MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
LAND USE HEARING
The Board of County Commissioners met at 3:00 p.m. with Matt Lafferty, Principal Planner. Chair Donnelly presided and Commissioners Gaiter and Johnson were present. Also present were: Eric Tracy, Engineering Department; Doug Ryan, Environmental Health Department; Rob Helmick, Planning Department; Jeannine Haag, County Attorney; and Melissa Lohry, Clerk to the Board.
Chair Donnelly opened the hearing with the Pledge of Allegiance and asked for public comment on the County Budget and Land Use Code. No one from the audience addressed the Board regarding these topics.
Chair Donnelly explained that the following item was on the consent agenda and would not be discussed unless requested by the Board, staff, or members of the audience:
1. GEIST MINOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT, LOT 1 AMENDED PLAT, FILE #11-S3018: This is a request to remove the “residential only” restriction imposed as a part of the original Minor Residential Development (MRD). The applicant and owner of the subject property wishes to have the Board remove the condition imposed on all MRD’s that only allows for residential development. The subject property fronts onto Highway 402 and, except for one adjacent property, the subject property is currently surrounded by residential and agricultural uses. However, the Highway 402 corridor is characterized by industrial and commercial uses west of this site. The representations of the realtor are that potential buyers are concerned with the restriction due to the neighborhood and this makes the property difficult to market.
Notice was provided to surrounding properties and staff has received several comments from those surrounding owners regarding the requested change. However, all of the concerns were addressed when it was noted that the proposal was not to change the property zoning but to allow all uses within the current zoning. Arguably, if the request is approve, a future zone change could be facilitated.
Staff has found that the requested change is consistent with the surrounding area, the changing character of the Highway 402 corridor, the limitation on the use will “facilitate” the sale of the property, and any change would be subject to the requirements in place at the time.
Staff recommends approval of the Geist MRD, Lot 1 Amended Plat, file #11-S3018, subject to the following conditions, and authorization for the chair to sign the plat when the conditions are met and the plat is presented for signature:
1. All conditions of approval shall be met by July 14, 2011, or this approval shall be null and void.
2. The outstanding permit issues identified by Code Compliance personnel shall be corrected no later than July 14, 2011.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Gaiter moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the consent agenda as proposed.
Motion carried 3-0.
2. THREE BELLS PIT SPECIAL REVIEW TIME EXTENSION, FILE #10-Z1827: This is a request for an extension of time to complete permitted mining at the Three Bells Pit. The requested extension is for additional 10-years, extending the active life of the pit to 2022. The Three Bells Pit was originally approved by the Board of County Commissioners in 1979 and subsequently amended in 1982. After a period of inactivity ending in 2005, Lafarge the operator of the pit requested the county allow operations to continue. This led to an appeal of the Planning Director’s decision that the Special Review had expired. In 2006 the Board of County Commissioners approved the appeal and allowed the operation to continue without a new Special Review application. The time limit set by that approval was to have the mining and reclamation completed by 2012. As with many other operations around the county, the economic downturn and slump in construction activities has reduced the need for sand and gravel materials.
The applicant suggests that there is as much a 1.2 to 1.4 million tons of material remaining within the site. The two ownership blocks create some issues for the operator to coordinate the final reclamation to meet their changing needs. The overall requested time frame proposes to add up to 10-years to the mining and extend the approval to the year 2022. Completion of mining and reclamation on the Veldman, Morgan, Gardner ownership is awaiting approval of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) review and revised reclamation plans to accommodate future development. The Timnath Farm Investments, LLC owns the bulk of the un-mined portion of the site and Rural Land Use Plan (RLUP) is proposed, and a conservation easement and a trial easement have been granted on this property. Neither owner group has indicated any opposition to the requested extension of time.
Referrals were sent to a variety of agencies and the applicant provided a letter to surrounding property owners. Notable in the referrals are a lack of comment from the US Fish and Wildlife Services, given the proximity of this site to the eagle nest along the Poudre River, and comments from the Town of Windsor. The Town Windsor has requested additional conditions related to the hours of operation and haul routes. They also note the Kyger pit operated by Lafarge has not finished reclamation and request reclamation be pursued.
The requested time of ten years seems to be a longer than necessary term; however, the Board recently granted an three-year extension to the Stegner Pit to mine 10% of the material volume estimated to exist in the Three Bells Pit. Market conditions and the general state of the economy are predicted to improve in the near future and there are several major construction projects on the horizon which may need material.
The underlying owners will be a motivating factor in the expedition of mining due to their desire to develop the properties, at very low densities, once mining is completed. Staff recognizes that this extension has the potential to extend the active life of the mine to 40-years from the original approval and parts of this site have never been opened for mining; however, the resource is present and any extension will still obligate the applicant to stay current with all other permits and regulatory requirements.
Staff recommends approval of the Three Bells Pit Special Review Time Extension, file #10-Z1827, subject to the following conditions:
1. The operations of the pit shall be in conformance with the conditions of approval set in action on the 2006 appeal, except that the operations of the pit shall be completed no later than December 31, 2016, and reclamation shall be completed no later than December 31, 2017.
