Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

RED FEATHER LAKES PLANNING ADVISORY COMMITTEE

FIRE HOUSE MEETING ROOM

44 FIRE HOUSE LANE , RED FEATHER LAKES

December 11, 2008

 

MEETING NOTES

 

The Meeting was called to order at l:35 p.m. by Chairperson Lucille Schmidt

 

Members in Attendance: Gene Barker, Susan Bradley, Ted Carter, Terry Ferebee, Bill Gilbert, Ross Reid, Lucille Schmitt, Roger Svendsen, Bud Thomas and Michael Sledge

 

Members Excused Absences : All other members had excused absences

 

Larimer County Representation : Jill Bennett, LARCO Planning

 

Guests Present: Judy Seward, Ed Seward, Pat Bradley, Marion Monroe, Wynne Dimock, Stephen Johnson, Dave Doft, Susan Rael, Nicholas Rael, Judy Viola, Deacon James Devlin, Marjorie Wolf, Maggie Mora, Bob Lagow, and Ben Myers

 

Approval of Minutes: A motion to approve the October 9, 2008 minutes was made and seconded.  All RFLPAC approved the motion.

 

Adoption of Agenda :  The agenda was approved as written

 

Communications from Committee Members: None

 

Communications from County Representatives : Jill Bennett advised that Commissioners Rennels was wondering if her monthly Red Feather community meeting could be conducted on the same day as the RFLPAC meeting.  Her community meeting would occur at approximately 1200 noon.  PAC membership advised that this idea was feasible. 

 

Comments from the Audience: Judy Viola advised (1) that the Library’s water well is 260 feet deep, (2) that the well classification was changed to “under the influence of surface water” and (3) that tests have been within the acceptable range.

 

DISCUSSION ITEMS :

 

MONROE EXCAVATING SPECIAL REVIEW, FILE #07-Z1650

 

Rob Helmick, LARCO Development and Review Planning

 

 

 

Advised that this special review will be going to the Planning Commission on December 17, 2008.  Documents pertaining to this Special Review can be found on the Larimer County Web Site: www.larimer.org/departments/planning.  When you go to the bottom of the Planning page, you will find Planning Commission.  On the Planning Commission page, you will find a link to the current agenda.  The document is titled: Monroe Excavating Deadman Quarry Special Review

 

Mr. Helmick advised that the reason LARCO Planning is coming before the RFLPAC to provide the RFLPAC the opportunity to make comments pertaining to the application as it relates to the Red Feather Lakes Plan.  The Planning Commission is empowered to make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners who will decide, both on the technical aspects and well as the compatibility aspects of the application. 

 

The Planning Department analysis of the 15-acre quarry is that it can meet the technical requirements of Larimer County (with certain limitation on its hours of operation) from the standpoint of noise, dust, and odor.  There are no standards for compatibility.  Consequently, the Board will have to evaluate public input and the technical standards to determine compatibility.  Mr. Helmick advised that Larimer County has mining operations where residential areas are closer to the mining operations and they have been found compatible by the Board of County Commissioners. 

 

Mr. Helmick advised that this application has been in process since September 2007. 

 

MARION MONROE’S COMMENTS.  Chairperson Schmitt asked Mr. Monroe if he had any comments and Mr. Monroe advised that (1) He resolved the issues that came up with the Church; (2) he has cleaned up the area and (3) that the mining operation is a necessary part of the Red Feather community and he requested the RFLPAC and (4) he requested the RFLPAC consideration. 

 

RFLPAC comments.  Several members advised that they had difficulty with digesting the contents of the Monroe Special Review packet having only received it less than a week ago.  Several members discussed the possibility of adjourning the PAC meeting and traveling to the Monroe site. 

 

Susan Bradley advised that she is for personal property rights and that that the mine would be an economical plus for the Red Feather community.  Ms. Bradley handed out photographs of the mining area and her adjoining property.  The photographs reflected that some of Mr. Monroe’s equipment was on Ms. Bradley property.  Mr. Monroe advised that this equipment had been removed the week earlier.  Ms. Bradley stated that Mr. Barker or Mr. Monroe had developed an egress road through Ms. Bradley property and this road is on the proposed site plan as an emergency access.  Mr. Helmich advised that this road is a civil issues and not part of the planning process. 

 

 

 

Chairperson Schmitt asked the attending public if they had any comments pertaining to the discussion item.  Maggie Mora stated that she felt that the Monroe site was being railroad through because she did not know anything about this special review until two days ago and as a property owner in Red Feather, she has many questions as they pertain to health, what the project will do to the air, concerns about increased truck traffic, etc.  Chairperson Schmitt stated that this proposal was discussed at a public meeting at the POA building and that information pertaining to this proposal was available on the Larimer County web site. 

 

Mr. Ed Seward stated that the Red Feather Plan identifies the proposed mining operation site for residential development and not for industrial use.  The property owners that built homes in the surrounding area did so prior to the illegal mining operation.  The mining operation has had a negative impact on surrounding property owners’ property rights and property values.  The issuance of the permit was not an endorsement of the mining operation only that the operation met basic safety requirements.  The mining operation is not in harmony with the neighborhood and it has a negative effect on the property owners' uses of their property.  Mr. Seward stated that property values of the surrounding property may decrease up to 25%.  He stated that he understood that Red Feather Lakes needs a cheap source of gravel but felt it was unacceptable for other Red Feather residents and the PAC to place the burden of cheap gravel on the property owners surrounding the illegal mining operation. 

