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MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2007

 

County offices were closed on Monday in observance of President's Day.

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2007

 

ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS

(#18 & 19)

 

The Board of County Commissioners met at 9:00 a.m. with County Manager Frank Lancaster.  Chair Wagner presided and Commissioners Gibson and Rennels were present.  Also present were:  Donna Hart, Deni LaRue, and Neil Gluckman, Commissioners’ Office; Steve Miller, Amy Wagner, Alexis Smith, Jody Masters, and Stephen Schwindt, Assessor’s Office; John Gamlin, Human Resources; Gary Buffington, Parks and Open Lands; Glen Rathgeber, Ruth Coberly, and Daniel Savage, Human Services; George Haas, County Attorney; and Angela Myers, Deputy Clerk.

 

1.  PUBLIC COMMENT:  Concerning the Assessor’s request for Waiver of Policy on Salary Level After Job Reclassification.  Chair Wagner welcomed those present for public comment to approach the Board. 

 

Alexis Smith, Senior Appraiser in the Assessor’s office, approached the Board and referred to the petition signed by Assessor staff and previously provided to the Board.  She expressed frustration that the Director did not receive a reduction in pay when she was moved into the position of Senior Appraiser within the office, stating that it was especially frustrating given the limits placed on general staff increases by the County.  Ms. Smith commented that this is the only person in the county being paid so far above the salary range for the position she is currently filling.

 

Jody Masters, Chief Appraiser in the Assessor’s office, approached the Board and referred to a memo on the subject from the former Assessor and to some handwritten notes regarding meetings attended by Amy Wagner since her position reclassification.  Ms. Masters referred to County policies regarding reclassification and non-disciplinary demotion, stating that the former Assessor did not follow the six-month timeframe in the policy for this reclassification and should have handled this change in position as a non-disciplinary demotion which would have immediately reduced the salary for this person by the same percentage as the position salary was reduced.

 

Amy Wagner, Senior Appraiser in the Assessor’s office, approached the Board and read the statement she provided to the Board in advance of the meeting.  In the statement, Ms. Wagner outlined her 28-year performance within the Assessor’s office and the events leading up to her reclassification from Director to Senior Appraiser.  She stated that she did not request the reclassification but that it was in response to backlogs within the department and the Assessor’s determination that she was needed within the department as a Senior Appraiser.  She was told at the time of the reclassification that her salary would be frozen until the salary Senior Appraiser catches up to it.  She stated that such a reclassification has happened before in the Assessor’s department, and she expressed concern about the petition regarding this issue being passed around within the Assessor’s office.  She stated her belief that the petition put staff who didn’t want to sign it in an awkward position and resulted in the staff being generally at odds.

 

Christine Murray, Senior Appraiser in the Assessor’s office, approached the Board and expressed her concern that the current policy regarding reclassifications is not working and policy review is necessary.  She said that this person being paid so far above the salary range for the Senior Appraiser position creates equitability issues within the office.

 

2.  APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 12, 2007:

 

M O T I O N

 

Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the minutes for the week of February 12, 2007, as presented.

 

Motion carried 2-0.  (Chair Wagner abstained, as she was not present at the February 12, 2007 meeting.)

 

3.  REVIEW THE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 26, 2007:  Ms. Hart reviewed the upcoming schedule with the Board.

 

4.  CONSENT AGENDA:

 

M O T I O N

 

Commissioner Gibson moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the following items as presented on the Consent Agenda for February 20, 2007:

 

ABATEMENTS:  The following abatements were approved:  Boardwalk Crossing LP – Parcel #R1401513; Gemini Card LLC - #P8272241; Timberline Properties, RLLP – Parcel #R0576824. 

 

The following abatements were denied:  TPI Petroleum, Inc. – Parcel #P0826545; TPI Petroleum, Inc. – Parcel #P0891525; Diamond Shamrock Stations, Inc. – Parcel #P8044333; Diamond Shamrock Refining & Marketing Co. – Parcel #P8077380; TPI Petroleum, Inc., Lessee – Parcel #P8090157; Diamond Shamrock Stations, Inc. – Parcel #P8099154; TPI Petroleum, Inc. – Parcel #P8104611; Diamond Shamrock Refining & Marketing Co., Lessee – Parcel #P8139229; Diamond Shamrock Refining & Marketing Co, Lessee – Parcel #P8139237; Diamond Shamrock Stations, Inc. – Parcel #P8160520; Diamond Shamrock Refining & Marketing Co., Lessee – Parcel #P8215626; TPI Petroleum, Inc. – Parcel #P8216274; TPI Petroleum, Inc. – Parcel #P8216282; TPI Petroleum, Inc. – Parcel #P8219257; Diamond Shamrock Refining & Marketing Co. – Parcel #P8232822.

 

02202007A001           CONTRACT BY AND BETWEEN LARIMER COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND UNTIED WAY OF LARIMER COUNTY REGARDING THE INTENSIVE CASE MANAGEMENT PILOT PROGRAM - 2007

 

02212007A002           LEASE AGREEMENT BETWEEN GREELEY AND LOVELAND IRRIGATION COMPANY AND LARIMER COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR PROPERTIES AT 495 N. DENVER AVENUE, LOVELAND, CO 80537

 

02212007R001           RESOLUTION FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE SPARKS/BALSIMO PROPERTY

 

MISCELLANEOUS:  Impact Assistance Grant Application – Division of Wildlife; Department of Human Services Payments for December 2006; Community Development Block Grant Project Completion Report.

 

The following liquor licenses were approved and issued:  Loveland County Store, Loveland – 3.2% Beer Retail; Vern’s Place, LaPorte – Beer and Wine.

 

Motion carried 3-0.