Chair Donnelly opened the hearing to the applicant and Anne Johnson, representative of Lafarge West, Incorporated, gave a brief presentation to the Board. Ms. Johnson stated that the economy has had a very negative impact on operations at the subject property because a decrease in demand has lead to a decrease in production of materials. Ms. Johnson also stated that Lafarge desires to mine the property as expeditiously as possible.
Commissioner Johnson asked Ms. Johnson if Lafarge planned to operate the mine on weekends and holidays, as allowed per the Board of County Commissioners’ approval of operations in 2006. Ms. Johnson answered that they hoped not to work weekends or holidays; however, if there were an immediate need, Lafarge would like the opportunity to mine the property during weekends and holidays.
Chair Donnelly asked Ms. Johnson how Lafarge proposed to protect the eagles nest located near the subject site. Ms Johnson stated that the portion of land containing the nest has been released from Lafarge’s control and mining operations will not occur within 500-feet of the nest.
Chair Donnelly opened the hearing to public comment. Elmer Floyd Weiderspon and Kate Green, nearby land owners, addressed the Board in support of allowing mining to continue until 2015, in efforts to complete the excavation. Both stated that the applicant has had plenty of time to mine the property; however, they are supportive of allowing the applicant to continue mining in order complete the project. Ms. Green noted that she was only opposed to a portion of the proposed extension and suggested the Board grant mining approval in stages. Mr. Weiderspon requested the Board require the installation of mandatory monitoring wells to check water levels near the mine.
Commissioner Johnson asked staff how the Board could ensure that the property will be mined expeditiously. Mr. Helmick informed the Board that there is not a way to ensure the property will be mined expeditiously and stated that the speed of mining is typically subject to the state of the local economy.
Commissioner Johnson asked staff if they had a record of production amounts for the mine and Mr. Helmick stated that production amounts were not required to be submitted.
David Jordan, representative from Lafarge, addressed the Board and stated that over the last year, Lafarge only mined 25% of the materials mined in 2006. Because of this staggering decline, Mr. Jordan argued that ten years was an appropriate extension of time.
Commissioner Gaiter stated that although market conditions are not ideal, the mine has been allowed to operate since 1979. Therefore, he suggested approving an extension of five years instead of the requested ten years.
Commissioner Johnson stated that while he supported the extraction of aggregate materials as they are so heavily relied upon, and because the Planning Commission for the Town of Windsor recommended approval of the application, he was inclined to support a 5-year extension.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Johnson moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Three Bells Pit Special Review Time Extension, file #10-Z1827, as amended and reflected in the recommendation listed above.
Motion carried 3-0.
There being no further business, the Board adjourned at 3:45 p.m.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2011
The Board of County Commissioners met at 9:00 a.m. with Frank Lancaster, County Manager. Chair Donnelly presided and Commissioners Gaiter and Johnson were present. Also present were: Candace Phippen, Building Department; Neil Gluckman, Donna Hart and Deni LaRue, Commissioners’ Office; Laurel Kubin and Kathy Wolf, Extension Office; Steven Balderson, Stacey Baumgarn, Troy Griffin, Michael Kirk, and Andy Paratore, Facilities and Information Technology Department; Bridget Paris and Lorenda Volker, Department of Human Resources; Linda Hoffman, Planning Department; Linda Connors, Jeannine Haag, and William Ressue, County Attorney’s Office; and Melissa Lohry, Deputy Clerk.
1. PUBLIC COMMENT: There was no public comment today.
2. REVIEW OF THE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 21, 2011: Ms. Hart reviewed the upcoming schedule with the Board.
3. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 7, 2011:
M O T I O N
Commissioner Gaiter moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the minutes for the week of February 7, 2011.
Motion carried 2-0, Commissioner Donnelly abstained due to his absence during the last week.
4. RECOGNITION OF THE COUNTY AND DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES FOR THE 2010 LONGS PEAK COUNCIL BOY SCOUT CAMPOREE: Terry Everett, Todd Hikus, and Leslie Thibodeaux, from the Longs Peak Council of the Boy Scouts of America, thanked the Board and county staff, specifically Chris Fleming, Dan Roth, Frank Lancaster, and Gary Buffington, for their contributions and dedication to the camporee. Mr. Everett explained that the camporee was held September 24, 2010, through the September 26, 2010, to celebrate the centennial of the Longs Peak Council. Mr. Everett stated that the camporee, held at the Hermit Park Open Space and Estes Park Fairgrounds, hosted 1,200 weekend-long campers and 2,500 day-long visitors on Saturday, September 25, 2010.
Commissioner Donnelly noted that he was present at the event and thanked everyone who made the whole weekend such a positive experience.
The Board expressed their appreciation to staff.
