MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Monday, FEBRUary 25, 2008
LAND USE HEARING
The Board of County Commissioners met at 3:00 p.m. with Larry Timm, Planning Director. Chair Gibson presided and Commissioners Eubanks and Rennels were present. Also present were: Chad Gray, Code Compliance Officer; Doug Ryan, Environmental Health Planner; William Ressue and Jeanine Haag, Assistant County Attorneys; and Angela Myers, Deputy Clerk.
Chair Gibson opened the meeting 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.
1. RUBBISH ORDINANCE 1ST READING: Larry Timm addressed the Board and explained that the adoption process for an ordinance differs from adopting a resolution or Land Use Code amendment. This hearing is a “first reading,” during which the County Attorney will read the proposed ordinance in its entirety. This meeting authorizes the proposed ordinance to be published in advance of the public hearing scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on March 17, 2008, at which time it could be adopted.
Code Compliance staff spend a considerable amount of time on junk, debris, illegal outdoor storage and illegal vehicle cases. In 2006 and 2007, 135 cases involving these types of issues were initiated out of a total of 946 cases, which is more than 14% of the total case load. If property owners do not voluntarily clean up the property after a Code Compliance Officer first calls or visits the site, staff then follow-up with several telephone calls, letters and site visits in an effort to resolve violations without having to take cases to a hearing before the County Commissioners and commencing legal action.
Often, people filing junk and debris complaints are the most vocal and take up a majority of staff time, as they repeatedly explain processes and progress on cases. Staff estimates that more than 30% of their time is spent resolving junk, debris, illegal outdoor storage and illegal vehicle cases.
The staff time, as well as County Commissioner and County Attorney time and expenses, that could be saved by adopting a rubbish ordinance would enable Code Compliance staff to resolve violation cases in a more timely and cost-efficient manner. Over the years, approximately $75,000 in attorney fees have been incurred by taking these types of cases to court.
A rubbish ordinance would assist adjacent property owners who are trying to maintain their property values and/or sell their properties. Many zoning violation files for junk and debris complaints are opened because a neighbor, who is trying to sell their home, files a complaint. If it takes up to four years to resolve a case, the complainant has more than likely lost valuable time and money.
Due, in part, to an increasing population and the need to evaluate the effectiveness of existing code enforcement efforts within Larimer County, the Board of County Commissioners hired Clarion Associates in 2005 to research and compare services and staffing state-wide and to evaluate the effectiveness of the county’s code enforcement programs.
Clarion Associates’ recommendations included a streamlined enforcement process for complaints associated with rubbish, derelict/unlicensed vehicles, illegal outdoor storage and other junk that currently take up significant staff time and resources. Clarion pointed out that a rubbish ordinance would provide the county with the ability to quickly take action in cases where there is an acknowledged or undisputed violation, while still allowing for flexibility to resolve issues.
While voluntary compliance will continue to be the primary objective sought by Code Compliance staff, a rubbish ordinance will result in less staff time spent on these types of cases; fewer hearings, if any, before the County Commissioners; and fewer cases going to court.
The steps to ordinance adoption are as follows: 1) The Board of County Commissioners read the ordinance at any open meeting. There doesn't need to be any advertisement of the meeting--it can just be an open meeting that is posted. 2) After the ordinance has been read at the open meeting, it needs to be published in full in the newspaper. 3) After the ordinance has been published, at least ten days must pass before the ordinance is presented to the County Commissioners again at another open meeting. At the open meeting, a County Commissioner needs to make a motion to adopt the ordinance and the Board votes on it. The ordinance doesn't need to be read again at this meeting. 4) If the Board votes to adopt the ordinance, the ordinance is "recorded in the book authenticated by signatures of the chair and the county clerk and recorder" AND is published in the newspaper again by title only and including the date of the initial publication and reprinting in full any parts that were amended after the initial publication. 5) The ordinance becomes effective 30 days after the second publication by title.
Mr. Ressue read the proposed ordinance in its entirety. Commissioner Eubanks asked if there had been any feedback since the Board’s work session on the topic. Mr. Timm stated that there had not. Chair Gibson asked about the lack of an appeals provision in the proposed ordinance. Mr. Ressue explained that there is no appeal provision, but that request for a hearing before the Board would remain an option, as would pursuit of a court injunction.