 

5.  CHANGES TO THE 2007 REGULATIONS RELATING TO LARIMER COUNTY PUBLIC RECREATION AREAS AND FACILITIES.  Gary Buffington reviewed the summary sheet provided to the Board regarding proposed changes to the Public Recreation Regulations.  He stated that approximately every two years the department reviews these regulations prior to printing them on the fliers that are provided for the public at the recreation areas. 

 

As the proposed changes were reviewed, there was some discussion as to what prompted the changes and how they would affect the public.  Mr. Buffington explained that many of the changes were prompted by the County Attorney’s suggestion that County regulations conform to state regulations.  He added that, if the state requirements are not included in the County’s regulations (which are printed and provided to those utilizing the recreation areas), the public often doesn’t know of the requirements (because they are not printed and distributed), it is more difficult to ensure local enforcement, and any fines received for non-compliance are sent to the state, rather than kept at the local level.

 

Mr. Buffington explained that some of the changes were needed in order to encompass new types of recreational toys and to address safety concerns.

 

Commissioner Gibson expressed specific concern about the revision to the regulation regarding camping at designated boat-in camp sites, stating that the boat-in sites are very popular and he is concerned that this regulation would decrease the availability of such sites.  Mr. Buffington concurred that the requested revisions would indeed result in a reduced number of boat-in sites, but added that the revision is necessary in order to protect these sites from becoming overpopulated with campers, which has been occurring.  Commissioner Gibson indicated that he would like to view the sites to personally observe the habitat damage and how the regulation revisions will affect these locations.

 

Commissioner Rennels suggested that the vote on this topic be delayed one week to allow Commissioner Gibson an opportunity to view the boat-in camp sites.

 

M O T I O N

 

Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioner table this item for one week.

 

Motion Carried 3-0.

 

6.  WAIVER OF POLICY ON SALARY LEVEL AFTER JOB RECLASSIFICATION:  Steve Miller, Larimer County Assessor, approached the Board and explained that this issue arose last November, soon after the General Election, when then Assessor, Larry Johnson, reorganized the office and reclassified the position of Director of Assessments to Senior Appraiser.  Mr. Miller explained that, at that time, the Director of Assessments was receiving an annual salary of approximately $82,000.  He further explained that the top of the salary range for the Senior Appraiser position is $56,000 and that this specific reclassification resulted in one Senior Appraiser receiving a salary that is nearly 50% more than the other Senior Appraisers.  He questioned the former Assessor’s business reasoning when this decision was made and expressed concern for fairness and equity within the office and the use of taxpayer funds in this manner.

 

Mr. Miller requested that the reclassification policies that led to this situation be waived and that the salary for the former Director of Assessment be set within the salary range established for the job classification of Senior Appraiser.

 

Frank Lancaster expressed his agreement with Mr. Miller’s request and stated that, although there have been a few other cases of reclassification that have resulted in significantly higher salaries than the salary range for the reclassified position, to his knowledge, there has not been another employee for whom such a reclassification has resulted in this large of a salary disparity.  He indicated that the salary for reclassified individuals is frozen until the salary of the position they are moved into “catches up,” and this typically happens within a three-year period.  Mr. Lancaster further clarified that, at the time this action was taken by the former Assessor, Mr. Lancaster simply approved the action as being within policy guidelines, which should not be misconstrued as having been in “support” of the change.

 

Commissioner Gibson expressed agreement with Mr. Miller that county policy with regard to reclassifications needs to be reviewed and modified.  However, he commented that, at the time the subject reclassification took place, county policy was being followed; and he, therefore, could not support retroactive waiver in this regard.

 

Commissioner Rennels asked John Gamlin to share instances when similar circumstances had arisen within the county.  Mr. Gamlin reviewed the previous instances, noting that none had created this large a disparity in salaries.  Discussion ensued regarding the similar instances, consistency of policy application and the review of Human Resource policies that is currently underway.

 

M O T I O N

 

Commissioner Gibson moved that the Board of County Commissioners go into Executive Session in accordance with 24-6-402(4)(b) to confer with the County Attorney for the purpose of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions.

 

Motion carried 3-0.

 

Commissioner Rennels expressed appreciation for the information presented and commented that it is always a very sensitive issue when considering modification of operational decisions made my another an elected official.  She further indicated that she has a high respect for the operational decisions made by elected officials, former or current, and cannot support Mr. Miller’s request.

 

Commissioner Gibson indicated that based on the history of this issue and legal considerations, he could not support Mr. Miller’s request.

 

Commissioner Wagner clarified for the record that she is not related to Amy Wagner.  She commented on Ms. Wagner’s many years within the Assessor’s office and her quality job performance, and stated that she could not support Mr. Miller’s request for the same reasons stated by the other Commissioners.  She expressed desire for review of county policies and her hope for positive employee moral in the Assessor’s office.

 

M O T I O N

 

Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners deny the request to waive county policy on salary level after job reclassification.

 

Motion carried 3-0.

 

7.  LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:  Neil Gluckman commented on active legislation, and discussion ensued regarding same.

 

8.  WORKSESSION:  Mr. Lancaster requested that the Board consider a last-minute grant request from representatives of Human Services, explaining that the application, if approved, must be delivered before 3 p.m. today.  Glen Rathgeber, Ruth Coberly, and Daniel Savage approached the Board.  Mr. Rathgeber explained that Human Services would like to pursue an opportunity to apply for $76,000 in grant funds to support non-custodial fathers.  He further explained that the 11% matching dollars would come from the Human Services fund balance.

 

Discussion ensued regarding how these funds would be used, how the programs would be promoted and/or advertised, future support of these programs after the initial grant runs out, and shortcomings of similar previous efforts.  Mr. Rathgeber explained that this grant would be ongoing and would be reapplied for every 18 months.  He further explained the intended modifications to the program, taking into consideration previous shortcomings.

 

M O T I O N

 

Commissioner Gibson moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve pursuit of the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Community Access Grant.

 

Motion carried 3-0.

