Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

May 14, 2013

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Cassie Archuleta

 

Eric Tracy, Engineering Department

Michael Jones

 

Melissa Hovey, City of Fort Collins

Kimberly Karish

 

 

Evelyn King

 

Staff :

Kiley McGowen

 

Doug Ryan

Kate Muldoon

 

 

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Those in attendance introduced themselves.

 

Discussion Items:

Flood Plain Overlay Regulations.

Eric Tracy from the Engineering Department provided an update on the draft flood plain regulation revisions.  These regulations are contained in the County’s Land Use Code, and constitute an overlay zone district.  Larimer County participates in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.  Communities in that program are required to implement floodplain regulations in order for property owners to be eligible for flood insurance.  Those regulations must be at least as stringent as federal and state standards.  In 2010, Colorado adopted significant new standards.  The draft revisions would bring the County into full compliance with those standards.

 

Mr. Tracy provided a copy of the draft regulations, and used a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate the major provisions.  The regulation defines several overlay zone districts, including the floodway, flood fringe, flood hazard, and areas of shallow flooding.  Each of the districts contain standard for the type of development that may be allowed.  The regulation also outlines a list of “critical facilities” in the categories of essential services, hazardous materials, at-risk populations, and those services vital to restoring normal services.  The standards for protecting critical facilities are higher than those for other uses, and include a prohibition in certain zones and elevation and floodproofing in others. 

 

The members discussed the draft regulation with Mr. Tracy.  Included were questions about how the floodplain is mapped, how the regulation is administered, the role of the Floodplain Review Board, the importance of flood insurance availability, and how changes in the floodplain designation such as mapping in additional areas would impact the regulatory process.  Following the discussion, Doug Ryan asked the members if they felt the regulation contained any important gaps or was too restrictive.  The consensus was that it did not.  The input from the EAB will be part of the information presented to the County Planning Commission and County Commissioners for their future public hearings to consider formal adoption of the overlay zone district regulation.

 

Visibility Air Quality Standards.

Cassie Archuleta presented an introduction to air quality standards related to visibility and regional haze.  Visibility relates to how clear the air is, and is not regulated in the same way as the primary air quality standards for health protection.  The Cities of Fort Collins and Denver are recognized as two of the few communities that have adopted visibility standards.  Those standards are based on preferences for clean views as expressed by citizens viewing photographs depicting various amounts of visibility impairment.  The other category of visibility standard relates to national visibility goals outlined in the Clean Air Act and Regional Haze Rule.  These standards are designed to protect visibility at 156 National Parks and Wilderness Areas that have been defined as Class I areas.

 

Ms. Archuleta used a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate these visibility standards.  This included a discussion of how visibility is measured and reported in Fort Collins and Denver through the use of transmissometers and nephelometers to measure both long-term trends and short term impacts from events such as forest fire smoke.  Measurement with both methods show a statistically valid decrease in the number of poor visibility days in Fort Collins. 

 

Measurements for the national regional haze standard use a different technique of aerosol sampling to estimate the presence of substances such as small particles that lower visibility by scattering or absorbing light.  Congress set a national goal of the elimination of any present or future visibility impairment in any of the Class I areas.  Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the 11 designated areas in Colorado.  The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission recently adopted new rules to implement the Regional Haze standard.  Regional progress has been made regarding haze reduction. 

 

It was pointed out that measures to improve visibility have important secondary health benefits because the pollutants that are reduced also contribute to both particulate and ozone pollution.

 

EAB Issue Index:

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

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 7:55 PM

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.