LARIMER COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION

Minutes of April 16, 2008

 

The Larimer County Planning Commission met in a regular session on Wednesday, April 16, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hearing Room.  Commissioners Cox, Morgan, Oppenheimer, Wallace, and Weitkunat were present.  Commissioners Hart, Karabensh, and Waldo were absent.  Commissioner Boulter presided as Chairman.  Also present were Matt Lafferty, Principal Planner, Rob Helmick, Senior Planner, Karin Madson, Planner II, Toby Stauffer, Planner II, Mark Peterson, County Engineer, Ed Woodward, Senior Engineering Technician, Traci Downs, Engineering Department, Doug Ryan, Health Department and Jill Wilson, Planning Technician and Recording Secretary. 

 

Matt Lafferty accompanied Commissioners’ Cox, Wallace, and Weitkunat today on a site visit to Wolcott Planned Land Division/Planned Development and Richards Lake-Waverly Transmission Line Location and Extent.  Chairman Boulter visited the sites independently.

 

COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE COUNTY LAND USE CODE: 

None

 

COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING OTHER RELEVANT LAND USE MATTERS NOT ON THE AGENDA:  

None

 

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE MARCH 19, 2008 MEETINGS:  MOTION by Commissioner Cox to approve the minutes, seconded by Commissioner Weitkunat.  This received unanimous voice approval.

 

AMENDMENTS TO THE AGENDA:

None

 

TABLED ITEM: 

Mr. Helmick stated that Enclave at Eagle View Conservation Development #05-S2467 had been table to the May 21, 2008 Planning Commission hearing at the request of the applicant.  The applicant needed more time fulfilling the statutory requirement of submitting the mineral interest notice.

 

CONSENT ITEM:

 

ITEM #1  WOLCOTT PLANNED LAND DIVISION/PLANNED DEVELOPMENT #08-S2778:  Mrs. Stauffer provided background information on the request to rezone from C (Commercial) to PD (Planned Development) and divide one parcel by Planned Land Division into two commercial use lots located at 1903 E. Lincoln Avenue, 100 feet from Airpark Drive, between Airpark and Industrial Drive on Lincoln Avenue.  She explained that the Hideout Bar, approved by site plan in 2007 (#07-SP0207) was located on the west lot and was currently under construction, and the proposed east lot would contain a motorcycle repair shop.

 

DISCUSSION:

Commissioner Wetikunat moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:

 

 

 

 

BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners that the Wolcott Planned Development, file #08-S2778, for the property described on “Exhibit A” to the minutes, be approved subject to the following conditions:

 

1.    The rezoning shall be effective upon the recordation of the final plat of Wolcott Planned Land Division.

 

2.    The permitted uses, lot building and structure requirements, setbacks and structure height limitations for Wolcott Planned Land Division shall be as follows:

§Uses followed by an (R) are allowed by right.

§Uses followed by an (MS) require approval through the minor special review process.

§Uses followed by an (S) require approval through the special review process described in section 4.5.

§Uses followed by an (R/S) may be allowed by right or require special review approval based on thresholds in section 4.3 (use descriptions).

§   Uses followed by an (L) require review through the location and extent review process described in section 13.0.

 

PD (Planned Development)

A.   Principal uses:

Agricultural

Garden supply center (R)

Pet animal facility (R)

Pet animal veterinary clinic/hospital (R/S)

Commercial

Convenience store (R)

Automobile service station (R)

Carwash (R)

Professional office (R)

General retail (R/S) See section 4.3

General commercial (R)

Personal service (R)

Takeout restaurant (R)

Sit-down restaurant (R)

Nightclub (R)

Flea market (R/S)--See section 4.3 (use descriptions and conditions)

Instructional facility (R)

Outdoor display/sales (R)

Outdoor Storage (R/MS)

Clinic (R)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Institutional

Health services (R)

Hospital (R)

School, public (L)

School, nonpublic (R/S)--See section 4.3

Rehabilitation facility (R)

Sheriff/fire station (L)

Church (R)