Chair Gibson opened the meeting to public comment. Freda Edwards of Windsor approached the Board. Ms. Edwards explained that she owns property in Larimer County; and therefore, is interested in understanding the ordinance. She stated that she had not yet had the opportunity to review the proposed ordinance and wanted to make sure that it was not being voted on during this meeting. Commissioner Rennels explained that there would be no vote on the matter during this hearing, but that the next hearing on March 17th would likely include a vote by the Board on this matter. Brief discussion ensued regarding the contacts that Ms. Edwards can make if she has questions regarding the proposed ordinance before the next hearing.
Chair Gibson closed public comment.
2. AMENDMENT TO SEC. 10-175(B)(1)A. OF THE CODE OF LARIMER COUNTY REGARDING RURAL SITE ADDRESSING AND ROAD NAMING: Mr. Timm explained that there are situations in the unincorporated areas where parcels of land are accessed via a public or private road (including access easements) but do not have habitable or occupied structures on them. Per Sec. 10-175 (b) (1) a. of the rural addressing resolution, such access roads would need to be named. The intent of the rural addressing resolution is to assure that all habitable or occupied structures are addressed and on a named road in order to lessen the time it may take for emergency services to locate the structure in case of an emergency. The concern is that such roads should not have to be named until or unless the road provides vehicular access to a habitable or occupied structure. The resolution should be amended to make that clear.
The proposed amendment to Sec. 10-175 (b) (1) a. is as follows:
(1) New road names.
a. All public or private roads, including private access easements that serve more than one parcel shall be named, have road name signs, and have address ranges calculated, except when:
that a road name and road name sign is not
required when, in accordance with the United States Postal Service
standards, the road provides vehicular access to not more than three
parcels/lots, does not exceed .25 mile in distance (1,320 feet), and address
numbers for all parcels/lots are posted in a location visible from the
intersection with the road having a name . ; or
2. no habitable or occupied structure is located on or is provided vehicular access via the road,
Staff recommends that Section 10-175 (b) (1)a. of the Code of Larimer County be amended as outlined above.
Commissioner Eubanks asked if there had been any feedback from law enforcement regarding this matter. Mr. Timm indicated that LETA had been contacted and were okay with the proposed amendment. Commissioner Gibson asked about the process when a new building permit creates an inhabitable structure on an unnamed road. Mr. Timm explained that the road would then be named.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Rennels moved that Section 10-175 (b) (1)a. of the Code of Larimer County be amended as recommended by county staff.
Motion carried 3-0.
The meeting recessed at 3:23 p.m.
PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING
(#177 & 178)
The Board of County Commissioners reconvened at 3:00 p.m. with Frank Lancaster, County Manager. Chair Gibson presided and Commissioners Eubanks and Rennels were present. Also present were: Deni LaRue, Commissioners’ Office; and Gael Cookman, Deputy Clerk.
Chair Gibson explained the need to approve a resolution for the Natural Resources Department and entertained the following motion:
M O T I O N
Commissioner Eubanks moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Resolution Authorizing the Chair of the Board of County Commissioners to Sign Grant Application Letters of Support to Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund.
Motion carried 3-0.
02252008R001 RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO SIGN GRANT APPLICATION LETTERS OF SUPPORT TO GREAT OUTDOORS COLORADO TRUST FUND.
Chair Gibson then stated that this public meeting was to gather information regarding the proposed uranium mining in Weld County by the PowerTech Uranium Corporation, and that no formal action would be taken this evening. Chair Gibson stated that PowerTech Uranium Corporation would be given approximately 20 minutes to give their presentation, and then Citizen's Against Resource Destruction (CARD) would be given 20 minutes for their presentation. Then the hearing would be opened up for public comment and each citizen would have 3 minutes to give their comments.
