Loveland Bike Trail
 

 

Thursday, April 26, 2007 – 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:

Bill Newman

Bob Streeter

Jean Carpenter

Peter Kast

Bill Pinkham

Jim White

Duane Pond

Mark DeGregorio

Ben Manvel

 

 

Staff

Gary Buffington

Kerri Rollins

Meegan Flenniken

Jerry White

K-Lynn Cameron

Windy Kelley

 

 

 

Absent: 

Brian Hayes

Sue Sparling

Ted Swanson

 

 

Chair, Peter Kast called the meeting to order at 5:14 p.m.

 

Duane motioned to approve the March 22, 2007 minutes.  Bob seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

No public comment

 

INFORMATION ITEMS

·  Parks and Open Lands Visual Artist of the Year: The two pieces of art work by Jim Disney will be displayed in the lobby of the County Commissioners office for 1 year.  Print sales have been brisk - 27 prints have been sold so far.

·  The Parks Task Force met on April 10 to hear public comment on the final draft of the Parks Master Plan.  This final draft of the master plan can be viewed at www.larimer.org/parks.

·  A concept paper was submitted to GOCO for their large-scale projects cycle to fund priority components of the Parks Master Plan.  Applicants will know in June if they will be asked to submit a full proposal. 

·  Openings for the Open Lands Advisory Board – Applications are due May 11, 2007.  Mark and Duane will be leaving OLAB in June.

·  “Wind Power and Ferrets” – a field trip to learn about 2 separate topics – wind power production and re-establishment of the black footed ferret – is scheduled for Thursday, May 31, 2007.  Meet at the PRPA office (Timberline and Horsetooth) at 8:00 am.

·  Land Trust Alliance Rally in Denver in October, 2007.  Larimer County will be sponsoring a field trip to Sylvan Dale Ranch and a workshop for Management Zoning and a joint session with Fort Collins on the Laramie Foothills Mountains to Plains Partnership.

·  Vegetation Management on Open Lands.  Meegan showed slides from vegetation management projects that occurred over the winter at Fossil Creek (burned the center of the Heron Loop for weeds) and Indian Creek valley (sheep grazing).

·  For CSUnity Day, the Volunteer Program sponsored an erosion control project on the Eagle Ridge Conservation Easement on Sylvan Dale Ranch.

·  April was a busy month for the Naturalist Program with 6 guided hikes, 1 school event and 4 Naturalist trainings!

·  An osprey pair are building a nest on the osprey platform built on the eastern side of the reservoir last year.

·  Mark your calendars!  Open Lands Board Picnic at Hermit Park on Saturday, June 9, 2007.

·  Open Lands staff contact information for your use is included in this packet.  (Handout).

·  Fort Collins Natural Areas Program 2006 Annual Report.  See handout.

·  The 2006 Parks and Open Lands Annual Report is scheduled for release in mid June. 

·  Statewide Inventory of Open Space released by GOCO and NREL (handout). 

·  Proposal to securitize the Colorado Lottery.  See enclosure.  K-Lynn expanded on this bill, discussing Tabor implications for local governments, the 40% that would go to veterans and college scholarships, and the fact that the privatization of lottery funds is being looked at across the nation. 

·  Parks and Open Lands events for May were handed out.

 

BOARD COMMENT: none

 

PRESENTATION

·  Mountains to Plains Partnership – Soapstone Prairie Natural Area – DVD by the City of Fort Collins

 

DISCUSSION:

·  Wind Power – Larimer County Planning is drafting a policy and criteria regarding wind energy.  Karin Madson, Planning Department.  See enclosure and handouts.

The planning department is looking to add regulations for wind generation in addition to the definition of “Power Plant”.  The Land Use Code currently does not address wind power, except as in the power plant definition.  Currently wind power is allowed by special review in only the I-Industrial zone.  Zoning districts are what are likely to be expanded.  They will use the special review process but will also look at size, color, lighting, setback, etc.  They are looking at getting the word out about this process and eager to incorporate public comment.  The handout is a concept level of what would be required for an applicant.  Next steps, planning commission and BOCC work sessions in May and public hearings in the fall.  They hope to have the review process by the end of the year. 

 

 

The Planning Department has been talking to CSU about the Maxwell Ranch proposal.  These regulations will not be completed in time to address that project.  They will go through a special exception, not an L&E (location and extent) review.  Bob asked about bird strikes with wind power.  Karin said they are working with the DOW to create a checklist of studies up front, prior to application.  Bob suggested clustering these with existing communication towers.  Peter asked about the size.  In the handout, the smallest generator would power 3.5 homes.  Maxwell Ranch is looking at the "Vestas" type size.  Mark said that wildlife is affected most by habitat fragmentation via the roads needed for construction and maintenance.  Jean asked about schools.  Karin said if it is primarily for the consumption for that school then it fits in the “accessory” category.  She said the look of turbines are also changing, they are being incorporated on to rooftops, or into artwork at parks. 

 

·  Parks and Open Lands Strategic Plan for Education: Update – Kerri reviewed the need for an update of the current Strategic Plan.  Staff are working with county facilitators to work through this process.  It is anticipated the plan would be done by the end of the year.  Jean and Jim volunteered to be on the committee and everyone thought Sue would be a good addition as well (if she so desires).

 

·  Colorado Tax Credit Program – HB136 – “Concerning the Implementation if Additional Requirements to Verify the Validity of a State Income Tax Credit Claimed by a taxpayer for donating a conservation easement in the state.  See enclosure.  K-Lynn briefly reviewed the impetus for this bill (which was discussed at length at the March meeting), primarily being tax credit projects that did not meet muster.  The bill has soared through the House of Representatives and will go on to the Senate in May.  Glenn commented that the most problematic cases were in southern Colorado. 