Recreational

Place of amusement or recreation (R/S)--See section 4.3

Membership club/clubhouse (R)

Accommodation

Hotel/motel (R)

Industrial

Enclosed storage (R)

Trade use (R/S)--See section 4.3

Light industrial (S)

Utilities

Utility substation (L)

Treatment plant (L)

Commercial mobile radio service (R/S)

Radio and television transmitters (S)

Water storage facility (L)

Transportation

Transportation depot (R)

Bus terminal (R)

Transportation service (R)

Parking lot/garage (R)

Park and ride (R)

 

B.   Lot, building and structure requirements:

1.   Minimum lot size:

5,000 Square feet

2.   Minimum setbacks:

a.   Front yard - 15 feet from the property line or from the nearest edge of the road easement.

b.   Side yards - 10 feet.

c.   Rear yards - 20 feet.

d.   Streams, creeks and rivers--100 feet from the centerline of the established watercourse.

3.   Maximum structure height--40 feet.

4.   No parcel can be used for more than one principal building

 

Commissioner Morgan seconded the Motion.

 

Commissioners' Cox, Morgan, Oppenheimer, Wallace, Weitkunat, and Chairman Boulter voted in favor of the Motion.

 

 

MOTION PASSED:  6-0

 

Commissioner Weitkunat moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:

 

BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners that the Wolcott Planned Land Division, file #08-S2778, for the property described on “Exhibit A” to the minutes, be approved subject to the following conditions:

 

1.    The Final Plat shall be consistent with the approved preliminary plan and with the information contained in the Wolcott Planned Land Division (File #08-S2778), 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 Wolcott Planned Land Division.

 

2.    The following fees shall be collected at building permit issuance:  Larimer County fees for County and Regional Transportation Capital Expansion and applicable drainage fees.  The fee amount that is current at the time of building permit application shall apply.

 

3.    Prior to final plat approval the applicant shall adequately address all referral agency comments and Engineering concerns or, if a subsequent site plan is needed, prior to the approval of a site plan.

 

4.    Prior to final plat approval the applicant shall adequately address comments from Public Service Company/ Xcel Energy. A 10’ easement on both sides of an overhead line on the property is needed. The applicant will show the easement on the revised final plat prior to approval.

 

Commissioner Morgan seconded the Motion.

 

Commissioners' Cox, Morgan, Oppenheimer, Wallace, Weitkunat, and Chairman Boulter voted in favor of the Motion.

 

MOTION PASSED:  6-0

 

ITEMS:

 

ITEM #2  ADOPTION OF REVISED DFIRM PANELS AND THE ASSOCIATED FLOOD INSURANCE STUDY:  Mr. Peterson provided background information on the request to adopt certain revised DFIRM panels and the associated Flood Insurance Map dated June 17, 2008.  He explained that Larimer County was required by FEMA to adopt the revised maps and flood insurance study. The revised information began where Dry Creek crossed North Shields Street and went in a southeasterly direction towards the airpark area at East Mulberry and Timberline.  He outlined on a map where the changes were located.

 

Commissioner Morgan asked if a land owner that lived north and west of Shields would have to pay for the entire revision if they wanted to develop the area?

 

 

Mr. Peterson replied that it would have to get addressed but would not necessarily require that the owner revise all of the mapping.  It would require that enough analysis occurred so it could be verified that they were no longer in the flood plain or flood zone area.  He stated that the flow rates had been decrease dramatically but the topography had to be known and what the limits of that flood plain would become in conjunction with that revised and reduced flow rate.

 

Commissioner Morgan asked if the County would eventually revise the flood plain maps?

 

Mr. Peterson replied that the Engineering Department did not have any resources to allocate to that currently.

 

Commissioner Weitkunat confirmed that what was being proposed was a reduced size of the Dry Creek Flood Plain. 

 

Mr. Peterson stated that once the maps were adopted the regulatory flood plain was revised and the properties that may have been in the flood plain previously would be taken out.

 

PUBLIC TESTIMONY:

None

 

DISCUSSION:

Commissioner Wallace moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:

 

BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners the adoption of the revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps and an associated Flood Insurance Study dated June 17, 2008.

