Loveland Bike Trail
 

LARIMER COUNTY OPEN LANDS ADVISORY BOARD MEETING

MINUTES

Thursday, September 22, 2005 – 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:

Brian Hayes

Bob Streeter

Jean Carpenter

Peter Kast

Sue Sparling

Bill Newman

Lori Jeffrey-Clark

Ben Manvel

Duane Pond

 

 

Staff

Jerry White

Kerri Rollins

Meegan Flenniken

Lori Smith

K-Lynn Cameron

Greg Good

Dan Rieves

Glenn Gibson

Travis Rollins

 

 

Absent: 

Ted Swanson

Jim White

Mark DeGregorio

 

 

 

Chair, Peter Kast called the meeting to order at 506 p.m.

 

Sue Sparling motioned to approve the minutes of August with editorial changes from Bob.  Bill wanted it added to the minutes that he also abstained from the Cohen property action item due to his affiliation with EVLT; seconded with changes by Ben Manvel. Unanimous.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

No public comment

 

INFORMATION ITEMS

·  The 1st Annual Birding Fair will be held at Fossil Creek Reservoir on Saturday, September 24, 2005 from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.

·  Staff met with Otero County Commissioners regarding the extinguishment of a conservation easement and their reasons for doing so.  K-Lynn talked about her visit to Otero County and its importance in issues regarding recorded conservation easements, their possible extinguishment.  Outcomes from the Otero County situation could affect conservation easements nationwide.  CCLT is monitoring the situation.

·  On August 31, staff members from Larimer County, Fort Collins and Cheyenne toured Red Mountain Ranch, Soapstone Prairie and Belvoir Ranch.

·  Colorado Open Space Alliance (COSA) conference in Colorado Springs September 15 and 16. K-Lynn reported on a successful conference.  Bob also attended and was impressed with the networking and quality of sessions he attended.  Would like OLAB to get a copy of CCT’s report, which is also on their website at www.coloradoconservationtrust.org as well.

·  American Planning Association (APA) Mobile Workshops to Devil’s Backbone and Fossil Creek Reservoir on September 22 and 23.  Meegan and K-Lynn have been working on hosting these workshops and today's workshop went very well.

·  Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado trail building project for the Blue Sky Trail on October 1-2.

·  A conservation tools education seminar for accountants, attorneys, appraisers and realtors will be on Wednesday, November 9, 2006 at the Lincoln Center from 8:00 - 1:00..

·  2006 Open Lands Advisory Board meeting schedule was distributed.

·  Open Lands Board Annual Christmas Party – at Peter & Penny’s on Thursday 12/15.  Invitations will be sent out in November.

 

BOARD COMMENT:

Duane reported that the Friends of Parks and Open Lands received a grant of $3,000 from REI to purchase bird viewing equipment for Fossil Creek Open Space. 

 

ACTION:

·  Election of Chair and Vice Chair.  Bob and Sue proposed re-nominating Peter as Chair.  He said he was willing. 

Bob motioned to nominate Peter Kast as Chair of the Open Lands Advisory Board in 2006.  Sue seconded and the motion passed unanimously

 

Jean motioned to nominate Sue Sparling as Vice Chair of the Open Lands Advisory Board in 2006.  Bob seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

·  Holcim-Buckeye Conservation Project Final Review.  Jerry reviewed the two parcels totaling 320 acres, located in the Buckeye area.  We have worked with this landowner partnership before.  These landowners purchased part of the Holcim property at auction last weekend.  They are pooling their dollars to protect the land and need $25,000 from Larimer County to make the deal possible.  Bob asked about dwellings permitted by the easement and water.  Jerry said there are neither.  K-Lynn noted that this project is on a fast-track, as staff just learned of the request the week before the auction.  Staff offered a field trip for the Board on Monday, and Duane attended.  Duane said the property has fabulous views that would make a great housing development.  Portions of the Roberts Ranch that will be protected through the Mountains to Plains project are adjacent to this proposed project.  Bob asked about cost/acre.  Jerry said the southern parcel was about $875/acre and the northern one about $575/acre.  Bob commented that this now reflects market value for this area.  Jean said she fully supports this project.

Duane motioned to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners to contribute $25,000 to purchase a conservation easement on the Holcim-Buckeye Project.  Bob seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 


·  Management of Fossil Creek Reservoir.  Enclosure.  K-Lynn also handed out a copy of an article that was in the Fossil Creek Current, September 2005.

 

K-Lynn referred to a memo in last months packet that reviews the history of the annexation issue.  She then reviewed the enclosure in this months packet entitled “Options for Long-term Management”.  The draft is somewhat in order of staff preferences for management options at Fossil Creek and includes pro’s and con’s of each option.  Options 1 and 2 offer Larimer County managing the open space, options 3-5 and 7-8 include transitioning the management of Fossil Creek to the City of Fort Collins over a period of time but partnering on costs, and option 6 shows Larimer County paying all management costs, and options 9-10 include transitioning the open space to Fort Collins immediately upon annexation. 