Terry Walsh, representative for PowerTech Uranium Corporation, presented a 20 minute overview of the project, noting that it was in the very preliminary stages of the process. Mr. Walsh stated that there would be no open pit mining, that it was not a surface heap-leach operation, and that there would be no uranium mill tailings. He explained the process of In-Situ mining, noting that it is safe and benign; however, it does call for restoration of ground water and will require bonding. Mr. Walsh stated that the project is proposed for the northwest Weld County area, on approximately 6000 acres of land. Finally Mr. Walsh touched on the uranium and health issues, noting that people are concerned with radiation exposure, but stated that the clean up and restoration would be completed, and the risks from In-Situ mining are far less than other types of mining operations.
Commissioner Eubanks explained that he has served in the United States Navy and has extensive training in nuclear power; he stated that there is no safe or acceptable level of radiation exposure. Commissioner Eubanks had numerous questions regarding the source for water reclamation, the cost of the surety bond, the risk of communication between aquifers, the results of data testing, and whether or not there would be any open pit mining.
Mr. Walsh re-stated that they were in the preliminary phase of the project and the data testing results have not been returned yet. Mr. Walsh stated that they do not anticipate any surface mining.
Commissioner Gibson asked if there was the likelihood of improving the water quality, and how long it would take to mine the ore. Mr. Walsh stated they he could not comment on whether or not water quality would be improved. He estimated that the mining process would take a year and a half, to two years to complete.
At this time Lilias Jarding, representative for CARD, gave a presentation opposing the project. Ms. Jarding stated that uranium is a naturally occurring element and there is no danger if it is left in the ground; however, it emits dangerous radiation when mined. She stated that the price of uranium has increased dramatically and that is what is prompting this project. Ms. Jarding stated that the proposed project is only 6 miles from a very densely populated Fort Collins community. Ms. Jarding also stated concern with other mining operations in the nation where the water was never restored to its original condition. And finally, Ms. Jarding stated that the application is not for open pit mining, but states that it could be proposed for a portion of the project.
Dr. Michael Paddick addressed the Board and explained that he has dealt with many people that have health problems due to uranium mining. He stated that the risks come from inhaling or ingesting radiation, and the damage occurs at the cellular level. Dr. Paddick gave statistics on the increasing negative health effects of the Navajo Indians (due to mining on their reservation) and reiterated that there is no safe level of exposure to radiation.
Chair Gibson opened up the hearing for public comment and the following individuals spoke in opposition to the project: Warren Snyder, Nora and John Dixon, Dr. Walter Lyons, Diane Marschke, Erin Grogan, Darrell Wyatt, Paul Smith, Lou Sharpe, Mel Hilgenberg, Jeff Parsons, Scott Koskie, James Warner, Ray Hmielak, Jay Davis, Sam Kunkle, Jim Vassallo, Jackie Alolph, Cory Carol, Scott Horak, Joe Sincavage, Jim Woodward, Nancy York, Diane Sparling, Loretta Bailey, and Bob Vangorder.
There reasons for opposing the uranium mining included: Concern with ground water contamination, and the amount of water and waste water that would be used and not returned to the earth. They would rather promote clean and renewable energy. Uranium mining should not be allowed to take place so close to a community of 275,000 people. There was concern with airborne particles that would be released by the initial drilling and cause health issues. There was concern with property values decreasing. There was concern that the Powertech Corporation has no experience with uranium mining, and the risk of potential mistakes due to this lack of experience in the industry. Much concern noted with environmental impacts and impacts to ranchers and agriculture operations. Ms. Adolph presented letters and resolutions from the Town of Timnath, the Larimer County Medical Society, and Front Range Cancer Specialists, all in opposition to uranium mining in northern Colorado due to health risks. And Ms. Sparling shared personal experience working with the Navajo Indians in tracking the number of miscarriages, and birth abnormalities, and disease, and she was most concerned with the future impact to citizens.
The following individuals spoke in favor of the uranium mining project: Mike Beshore, and Bruce Lockheart. Mr. Beshore stated that nuclear energy is clean energy and that it is important to find a domestic source for producing it. He felt that the regulations put in place are stringent enough to assure safe mining. Mr. Lockheart stated that it is implausible to take an "absolute" stand against anything and was not opposed to the proposal based upon what has been presented thus far.