 

Commissioner Morgan seconded the Motion.

 

Commissioners' Cox, Morgan, Oppenheimer, Wallace, Weitkunat, and Chairman Boulter voted in favor of the Motion.

 

MOTION PASSED:  6-0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM #3  AMENDMENTS TO THE LARIMER COUNTY LAND USE CODE #08-CA0082:  Ms. Madson provided background information on the request to amend the Land Use Code specifically addressing only accessory wind generators and small wind energy facilities.  Currently the Land Use Code only addressed “wind power” in the context of a power plant, and power plants were currently only allowed in the I-1 Industrial zone by Special Review.  Electric generation by wind power had become a topic of interest and over the past year Planning Staff had worked with a number of individuals, industry professionals, agencies, and boards to discuss regulations for Wind Power Plants, Small Wind Energy Facilities, and Wind Generators.  Initially, staff thought that they would include all of those types of facilities in one code amendment; however, Wind Power Plants were not included in the proposed amendments as they were anticipated to be included in a proposed 1041 Regulation in the near future.  She showed a table that summarized the uses, the differences in scale, and the applicable process for review.  She explained that wind generators were proposed as an accessory use and small wind energy facilities as a principle use.  Wind generators would be allowed in all zoning districts up to 40 feet high on a minimum of one acre lot size and a quantity of one.  It would have a setback of two times the height of the generator and would be use by right which meant that a building permit would be the only approval requirement.  She stated that if someone wanted to propose something that did not meet those requirements the code amendment included a minor special review process to make that request.  On the other hand, Small Wind Energy Facilities were proposed to be allowed in the FA, FA-1, O-Open, I-Industrial, and I-1 Industrial at a height of up to 80 feet at a minimum of a one acre lot size and a quantity of no more than three.  The setback would also be two times the height of the generator and would be approved through the minor special review process.  She noted that the Accessory Wind Generators would have standards which addressed such things as the number, height, setback, painted color, illumination, not displaying advertising, electrical controls, and noise.  If it did not fit within one of those standards then the minor special review process could be used.  Similarly, Small Wind Energy Facility had standards and also one review criterion.

 

PUBLIC TESTIMONY:

John Lynn, 3263 W. County Road 60, stated that he had a unit on his property.  He stated that the new regulations as proposed would limit growth to small wind power users.  He had one unit on 36 acres and wanted to add more as time permitted possibly to see how his power was generated over a years period of time.  He stated that the hub height was also a concern and suggested it be different for 10 acre lots or more.  He also suggested that the paint color standard be broadened.  Along with that, the underground electrical control regulation was concerning as it was a cost issue.  He stated that there was no consideration for the size of unit being installed and recommended that residential use should be at 10 kilowatts and any thing more than that would be production for somewhere else.  He appreciated the efforts to get wind energy into the County. 

 

Commissioner Morgan asked what his suggestion would be on the number of towers on a lot to generate the wind power?

 

Mr. Lynn replied that he was trying to reduce his footprint but for his use he would most likely need 3 units.  If the winds sustained as they did this year he could probably run his house on two units.

 

 

 

 

Dennis Jones, Majestic Wind Power and Southwest Wind Power, wanted to introduce the company and state that they were there to help.  He stated that their biggest concern was that it not be limited to who could use the units.  Also, he felt that the setbacks limited the different variabilities.  He felt that the lot size should also be examined because he did not think that the use should be limited to people that owned one acre or more.  He understood that painting would be an issue with people and trying to limit it was necessary but it needed to be considered according to the area, home color, etc.  He also felt that the minor special review was necessary, and the cost was reasonable.  He stated that it would become a big product and not limiting it was what he wanted to support.

 

Gary Adkins, consultant for Majestic Wind Power, stated that with the prices of oil, etc. there was going to be pressure to have alternative energy.  He felt that the setback regulations were very restrictive even in a one acre lot situation.  The failure rate that was usually caused by the wind, and it might be better to have a setback that was a percentage of the wind tower in the County.  The engineering that they were using was at the maximum wind of 146 miles per hour and the area where there would be most of the towers would only be 93 miles per hour.  As a percentage of that maximum it would be only one length of the mast instead of two lengths of the mast.  That way it would make it far more available to people in the County.