 

9.  COMMISSIONER REPORTS:  The Board discussed their attendance at events during the past week.

 

10.  LEGAL MATTERS:  There were no Legal Matters to discuss.

 

The meeting recessed at 11:20 a.m.

 

 

 

LAND USE HEARING

(#20 and #21 )

 

The Board of County Commissioners reconvened at 3:00 p.m. with Rob Helmick, Principle Planner.  Chair Wagner presided and Commissioners Gibson and Rennels were present.  Also present were:  Larry Timm, Russ Legg, Karin Madson, and Wendy Dionigi, Planning Department; Traci Downs, Matt Johnson, and Ed Woodward; Engineering Department; Eric Fried, Building Department;  Doug Ryan, Environmental Health Department; Jeannine Haag, Assistant County Attorney; and Gael Cookman, Deputy Clerk.

 

Chair Wagner opened the meeting with the pledge of Allegiance, and asked for public comment on the County Budget and the Land Use Code.  No one from the audience addressed the Board regarding these topics. 

 

Mr. Timm then introduced the 2006 Building Department Outstanding Professionalism Award recipients:  Shedd Farley of ESF Construction Company, and Dan Smith of Dan Smith Construction Company.  The awardees were nominated by Building Department staff, in recognition of contractors, architects and engineers for their teamwork and customer-focused service in providing a quality product to citizens in the unincorporated areas of Larimer County.   Mr. Fried read his nomination letter for Mr. Farley, and Commissioner Rennels read the nomination letter for Mr. Smith (who was nominated by Chuck Harris).  The Board congratulated both men on their achievements. 

 

Chair Wagner then noted that Items 1 was consent and would not be discussed unless requested by the Board, staff, or members of the audience:

 

1.    CITY OF GREELEY PIPELINE FLOOD PLAIN SPECIAL REVIEWThis is a request for Special Review approval based on the Flood Review Board’s recommendation of approval.  The City of Greeley is constructing a pipeline through Larimer County known as the Bellvue Pipeline.  The Mulberry Segment of the Bellvue Pipeline is approximately 6 miles in length and is located between Larimer County Road 5 north of Timnath and Vine Drive north of the Fort Collins Community Airpark.  A floodplain special review is required because the pipeline crosses several floodplains.  Figure 1, an overall site map, is provided that shows the drainage ways, floodplains and the proposed alignment of the Mulberry Segment.  The Land Use Code requires a recommendation from the Flood Review Board with a final approval from the Board of County Commissioners.

The Flood Review Board met on Thursday, July 27, 2006, and reviewed the hydraulic modeling report dated June 14, 2006, and found the hydraulic analysis to be acceptable.  A motion was approved for a favorable recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners for approval of the Floodplain Special Review with one condition, that a riprap bed and bank protection be designed and a rip rap plan for the channel crossings be submitted to Engineering Staff for review and approval before the Commissioner’s hearing.  The plans were submitted to staff, reviewed and approved.  

All review criteria in Section 4.2.2.G.2 of the Land Use Code have been met; therefore, staff recommends approval of the Mulberry Segment of the City of Greeley Pipeline FPSR 

 

M O T I O N

Commissioner Gibson moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve Item 1, as listed on the Consent Agenda and outlined above.

Motion carried 3-0.

 

2.  LARIMER COUNTY URBAN AREA STREET STANDARDS UPDATE:  This is a request for the Board of County Commissioners adopt the proposed changes to the Larimer County Urban Area Street Standards.   

Upon adoption of the Larimer County Urban Area Street Standards in January 2001, a process for amendments and revisions to the standards was approved (LCUASS Section 1.6) This section states that for unincorporated Larimer County, any revision, whether “policy” or “Technical”, shall become effective only after approval by the Larimer County Board of County Commissioners, following receipt of recommendation from the Larimer County Staff. It is staff’s belief that the proposed changes that apply in the Growth Management Areas are mostly technical in nature, as discussed in more detail below. 

The Larimer County Urban Area Street Standards (LCUASS) are a single source comprehensive urban-level set of engineering design and construction standards used within the city limits and growth management areas of the Cities of Fort Collins and Loveland.   The document guides the design of both private developments as well as public engineering capital projects.  

The standards represent a significant collaborative effort between the three entities and are enforced through intergovernmental agreements.   Since the original inception of the standards in 2001, one major revision of the document was adopted in October 2002.  

In the past 12 months, staff from the three entities (Larimer County, Fort Collins, and Loveland) have reviewed the entire document and identified a number of technical changes that need to be made.  These changes are generally minor, and reflect the most current understanding of engineering design, reference materials, and a number of ‘clean up’ items.  The changes are proposed for approval by all three entities.

 

SUMMARY OF CHANGES:

The three engineering representatives from Loveland, Fort Collins, and Larimer County met regularly and spent countless hours to improve the standards, refine the language and resolve differences between agencies.    A list of the proposed changes is attached to this report. The majority of the changes that apply in the growth management areas are technical in nature, and are not proposed as policy changes. 

One change that could be considered a policy change for the growth management area is in Chapter 22, the “Construction Specifications” chapter.  The proposed change is to increase the required compressive strength of the concrete from 3,500 pounds per square inch (psi) to 4,000 psi to reduce spalling, which is when the concrete chips, crumbles, or breaks.  The city of Fort Collins discussed this change with many contractors in an open house and they found that many of the contractors are already applying this standard to ensure a better product.  Another policy change is in Chapter 1, the “General Provisions” chapter; however this particular section, Section 1.9.3.B, only applies in the Loveland City Limits and therefore, does not need to be considered by Larimer County. 