Chair Gibson closed public comment and asked if Mr. Walsh or Ms. Jarding wished to respond. Both parties thanked the Commissioners for their time, but neither had anything further to add.
Under discussion, Commissioner Eubanks stated that, based upon his experience he could not support uranium mining so close to the community. He stated that he was impressed with the amount of e-mails and those that appeared this evening to state their opposition to this project. Commissioner Eubanks stated that Larimer County is not a permitting authority, but can have input on the project. He recommended and would support a resolution opposing uranium mining in northern Colorado.
Commissioner Rennels stated that it was beneficial to have Commissioner Eubank's experience regarding this matter, and noted that she too is concerned with the health and safety of the community, especially given the fact that current science does not address In-Situ mining, and would consider the resolution that will be brought forward by Commissioner Eubanks.
Chair Gibson stated that he does believe that mining uranium is a valid resource to provide power; however, he is not convinced that the water source will be better off after a mining project and would need to learn more prior to adopting a stance.
Chair Gibson thanked everyone in attendance for being so orderly and disciplined.
The meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2008
(No audio available)
The Board of County Commissioners met at 9:30 a.m. with Assistant County Manager Neil Gluckman. Chair Gibson presided and Commissioner Rennels was present. Also present were: Donna Hart, and Deni LaRue, Commissioners’ Office; Gary Buffington, Natural Resources Department; Nancy Wallace, Open Lands Advisory Board; Marc Engemoen, Public Works Department; John Gamlin, Human Resources Department; Stephen Gillette, Solid Waste Department; William Ressue, Assistant County Attorney; and Gael Cookman, Deputy Clerk.
1. PUBLIC COMMENT: There was no public comment today.
2. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 18, 2008:
M O T I O N
Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the minutes for the week of February 18, 2008.
Motion carried 2-0.
3. REVIEW THE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEKS OF MARCH 3, 2008, AND MARCH 10, 2008: Ms. Hart reviewed the upcoming schedules with the Board.
4. CONSENT AGENDA:
M O T I O N
Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the following items as presented on the Consent Agenda for February 26, 2008:
PETITIONS FOR ABATEMENT: As recommended by the County Assessor, the following Petitions for Abatement are approved: Echostar Satellite LLC/dba Dish Network (2 parcels); Pivotal Wellness; Blue Spruce Mobile Home Park LLC; Web Service Company Inc.; Donald Horner; Robert and Katherine Dixon Trust.
02262008A003 GRANT AGREEMENT BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND THE STATE BOARD OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS COLORADO TRUST FUND
02262008R001 RESOLUTION REGARDING EXTENSION OF APPROVAL OF FOX ACRES 2ND COMMON AREA AMENDED PLAT
02262008R002 RESOLUTION REGARDING EXTENSION OF APPROVAL OF HIGH COUNTRY ESTATES LOT 1-3 AMENDED PLAT
02262008R003 FINDINGS AND RESOLUTION APPROVING THE MCCHESNEY PRELIMINARY RURAL LAND PLAN
MISCELLANEOUS: Letter of Support for Colorado Front Range Trail and Trailhead at River Bluffs Project.
LIQUOR LICENSES: The following licenses were both approved and issues: Loveland Country Store - 3.2% - Loveland; Sylvan Dale Ranch LLLP - Hotel and Restaurant with Optional Premises - Loveland; Carter Lake Marina - 3.2% - Loveland.
Motion carried 2-0.
5. DESIGNATION OF HORSETOOTH MOUNTAIN PARK AS OPEN SPACE: Mr. Buffington explained that Horsetooth Mountain Park (HTMP) has been funded and managed through the Parks & Visitor Services Program since its inception in the 1980’s. He stated that the recreation activities that occur in this park are similar to the recreation that visitors enjoy on current designated open spaces; therefore, it makes sense to place them under the same umbrella. Mr. Buffington and Ms. Wallace explained that after considering the pros and cons, the Open Lands Advisory Board and the Parks Advisory Board recommend that the park be transferred and funded from the Open Lands Program. Chair Gibson stated that the funding would need to be reviewed prior to 2018 when the open space tax expires. Mr. Buffington agreed and explained that they will be working on future funding mechanisms in the upcoming years.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the transfer of Horsetooth Mountain Park from the Parks Program to the Open Lands Program beginning July 1, 2008.