 

Commissioner Morgan stated that the failure rate was not the issue of the setback.  The concern was the aesthetic and openness.  He said that over time the regulations could evolve and change.

 

Richard Seaworth, 3218 E. County Road 70, stated that he had a 600 acre farm that was wired 480.  They used about 240 horsepower at peak time at low wind season.  He did not believe that the minor special review was a streamlined process and felt that it should be more of any administrative process.

 

Mr. Lynn pointed out that on the website for Southwest Wind Power it stated that properties of one acre or more were ideal.

 

DISCUSSION:

Ms. Madson responded to comments by saying that the number of accessory wind generators allowed on a site could go through the minor special review process along with setback and lot size issues.  As far as the painting, there was a neutral color included, and the standard was meant to have a paint that fit in with the environment and surrounding area.  She understood that there was a cost associated with having underground electrical controls but it was intended to address the visual impacts.  She explained that a size limitation was intentionally left out as the accessory type wind generators were intended to be accessory to more than just residences such as a farm use, etc.  The biggest concern regarding the tubular design of the wind generators came from the Division of Wildlife and was with regard to the guide or lattice towers.  She mentioned that when looking at a number of regulations throughout the country the majority were for the tubular design tower.  Regarding the Section 4.9.6 exemptions to maximum structure height, she explained that the zoning districts in Larimer County all had a maximum structure height.  By putting the exemption in it exempted the facilities like a radio or TV transmission facility that was typically taller then those heights.  She explained that the setback decision was based on noise, compatibility, and the visual impacts than a failure concern. 

 

 

 

Mr. Lynn stated that it was his personal preference to put all of his lines underground but if there was already a line running above ground then one could tag onto those lines from their wind generator.  There were no other accessory buildings in Larimer County that were required to have their lines put under ground.

 

Ms. Madson stated that the regulation stated that the lines had to go underground except for an interconnection to an existing above ground power grid.  It would require that only new facilities for that wind generator be put underground.

 

The Commissioners’ felt that the regulations needed to be put into place as it was a new technology and as more was realized the regulations could be amended.  It was a learning process and they would need input from the community.

 

Commissioner Cox moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:

 

BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners the adoption of the amendments to the Larimer County Land Use Code, #08-CA0082, as follows:

 

1.         Add the following definitions to the Land Use Code Section 0.1:

 

Wind Generator: A generator specifically designed to convert the kinetic energy in wind into electrical energy.  A wind generator may include a generator, tower and associated control or conversion electronics.  The height of a wind generator is measured at the hub of the generator.

 

Small Wind Energy Facility: A facility which is used for the production of electrical energy from energy supplied by the wind including any transmission lines, and developed for the purposes of supplying or distributing electrical energy to a customer or customers, and in which there are no more than three wind generator towers and the hub height of the wind towers does not exceed 80 feet.

 

Electric transmission lines.  Electrical power lines that carry voltages of at least 69,000 volts (69kV) and are primarily used to carry electric energy over medium to long distances rather than directly interconnecting and supplying electric energy to retail customers.

 

2.         Add wind generator to the accessory uses in Land Use Code Section 4.3.10. as follows:

 

L. Accessory Wind Generator.  Each lot may include a wind generator for the use of the property owner. An accessory wind generator that cannot meet all the following standards requires review and approval through the Minor Special Review process.  A wind generator must meet the following standards:

1.   One wind generator per lot is allowed.

2.   The lot must be at least one acre.

3.   The hub height of the wind generator must not exceed 40 feet.

 

 

4.   The wind generator must be setback from property lines, public rights of way  and access easements at least 2 times the hub height of the generator

5.   The wind generator must be painted or coated a non-reflective white, grey or other neutral color.

6.   The wind generator must not be artificially illuminated.

7.   The wind generator must not be used to display advertising. 

8.   Electrical controls must be wireless or underground and power lines must be underground except for an interconnection to an existing above ground power grid.