Of particular interest to Larimer County is a proposed change in Chapter 7 that will now include language that cites the local entity’s master street plan but also allows the use of the Larimer County Road Functional Classification Map.  This section, Section 7.2.2.3, will read as follows: “Larimer County will use the Local Entity’s current Master Street plan to identify a road’s classification and determine a road’s right-of-way and typical section with their respective Growth Management Areas.  However, Larimer County reserves the right to use the classification shown or the Larimer County Road Functional Classification Map.”  The new language clarifies that the primary goal is to use the City Master Street plan in the GMA’s where feasible and applicable; however, the County still reserves the right to apply the County Master Street plan and Functional Classification Map as necessary.

It should be noted that, although the vast majority of the document applies to all three entities, the document is flexible in that design parameters vary between the three entities in areas where there are policy differences.   The document still includes a variance process where the applicant can request variances from the standards.  Therefore, implementation of County interests in applying the standards and good judgment is assured in areas under County jurisdiction. 

 

PUBLIC PROCESS

In an effort to achieve balance in the finished product, the standards update committee has worked with interested parties to gather input and provide information on the changes. 

The public outreach effort included:

·  Notification about the proposed revisions was given with the mailing of  over 150 flyers sent to the registered users of the manual, including planners, engineering consultants, developers, and contractors. The main intent of the flyer was to be an invitation to the two open houses at Harmony Library.  The second purpose of the flyer was to simply notify these user groups of the proposed changes so that they could have the time and opportunity to comment and request changes to the standards through email, phone, or by one-on-one meetings.

 

·  Two open houses to review proposed changes were held at the Harmony Library. The Harmony Library is a central location to most users.  Eight people attended the first open house on November 9th and their comments are attached.  Responses to all comments were emailed to all attendees and applicable comments were also addressed in the proposed changes.   

 

·  The Loveland Construction Advisory Board and Fort Collins Affordable Housing Board were provided access to the proposed changes for their review and comment.

 

·  The proposed changes were located at the following website for general public review and comment:  http://www.ci.loveland.co.us/PublicWorks/DevEng/LCUASSPage.htm

 

·  The adoption schedule is attached.  The schedule includes two open houses, a Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioner work session on December 13, Larimer County Planning Commission Hearing on the January 17, and County Board of Commissioner hearing on February 20.  In addition, both the City of Fort Collins and the City of Loveland have been working with their respective boards and commissions for their approval. 

 

Overall, the proposed changes were well received and we received minimal negative feedback.  A few people expressed specific concerns with some of the aspects of the standards that are policy in nature.  We expressed to these groups that these policy changes would require coordination of user focus groups, including planners, engineering consultants, and developers, and work sessions with elected officials.  Therefore, given the limited time and funds for this update, these comments would need to be discussed with future updates. 

The update to the Larimer County Urban Area Streets Standards is necessary due to changes in national, state and regional references, refinement of design standards, and identification of ‘clean up’ items within the document.  Adoption of the update is important to maintain the collaborative effort between the three jurisdictional entities, and implement a consistent set of engineering design standards in the region.   

 

Staff recommends that the proposed changes to the Larimer County Urban Area Street Standards (LCUASS), as detailed in the attached spreadsheet, be approved with an effective date of April 1, 2007.  This would mean that any public hearing application submitted on or after April 1, 2007, would be required to apply the proposed updated standards.

 

Ms. Downs gave a brief description of the summary of changes and the public process used to gather citizen input.  She noted that the changes were generally well received with minimal negative feedback.

 

There was no public comment on this item. 

 

M O T I O N

Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners adopt the proposed changes to the Larimer County Urban Area Street Standards (LCUASS) with an effective date of April 1, 2007.

Motion carried 3-0.

 

3.  ALEXANDER ZONING VIOLATION - #05-ZV0072:  The property owner is in violation of Section 4.1.18 of the Larimer County Land Use Code which regulates C-Commercial Zoning Districts, by virtue of outside storage of junk, debris and unlicensed vehicles.

 

This property is located in Berthoud off of Highway 287, approximately 300 feet north of the intersection of Hwy 287 and County Road 10E.  See attached aerial maps from 2002 and 2005.

 

This file was initiated in 2005 upon receipt of a complaint.  Code Compliance Officer Wendy Dionigi was assigned the case in 2006.  There is an existing ranch residence on the property constructed in 1920.  The owner does not live on the property.  According to information in the Assessor’s records, the owner resides in Los Angeles, California.  Ms. Dionigi made several attempts to contact the owner with no success.  A copy of the Notice of Hearing was sent to the owner by registered and regular mail.  The owner did not sign for the registered mail, however, the regular mailing was not returned by the Post Office.  The property is posted with the following sign:  “Private Property, Keep out.”  Ms. Dionigi posted the fence leading into the property with a copy of the Notice of Hearing and this staff report on February 5, 2007.  See attached event log.

The accumulation of unlicensed vehicles, junk and debris is unsightly.  In addition, the condition of the property is having a negative affect on surrounding property values.  See attached site photos.

 

Staff findings are as follows:   

 

1.  The property is zoned C-Commercial.

2.  Outside storage is not a permitted use in the C-Commercial Zoning District.

3.  A junkyard, by definition in the Land Use Code (see below), is not a permitted use by right in the C-Commercial Zoning District.  Junkyards must receive special review approval in C-Commercial Zoning Districts.

“Junkyard”:  A facility for the display, storage, collection, processing, purchase, sale, salvage or disposal of used or scrap materials, equipment, junk vehicles, appliances or other personal property whether of value or valueless.  ‘Junkyard’ does not include the storage of implements of husbandry, farm tractors, farm and ranch equipment or vehicles customarily operated in a farm or ranch operation.

4.  From a review of comparison aerial photographs taken in 2002 and 2005 (attached), the accumulation of unlicensed vehicles, junk and debris has and is accelerating.  The continued use of the property in violation of the Larimer County Land Use Code will affect property values in the area.

5.  The continued use of the property in violation of the Larimer County Land Use will affect the neighbors’ ability to enjoy their own properties.