 

·  Hermit Park Open Space Funding and Management Plan Update –

Management Plan Update:  Technical Advisory Group is together and have already gone on two site visits.  Meegan is meeting with HOA’s near the property.  Public meetings are on 5/17 and 5/21 in Estes Park and Loveland, respectively.  The Colorado Natural Heritage Program will be re-surveying the property for rare plants and amphibians.  A rare breeding bird survey will also be done this summer.  Meegan met with the USFS about trail connections from Hermit Park.  They have indicated that connecting to the Homestead Meadows system is not a problem as it is an existing trail system.  The trail to Kruger Rock is not, and will require a NEPA study before making that trail connection.  The County inspector has indicated that some minor adjustments and retrofits are needed at the cabins before opening to the public.  County Health Department has inspected the water system in terms of meeting State code.  This will be an ongoing process over the summer to meet public standards.  K-Lynn said we have just gone through the budgeting process for the Department.  In order to get Hermit Park up in running, the Open Lands Program and the Parks Program will be putting in $75,000 each.  This includes dollars for a park manager and a maintenance person, as well as the work Joel and Meegan will be doing this summer for the management plan and retrofits.  Bob asked if that includes the additional left-hand turn lane in to the park.  K-Lynn said no, we’re not even sure if that will still be required.  Bill P asked about using volunteers.  K-Lynn said we’ll be soliciting volunteers through our volunteer program as well as using camphosts.  Duane commented that the Friends of Larimer County Parks and Open Lands have been asked to submit a grant request to REI for $5,000 and they are thinking it will have a Hermit Park focus.

 

Fundraising:  Kerri discussed the fundraising effort.  K-Lynn and Kerri have been working with the volunteer fundraising committee of the Friends group.  The original goal was to raise $1,200,000 and if every body contributes who said they would contribute, then our balance is down to about $110,000.  McWhinney Foundation has committed $25,000 and Whole Foods has committed a potential $10,000 through their Community Giving Days in Fort Collins and Boulder.  The City of Loveland Open Lands Commission is also recommending a partnership of $420,000.  Things are busy but going well.

 

·  Red Mountain Open Space Management Plan update – Meegan reviewed the plan status.  Staff have identified 3 potential trailhead locations and have hired a landscape architect to design the trailhead.  Potential trail locations have also been located, keeping in mind sensitive plant and animal species.  Some trails will be hiking only.  She has completed a site visit with the rock climber group and discovered that the only feasible place for climbing is actually on Soapstone.  The area is in the midst of the mountain mahogany area that we are trying to protect.  Meegan will be meeting with the horse group that is looking for a horse and buggy area. 

 

This summer phase II of the archaeology study will be completed.  The Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory have been contracted to look for rare bird species and nesting sites.  Once a draft plan is completed, it will be shared with OLAB in late May or June and reviewed by the Technical Advisory Committee.  The City of Cheyenne is also going through the planning process and have hired a consultant to help them with the Belvoir piece.  They are a bit behind the city and county on the process, so we will be sharing our concepts with them so they know what we’re planning.  Staff met with the DOW on hunting, and since Red Mountain (RMOS) is in a unit that is primarily private, then RMOS will essentially be operated as its own unit.  Discussed was the possibility to take 9 animals over 2 seasons, with at least 1 of those permits designated for youth.  Hunting would be walk-in only, and buffered from the trails.  It has not been decided if it would be rifle, archery, muzzle loading, etc. 

 

ACTION:

·  Revision to the Recognition Policy for Open Lands Program – In light of the Hermit Park fundraising efforts, staff are proposing another change to the Recognition Policy.  Last month the Board voted to increase the amount needed from $1,000 to $10,000 for a donor to get their name on the kiosk of that open space.  Omitted from that recommendation was a proposal addressing the Annual Report.  Staff is now proposing to change the amount from $1,000 to $5,000 for a donor to be recognized in the Annual Report 3 years.  Staff also proposed deleting the sentence in item three regarding recognizing volunteers by name on the kiosk of the open space. 

Bill P motioned to recommend to the Director to increase the donation amount required to receive recognition in the Annual Report from $1,000 to $5,000 and to delete the reference to naming volunteers on the kiosk.  Bill N seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

 

 

DIRECTORS REPORT

·  Gary reported on the Parks Master Plan.  The final task force meeting was on April 10.  Over 14 months 28 of the 32 projects were recommended, including improved swim beaches, boat ramps, etc.  Shower buildings were also among projects that were recommended.  The four that were recommended for further study include cabins up at Pinewood(view of metal roofs were the issue and now sod roofs are being proposed), and event center at the South Bay of Horsetooth Reservoir (this was a creative idea to make up for the potential loss of general funds), public objections were too much traffic, and competition with private enterprises.  Glenn commented that he thought it was very wise to be planning on losing the subsidy from the general fund.  Swim beach improvements at Carter Lake drew complaints from nearby landowners who did not want to see a parking lot.  The fourth item recommended for further study was an archery range at the north end of Horsetooth.  Complaints from neighbors included safety.  Bob suggested selling the neighbors a visual easement as they seem opposed to any proposal on this property. 

 

Gary reported that 8 of the 13 Parks Task Force members are interested in continuing on as the Parks Board, due to start meeting in May.  In May or June discussions will begin between OLAB and the Parks Board to discuss Horsetooth Mountain Park. 

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION: (24-6-402(4) (a)C.R.S. Purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer or sale of any real or personal property interest. Duane moved to go in to Executive Session at 7:18pm, Jean seconded and the motion carried unanimously.   

 

The meeting was adjourned by a motion from Duane.  The motion was seconded by Bill N and carried unanimously.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 p.m.

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