 

Peter led the discussion in soliciting comments from the Board, though he noted that recommendations may already have been made at a higher level.  Ben asked about differences in management that may be implemented by Fort Collins.  K-Lynn said we don’t know that at this time, but initial discussions have indicated they would not use the existing building as a ranger station.  Bob asked if they would do anything radical like put a baseball diamond there.  K-Lynn said it is managed according to a management plan adopted by both entities and any changes to that would need to be accepted by both before being implemented.  Ben asked about future fees at the property.  K-Lynn said the city policy is to not charge fees, and that at one time the county looked at charging fees but has since backed down from that.  However, if fees are charged the use is restricted and must go back in to management of the open space.  Sue said security is an issue for her and she feels having a ranger presence there makes a difference.  Jean said Travis’s management style has made the open space a success, though she would like to see more education there.  The county has put their style on the property and she likes that, but she would like to see the City being able to do some education programs there as well.  The timeframe of the Fossil Creek IGA ties into the annexation timeline of getting everything complete by January 2006.  Peter asked if we could finish our discussion next month once we might discover what the City might plan for management there.  K-Lynn said that could work based on the following information.

 

The County Manager, Marc Engemoen, Greg Burn and the City Manager met earlier this month and proposed option #4, that Fossil Creek would be transferred to the City by 2009 with each entity paying half of the management costs, or $94,000 each – which includes lease of the reservoir.  The City has not budgeted for this amount in their 2006 budget so they would pay starting in 2007.  The transition of Fossil Creek in 2009 would coincide with the opening of Chimney Hollow and Red Mountain open spaces.  Another meeting will be held between these leaders to allow the City to respond to the County's above proposal. 

 

Dan said that the County also put forth the idea of a trade, management of Fossil Creek for a City property.  He also asked if there is desire/concern from the Board about setting or not setting a precedent of managing lands in City limits.  Peter said he doesn’t care if the county manages land in the city, as long as management costs are agreed upon/shared on a case by case basis.  It would not be a blanket statement that we do or we don’t, it depends on circumstances.  Ben and Sue agreed.  Travis said Fossil Creek is a widely recognized Larimer County managed area in the tri-city area.  Jean agreed and said it is as popular as the Devil's Backbone and will only get more visitation as the cities grow.  Peter said from a public relations standpoint we should keep it.  Sue agreed, saying it is one of the most beautiful places in the area. 

No action was taken on this issue.

 

DISCUSSION:

·  Regional Trail Prioritization Exercise.  Ernst reviewed the process for this exercise.  The purpose of this exercise is to focus and prioritize the multiple trail projects identified in the Master Plan.  K-Lynn reviewed some ideas and information discussed by staff.  For example, trails identified in the Laramie Foothills area, such as the Old Trapper’s trail could be driving trails because of the widespread historical aspect.  Wellington is expanding and is saving their tax dollars to help build the Box Elder Trail.  The trail along the Hansen canal has been identified by NCWCD as very dangerous and they have vetoed the idea of having a camping area near there.

 

The Board then went around the room and identified their individual trail priorities and the reasons they were selected.  Ted’s comments were emailed in and also reviewed.  Meegan and Greg captured some of these thoughts on flip charts.  The Board then put their priorities, high medium or low on the map.  The results will be tallied and presented at the next meeting.

 

·  2006 Open Lands Budget.  Lori reviewed the Acquisition and Development budget for 2006 section by section, comparing 2005 and the proposed 2006 figures.  The budget was developed by staff and has already been approved by the Board of Commissioners.  Brian asked what the “transfer from sales tax” row was.  Lori said that the total of all of those rows equal 70% of acquisition dollars from the sales tax that have been allocated to each account.  She then reviewed the Management Fund budget, highlighting the differences the way the figures are shown between 2004 and 2005.  In 2005 costs started being split into categories of properties that have public access, no access, etc. and there are also zero’s in property’s we did not own prior to that year.  Bob asked about administrative costs not directly related to management.  K-Lynn said in the entire department it has been calculated at 23%, but it would be difficult to say what that figure is area by area without sitting down to figure it out.  Ben commented that OLAB has no say in the budget, staffing or management levels.  K-Lynn said they have a direct influence on acquisition through the prioritization exercise and recommendations to the BOCC but they have not yet been involved in day to day management.  Bob said this does not preclude them to discuss issues they see as important as they arise.

 

·  Finance Options for an Open Space Sales Tax beyond 2018.  Peter said the finance committee and staff met with the BOCC to review the options presented at the last OLAB meeting.  The Commissioners all agreed that option 6 was the best option (seeking a higher tax than we have now), and agreed that they need to work at the state level to get a conservation tax exemption passed by the state.  Glenn was clear in saying that unless this happened he saw that our current .25 tax would be taken away after 2018 in lieu of what may be deemed as bigger issues (such as criminal justice) without this statewide conservation tax exemption.  K-Lynn also mentioned her and Bill’s meetings with the towns and cities and how that has benefited this process of talking about how they are spending their current funds as well as getting their thoughts on a future tax and how it may be allocated to the cities.  Loveland and Berthoud have some money coming in for open space through other dedicated venues, but they would still be hurt the most if the County did not allocate dollars for their programs.  Fort Collins would also be impacted because their tax is limited to primarily acquisition and they need county tax dollars for management.  Sue thanked the finance subcommittee and staff for their work. 

 

DIRECTORS REPORT

·  Gary was not present at the meeting.

 

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION: There was no executive session

 

The meeting was adjourned by a motion from Jean.  The motion was seconded by Bob and carried unanimously.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

 

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