 

Ms. Dionigi explained the violation as outlined above, noting that she has made several attempts to contact the property owner by phone and by mail, and all attempts have been unsuccessful.  She stated that staff recommends the Board finds that a violation exists and require compliance within thirty (30) days.  Compliance will require that all outdoor storage of junk and debris be removed, and all vehicles be currently licensed to the occupants of the home or removed from the property.  If the 30-day deadline is not met, authorize legal action to enforce County regulations.

 

There was no public comment on this item.

 

M O T I O N

 

Commissioner Gibson moved that the Board of County Commissioners find that a violation exists, require compliance within 30 days, and authorize legal action if the 30-day deadline is not met.  Compliance will require that all outdoor storage of junk and debris be removed from the property, and all vehicles be currently licensed to the occupants of the home or removed from the property.

 

Motion carried 3-0.

 

4.  SUNRISE RANCH SPECIAL REVIEW AND APPEALS TO LAND USE CODE SECTIONS 8.6, 9.7, AND 8.1.5 - #05-Z1578:  This is a request for:  1) Special Review approval for a master plan to expand an existing non-conforming religious community to include housing, an instructional facility, small conference center, storage units, a shop and a wellness center.  2) Appeal to Land Use Code (LUC) Section 8.6 to allow unpaved parking areas in the north campus housing area.  3) Appeal to Section 9.7 of the Land Use Code for relief from the requirement to dedicate of additional of right-of-way for a minor collector (CR 29). And 4) Appeal to Section 8.1.5 of the Land Use Code to allow relief from paving requirements for County Road 29.

 

The Sunrise Ranch Special Review application and appeals to Land Use Code Sections 8.6, 9.7 and 8.1.5 was heard by the Planning Commission on January 3, 2007.  The item was on the discussion agenda to discuss the Appeal to Section 9.7 of the Land Use Code for relief from the requirement to dedicate of additional of right-of-way for a minor collector (CR 29) and the Appeal to Section 8.1.5 of the Land Use Code to allow relief from paving requirements for County Road 29.  Staff and the applicant were in agreement with the recommendation for approval of the use and the proposed conditions except those which are directly related to the above appeals.  The minutes of the Planning Commission hearing are included with this report.  The applicant has also submitted a written follow-up narrative regarding their appeals requests, which is also included.  

As noted below the Development Services Team does not support approval of these appeals and does not find that approval of the appeals is consistent with the review criteria. 

 

Appeal to Section 9.7 of the Land Use Code for relief from the requirement to dedicate of additional of right-of-way for a minor collector (CR 29).

 

A. Approval of the appeal will not subvert the purpose of the standard or requirement. 

The Land Use Code (LUC) requires the dedication of the additional right-of-way necessary for Larimer County Road 29 as part of the Special Review.  Section 9.7.1 of the LUC states that the purpose of the requirement for right-of-way dedication is to provide adequate roadways for safe and convenient access to all development.  A recently adopted code amendment has reduced the right-of-way requirement from the previously required 100 feet to 80 feet of total right-of-way width for a minor collector. 

The Department Services Team reviewed this request and does not support the appeal.  Please refer to the memo from Matt Johnson dated October 5, 2006 for full details and a response to the applicant’s appeal request.  Consistent application of this requirement serves to ensure that development, such as Sunrise Ranch, are responsible for the provision of right-of-way that meets minimum standards and to ensure adequate public infrastructure.

 

B. Approval of the appeal will not be detrimental to the public health, safety or property values in the neighborhood. 

The 80 foot right-of-way requirement for a minor collector is the minimum standard for this classification of roadway.   The right-of-way requirement is designed to accommodate safe and adequate access and roadway design.

 

C. Approval of the appeal is the minimum action necessary. 

The applicant has not demonstrated that approval on this appeal is the minimum action necessary.

 

C.   Approval of the appeal will not result in increased costs to the general public.

Approval of the appeal will likely result in increased costs to the general public with any future right-of-way acquisition along this stretch of road.

 

D.   Approval of the appeal is consistent with the intent and purpose of the Code. 

The applicant has not demonstrated that approval of this appeal would be consistent with the intent and purpose of the Land Use Code. 

 

Appeal to Section 8.1.5 of the Land Use Code to allow relief from paving requirements for County Road 29.

 

A.   Approval of the appeal will not subvert the purpose of the standard or requirement. 

The purpose of this Adequate Public Facilities requirement is to ensure that all development is served by facilities that are needed for the development.  The LUC requirement is design to ensure that these facilities are in place or that they will be installed by the applicant before they are needed.  The purpose of the road capacity and level of service standard is to ensure that all development will have safe and adequate access to public roads and to ensure that development does not create demand for public improvements and services that can not be met with existing public resources. 

The Department Services Team reviewed this request and does not support the appeal.  Please refer to the memo from Matt Johnson dated October 5, 2006 for full details and a response to the applicant’s appeal request.  With the development proposed by Phase 2 of this application, Sunrise Ranch will exceed the paving threshold of no more than 400 vehicles per day on an unpaved road.  However, staff can support postponing the paving requirement until Phase 3 because of the relatively low traffic increase for Phases 1 and 2.  Phase 3 consists of the addition of 18 two-bedroom units and an Assisted Living Facility with a capacity of 40 residential units.   Approval of the appeal would not be consistent with the purpose of this code requirement, which is for development to pay its own way.  The applicant has the option of postponing Phase 3 until such time as the road has been improved by others to meet the standard.

 

B. Approval of the appeal will not be detrimental to the public health, safety or property values in the neighborhood. 

Approval of the appeal would allow the applicant to add additional traffic to a road that currently has traffic that exceeds the capacity of the road.

 

B.   Approval of the appeal is the minimum action necessary. 

The applicant has not demonstrated that approval of the appeal is necessary for the development to proceed.