9.   Noise emanating from the wind generator must be in compliance with Larimer County Code Chapter 30, Article V. Noise.

 

3.         Add Small Wind Energy Facility to the industrial uses in Land Use Code Section 4.3.7 as follows:

 

N.  Small Wind Energy Facility: A facility which is used for the production of electrical energy from energy supplied by the wind including any transmission lines, and developed for the purposes of supplying or distributing electrical energy to a customer or customers, and in which there are no more than three wind generator towers and the hub height of the wind towers does not exceed 80 feet.

1.    A Small Wind Energy Facility must meet the following criteria in addition to the Section 4.5 Minor Special Review Criteria:

a.    A Small Wind Energy Facility must be sited and designed to minimize adverse visual impacts on neighboring properties.

2.    A Small Wind Energy Facility must meet the following standards:

a.    A Small Wind Energy Facility must be setback from property lines, public rights of way and access easements at least 2 times the hub height of the generator. 

b.         A Small Wind Energy Facility must be located on a lot or parcel of at least one acre.

c.         The wind generator turbines and towers must be painted or coated a non-reflective white, grey or other neutral color.

d.    A Small Wind Energy Facility must not be artificially illuminated unless required by the FAA.

e.    A Small Wind Energy Facility must not be used to display advertising. 

f.    Electrical controls must be wireless or underground and power lines must be underground except where the electrical collector wiring is brought together for connection to the transmission or distribution network, adjacent to that network.  Proposed transmission facilities must be identified and included as part of the Small Wind Energy Facility project.

g.    Noise emanating from the Small Wind Energy Facility must be in compliance with Larimer County Code Chapter 30, Article V. Noise.

h.    The operator of the Small Wind Energy Facility must minimize or mitigate any interference with electromagnetic communications, such as radio, telephone or television signals caused by the facility.

 

i.    Towers for wind generators must be constructed of a tubular design and include anti-climb features.

j.    A Small Wind Energy Facility must be designed to minimize access and associated site disturbance.  Construction access must be regraded and revegetated to minimize environmental impacts.

k.    A Small Wind Energy Facility application must include an agreement that addresses decommissioning and abandonment of the facility.  The agreement must at a minimum provide for reuse or dismantlement of the facility at the owner’s expense.

 

4.         Add Small Wind Energy Facility as a use allowed by Minor Special Review (MS) to the FA Farming, FA-1 Farming, O Open, I Industrial and I-1 Industrial zoning districts as follows:

 

Add a new item to the follow zoning sections:

·   FA-Farming Section 4.1.1.A. Industrial 39. Small wind energy facility (MS) and renumber the remainder of the section.

 

·   FA-1 Farming Section 4.1.2.A. Industrial 39. Small wind energy facility (MS) and renumber the remainder of the section.

 

·   O-Open Section 4.1.5.A. Industrial 50. Small wind energy facility (MS) and renumber the remainder of the section.

 

·   I-Industrial Section 4.1.19.A. Industrial 33. Small wind energy facility (MS) and renumber the remainder of the section.

 

·   I-1 Industrial Sections 4.1.20.A. Industrial 13. Small wind energy facility (MS) and renumber the remainder of the section.

 

5.    Add a new row to the Zoning Table after the Industrial Power Plant as follows:

Category: Industrial

Use: Small Wind Energy Facility

FA, FA-1, O, I and I-1: MS

 

6.         Modify Section 4.9.6. Maximum structure height as follows:

 

A. 5.  The maximum height limitations in Section 4.1 of this code do not apply to radio and television transmitters, accessory wind generators approved by minor special review, and/or small wind energy facilities.  

 

7.    Add a new review criteria to Section 4.5.3  and 4.5.5 to include a reference to additional criteria in some use descriptions as follows:

 

F.   The applicant has demonstrated that this project can meet applicable additional criteria listed in the Section 4.3 Use Descriptions.

 

Commissioner Oppenheimer seconded the Motion.

