C.3.g (Road Name Signs for Private Roads) states: “In addition to the name of the road, the word “Private” shall be added to Larimer County standard road name signs on private roads.” He explained that originally, as the Rural Addressing resolution was being developed, it was thought that having the word “Private” on the road name signs for private roads would be beneficial. However, as the rural addressing project has progressed, several very significant difficulties in doing that have been identified, as follows: the County does not have a data base showing which roads are public and which roads are private; most of the older land division plats do not clearly designate the roads as being public or private; many roads that were originally private are in fact now public, due to public use for many years; significant time and effort would be needed to research the public versus private status of each road, for which resources (time, money, staff) are not available; in many cases, a final determination as to whether a road is public or private may require court determination following significant attorney involvement by both the County and a given property owner. Mr. Timm went on to explain that the road name sign should not be considered the determining factor as to whether a road is public or private. There are some roads for which it is very clearly documented that they are indeed private. In those few cases, the County could allow the property owner(s) to add a sign to the road name sign post that indicates the road is private. The County’s road name sign itself should be used only to show the road name and make no attempt to deal with the public versus private status of the road.
The Rural Addressing Project Technical Advisory Committee and County staff recommend that Section 5.C.3.g be deleted from the resolution.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Wagner moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the proposed amendment to the Rural Road Naming and Site Addressing System Resolution, which is to delete Section 5.C.3.g.
Motion carried 3-0.
The meeting recessed at 4:30 p.m.
PUBLIC HEARING FOR SECURITY ALARM ORDINANCE
The Board of County Commissioners reconvened at 6:30 p.m. to consider the Security Alarm Ordinance proposed by Sheriff Alderden. Chair Pro-Tem Gibson presided, and Commissioner Wagner was present. Also present were: Frank Lancaster, County Manager; Jim Alderden, County Sheriff; Steve Bebell, Sheriff’s Department; David Ayraud, Assistant County Attorney; and Angela Myers, Deputy Clerk.
Sheriff Alderden explained the reasons for development of the Security Alarm Ordinance. He spoke of false alarm statistics, the cost to taxpayers when law enforcement response to these false alarms, and the need to reduce the number of false alarms. Commissioner Wagner asked Sheriff Alderden to explain what happens when an alarm is triggered and asked whether the Security Alarm Ordinance would also apply to panic alarms. Sheriff Alderden explained the process and indicated that this ordinance would not change the way panic alarms are responded to. He also explained that the ordinance addresses how alarms are to be responded to and the types of alarms that are allowed. Mr. Lancaster indicated that the ordinance does not apply to fire alarms. Mr. Ayraud explained in detail the minor changes that have been made since the original version of the ordinance was published.
Chair Pro-Tem Gibson invited public comment. Carol Stark, resident of Loveland, indicated she is a long way from protection where she lives. Ms. Stark is not in favor of the ordinance, because it will require her to register, which puts her name on yet another list for “bad guys” to gain access to; and she asked what would happen if the security system is not registered.
Frank Ferrarese approached the Board and indicated that he is the owner of a company that installs security systems. He emphasized that many security systems are owned by average people, not necessarily those of high income. He indicated that he is not in favor of the ordinance, because it will mean yet another license he will have to buy, in addition to the licenses he currently has with the Cities of Fort Collins and Loveland. Mr. Ferrarese also expressed his belief that the fees indicated in the ordinance for false alarms are excessive.
Jeff Goodman of DictoGuard Alarm Systems, Inc. in Greeley indicated that he is in favor of the ordinance and believes it will significantly reduce the number of false alarms that the Sheriff’s Department will respond to. He indicated that he is a member of the Colorado Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and that this ordinance mirrors the model ordinance written by the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA). He said that this type of ordinance goes a long way toward addressing the false alarm issue and represents a cooperative effort between the industry and law enforcement. He said ordinances such as this have been effective in significantly reducing false alarms elsewhere and can be similarly effective in Larimer County as well.
Michael Zelesnik of ATB Services of Colorado Springs addressed the Board to express his support of this ordinance. He indicated that he is also a member of the Colorado Burglar and Fire Alarm Association, and he recognized Sheriff Alderden for his efforts in putting together this ordinance. He addressed the issue of fees being charged by saying that these fees are exactly the same as those in the FARA model ordinance, and that he would not recommend lowering them in any way. He also expressed his belief that registration of contractors is important.
Ann Marie Ferrarese approached the Board and indicated that she has been in the security system business since 1993 and that her company is registered and licensed. She expressed concern that she only found out about the proposed ordinance by accident, while looking at the County website, and wondered who would tell the alarm companies to register once the ordinance is enacted. She indicated that many alarm companies monitor their alarms from out of state, but that her company is located in Greeley and monitors its alarms from that location and experiences very few false alarms. She also expressed concern that a registration list would be accessed by undesirable individuals.
Chair Pro-Tem Gibson closed public comment.
Discussion ensued regarding the confidentiality of registrations. Sheriff Alderden indicated that the list maintained at the Sheriff’s Department could be kept confidential, but that he would have less control over the third-party contractor hired to administer the registration portion of the ordinance. Mr. Lancaster asserted that the specifications for the third-party contractor could require that the registration information be kept confidential, and it was agreed that this should be included in the Request for Proposal (RFP).
Discussion continued regarding how information about the ordinance has been shared with the public and how the information would be disseminated to area alarm companies. Further discussion ensued regarding the 30-minute response time.
Commissioner Wagner asked Sheriff Alderden about the consequences of not registering an alarm. Sheriff Alderden indicated that if response to an alarm at a location that was not registered occurred, the owner can be issued a summons with a fee of $100. However, he went on to explain that if the owner then registered the system within ten days of the summons, the $100 fee would be voided. He also indicated that the alarm monitoring station could be told not to respond to alarms from systems that are not registered.
Discussion ensued regarding the actual costs involved in responding to false alarms. It was agreed that the fee schedule does not charge as much as the potential cost of the response until the fifth false alarm. Discussion continued regarding the problem of false alarms, the proper use of Sheriff Department personnel and the fees charged. Commissioners Wagner and Gibson expressed their support of the ordinance.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Wagner moved that the Board of County Commissioners adopt the Larimer County Security Alarm Ordinance as presented.
Motion carried 2-0.
08222005O001 LARIMER COUNTY SECURITY ALARM ORDINANCE
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:10 p.m.
GLENN W. GIBSON, CHAIR PRO-TEM
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CLERK AND RECORDER
Angela Myers, Deputy Clerk