 

It is staff’s opinion that fulfillment of the requirements for right-of-way dedication and paving are necessary for the development to meet minimum standards to ensure adequate public infrastructure for safe and adequate access.  The 80 foot right-of-way requirement is the minimum requirement for a road classified as a minor collector.  This requirements results in just 10 additional feet of right-of-way required on each side of the existing 60 foot right-of-way.  Staff would also like to reiterate that the applicant has the ability to wait to proceed with the development of Phase 3 until the required roadway improvements (paving) have been made by either the County or another entity. 

Staff has proposed a couple of modifications to conditions recommended by the Planning Commission and as outlined in staff’s previous report.  Staff believes that these modifications help to clarify conditions B and E.  The proposed changes are shown as strike through for deletions and underline for additions.

The Planning Commission and staff recommend to the Board of County Commissioners that the Sunrise Ranch Special Review and Appeal to section 8.6 of the Larimer County Land Use Code, file# 05-Z1578, be approved subject to the following conditions:

 

A.   The Site shall be developed consistent with the approved plan and with the information contained in the Sunrise Ranch Special Review (File #05-Z1578), except as modified by the conditions of approval or agreement of the County and applicant.  The applicant shall be subject to all other verbal or written representations and commitments of record for the Sunrise Ranch Special Review.

B.   The applicant shall provide a Development Agreement for review and approval by the Board of County Commissioners no later than June 30, 2007.  The Development Agreement may address both the Sunrise Ranch Special Review and Special Exception.  The Development Agreement shall be amended during prior to construction of Phase 3 of the development to include collateral for the public road improvements (paving) if those improvements have not been completed.

C.   Prior to application for any building permit the applicant shall submit a Site Plan Review application for review and approval for the proposed phase in which the structure is planned. Each phase shall meet the Land Use Code requirements in place at that time of submittal.

D.   The applicant shall comply with the requirements of the Loveland Fire Prevention Bureau as outlined in their letter dated January 13, 2006.  The Site Plan Review for each phase shall address the fire protection requirements necessary for the phase.  No building permit application will be accepted for any structure included in a phase until required fire protection improvements are in place and approved by the Loveland Rural Fire Protection District.

E.    The applicant shall complete the Forest Stewardship Plan in accordance with the proposed annual work plans beginning with the year 2007.  Each application for Site Plan Review shall include documentation that demonstrates that the property is in compliance with the Forest Stewardship Plan work plan.

F.    Ultimate buildout as anticipated in this Special Review and Special Exception proposal for the Sunrise Ranch Master Plan proposal will necessitate expansion of the water and sewer systems operated by Sunrise Ranch.  Required State and County approval for the construction of these expansions must precede the issuance of building permits for any affected phase.  Compliance with these requirements will be evaluated as part of the County’s Site Plan Review process.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide adequate technical demonstration of water and sewer capacity for each project development review phase.

G.   The drainage report for each phase shall address the potential for stormwater drainage to enter the Green Ridge Glade Reservoir.  For those projects that will direct stormwater toward the reservoir, a drinking water reservoir report shall be prepared as outlined in the applicant’s water quality letter dated September 6, 2006 and Section 8.12.6 of the Land Use Code.

 

The Planning Commission and staff recommend to the Board of County Commissioners that the Sunrise Ranch Special Review Appeal to Section 9.7 and Appeal to Section 8.1.5 of the Larimer County Land Use Code, File# 05-Z1578, be denied.

 

Ms. Madson explained the application as outlined above, and noted that the applicant has provided an additional narrative which is included in the staff report.  Ms. Madson stated that staff is supporting the Special Review and the appeal to allow unpaved parking areas in the north campus housing area; however, they are not supporting relief from the requirement to dedicate additional right-of-way, or relief from the paving requirement of County Road 29.  Mr. Johnson explained that the additional right-of-way is required to satisfy the minor collector road standards, and that the paving requirements were set in place to provide safe and adequate access to public roads.   Mr. Johnson stated that traffic counts indicate that paving of County Road 29 could be postponed until phase three of this project, which is projected to commence in approximately 12 years.

Charlene Hunter, representing the Emissaries of Divine Light (EDL), noted that County Road 29 has a 60' right-of-way along the length of the road, and they do not see the logic in requiring the 80' right-of-way for just that portion of the roadway along their property.  Ms. Hunter also stated that they do not use the roads in the same way that a typical development would, as their residents live and work on the property; therefore, the trips per day are much less than a normal subdivision development.  Ms. Hunter stated that it is unfair to ask EDL to bear the burden of paving a road that is already exceeds traffic counts.   Finally, Ms. Hunter commended the county staff for their professionalism and assistance regarding their application.

Jim Martell, attorney for the applicant, stated that there is a federal act that prohibits the "taking of religious land" and noted that requiring the additional right-of-way could be construed as a violation of this act.  Mr. Martell also stated that it is not the development that creating the need to pave the road, it is the existing traffic that is triggering this need. 

At this time Chair Wagner opened up the hearing for public comment and Dr. Jan Anetrini, minister and resident of EDL, addressed the Board.  Dr. Anetrini stated that the traffic counts have increased and they would support the installation and use of speed bumps or speed humps to control the traffic in the area.  David Karchere, lead pastor and resident of EDL, explained the history of the roads in the area and the layout of their property.  Pastor Karchere sated that the increase of traffic has already negatively affected the valley and further improvement of the road may invite unnecessary through traffic on the roads.  Robert Ewing, resident of Sunrise Ranch, stated that EDL has previously faced the threat of eminent domain and has effectively worked with outside agencies and the city of Loveland in a cooperative manner to achieve mutually beneficial results.  He stated that they intend to do the same with regards to this application.

There was no further public comment.

Mr. Helmick clarified some points pertaining to the removal of mobile homes on this property, the traffic counts, and maintaining a road connection throughout the area for emergency vehicles. 

