Loveland Bike Trail
 

LARIMER COUNTY EAB MEETING MINUTES

July 12, 2005

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Sanjay Advani

Tom Sneider

Jill Bennett, Planning Department

Jack Coleman

Heidi Steltzer

 

David Gilkey

Marcia Van Eden

 

Dale Lockwood

Sherm Worthington

Staff:

Victor Sainz

 

Doug Ryan, Health and Environment

Jim Skarbek

 

 

 

 

 

Commissioners:

 

 

Kathay Rennels

 

 

 

Introduction of Members and Guests: 

This is the first meeting for five newly appointed Advisory Board members.  All in attendance introduced themselves and made a brief statement about their background and interests related to the role of the Board.

 

Discussion Items:

 

Red Feather Lakes Area Plan.  Jill Bennett, Planning Department, provided an update on the planning process for Red Feather Lakes.  She began with some background information about the Larimer County Master Plan.  The Master Plan outlines the overall vision and strategies for rural and urban areas of the County.  Red Feather Lakes is within the designated rural area.  The current planning process will serve to customize the Master Plan for this community.  Background information provided for the members included a June 2005 brochure about the planning process, and results from a recently completed community survey.  More information is available on the county’s web site at:  http://www.larimer.org/redfeather/

 

Important issues that have emerged during the planning process include water, sewer, roads, correction of lot lines to match improvements on the ground, and the need for services in the community.  Ms. Bennett explained that the plan will most likely focus on two main topics:  options for increasing business and services, and development of appropriate community organizations to facilitate financing and decision making. 

 

Commissioner Rennels pointed out that one key to this process is the desire by residents and property owners to govern their own future.  The community has a good understanding of the planning issues that are involved, and want to make sure they can structure a plan that will address their vision for the community.  It is anticipated that the final plan could be ready for adoption by the end of 2005.  Once the plan has been adopted, future projects could involve more technical issues such as considering water or sewer systems to support a limited expansion of the business area. 

 

New Member Orientation.  Doug Ryan provided a brief overview of EAB issues for new members.  Topics discussed included the EAB bylaws, County Commissioner policy relating to boards and commissions, the EAB Issue Index, the Advisory Board’s 2004 Annual Report, and the County Master Plan.  Members joined the discussion, and stressed the importance of each member feeling comfortable about asking questions or communicating ideas relating to their experience, knowledge and interest. 

 

Magnesium Chloride.  This agenda item relates to the environmental impacts of using Magnesium Chloride on roadways for dust suppression and deicing.  The issue was referred to the Advisory Board in May by Mr. Don Wubben, a resident in the Cedar Springs area.  Jim Skarbek, Sanjay Advani and David Gilkey researched this issue and reported back to the full EAB.  Mr. Skarbek presented summary information about the two types of Magnesium Chloride used by the County.  His report indicated that background heavy metal concentrations are very low (in the parts per billion range), and that with proper application these formulations would not be expected to result in significantly elevated levels of metals in soil or groundwater.  He also reported that there are several studies underway to evaluate the use of Magnesium Chloride and the potential environmental and public health impacts.   Colorado State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency each expect to complete studies within the next 18 months.  Mr. Gilkey presented a power point presentation on Magnesium Chloride and other deicers.  The basic conclusion of that presentation was when properly applied, Magnesium Chloride provides important health and economic benefits with a very low risk of public health effects.  Damage to adjacent vegetation has been observed in some instances, and is one of the issues being considered in the studies noted above.  Following the discussion Jim Skarbek moved, and Sanjay Advani seconded a motion to authorize a letter to the County Commissioners indicating that at this point the EAB does not believe that it is necessary for the County take further action pending the results of the ongoing studies.  The motion was approved unanimously.  This issue will be added as a watch item on the EAB Issue Index to allow the topic to be revisited when the studies are completed. 

 

North I-25 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  Sanjay Advani, Marcia Van Eden and Doug Ryan each attended one of the June community meetings regarding the EIS.  Mr. Ryan distributed a sheet that outlined the results of the recently completed screening for the second round of alternatives.  The alternatives that passed this screening and are scheduled to go on to the next round of evaluations include congestion management, new arterial routes, limited access lanes, managed traffic lanes, bus rapid transit and commuter rail.  Advani, Van Eden and Ryan gave their impressions on how the alternatives were presented and the relative importance placed on each of the evaluation criteria.  Members engaged in a broad discussion about the importance of this study, and how the ultimate decision will impact air quality, congestion, land use, employment and quality of life.  While some members differed on the relative importance of short-term acute impacts verses long-term chronic implications, all agreed that both need to be considered given the huge projected transportation needs.  It was pointed out that a lack of detailed information about the economic value of ecosystem services skews the analyses because without it the more traditional “cost” and “environmental” indicators can not be directly compared.  A balanced decision also needs to include factors other than environmental, including the high value people place on quality of life, and access to jobs and recreation.  Following the discussion Marcia Van Eden moved, and Sherm Worthington seconded a motion that the presenters work on a draft memo with potential EAB recommendations for consideration at the August meeting.  The motion was unanimously approved. 

 

Environmental Stewardship Awards.  A press release announcing the 2005 Environmental Stewardship Awards was sent out on June 20th.  Additional advertising will occur in July and August.  The deadline for submittal of nominations is August 31st.  The EAB stewardship awards committee will be formed at the August meeting.  The purpose of the committee will be to review the nominations and make recommendations to the full EAB in September.

 

Approval of June minutes:

The minutes for June were approved as submitted.

 

Chair’s Comments:

Dale Lockwood noted that the EAB operates under Robert’s Rules of Order, and that those rules can be substantially relaxed for small groups such as the EAB.   In order for the informal process to work, we all need to keep in mind that each individual needs to be given the opportunity to speak.  The current process where people raise their hand in turn appears to work for this group.

 

Commissioner’s Comments:

Commissioner Rennels noted that the Board received a letter from the Agricultural Advisory Board suggesting the formation of a task force to consider rural/urban issues.  She provided some background about new patterns of development where large ranches tend to be sold off in smaller parcels.  The new property owners are interested in developing high-value agriculture.  Examples can include intensive gardening for crops such as garlic, or value-added operations like wineries.  Commissioner Rennels will provide the EAB with a copy of the letter. She requested that the EAB comment on the value of a task force, and on their willingness to participate if one is formed.  This will be scheduled for discussion in August.

 

August 9th Agenda:

Next month will include an update from the Solid Waste Department, formation of the stewardship committee, and discussion about the proposed rural/urban issues task force.

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 9:10 pm. 

 

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