Loveland Bike Trail
 

LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMETNAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

February 14, 2006

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Commissioner:

Jack Coleman

Jim Skarbek

Karen Wagner

David Gilkey

Heidi Steltzer

 

Dale Lockwood

Marcia Van Eden

Staff:

Devin Odell

Bill Zawacki

Doug Ryan

 

Discussion Items:

Horsetooth Mountain Park Management Plan.  Advisory Board members discussed the draft management plan. The plan outlines management strategies related to recreation, natural resources and administrative issues.  Marcia Van Eden noted that one of the more controversial issues concerns the status of the Nomad and Shoreline trails as they relate to protection of habitat for two butterfly species, the hop-feeding azure and mottled dusky winged butterfly.  The trails in question are within the butterfly habitat.  Both trails will remain open for hiking and mountain biking although seasonal closures of the Nomad trail will take place.  Some members noted that the plan would be stronger if it contained measurable objectives to aid in the implementation of the vision it presents.  The deadline for commenting on the plan is February 17.  The consensus was that not enough study was done to allow the advisory board to formulate written comments.  Several individual members indicated that they would comment individually on specific issues.  Overall, members expressed an interest in having a higher level of involvement concerning open space planning issues.    An upcoming opportunity for input in 2006 will be the development of a new Parks Master Plan.  Bill Zawacki volunteered to be the EAB liaison to the Parks and Open Lands Department.  He will contact department director Garry Buffington about meeting to discuss the EAB’s interest in participating in planning efforts. 

 

EAB Environmental Priorities Project.  This new project is intended to identify important environmental issues that are feasible to address at the county level, and to communicate those issues and opportunities to the County Commissioners.  Dale Lockwood noted that the project was discussed with the Commissioners at their February 7 administrative matters meeting.  At that meeting the Commissioners indicated that they would like an opportunity to discuss the list of high-priority issues prior to the final report.  A revised outline of the project outlining that step was distributed.  The remainder of the meeting focused on the task of developing an initial list of issues.  A list was developed, and several members indicated that it would make more sense to evaluate the individual issues if they were organized under major environmental categories, such as air, water and solid waste.  Heidi Seltzer and Dale Lockwood volunteered to re-organize the issues.  The revised list and matrix will be sent out with the next agenda.

 

BCC Liaison Comments:

Commissioner Wagner updated the members on several issues.

 

·  There is a bill in the state legislature (HB 06-1309) that would allow the State of Colorado to set air quality standards that are higher than the federal ambient air quality standards.  Colorado Counties Inc. has indicated support of the bill to the Health and Human Services Committee.  Commissioner Wagner noted that if individuals have an interest in this matter they might want to contact their state legislators directly.

·  The North I-25 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) project incorporates ridership estimates for the various transit options.  Commissioner Wagner attended a meeting hosted by the sponsors that discussed those estimates and how they differed from those in the Transportation Alternatives Feasibility Study.  The consultant noted that the forecast ridership numbers are in line with those in other communities where transit projects have been considered feasible and been actually developed.

·  Regional meetings are still going on about the possible formation of a Rural Transit Authority.  At this point it appears that the earliest this issue might be presented to voters would be in November 2007.

·  The Rural Land Use process is now about 10 years old.  Commissioner Wagner noted that she favors a review of the program to evaluate its effectiveness.  She indicated that she does have some concerns regarding how the clusters are sited, and how the conservation values for the residual land (open space) are determined.  An example is a recent project that will contain a water storage reservoir on the residual land.  Commissioner Wagner noted that such a  use could be considered as development rather than conservation. 

·  The U.S. Forest Service will meet with the Commissioners in the future on the federal “preserve rural schools” initiative that is proposing to sell off forest lands in order to raise money for schools.  This could potentially involve up to 6,000 acres in Larimer County. 

·  The Renewable Energy summit held on January 11 was very informative.  The Commissioners have scheduled an initial worksession for February 16 to talk about the use of renewable energy at by the county.

 

Approval of January minutes:

The minutes for the January meeting were approved with one correction.

 

Updates: 

Heidi Steltzer reported on the Renewable Energy Summit held in Denver on January 11.  The summit included an update on the five major renewable sectors: ethanol, biodiesel, solar, wind and biomass.  Her report included an outline of the major points, and will be provided to the members by e-mail.  Ms. Steltzer noted that the use of renewable energy resources for energy production and fuel is not without limitations.  Currently, a major limitation is the cost-effective ($, C, H2O) production of energy.  Nonetheless, investment in developing the technology, policies and markets is essential to create a sustainable future for human societies.  Sustainability does not require a change in living standards, but does require that energy resources not be used at a rate greater than they can be produced.  Thus, energy efficient design needs to be a part of planning.  Alternative energy resources, such as biomass fired coal plants, will also need to be utilized while transitioning from non-renewable energy resources to renewable energy resources to ensure there is not a disruption in living standards.  Rural areas should benefit from the development of renewable energy resources, because of the need for land to grow crops, or to site windmills and solar panel arrays.  Rural-urban partnerships that are designed to produce energy and distribute it efficiently are essential, because transportation costs have a large impact on economic and environmental sustainability.

 

Marcia Van Eden reported on the latest round of public meetings concerning the North I-25 EIS.  Those meetings presented the results of the Level III analyses of transportation package alternatives.  Mrs. Van Eden briefly outlined the various roadway and transit descriptions that were evaluated.  The result of the current analyses is two transportation package options (plus the no action alternative) that will proceed through a full evaluation to be presented in the draft EIS.  A flyer showing the two package options was passed around at the meeting, and is available at http://www.cdot.info/northi25eis/meetings.cfm (package A and package B).

 

Doug Ryan reported that the county Planning Commission considered the draft livestock regulations at their January hearing, and tabled the request to allow staff to reconsider some specific issues.  The next Planning Commission hearing is scheduled for February 15.

 

Dave Gilkey is scheduled to attend the Big Thompson Watershed Forum annual meeting on February 16.  He will provide an update at the next meeting.

 

EAB Issue Index:

Doug Ryan will update the Issue Index related to the topics discussed at the February meeting.  Bill Zawacki was added as liaison to the Parks and Open Lands Department.  Dave Gilkey was added as the EAB coordinator for the Alp’s tire pile cleanup issue.

 

March 14th Agenda:

Continuation of the Environmental Priorities Project.  The meeting may be cancelled if attendance due to spring break appears low. 

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 9:15 pm. 

Background Image: Loveland Bike Trail by Sharon Veit. All rights reserved.