Loveland Bike Trail
 

LARIMER COUNTY OPEN LANDS ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

MINUTES

Thursday, February 26, 2004 – 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Loveland Library MP Room

 


The mission of the Larimer County Open Lands Program is to preserve and protect significant open space, natural areas, wildlife habitat, develop parks and trails for present and future generations.  These open lands provide opportunities for leisure, human renewal and protection of our natural and cultural resources.

 

 

Present:

Open Lands Board Members:

Duane Pond

Mark DeGregorio

Jim White

Brian Hayes

Jean Carpenter

Lori Jeffrey-Clark

Sue Sparling

Nancy Wallace

 

Staff:

Tom Bender

Kerri Rollins

Meegan Flenniken

Dan Rieves

K-Lynn Cameron

Jim Phebus

Ann Montoya

Gary Buffington

 

Absent: 

Bob Streeter

Peter Kast

Wendell Amos

Eric Hamrick

 

Chair, Nancy Wallace, called the meeting to order at 5:15p.m.

 

The minutes of January 2004 were approved as printed with a motion from Duane Pond and seconded by Sue Sparling.

 

Public COMMENT - None

 

Information Items

·  Property closings – Jacoby on February 10, 2004.

·  Open Lands Advisory Board members to be added to the Volunteer database – members were given an application and timesheet

·  Prescribed burn slated for Hughey Open Spaces on March 6 dependent on weather.

·  Volunteer Naturalist 2004 Kickoff was held February 14th

 

INTRODUCTIONS:

·  Dan Rieves, recent hire for the South Parks & Open Lands Manager position, was introduced.  He worked previously at Sterling State Park for 5 years, and at Lory State Park and Larimer County Parks as a seasonal before that.  Dan has his Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology from CSU.

 

ACTION:

·  American Legion Property Final Review – Jim White, Estes Valley Land Trust

This proposed protection effort is a three-way partnership between the Estes Valley Land Trust (EVLT), the Town of Estes, and Larimer County.  Each partner will contribute $25,000 each.  EVLT closed on the property on February 17th and is asking for reimbursement from the County. EVLT will hold a conservation easement on the property and it will be monitored as an extension of the nearby Gateway Open Space.

Duane moved to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners to expend $25,000 to the EVLT for reimbursement of the 1.58-acre American Legion Property conservation easement.  Jim seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

·  Cramer Farm Conservation Easement Final Review – Charlie Johnson

Charlie anticipates a closing on this 130-acre agricultural conservation easement in late March or early April.  The property is located in the Wellington Agricultural Priority Area in the 2001 Larimer County Open Lands Master Plan.  Duane asked if the City of Fort Collins would partner as the area is also identified as a priority in their new Policy Plan.  K-Lynn said Fort Collins will not be partnering on this particular project, but they have partnered on other projects in this area.

Duane moved to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners to expend $460,000 for a 130-acre conservation easement on the Cramer farm, contingent on the financing of the sale of the residual land and that the bank will subordinate their loan to the easement.  Jean seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

·  Roberts Ranch Conservation Easement – K-Lynn Cameron

After 8 years of negotiation this project is ready to go!  The Nature Conservancy is the lead agency, partnering with Fort Collins ($1.8 million), Larimer County ($200,000), GOCO ($800,000) and the landowner ($109,000) to complete this approximate 5,000-acre conservation easement valued at $3 million.

Jean moved to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners to expend $200,000 towards a partnership for the purchase of a 5,000-acre conservation easement on the Roberts Ranch, contingent that our partnership dollars go towards acquisition only.  Duane seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

·  Small Grants Program 2004 Awards – Ann Montoya

Ann reviewed the history of the Small Grants Program and a summary of the 2004 applications.  A subcommittee of the Board has recommended spending $9992 of the available $10,000.  Subcommittee members include Jean, Nancy, Duane, and Bob.  There is one project to be discussed in more detail with the full Board that could add $1,000 to that sum.   Brian Hayes recused himself from voting as he lives in the Fairway Estates subdivision, whose Homeowners Association has submitted an application.  Mark DeGregorio recused himself from voting on the MacGregor Ranch application as it is located on Rocky Mountain National Park property.  Staff has a monitoring program in place to ensure the goals of each project grantee are completed.

Jim moved to approve the recommendation from the subcommittee to fund 6 projects, totaling $9992, as outlined on the handout.  Duane seconded and the motion passed  unanimously. 

 

The Board then discussed funding the Poudre Wilderness Volunteer (PWV) application.  The subcommittee had recommended that if this project were to be funded, our sales tax dollars would need to fund equipment and not uniforms as the application proposes.  Nancy explained why the subcommittee was torn over this project.  Nancy read an email to the Board from Bob Streeter, another subcommittee member.  Bob feels that Open Lands dollars would be better spent on our open lands and not on federal lands where there are fees charged.  Nancy feels that since PWV is a non-profit organization doing work on Federal lands it is within the scope of projects we have funded in the past.  Nancy feels that open space sales tax dollars should be spread around the county, better fulfilling the mission of the Small Grants Program.  Jim asked if the PWV are ok with not funding uniforms with their money but using it on training materials instead.  Ann will confirm it with them.  Jean said we should support this grant in some way, but not at the $2000 level.  She feels it is important to support community volunteer efforts in the outdoors.  We should also encourage them to seek federal funding as a match.

