MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
The Board of County Commissioners met at 9:30 a.m. with Frank Lancaster, County Manager. Chair Rennels presided and Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson were present. Also present were: Donna Hart and Deni LaRue, Commissioners’ Office; Kyle Arend, Bill Gleiforst, Rusty McDaniel, and Martina Wilkinson, Engineering Department; Gary Buffington, Department of Natural Resources; Eric Fried, Russ Legg, and Toby Stauffer, Planning Department; Marc Engemoen, Department of Public Works; Dale Miller, Road and Bridge Department; Linda Connors, Assistant County Attorney; and Melissa Lohry, Deputy Clerk.
1. PUBLIC COMMENT: Tom Bender addressed the Board on behalf of the Larimer County Farm Bureau and requested the Board oppose legislature to increase the number of acres required for an “agricultural” zoning designation. The proposed legislature would increase the minimum property size from 35-acres to more than 100-acres. Mr. Bender encouraged the Board to utilize Colorado Counties Inc. to raise awareness of the issue and keep zoning designation a matter of county discretion.
Richard Seaworth alerted the Board to his attempts to reach the County Attorney. Mr. Seaworth stated that he had sent multiple emails and left several telephone messages at the County Attorney’s office but had not received a reply.
Chair Rennels stated she would personally contact the County Attorney’s office and guaranteed Mr. Seaworth that he would receive a response to his emails and telephone messages within 24-hours.
Gregory Wild appeared before the Board in response to an article in the Reporter Herald about signs he placed at the entrance to the Devil’s Backbone Open Space and Hidden Valley Estates. Mr. Wild stated these signs are placed only on Saturdays and Sundays to announce open houses and lots for sale in the Hidden Valley Estates Subdivision.
2. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE WEEK OF AUGUST 24, 2009:
M O T I O N
Commissioner Donnelly moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the minutes for the week of August 24, 2009.
Motion carried 3-0.
3. REVIEW OF THE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 7, 2009: Ms. Hart reviewed the upcoming schedule with the Board.
4. CONSENT AGENDA:
M O T I O N
Commissioner Johnson moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Consent Agenda for August 31, 2009, as published:
ABATEMENTS: As proposed by the Larimer County Assessor, the following Petitions for Abatement were presented for approval: Mark J. and Cindy F. Loader; SKS Development.
09012009A001 AGREEMENT TO PURCHASE SERVICES FROM THE PREVENTION PLUS PATHWAYS PROGRAM BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, FOR THE USE AND BENEFIT OF THE LARIMER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, AND THE CENTER FOR FAMILY OUTREACH
09012009A002 AGREEMENT CONCERNING ELECTION SERVICES BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, THE LARIMER COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER, AND ST. VRAIN VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT RE-1J
09012009A003 AGREEMENT CONCERNING ELECTION SERVICES BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, THE LARIMER COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER, AND THOMPSON SCHOOL DISTRICT R2-J
09012009A004 AGREEMENT CONCERNING ELECTION SERVICES BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, THE LARIMER COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER, AND THE CITY OF LOVELAND
09012009A005 AGREEMENT CONCERNING ELECTION SERVICES BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, THE LARIMER COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER, AND POUDRE SCHOOL DISTRICT R-1
09012009A006 AGREEMENT CONCERNING ELECTION SERVICES BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, THE LARIMER COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER, PARK SCHOOL DISTRICT R-3
09012009A007 AGREEMENT CONCERNING ELECTION SERVICES BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, THE LARIMER COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER, WELD SCHOOL DISTRICT RE-5J
09012009A008 AGREEMENT CONCERNING ELECTION SERVICES BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, THE LARIMER COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER, AND ESTES VALLEY FIRE PROTECTION
09012009A009 AGREEMENT CONCERNING ELECTION SERVICES BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, THE LARIMER COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER, AND THE TOWN OF TIMNATH
09012009A010 AGREEMENT CONCERNING ELECTION SERVICES BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, THE LARIMER COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER, AND AIMS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
09012009A011 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS CONTRACT FOR PROJECT #271 – RECONSTRUCTION OF COUNTY LINE ROAD BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, THE STATE OF COLORADO, AND DON KEHN CONSTRUCTION INC
09012009A012 AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT COMMUNITY SERVICE BLOCK GRANT AGREEMENT BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND THE STATE OF COLORADO, DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL AFFAIRS
09012009A013 AGREEMENT TO ANNEX TO THE CITY OF FORT COLLINS, COLORADO BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND THE CITY OF FORT COLLINS, COLORADO
LIQUOR LICESNSES: The following liquor licenses were issued and/or approved: Branding Iron Liquor – Retail Liquor Store – LaPorte; Vern’s Liquor – Retail Liquor Store – LaPorte.