 

Commissioners' Cox, Morgan, Oppenheimer, Wallace, Weitkunat, and Chairman Boulter voted in favor of the Motion.

 

MOTION PASSED:  6-0

 

 

ITEM #4  RICHARDS LAKE-WAVERLY LINE LOCATION AND EXTENT #08-Z1682:  Mr. Helmick provided background information on the request to construct a 115kV electrical transmission line running between the Waverly substation (County Road 60 & County Road 15) and the Richards Lake Substation (west of Budweiser).   The applicant had identified a need based on anticipated growth and had provided an analysis of all of the alternative routes as well as the chosen route.  The Development Services Team had concluded that the route chosen by the applicants met the intent of the Larimer County Master Plan and wasrecommending approval.  

 

Mark Murray, 1100 W. 116th Avenue, Permitting and Land Rights Manager for Tri-State Generation and Transmission, stated that Tri-State was a nonprofit electric cooperative established in 1952.  They were proposing to build a 115kV electrical line seven miles long from the Richards Lake Substation to the Waverly Substation.  They needed to improve the electric system to the existing customers of PVREA and provide a power delivery infrastructure that was needed to increase the reliability in the area, which was a redundant source.  He showed a graph that reflected growth which showed a 30% increase in customers over the last 30 years.  He mentioned some of the benefits of the project which were that they could respond to the current and future needs for the additional electricity that was needed in the Poudre Valley service area, improve the systems electricity and reliability, provide redundant transmission service in the event of a transmission outage, and maintain the regulatory standards.  He showed the proposed route, showed the structures they were proposing, and stated that they would construct single (wood) pole structures at 65 feet high and approximately 400-500 feet apart.  He mentioned that they did have initial meetings with the landowners and also held an open house where 35 people out of 50 notified attended.  He stated that their intent was to have service in 2009. 

 

Commissioner Wallace asked how much money the project would cost?

 

Mr. Murray replied $8 million.

 

Commissioner Wallace asked what the benefit was?

 

Mr. Murray replied that the benefits would be a reliable electrical system that could not only supply the current demand but supply future demands.  It would offer a redundant source of electricity. 

 

Jim Burn, Engineering Manager for Poudre Valley Rural Electric, stated that there was currently an existing transmission line to the Waverly substation but that one line served Wellington, Livermore, Manhattan, Rustic, and Bellvue substations.  He stated that a level had been reached where there was a need for more reliability, and the new power line would be a second source to the transmission line. 

 

 

 

 

Commissioner Wallace asked how the cost was allocated to each resident and asked if alternative power sources had been looked at?

 

Mr. Murray stated that they were generally powered off of coal.  He stated that they were looking into other energy sources but currently the technology was being development and there was not anything that you could base load.  He stated that Poudre Valley REA was one of 44 cooperatives, and the residents would be paying 1/44 of the cost.  If land owners wanted the line underground then that cost increased 10-12 times the cost.  He mentioned that Tri-State only had 1.9 miles of line underground, which was in Firestone.  He explained that in order to bury the line the party had to be willing to pay $35,000 for a feasibility study and then burden the cost difference between the above ground and under ground construction. 

 

PUBLIC TESTIMONY:

Barbara Cohen, 401 E. County Road 56, thanked the commission for their public service.  She stated that she had received answers at the hearing that she could not get answered previously.  She stated that she personally was not dealt with in a professional manner regarding the information about the power line.  She had lived in the area for 25 years and was not aware of any of her electricity ever being out that had caused her any problems.  She stated that the word redundancy made it sound like it was more of a business deal than what was needed at the present time.  With the acknowledgement of the rapid increase in technology she was not sure it was a good way to spend $8 million dollars.  She had not been given any indication that it was a good idea, and she lived in the area that would be the highest impacted in terms of property value, aesthetic, quality of life, and perhaps health issues.  She stated that she wanted the tranquility, countryside and quality of life for her mother, herself, and her grandchildren. 