Commissioner Gibson stated that he agreed with the applicant in that it did not make much sense for the road to have a 60' right-of-way, then be expanded to an 80' right-of-way for a period of time, then revert back to a 60' right-of-way.   Mr. Johnson stated that this is typical of many roadways in the county due to the terrain and slope of the roads. 

Chair Wagner clarified that the discussion is not about widening the road; it is about whether or not to require dedication of the right-of-way.  Commissioner Rennels stated that since the City of Loveland did not require the additional right-of-way, they pretty much set the standard for the road; therefore, she agreed that is seemed unnecessary in this case to require the 80' right-of-way.  Chair Wagner stated that the county may indeed require the right-of-way at some point in the future and she could not support waiving the requirement.

 

M O T I O N

Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the appeal to Section 9.7 of the Land Use Code for relief from the requirement to dedicate additional right-of-way for a minor collector (County Road 29), and allow the right-of-way to remain at 60 feet.

Motion carried 2-1; Chair Wagner dissenting.

 

Mr. Helmick noted that since the Board approved the right-of-way appeal, condition C would need to be removed from the proposed conditions.  (This change has been reflected in the conditions outlined above.)

 

M O T I O N

Commissioner Gibson moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Special Review and appeal to Section 8.6 (Off Road Parking Standards) of the Larimer County Land Use Code, File #05-Z1578, subject to the conditions outlined above.

Motion carried 3-0.

 

M O T I O N

Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners deny the Sunrise Ranch Special Review Appeal to Section 8.1.5 (Road capacity and level of service standard) of the Larimer County Land Use Code, File #05-Z1578.

Motion carried 3-0.

 

5.  SUNRISE RANCH SPECIAL EXCEPTION - #05-Z1577:  This is a request for Special Exception approval of a portion of a master plan to expand an existing non-conforming religious community to include an Assisted Living Facility.

 

The Sunrise Ranch Special Exception application was heard by the Planning Commission on January 3, 2007.  The item was on the discussion agenda because it is tied to the Sunrise Ranch Special Review application, file #05-Z1578 and needed to follow that application and discussion.  This Special Exception application is being processed separately and concurrently with the Special Review, since an Assisted Living Facility is not a use allowed in the O-Open zoning district and because of state licensing requirements it is required to be able to operate independently of the other uses associated with the Sunrise Ranch community.  The application materials indicate that the facility will not be advertised to the general public.  The proposed facility is proposed as a portion of Phase 3 of the Master Plan.  Staff and the applicant are in agreement with the recommendation for approval of the use and the proposed conditions except those which are directly related to the appeals included in the Special Review application.  The minutes of the Planning Commission hearing are included with this report. 

Staff has proposed a couple of modifications to conditions recommended by the Planning Commission and as outlined in staff’s previous report.  Staff believes that these modifications help to clarify conditions B and E.  The proposed changes are shown as strike through for deletions and underline for additions.  The Planning Commission and staff recommend that the Sunrise Ranch Special Exception, File# 05-Z1577, be approved subject to the following conditions:

 

A.   The Site shall be developed consistent with the approved plan and with the information contained in the Sunrise Ranch Special Exception (File #05-Z1577), except as modified by the conditions of approval or agreement of the County and applicant.  The applicant shall be subject to all other verbal or written representations and commitments of record for the Sunrise Ranch Special Review.

B.   The applicant shall provide a Development Agreement for review and approval by the Board of County Commissioners no later than June 30, 2007.  The Development Agreement may address both the Sunrise Ranch Special Review and Special Exception.  The Development Agreement shall be amended during prior to construction Phase 3 of the development to include collateral for the public road improvements (paving) if those improvements have not been completed.

 

C.   Prior to application for any building permit the applicant shall submit a Site Plan Review application for review and approval for the proposed phase in which the structure is planned. Each phase shall meet the Land Use Code requirements in place at that time of submittal.

D.   The applicant shall comply with the requirements of the Loveland Fire Prevention Bureau as outlined in their letter dated January 13, 2006.  The Site Plan Review for each phase shall address the fire protection requirements necessary for the phase.  No building permit application will be accepted for any structure included in a phase until required fire protection improvements are in place and approved by the Loveland Rural Fire Protection District.

E.    The applicant shall complete the Forest Stewardship Plan in accordance with the proposed annual work plans beginning with the year 2007.  Each application for Site Plan Review shall include documentation that demonstrates that the property is in compliance with the Forest Stewardship Plan work plan.

F.    Ultimate buildout as anticipated in this Special Review and Special Exception proposal for the Sunrise Ranch Master Plan will necessitate expansion of the water and sewer systems operated by Sunrise Ranch.  Required State and County approval for the construction of these expansions must precede the issuance of building permits for any affected phase.  Compliance with these requirements will be evaluated as part of the County’s Site Plan Review process.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide adequate technical demonstration of water and sewer capacity for each project development review phase.

G.   The drainage report for each phase shall address the potential for stormwater drainage to enter the Green Ridge Glade Reservoir.  For those projects that will direct stormwater toward the reservoir, a drinking water reservoir report shall be prepared as outlined in the applicant’s water quality letter dated September 6, 2006 and Section 8.12.6 of the Land Use Code. 

 

Ms. Madson explained that this application was submitted in conjunction with the Sunrise Ranch Special Review and Appeals to the Land Use Code.  Ms. Madson stated that staff recommends approval; however, since the Board just approved the appeal to the right-of-way, then Condition C of this application will also have to be removed.  (This change has been reflected in the conditions outlined above.)

Ms. Hunter addressed the Board and stated that they are in agreement with staff's recommendation.  There was no public comment on this item.

 

M O T I O N

Commissioner Gibson moved that the Board of County Commissioner approve the Sunrise Ranch Special Exception, File# 05-Z1577, subject to the subject to the conditions recommended above.