Motion carried 3-0.
5. CONSIDERATION OF SIGN CODE MODIFICATIONS AND CURRENT RELATED PRACTICES: Mr. Engemoen began by providing the Board with a brief overview of the Public Comment on June 22, 2009, during which, the Board requested that the Road and Bridge Department review their current policy regarding real estate signs (placed in the county right-of-way) in an attempt to find a more efficient practice.
Mr. Miller stated that after his review of the current policy, the procedure of removing signs only when complaints are received and only on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday was determined to be a little too lenient. Therefore, Mr. Miller suggested the Road and Bridge Department remove signs in the county right-of-way, Monday through Friday, when complaints are received.
Chair Rennels requested the signs also be allowed in the county right-of-way during long, legal holiday weekends such as the upcoming Labor Day Holiday. Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson both agreed.
6. PRIVATE SIGNAGE AT THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE OPEN SPACE AND HIDDEN VALLEY ESTATES: Mr. Engemoen informed the Board that the county has received multiple complaints about private signage (real estate signs) at the entrance to the Devil’s Backbone Open Space and Hidden Valley Estates. Mr. Engemoen explained that because the entrance is off of a state highway, the signs are in the state’s right-of-way, not the county’s right-of-way. In speaking with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Mr. Engemoen was informed that these signs are illegally placed and any state or county law enforcement personnel, including park rangers, have the authority to remove them. Therefore, Mr. Engamoen requested direction from the Board regarding whether they would like the Devil’s Backbone Open Space park rangers remove the signs from CDOT’s right-of-way when complaints are received.
Commissioner Donnelly questioned the county’s liability if something were to happen to a park ranger while removing the signs and it was determined that the county would be liable for the safety of the rangers and their equipment.
Chair Rennels asked Mr. Engemoen if he would recommend the county enforce sign removal at that location in the same way that the code is enforced for signs in county owned –right-of-way. Mr. Engemoen agreed that it would probably be easiest to enforce the code uniformly.
Commissioner Johnson stated that he did not believe the county should have to remove the signs as the right-of-way is the property of CDOT and that doing so would set an expectation to remove signs in CDOT right-of-ways across the county. Even though the county does have a vested interest in the area, due to the jointly owned open space, he does not believe it would be in the best interest of the county to remove the signs.
The Board agreed and recommended that staff not enforce the removal of signs at the entrance to the Devil’s Backbone Open Space and Hidden Valley Estates as the right-of-way is property of the state.
7. UPDATE REGARDING ROAD SAFETY IN UNINCORPORATED LARIMER COUNTY: Mr. Engemoen and Ms. Wilkinson addressed the Board in regards to the county’s Low Cost Road Safety Program, which provides annual, systematic, and comprehensive reviews of traffic safety on county roads. It was explained that the proactive approach forces the county to rate its roads and intersections in an attempt to prevent injuries and fatalities. Mr. Engamoen stated that although two fatal accidents have occurred on county roads over the last few weeks, circumstances beyond the control of county departments, such as suicide and driver distraction, were to blame for these accidents.
Ms. Wilkinson presented a graph of accident summaries from 2003 through June 30, 2009, which illustrated that both injuries and fatalities resulting from motor vehicle accidents on county roads have declined by about 50% over the last 5-years. This significant reduction in serious accidents seems to be the result of the county’s proactive approach to safety.
Commissioner Donnelly commended staff from the Road and Bridge Department and the Engineering Department on their efforts to proactively assess self accountability for safety and the program’s success in a time when driver distractions seem to be constantly increasing.
Commissioner Johnson also acknowledged that traffic accidents are not always related to road engineering and he felt county staff is doing all they can to protect citizens and motorists.
8. ROAD 1 IMPROVEMENT PROJECT: Mr. Engemoen, Mr. McDaniel, and Mr. Arend provided the Board with an update on the progress of paving a 2-mile stretch of County Road 1.
Mr. Engamoen explained that when the county did not receive a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) for this project, Weld County and Larimer County proposed the project proceed and that costs be split between the two counties and the Town of Johnstown (the southern most half-mile of the road is within Johnstown City Limits); however, Johnstown refused to participate due to a lack of resources.
On August 31, 2009, the Weld County Commissioners agreed to fund half of the paving project on the condition that Larimer County agree to fund the remaining half. Mr. McDaniel stated that due to favorable bids for the project and the low cost of oil, the cost to pave the extra quarter-mile can be absorbed by the funds set aside by the county for this project.