Duane moved to fund the project at $1,500, contingent on a resubmitted budget using funds for materials/equipment.  Sue seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

The 7 successful 2004 projects are:

Project Name

Amount Funded

Project Applicant

Project Location

Fairway Estates Upper Pond Restoration 

$1,000

Fairway Estates Property Owners Association

Fort Collins

Exotic Species Elimination Project

$1,480

Exotic Species Elimination Project at Front Range Community College

Larimer County

Wildlife Habitat Enhancement

$2,000

High Plains Environmental Center

Loveland

Native grass seeding – dalmation toadflax control

$1,512

North Fork Weed Cooperative

Livermore

Volunteer Training program

$1,500

Poudre Wilderness Volunteers

Larimer County

Trappers Point Wildlife Restoration, Phase III

$2,000

Trappers Point Homeowners Association

Fort Collins

Dragonfly’s Lair Wetland: Interpretive Signs

$2,000

Trees, Water and People

Fort Collins

 

·  Letter of Support for GOCO Blue Mountain Conservation Area Open Space grant application

Kerri will be submitting a grant application requesting $950,000 from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and has asked the Board to approve a letter of support for the project.  The letter was included in Board members packets for their review.

Duane moved to approve sending a letter of support to GOCO for the Blue Mountain Conservation Area grant application.  Jean seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

§  Utility/Access Easement request though the Devil’s Backbone trailhead – K-Lynn handed out a map of the area at the entrance to the Devil’s Backbone Open Space and Hidden Valley Estates.  The City of Loveland is requesting an easement to be located through our property for a water line to the Hidden Valley II development project.  The easement will be located on the west side of the burm by the entrance feature.  The easement is valued at approximately $200.  Rich Devorak of TST Engineering was present to answer questions.  Access would be permitted for the maintenance of the water line. 

Duane moved to approve the allowance of the utility easement at the Devil's Backbone Open Space. Mark seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

DISCUSSION:

·  South Wild Valley Proposal for 2 additional access rights through Hidden Valley Phase I – J. Wild Trust, represented by Kitty Wild, intends to request the County's Rural Land Use Program to approve 2 additional housing units on the J. Wild Trust property located on the east side of the Devil's Backbone in exchange for extinguishing approximately 5 of 13 home sites on a currently unapproved development on the west side of the Devil's Backbone.  There are 9 lots currently proposed on the J. Wild Trust property, if increased by 2 it would be 11.

 

Kitty is asking OLAB for support to provide legal access for these two additional units on the road through Hidden Valley I.  Kitty said they could also pursue access from the north through Sprenger Valley if the Board is not supportive.  A map was distributed.  Staff stated concerns about allowing increased density on the east side, when most of the development is already on the west side.  K-Lynn clarified that Dale Olhausen has already been approved for 67 houses on the west side of the Devil's Backbone, adjacent to Kitty’s property.  Kitty said it is her families desire to go with a less dense conservation development.  Now that she is aware that Dale has 67 lots already approved, she sees why we would not be concerned with an additional 13 houses on the west side.  Sue asked if the lots have water, and Kitty said they will know next week if Loveland will approve taps.

 

A member of the public, Bill Jenkins of Loveland, stated his concerns about using open space for purposes other than open space.  He said by allowing more homes on the east side it is deteriorating the view from the trail.  Kitty said she would entertain an acquisition offer from the City of Loveland or Larimer County to protect the property from development.

 

Nancy clarified that Kitty is seeking OLAB support for access to 2 additional units that she is proposing on the J Wild Trust property located on the east side of the Devil's Backbone.  Kitty intends to extinguish 5 lots on the west side to increase the density on the east by 2 lots. 

 

Jean said she cannot make a decision on it tonight.  Jim agreed.  Sue said that if 67 houses have been approved on the west side, then we should not provide access for 2 additional houses on the east side.  Brian said that if they can possibly get access through the north anyway, then he is undecided. 

 

·  Update on Chronic Wasting Disease Management on Parks & Open Lands – Meegan updated the Board on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) decision to cull at Indian Creek and Hidden Valley I.  The Division of Wildlife (DOW) did not want to cull at Red-tail Ridge Open Space as the BOCC wanted the deer trapped there, and DOW thought that was not feasible because of time.  The BOCC also requested that deer at Horsetooth Mountain Park be tonsil tested, and the DOW said that is not economically feasible for them.  Deer in those areas will not be culled this year.  Jean said she thinks that culling for CWD on open lands should be an issue that is discussed every year.  K-Lynn said that next year, before we allow any CWD management, there will be a presentation from the DOW and the Board can have more discussion about it.

 

Mark commented that in Estes Park the DOW performed tonsil testing on deer.  Meegan said she did ask about tonsil testing and was told that the fact that the deer are tame in Estes and hence easier to track, so tonsil testing is less costly there. 

 

DIRECTOR’S REPORT:

·  Gary discussed a new marketing plan for the Department and handed out some newly developed advertisements.  The plan will market a new campground reservation system, Camper Cabins at Horsetooth, the opening of Fossil Creek, etc.  This year is also the 50th birthday for the Department.  There will be about 15 press releases targeting each new feature.  Jim asked how the Carter Lake marina project is progressing.  Gary said a second meeting is scheduled for March 4th and there will be another 5-6 meetings before a recommendation is made to the BOCC.

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION: 7:36 p.m. Duane motioned to convene into Executive Session.  The motion was seconded by Sue and carried unanimously.

Meeting adjourned: The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

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