Motion carried 3-0.

 

6.  STONE BRIDGE RIGHT-OF-WAY WAIVER:  This is a request for a waiver to apply the Estes Valley Development Code right-of-way width standards in place of the Larimer County right-of-way width standards for a development located within the Estes Valley Development Code area.

The applicant requests a waiver to the 50-foot from centerline right-of-way requirement for Major Collectors, as set forth in the Larimer County Road Manual.

The applicant requests that the right-of-way requirements set forth in the Estes Valley Development Code be applied.  The existing sixty-foot right-of-way (30-feet from centerline) would satisfy the EVDC requirement.

The applicant proposes to develop property that is located within the Town of Estes Park, with access from Fish Creek Road, a county road.  The Stone Bridge preliminary plat is a proposed lot split of the “Van Horn Engineering” property from one lot to three lots, and rezoning of proposed Lot 1 (the Van Horn office) from the existing “RM” Multi-Family zoning district to “O” Office.  The Estes Valley Planning Commission has recommend approval of the preliminary plat to the Town Board of Trustees, with a condition being approval of this requested waiver.

No development has been proposed for the two newly created lots, though Staff anticipates development plans for twenty-four detached residential units to be submitted for review on February 21, 2007.  These would be subject to review and approval by the Estes Valley Planning Commission.

The applicant has submitted a traffic impact analysis indicating the existing right-of-way is sufficient.

Staff findings are as follows:

1.   The proposed Stone Bridge subdivision is located within the Town of Estes Park.  Access to the property is from Fish Creek Road, which is a designated Larimer County Major Collector.

2.   The Estes Valley Planning Commission has reviewed the Stone Bridge Subdivision preliminary plat, and recommended approval to the Town Board of Trustees.  A condition of approval was “approval of the proposed right-of-way width modification from the Larimer County Board of County Commissioners.”

3.   The Stone Bridge preliminary plat is scheduled for Town Board hearing on Tuesday, February 27.

4.   The site is located within the Estes Valley development area, which has a “collector” street right-of-way requirement of 25-feet from centerline for streets with curb and gutter. 

5.   The Estes Valley Development Code references the Larimer County Road Standards, which requires 50-feet right-of-way from centerline for Major Collectors, regardless of road design.

6.   The Larimer County Engineering Department recommends approval of this right-of-way modification with the specific road construction conditions.

7.   A Traffic Impact Analysis evaluating long term traffic projections has been conducted.  This TIA indicates no turn lane or street improvements are required, and no loss of service as a result of the proposed twenty-four residential units.  The long range traffic projections utilize a joint study done in 2003 (Larimer County, Town of Estes Park, Colorado Department of Transportation, Rocky Mountain National Park).

 

 

Therefore, Staff recommends approval of the requested Stone Bridge right-of-way width waiver conditional to:

 

  1. The applicant shall petition the Town of Estes Park Town Board of Trustees to annex the full width Fish Creek Road along this entire frontage.  This petition shall be reviewed by the Town Board prior to final plat application, and shall include discussion of maintenance responsibilities between Larimer County and the Town of Estes Park.
  2. The applicant shall build the western half of the road to an urban cross-section including road width, shoulder, and curb-gutter section.  This cross section shall be subject to review and approval of Larimer County Engineering prior to final plat application. Larimer County has supported the right of way appeal based on the condition that the above requirements will be met with the final plat application.

 

Mr. Legg presented the application on behalf of Dave Shirk, the Estes Park Planner who has been involved in working with the applicant.  Mr. Legg briefly explained the project and then noted that the Board was not considering the development itself, only the request for the waiver of right-of-way along Fish Creek Road.  Some discussion ensued regarding whether or not the Town of Estes Park has plans to annex Fish Creek Road, because if annexation occurs then any decision made at this hearing would not be relevant. 

 

Bill Van Horn, representing the applicant, explained that the Estes Valley Development Code was created due to the unique characteristics of Estes Valley; therefore, he asked that the standards of the Estes Valley Development Code be applied with this application and request of waiver.  Frank Theis, applicant - CMS Planning, briefly explained the traffic studies that were conducted, and noted that they hoped to file the development application with the Town of Estes Park within the week. 

 

Chair Wagner opened up the hearing for public comment and the following individuals all spoke in opposition to the right-of-way waiver request:  Randy Willard, Bob and Laura Trump, Bill Paynter, Ray and Sally Allen, Fred and Bob Bernhard, Jan Verschuur, and Ken Czarnowski.  Their collective concerns surrounded drainage and safety issues, negative effects on wildlife and their natural migration patterns, depreciation of property values, negative effects on hiking and biking trails, and most were generally against the idea of annexation into the Town of Estes Park.

 

Mr. Van Horn stated that they are not asking to change the width of the right-of-way, they simply want the Estes Valley Development Code applied to the entire area being proposed for development.  He noted that the county's standard is more rural in nature and it is not applicable anywhere along Fish Creek Road.  H. William Johnson, engineer hired by the applicant, further explained the results of the traffic study he conducted.

 

Discussion ensued amongst the Board, with the consensus being that the Town of Estes Park should consider the application first, and make a determination as to whether or not they plan to annex this length of Fish Creek Road. 

 

 M O T I O N

 

Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners reschedule the Stone Bridge Right-of-Way Waiver request to a more appropriate time based upon the actions taken by the Town of Estes Park regarding the development application and annexation.

 

Motion carried 3-0.

 

The hearing adjourned at 6:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

__________________________________________

                        KAREN WAGNER, CHAIR

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

SCOTT DOYLE

CLERK AND RECORDER

 

ATTEST:

 

 

_______________________________________

Angie Myers, Deputy Clerk

 

 

­­­______________________________________

Gael M. Cookman, Deputy Clerk

 

Background Image: Loveland Bike Trail by Sharon Veit. All rights reserved.