Commissioner Donnelly asked staff about maintenance of the half-mile of road in Johnstown and staff assured him that Johnstown would be required to maintain that portion of the road.
Commissioner Johnson voiced his displeasure with the Town of Johnstown and stated that it was not fair for Larimer and Weld Counties to pay for roads annexed by the town; however, he agreed to support the project due to the less than anticipated cost of construction.
Chair Rennels and Commissioner Donnelly agreed and staff was directed to move forward with the paving project.
9. COUNTY MANAGER WORKSESSION: Mr. Lancaster presented a request from Embrace Colorado for funding and technology support.
Chair Rennels stated that even after multiple presentations on the program, she was still unclear of its intent. Compounded by the poor economy and shortage of county funds, she recommended the board deny the request.
Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson agreed citing an unclear problem definition and a perceived lack of receptiveness towards the solution, both proposed the county not support the program with funds or technical support.
10. COMMISSIONER ACTIVITY REPORTS: The Board detailed their activities throughout the previous week.
11. LEGAL MATTERS: Ms. Connors requested the Board go into Executive Session for conferences with an attorney, to discuss matters that are required to be kept confidential by state and federal law, and personnel matters.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Donnelly moved that the Board of County Commissioners go into Executive Session for conferences with an attorney to discuss matters that are required to be kept confidential by state and federal law, and personnel matters as outlined in 24-6-402(4)(b)(c)(f) C.R.S.
Motion carried 3-0.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:00 a.m.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2009
The Board of County Commissioners met at 8:00 a.m. for Abatement Hearings. Chair Rennels presided and Commissioner Donnelly was present. Also present were: Annie Sepulveda and Kathy Thornton, Assessor’s Office; and Melissa Lohry, Deputy Clerk.
ABATEMENT HEARING FOR RODNEY & KIMBERLE DAVIS – PARCEL #94182-06-006: Ms. Sepulveda described the subject property and location. She then detailed the comparables used to arrive at the recommended value of $489,100.
Mr. Davis stated that when he and his wife purchased the property in 2008, they only paid $379,000. He also noted that his home was smaller than most other homes in the subdivision and then presented a list of comparables he gathered.
After a lengthy discussion about state statutes and the requirement for property to be assessed at values two-years prior, it was discovered that most of the comparables presented by Mr. Davis were valued greater than the Davis’ home.
Chair Rennels noted that the assessed value had already been reduced by $68,000 and based on the comparables presented, she was unwilling to reduce the value any further.
Commissioner Donnelly agreed and suggested the Davis’ protest their 2009-2010 assessed value as that value would be based on property values from 2008 and earlier.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Donnelly moved that the Board of County Commissioners deny the Petition for Abatement and Refund of Taxes for Rodney A. and Kimberle L. Davis, Parcel Number 94182-06-006, for tax year 2008 and support the Assessor’s value of $489,100.
Motion carried 2-0.
ABATEMENT HEARING FOR VZM REVOCABLE TRUST MANNING FAMILY LIVING TRUST – PARCEL #85063-55-012: Ms. Thornton described the subject property and informed the Board that she recently visited the property, at the Manning’s request, and discovered the home’s size to be 1,980-square-feet, not 2,016-square-feet as originally believed. Ms. Thornton stated that the Manning’s home, like other homes in the area, was constructed using “average-plus” materials, not “average” materials as had been previously assessed. She explained that other homes in the area would also see their assessed values adjusted based on the use of better quality materials.
She then detailed the comparables used to arrive at the recommended value of $403,000.
Harry and Valicia Manning, trustees of the VZM Revocable Trust, presented their own comparables, some of which seemed to be assessed at a much lower value than the Manning’s home. Ms. Thornton clarified this discrepancy by explaining that many of the values presented by the Mannings were permit values, assessed to homes that were not finished at the time of appraisal.
Chair Rennels asked Ms. Thornton how close the subdivision was to being completed and she stated that all of the houses around the lake, where the Manning’s house is located, were complete.
Commissioner Donnelly asked Ms. Thornton to calculate the average of the comparables presented, which was determined to be about $385,000.
The Board felt this average was fair and equitable.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Donnelley moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Petition for Abatement and Refund of Taxes for VZM Trust, Parcel Number 85063-55-012, for tax year 2008 and adjust the Assessor’s value to $385,000.
Motion carried 2-0.
There hearing adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
KATHAY RENNELS, CHAIR
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CLERK AND RECORDER
Melissa E. Lohry, Deputy Clerk