 

A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the RFLPAC meeting to travel to mine site to acquaint members with site plan and surrounding environment. 

 

RFLPAC adjourned at 2:10 p.m. and reconvened at the Fire House Meeting Room at 2:57 p.m.

 

RFLPAC INPUT:

 

Michael Sledge: The PAC is the stewards of Red Feather and as such he cannot put his faith in a mine operator that has a negative work history.  The Monroe mine is not the only source of gravel.  Mr. Sledge reminded the PAC that the PAC is to look at the plan that it wrote.  View Space is part of the Plan.  This plan was approved by the Board of County Commissioners.  So, we have a mandate to maintain our view space.  When a person takes a left off of 74E and on to Deadman Road, you are entering the prime access to the greater national forest which is a prime attraction to our visitors and our signature beauty.  If view space is part of the PAC’s mandate, how can the PAC recommend approval of a mining operation that negatively affects this view space?

 

Roger Svendsen related a personal experience where a reservoir was built below his house.  The noise was horrendous and the distribution of dust was amazing.  There was no way to keep the rock moist enough to prevent dust.  This project only lasted for three months.   Mr. Monroe advised that all the material at his mine is naturally damp and it makes very little dust – cars going down the road make more dust then his mining operation.

 

Bud Thomas asked who would be enforcing the codes pertaining to this mine.  Mr. Helmick advised that there are two code enforcement officers for the County and it takes a lot of time to get a person into Court to try to do something about the code violation.  If it is an egregious, major health or safety issue, you can get attention of the Court very quickly.  But a zoning violation does not get a lot of attention from the Courts.  Each zoning violation is a separate legal action that has to be pursued through the normal legal remedies through the Court.  All of the reclamation activities are not the County’s responsibilities.  They are Colorado States’ responsibilities and are enforced through the $132,000.00 bond that Mr. Monroe had to post.  Mr. Thomas stated that it costs him $30 to $50 more a truck load for road material when he has to purchase it “down below.” 

 

Ted Carter stated that there was initially a saw mill on this proposed mining site and then material began to be harvested.  Ted asked Mr. Helmick if this site has always been illegal operation.  Mr. Helmick stated that the open zone was created in 1972.  Prior to that time, there was not zoning but there were very broad limitations on use.  From the 1950s to 1972 almost anything went.  From 1972 forward, mining was a special review.  If the sawmill predated the 1972 date, it was legal.  In 1972 and forward it became non-conforming.  The planning department tried to determine how long the mining operation had been at this site.  The planning department came to an internal decision that there had not been a legally established mining operation on the property after the zoning.  The Barker family may have taken material off of that site on a casual or infrequent basis prior to becoming actively involved in mining in the late 80s or early 90s.  Aerial photographs indicate that this is the time it opened up for mining.  Ted further advised that the people that he spoke to about the mining operation indicated a need for such an operation in Red Feather but their primary concern was the perceived negative history of the operator not taking care of the mining site.  Ted asked what happens to this site if the Board of County Commissioners does not approve this request.  Mr. Helmick advised that the owner would have to close the mine and reclaim it. 

 

Terry Ferebee expressed his empathy with the property owners surrounding the proposed mining site as it pertains to the noise created by the mining operation and the distances that noise carries in mountainous environments. 

 

Bill Gilbert asked if the $132,000 bond appreciates over the 20-year period.  Mr. Helmick advised that he did not know the answer to this question and that Bill would need to ask the States this question since it is a State bond.  Bill asked if truck traffic included water trucks and Mr. Helmick advised that the truck numbers included all truck to the site. 

 

Ross Reid stated that his major concern is the noise and vibration from the site.  Ross lives a mile from the site and he can hear the mining operation and feel the vibration.  Based on the operator’s reputation for trashing a site, Ross wanted to know who was going to monitor this aspect. 

 

 

Gene Barker stated that we need a gravel pit in Red Feather Lakes.  Gravel from this pit has been used on Red Feather Lakes’ road and on Storage and Irrigation properties.  The site will repair itself.  If the operator properly operates the mind, it will not be a big eye sore. 

 

Roger Svendsen made a motion that RFLPAC either recommended approval or disapproval of application 07-1650.  The motion was seconded by Ross Reid. 

 

After RFLPAC discussion, the motion was reworded to: Recommend to the Larimer County Planning Commission and to the Larimer County Board of County Commissioners to approve application 07-1650.

 

RFLPAC voting record on motion:

Ted Carter                   No

Gene Barker                Yes

Roger Svendsen          No

Bud Thomas                No

Susan Bradley             No

Bill Gilbert                  No

Ross Reid                    No

Michael Sledge           No

Terry Ferebee              No

Lucille Schmitt            Yes

 

Motion failed.

 

Ted Carter made a motion that the RFLPAC recognizes the need for a local source of aggregate material, possible reduction in truck traffic on Hwy 74E and applicant property owner rights.  However, compatibility issues are:

 

  • View space
  • Noise
  • Impact on residential area
  • Hours of operation
  • Significant lack of Colorado State and Larimer County Code enforcement
  • Not in harmony with neighborhood
  • Significant decrease in property values

 

The motion was seconded by Michael Sledge.  RFLPAC voted 10 to 0 in favor of this motion.

 

 

RFLPAC meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.

 

Submitted

Terry Ferebee

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.