 

Don Leffler, President of Diamond Point Development, was representing their future project near the Waverly substation going south.  They had met with PVREA and Tri-State and proposed their project to them.  He stated that the current alignment if it went forward would have an immediate impact as to the contract values that they currently presented with the owners.  In addition, there were very short time frames for getting the project completed.  According to Tri-State’s schedule after receiving approval they needed to acquire easements but the easements that existed today along the alignment were not big enough to facilitate the power line.  He felt that they should be acquiring the easements first in order to achieve support and understanding from the property owners.  He stated that they would support some of the alternate routes.

 

John Thompson, 668 E. County Road 56, stated that the existing transmission line crossed his property diagonally.  He wanted to know why they were not following the existing transmission line as it was today.  There were already easements there, and he felt that they were not doing so because there were more residents along that route and they were looking for the path of least resistance.  The property owners along County Road 56 and towards Waverly were the ones that would shoulder all of the cost to benefit all of the other customers.  He stated that the property values would drop 5% or more based on the research he had done.  Along with that health issues were also a concern.  He stated that the school bus dropped the kids off right under the power lines, and he did not feel comfortable with that. 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Moreng, stated that he lived in the path of the power lines and increasing up the power to those lines scared him.  He stated that he wanted the lines buried.  He mentioned that at his brother’s house they wanted to take the easement from 35 feet to 75-100 feet, which went through the center of his living room.  He also stated that the proposal took away from the farming value and diminished the value of his property.  He stated that he was seeing new information tonight and felt that there were better alternative routes that should be reviewed for further discussion.  He mentioned the discussion on maintaining the rural character and stated that bigger and taller power lines did not do that.  He wanted to see better long range planning and see that the easement discussions take place prior to approval. 

 

Mike Moreng, 122 Rocky Ridge Lane, stated that there was an easement on his property which Tri-State was asking to increase the width of.  Along with that they wanted to increase the voltage and increase the size of the poles.  Tri-State initially contacted him several months back, which was appreciated, and asked for an opportunity to survey the property.  He signed to allow that but had never heard back as far as the results of that survey.  He stated that Tri-State was also asking for an increase in the right-of-way, and he did not have enough information on how that was going to affect his house, which was currently 50 feet from the current line.  He stated that he wanted to receive more information on how the increases in easement and voltage were going to affect his house.  He knew that there was going to be growth and that they needed to look to the future but felt that there might be alternative ways to increase the power.  He asked that it be tabled to allow for more information to be presented to him so that he could make better decisions.

 

Barry Feldman, 401 E. County Road 56, stated that he had been involved with the proposal for the last 10 months trying to learn more about it.  He stated that he attended the meeting held by Tri-State and mentioned that he had contacted some of the people that attend himself because they did not have the actual poles on their property but had the lines going over their property.  He stated that some of his concerns were the visual impact, loss of physical property, devaluation of property, and health risks.  He stated that some of the concerns had been answered or clarified but others had been downplayed, negated, or ignored by Tri-State.  He also mentioned that the height of the poles had been changed several times along with the width of the easements.  He stated that to make a decision in regards to rights to survey and easements the public needed to know all the information.  He suggested burying the lines so the public would not have to look at the lines plus that way the easements could be smaller.  He mentioned a study done in Colorado in the 1970’s that stated that there was increased leukemia in children who lived or spent a lot of time under or near the power lines. 

 

Marina Mayer, 5218 Terry Lake Road, stated that she was originally from Germany and all of the power lines were buried over there because it was much more secure.  She stated that property values would decrease due to the appearance of the poles plus the health issues were of concern.  She asked that the county look in to the 1041 Regulations.  She stated that they had received much more information tonight than they had in the last few months from the applicant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Murray stated that he was empathetic with the public.  He explained that the reason the public had heard changes from their originally discussion was in response to the public requests that were made.  He mentioned that they had tried to respond to the public on their current concerns either in writing or through people in the field.  He explained that the current plan was to have a 65 foot high typical pole height instead of the original span of 75-100 feet.  He also mentioned that as a result of the public meeting held they had moved the line off of Barbara Cohen’s lot to the south side of the road which was the reservoir side of the road.  Along with that they had met with Mr. Leffler and were committed to working with him regarding their future project.  He stated that until Mr. Leffler had ownership of all the properties they could not discuss where the line would be placed on the property but were willing to make adjustments as he moved forward on his development.  He explained that they needed to survey the properties to understand how much of an easement they would need for the lines and once they surveyed Mr. Moreng’s property they could determine the exact easement needed and discuss options to complete a design to mitigate the issue regarding his home and the power line.  He also explained that the widths of the easements were determined by the sway of the conductors.  He stated that for the proposed project they would design for a 75 foot wide easement accommodating that with a 65 foot pole. 