5. RECOGNITION OF GARY BUFFINGTON, CAROL BLOCK, AND TRACY HINES FOR COORDINATING THE 2010 UNITED WAY CAMPAIGN FOR LARIMER COUNTY: The Board presented certificates of appreciation to Mr. Buffington, Ms. Block, and Ms. Hines for their time and energy coordinating the 2010 United Way Campaign for Larimer County. The campaign, which ran the entire month of October, raised $68,890 to benefit the families of Larimer County.
The Board expressed their thanks for all of the hard work that went into the campaign.
6. CONSENT AGENDA:
M O T I O N
Commissioner Johnson moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the consent agenda, as listed below:
PETITIONS FOR ABATEMENT: As recommended by the County Assessor, the following Petitions for Abatement are approved: Roger James Lewis (2009), Gail M. Cotton; and Donna Jean Dannen. As recommended by the County Assessor, the following Petition for Abatement was denied: Roger James Lewis (2008).
02152011A001 GEOTECHNICAL AND TESTING SERVICES AGREEMENT BY AND BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND TERRACON CONSULTANTS INC
02152011D001 DEED OF DEDICATION FROM SUSAN L. WILLIAMS-STOLZ
02152011R001 RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 11-1082
02152011R002 RESOLUTION ADOPTING AMENDMENTS TO THE LARIMER COUNTY LAND USE CODE
LIQUOR LICENSES: The following license was approved and issued: Butler Management Service LLC, doing business as Campsite Pizza – Transfer of Ownership with Temporary Permit – Fort Collins.
Motion carried 3-0.
7. UPDATE ON THE IMPACT OF 4-H PARTICIPATION ON WORKFORCE READINESS: Ms. Wolfe, Ms. Kubin, and Caitlin Still, an 11-year member of 4-H, addressed the Board to present a report detailing the impact of 4-H on children and young adults and request continued support for the Extension Office and the 4-H program. Ms. Wolf stated the report was designed to provide an accountability update on the outcomes of the 4-H youth development program as related to school achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparation.
The Board thanked Ms. Wolfe, Ms. Kubin, and Ms. Still for their presentation and commended the work of the Extension Office.
8. REPORT REGARDING THE 2010 VOLUNTARY STAFFING REDUCTION PROGRAMS: Ms. Volker explained that the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program and the Voluntary FTE Reduction program provided a combined savings of approximately $1,333,699.52 for the 2011 budget year. And, assuming those employees that chose to separate from the county would have still be employed in 2012, and further assuming there would be no change to benefits and salary, the total cost savings for both programs for 2012 is estimated to be $2,595,673.21.
Ms. Volker stated that while the program was a success, with 41 employees participating in the programs, 39 voluntarily separated and 2 accepted a voluntary FTE reduction, there were some small changes she would like to implement if the programs are offered in the future.
Commissioner Johnson asked about the likelihood that departments would appear before the Board to request that eliminated positions be reinstated. Ms. Volker stated that while some departments may request that the positions be reinstated, most departments very seriously considered the effects of eliminating positions before approving separation or hourly reductions.
9. REVIEW OF THE 2010 FACILITIES DEPARTMENT COST SAVINGS AND RECOVERY PROJECTS: Chair Donnelly recognized and thanked Mr. Balderson, Mr. Baumgarn, Mr. Griffin, Mr. Kirk, and Mr. Paratore for being good stewards of tax payer dollars, most notably being the space and energy maximization projects. Chair Donnelly commended staff for the completion of the space maximization project, including the retro-commissioning of HVAC technology, all of which was accomplished ahead of schedule and under budget.
Chair Donnelly also commended staff for developing a system to track all utility bills paid by the county from various companies. He noted that this system uncovered an $18,439 billing error made by the City of Fort Collins, resulting in a credit of the same amount.
Chair Donnelly reiterated his praise for the Facilities Department and the Board thanked everyone for their dedication to the county and its citizens.
10. COUNTY MANAGER WORKSESSION: Mr. Lancaster provided the Board with a brief overview of the Poudre River Forum which was held on February 3, 2011. Mr. Lancaster noted that the conversations, which included a review of the history and significance of the Cache La Poudre River, were balanced and very informative.
Mr. Lancaster presented the Board with a list of the seven work goals set by the Board during their retreat. He requested the Board’s approval of the goals before distribution and implementation begins.
Lastly, Mr. Lancaster stated that he and Chair Donnelly will follow-up with the Board regarding the disaster, relief, and recovery training they attended last week at the National Emergency Training Center. Overall, he said the training was very realistic and informative.
11. COMMISSIONER ACTIVITY REPORT: The Board discussed their activities at events during the past week.
12. LEGAL MATTERS: Ms. Haag requested the Board go into executive session to receive legal advice on three matters, including; the Dutchak Barn, settlement offers for liquor license holders, and a dispute regarding County Road 6, with no decision to follow.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Gaiter moved that the Board of County Commissioners go into executive session for the purposes of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions as outlined in 24-6-402(4)(b) C.R.S.
Motion carried 3-0.
There being no further business, the Board adjourned at 11:46 a.m.
TOM DONNELLY, CHAIR
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CLERK AND RECORDER
Melissa E. Lohry, Deputy County Clerk