Motion carried 2-0.
6. LANDFILL GAS PURCHASE AGREEMENT: Mr. Gillette introduced Jay Hopper and Greg Tilden, from Timberline Energy, LLC. Mr. Gillette requested the Board’s approval to enter into an agreement with Timberline Energy, LLC, in order to design, construct, install, upgrade, expand, operate and maintain a landfill gas management system to capture the methane gas that is emitted at the landfill. Mr. Tilden explained that the methane gas would be cleaned, purified and sold as natural gas. Mr. Hopper stated that this would be a small scale operation, in comparison to some of their other contracts; however, it is much more beneficial to collect the gas and re-use it, as opposed to it being released into the atmosphere. The Board thanked them and complimented them on their efforts, noting the value of this environmentally sound project.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Landfill Gas Purchase Agreement with Timberline Energy, LLC.
Motion carried 2-0.
02262008A001 LANDFILL GAS PURCHASE AGREEMENT BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND TIMBERLINE ENERGY, LLC.
7. LARIMER COUNTY HUMAN RESOURCES POLICY AND PROCEDURE 331.6B, BENEFITS: Mr. Gamlin presented the revisions to Larimer County Human Resources Policy and Procedure 331.6B, and explained that the revised language clarifies how an Appointing Authority or designee may place an employee on sick leave, or another appropriate leave status, if the employee is unable to satisfactorily perform his/her duties, or presents a risk of spreading infection to others. Mr. Gamlin also noted that the policy outlines what actions the employee may take if they dispute this action.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the proposed revisions to Larimer County Human Resources Policy and Procedure 331.6B, regarding benefits.
Motion carried 2-0.
8. COMMISSIONER REPORTS: The Board reviewed their activities during the previous week.
9. WORKSESSION: Mr. Gluckman illustrated how the commissioners and employees could navigate the Intranet bulletin board to view pending legislation for 2008. The Board thanked Mr. Gluckman for adding this feature to the Intranet.
10. LEGAL MATTERS: (Affidavit Provided)
M O T I O N
Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners go into Executive Session for the purpose of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions, as outlined in 24-6-402-(4)(b) C. R. S.
Motion carried 2-0.
The meeting recessed at 10:45 a.m.
The Board of County Commissioners reconvened at 1:30 p.m. with Christine Murray, Senior Appraiser. Chair Gibson presided and Commissioner Rennels was present. Also present were: Jon Cowling, and Barry Hepsley, Assessor’s Office; Mike Bride, Khuong Houng Tang, and Yong Rong Wang, Petitioners; and Gael Cookman, Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Murray explained that the commissioners would be considering a petition for abatement for Cinder & Cruise Liquor, located in Windsor, for the 2007 tax year. She presented the appraisal report and explained the cost, market, and income approaches used to determine value, and she reviewed comparables used to arrive at the final value of $718,700.
Mike Bride, realtor and representative for owners Khuong Tang and Yong Wang, presented the Board with a packet of information and which included the comparables they used to dispute the final value of $718,700. Mr. Bride explained that a new building had recently been constructed which completely blocks the view of the liquor store from the road, which has resulted in a loss of sales for the owner, and has reduced the value of the property. Mr. Bride also questioned why all the surrounding commercial businesses have an assessed value of $2.32 a square foot, yet Mr. Tang’s property has risen from $2.32 a square foot to $4.06 a square foot.
Discussion ensued and Commissioner Rennels stated that free market determines how well industry performs, and in this case the liquor business is struggling but that is the risk taken as a business owner. However, she suggested that the land could possibly be adjusted to be more aligned with the other commercial properties in the immediate area. Chair Gibson agreed and stated that it was logical to adjust the subject property to be valued similarly with the other commercial properties in the area
M O T I O N
Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Petition for Abatement for Cinder & Cruise Liquor, and adjust the final value of the property to $650,000 for the 2007 tax year.
Motion carried 2-0.
The meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.
GLENN W. GIBSON, CHAIR
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CLERK AND RECORDER
Gael M. Cookman, Deputy Clerk