Loveland Bike Trail
 

LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

November 18, 2008

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Staff:

Melissa Chalona

 

Doug Ryan

Michael Jones

 

 

Jennifer Lee

 

 

Dale Lockwood

 

 

Todd McCowin

 

 

Kate Muldoon

 

 

Devin Odell

 

 

Tom Sneider

 

 

Sherm Worthington

 

 

 

Discussion Items:

Blue Ribbon Committee on Transportation Issues: Call to Action.  Dale Lockwood attended a meeting of the Committee that was held on October 17 at the Fort Collins City Hall.  The main message from the meeting was that funding for transportation maintenance and expansion is very inadequate.  Compared with existing state-wide needs, about 6.3 billion dollars of additional funding per year is needed to sustain current infrastructure.  An estimated 8.9 billion dollars per year would be needed to respond to growth needs.  Colorado’s gasoline tax is one of the lowest state rates, and has not kept pace with transportation funding needs.  Information was also provided about the local backlog of maintenance for roadway segments.  For Larimer County, the estimates for the percentage of road segments that are in good, fair, poor, or bad shape is 37%, 22%, 20% and 21% respectively.  One of the main messages from the Blue Ribbon Committee was that it will be crucial to provide education to the public on the funding gap in order to increase the likelihood of obtaining more funding through taxes or fees in the future.

 

North I-25 EIS.  The Advisory Board reviewed the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that deals with transportation issues within the I-25 corridor through the year 2030.  Prior to the meeting members received a compact disk with the complete EIS, and a printed copy of the executive summary.  Doug Ryan provided background information in the form of a power point presentation that was provided to him by the Colorado Department of Transportation – the lead state agency preparing the EIS.  The document currently under review considers the no-build alternative and two other alternatives that include a suite of highway, transit and safety improvements.    Following that presentation, the members held an extensive discussion about the findings outlined in the EIS.  Members Bill Zawacki and Heide Steltzer were not able to attend the meeting, but each provided their comments prior to the meeting via email.  It was the consensus of the Advisory Board that the no-build alternative was not viable because it did not meet the purpose of providing adequate mobility.  Members also remarked that the impacts of the two build alternatives (Packages A & B) result in a similar range of environmental impacts related to air quality, noise, wildlife, wetlands, water resources, floodplains, hazardous materials, visual quality and historic preservation.  A notable exception relates to land use impacts.  Under Package A, commuter rail would shift growth towards urban centers, Under Package B, market driven growth would continue to be focused along I-25 due to the influence of the bus rapid transit and highway lane improvements.  Package A, including commuter rail, is estimated to cost about 20% more that Package B with bus rapid transit.  The discussion noted that under some circumstances, commuter rail could provide a better opportunity for payback due to increased business and residential activity associated with transit oriented development.  The Advisory Board also talked about the relative public acceptance of rail-based versus bus-based transit systems.  Members felt that due to the location of commuter rail within population centers the rail option has the potential for more public acceptance and growth in ridership.  It was noted that commuter rail is inherently expandable as demand grows in the future.  Following the discussion, Devin Odell moved and Jennifer Lee seconded a motion to indicate EAB support for Package A, incorporating commuter rail, and to ask that a letter addressed to the County Commissioners to be drafted for review and approval by all members via an email vote.  The motion was adopted unanimously. 

 

County 1041 Regulations.  Doug Ryan provided an update on the new county regulations that pertain to power plants (including wind power) and electric transmission lines.  Mr. Ryan used a power point presentation to outline the provisions of the new regulation which was adopted by the County Commissioners on October 20, 2008.  The regulation outlines general performance standards related to compatibility, consistency with the Master Plan, protection of public health, mitigation of construction impacts, protection of environmental features and wildlife, and consideration of alternatives.  The regulation also includes specific requirements for wind farms related to maximum height, color, lighting, noise, and wildlife protection.  The full text of the regulation is contained in Chapter 14 of the Land Use Code, and is available on the County’s website at http://www.larimer.org/planning/planning/.  It is anticipated that if a formal application to site a wind farm at Maxwell Ranch in northern Larimer County is received the Advisory Board will be asked to review and comment on the proposal from the standpoint of the County’s ownership position in the adjacent Red Mountain Ranch open space. 

 

Chair’s Comments:

Dale Lockwood noted that the U.S. EPA’s comments on the Northern Integrated Supply Project (including Glade Reservoir) to the Army Corps of Engineers were critical of the technical analyses regarding impacts related to reduced flow in the Poudre River.  Written comments are available for review on the Corps website located at https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/html/od-tl/eis-info.htm

 

Approval of September & October Minutes:

Minutes for the previous two meetings were approved as corrected.

 

Updates: 

Doug Ryan noted that the County Commissioners adopted the Own Canyon Corridor project presented by the county Engineering Department at a public hearing held on November 17.  County Public Works Director Marc Engemoen discussed the EAB review and comments as part of his formal presentation to the Commissioners. 

 

EAB Issue Index:

Doug Ryan will update the Issue Index related to the topics discussed at the meeting.

 

BCC Communication Issues:

Chair Dale Lockwood will attend the workshop with staff and the County Commissioners regarding the North I-25 EIS scheduled for December 8.

 

December Meeting Agenda:

Election of officers for 2009

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:30 PM

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