 

Commissioner Morgan asked if their easement width including any part of the road easement?

 

Mr. Murray replied that they did not like to be in the road right-of-way with their poles because if the road got widened or if there needed to be improvements then they would have to move the facilities at their expense.  He stated that they could possibly share the easement if needed. 

 

Commissioner Cox asked what the difference in cost was between a buried line and an overhead line?

 

Mr. Murray replied that the difference was between 10-12 times the amount of the above ground line.  He explained that there were more factors involved with burying the line.  He also mentioned that the life expectancy for an underground line was shorter than an overhead line.

 

DISCUSSION:

Doug Ryan, Health Department, stated that the electric or magnetic fields that were associated with the lines had been studied and there was some indications but it was not strong enough to make firm conclusions regarding health risks.  The field strengths dramatically decreased with distance; therefore the issue of wanting to go through an unpopulated area was because it provided the maximum setback from things that were already there and as that area developed in the future it allowed people to know where the line was and make reasonable decisions about where they would build their property.  It was also his understanding that burying a line did not shield the magnetic and electric field strengths and some literature stated that people tended to forget about the line if it was buried.

 

Mr. Helmick stated that Larimer County was in the process of examining the 1041 regulations for power plants and electrical power lines but it was in the initial stages. 

 

Commissioner Cox asked if members of community could pay the $35,000 to have the feasibility study done regarding burying the lines.

 

 

Mr. Murray replied yes.

 

Commissioner Oppenheimer asked why Tri-State would not pay the cost since they were the ones that wanted to erect the lines?

 

Mr. Murray replied that Tri-State was not proposing to bury the line; therefore, they would ask the property owner(s) to burden that cost.

 

Commissioner Weikunat stated that Tri-State’s analysis was excellent and organized. 

 

Commissioner Wallace stated that she had empathy for the people impacted but the chosen route did affect the smallest number of people.

 

Commissioner Morgan complimented the applicant on their analysis.  He stated the he would support the application.

 

Commissioner Boulter stated that he lived near a power line too but as Larimer County continued to grow there would be pressure to the infrastructure.  He empathized with the public affected but was struck by the increase in energy usage.  He stated that it met the contingencies of the Master Plan, and he supported the application.

 

Commissioner Weitkunat moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:

 

BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission approve the Richards Lake-Waverly Line Location and Extent, file #08-Z1682.

 

Commissioner Morgan seconded the Motion.

 

Commissioners' Cox, Morgan, Oppenheimer, Wallace, Weitkunat and Chairman Boulter voted in favor of the Motion.

 

MOTION PASSED:  6-0

 

 

REPORT FROM STAFF:  Mr. Lafferty reminded the Commission of their upcoming meetings. 

 

ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, the hearing adjourned at 9:53 p.m.

 

 

These minutes constitute the Resolution of the Larimer County Planning Commission for the recommendations contained herein which are hereby certified to the Larimer County Board of Commissioners.

 

 

 

 

_______________________________                      ______________________________

Jeff Boulter, Chairman                                      Mina Cox, Secretary

 

EXHIBIT “A”

 

That part of the Southeast Quarter of Section 7 and the Northeast Quarter of Section 18, Township 7 North, Range 68 West of the Sixth Principal Meridian, Larimer County, Colorado, being more particularly described as follows:

 

All of Lot 1, Wolcott M.L.D. No.  01-S1730, recorded March 3rd, 2001 at Reception No. 2001022617 of the Larimer County Records, containing 1.65 acres more or less.