LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

†MEETING MINUTES

August 9, 2011

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Melissa Chalona

 

Karin Madson, Planning Department

Michael Jones

 

Lee Anne Kempton, Heath & Environment

Kimberly Karish

 

 

Evelyn King

 

Staff :

Brian McCluskey

 

Doug Ryan

Ryan McShane

 

 

Earlie Thomas

 

 

Joseph Wilson

 

 

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

All in attendance introduced themselves and provided a brief background about their interest in the EAB.

 

Discussion Items:

Solar Power Code Amendment.† Karin Madson provided an overview of the Planning Departmentís draft amendments for Accessory Solar and Small Solar Power facilities.† These facilities are currently not addressed in the Land Use Code, and the County wants to provide a degree of certainty for both neighbors and proponents of these systems.† Accessory solar systems that are either building mounted or ground mounted and take less no more than 10% of the lot area would be allowed as a use-by-right.† Small solar power facilities, defined as systems that provide power for the grid or a group of users, may cover up to 5 acres in area.† Larger systems, covering more than 5 acres are currently regulated under the Countyís 1041 Regulations.†

 

The EAB and Planning staff held a discussion about the potential impacts of solar energy facilities.† Members were concerned that in areas with lot sizes of five acres or smaller, small solar power facilities near the maximum five acres could present a compatibility concern with adjacent residential properties.† It was suggested that an appropriate lot line setback and percent of coverage standard be considered.† Those standards would need to be carefully considered so as to promote neighborhood compatibility while not providing a disincentive to the development of solar facilities.† For Growth Management Areas where urban development on smaller lots is expected in the future, the percentage of lot coverage should be lower than for rural zones.† Other suggestions relate to the standards for maintaining historic drainage paths and ground cover.† It was pointed out that while historic ground cover may not be feasible, the requirement to reestablish adequate ground cover is reasonable.† The standards for decommissioning solar facilities should also incorporate a requirement to reestablish vegetation.† In that instance, an emphasis on historic or native ground cover may be appropriate.† Following the discussion, Kimberly Karish moved, and Evelyn King seconded a motion to authorize the chair to sign a letter to the Planning Department outlining the EAB recommendations.† The resolution passed unanimously.†

 

Zoonosis Season Update.† Lee Anne Kempton provided an update on the 2011 status of West Nile Virus and other zoonotic diseases (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people).† She used a power point presentation to illustrate the data presented.† West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is maintained through a transmission cycle between birds and mosquitoes.  The first human cases of WNV occurred in Colorado in 2003.  The County Department of Health and Environment conducts adult mosquito trapping and testing for the virus in partnership with cities and towns.  For the 2011 season so far, there have been no human cases of WNV reported from Larimer County and one human case in the State.  None of the mosquito pools in the County have tested positive for the virus.  Prevention remains the main activity that people can take to limit mosquito bites and transmission of the virus.  The Departmentís website has information about WNV on its website at http://larimer.org/health/cd/westnile.asp.

 

Ms. Kempton also talked about other zoonotic diseases in the County.  Over the past two years, skunk rabies has become endemic in eastern Colorado.  In the past, bat rabies was the only relatively common form of the disease.  Larimer County has not had any positive skunk cases this year, but is conducting surveillance.† Three positive bat cases have occurred in the County.  There have been no cases of animal plague in Larimer Count for the season.† Boulder County has had two plague positive squirrels and one plague positive cat.  Larimer County has not recorded human Hantavirus cases in 2010, but Boulder County has reported one case.†

 

Stewardship Awards Committee.† Members Earlie Thomas, Joseph Wilson and Melissa Chalona volunteered for the stewardship awards review committee.† Doug Ryan will poll the members not in attendance for their interest.†

 

Approval of July Minutes:

Minutes from the July 12 meeting were approved as presented.

 

Updates:

Kimberly Karish reported that the Army Corps of Engineers has discontinued the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement on the Regional Watershed Supply Project.† In the future the proponent may formally ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to review the project as a hydropower project.†

 

Kimberly Karish reported on a discussion she had with Jeff Rulli, GIS Services Manager for the County about fire safety maps.† The Wildfire Hazard Map was prepared using vegetative land cover and terrain as the primary inputs.† The Wildfire Mitigation Map outlines wildfire management measures for federal lands based on land use and safety considerations.† Both maps were prepared when internal departments requested the maps and provided resources for implementation.† No current plans have been made to update the maps, and it is not anticipated that this would occur in the near future.

 

Evelyn King provided an update on the scheduled Air Quality Control Commission Hearing to consider vehicle emission inspections in the Estes Park Area.† That rulemaking is aimed at reducing ozone forming emissions.††† Her group, Citizens of Larimer and Weld Counties, has obtained party status for the hearing and is offering an alternative rule which would require vehicles entering Estes Park from the east to demonstrate that they have been tested for emissions.† The Larimer County Commissioners and Town of Estes Park have also requested party status.† Their position is that emission testing for Estes Park Vehicles would not be an effective way to control ozone levels, and that the test program would present a hardship due to the percentage of older drivers and the long distance to the centralized test stations.† Mrs. King requested that members communicate with her if they are familiar with ozone health data that might be useful to her groupís research.

 

Brian McCluskey noted that newspaper articles have discussed the recent controversy surrounding the extension of a high power electric transmission line along the east side of the City of Fort Collins Pine Ridge Open Space.† The Fort Collins City Council has asked the City of Loveland to consider postponing that project for 90 days to allow consideration of other alternatives.† Joseph Wilson offered some background information about the project in terms of the kind of information considered for route selection and the use of poles versus underground installations.† The major purpose of this particular project is to provide a transmission line between the Flatiron Generation facility and the Dixon Substation for the Western Area Power Authority.† As such, it is a federal project for which federal preemption from local land use control exists.† That is the reason that this line was not required to obtain County 1041 approval.† The Platte River Power Authority will also install a line on the power poles that is designed to provide a second pathway for power into Loveland.

 

Michael Jones noted that since his recent update on the Middle Bald Mountain radio tower project, Larimer County updated their website with information about recent communications with the U.S. Forest Service about moving forward with the environmental studies for permitting the project.† A summary is available at:† http://larimer.org/baldmountain/ under the heading of 5/31/2011 meeting.

 

EAB Issue Index:

Doug Ryan will update the Issue Index related to the topics discussed at the meeting.† Two issues, domestic animal standards and the Regional Watershed Project, were reclassified from active to watch.†

 

September Meeting Agenda:

Solid Waste Department update, recommendations for Environmental Stewardship Awards.

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:30 PM.