Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

August 13, 2013

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Cassie Archuleta

 

Zac Wiebe, Natural Resources Dept

Melissa Chalona

 

 

Derek Esposito

 

Commissioner:

Kimberly Karish

 

Lew Gaiter

Evelyn King

 

 

Joseph Wilson

 

Staff :

 

 

Doug Ryan

 

Amendments or Additions to the Agenda:

The zoonosis update scheduled for August was tabled to the September meeting.

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Those in attendance introduced themselves.

 

Discussion Items:

Our Lands Our Future Planning Project.

Zac Wiebe provided an update on the final results for the Our Lands Our Future planning process.  This was a follow-up to his previous briefing on the project in December of 2012.  Our Lands Our Future is a collaborative process with the County and each of the cities and towns to examine the future of open lands programs.  The process incorporated an extensive public outreach process, including an initial and follow-up survey of attitudes about open lands for uses ranging from active recreation to conservation.  The results for the project will be used to help inform the upcoming revisions to the County’s open lands master plan. Mr. Wiebe used a PowerPoint presentation to outline his discussion.

 

The planning project identified the economic  benefits of open lands related to property values, tourism, and resident spending.  Attitudes about the public support for urban open space and trails, regional trail systems, working farms and ranches, and natural resource and wildlife conservation were outlined.  Information about the planning project, including results from the public surveys, is available at http://larimer.org/ourlands_ourfuture/

 

The discussion topics included the use of the data, attitudes about taxing and funding options, priorities for open lands, cross-border linkages for trials, and the use of resources for acquisition vs. management.  The EAB concurred with Natural Resources that the information obtained through the project will be useful for moving forward with the open lands master plan update. 

 

Oil & Gas Regulatory Review.

The review of Arapahoe County O&G regulations was based on a request from Commissioner Gaiter. His peers there have indicated that they are very satisfied with the a process they developed in partnership with operators and the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).  The Arapahoe County regulations outline a two-option process for obtaining a county land use permit for new oil and gas developments.  Operators can elect to apply for a Special Review land use permit which involves a traditional extended public hearing and review process, or alternatively can sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and be eligible for an administrative permit.  The MOU involves an agreement to comply with certain standards that the county feels are important land use considerations and not in conflict with state COGCC regulations.  A link to the process, including the MOU is at  http://www.co.arapahoe.co.us/Departments/PW/OilGas/OilGas.asp .

 

Doug Ryan provided an overview of the Arapahoe County process, and illustrated the standards outlined in the MOU with a matrix to contrast the County’s standards with those from the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and from the City of Loveland. 

 

Commissioner Gaiter led the discussion that followed.  Summary points from the EAB noted the following:

·  An administrative process and MOU can be a benefit to both operators and the community by providing a predictable permit process with clearly defined performance standards.

·  Larimer County does not currently require land use permits for oil and gas activities.  The advantage of the administrative process in Arapahoe County is that it is a viable alternative to their traditional land use permitting process. 

·  EAB members felt that an administrative process should be structured to build in a degree of flexibility to allow the inclusion of standards for site-specific issues identified in the review process.

·  A suggestion for dealing with oil and gas activities in Growth Management Areas would be to specify in the MOU that the County will consult with the applicable city or town on permits in a GMA.  A goal of that consultation would be to fully understand any unique concerns to the city, and to work with an operator toward a consensus on the need for consistency with any unique city standards. 

·  If a process were initiated in Larimer County, the specific performance standards for inclusion in the MOU should be reviewed locally to ensure a good fit with issues of concern in Larimer County.

·  County regulations to address issues of local concern are intended to augment state standards.  It is important for the County to continue to support research into oil and gas impacts, and the development of reasonable state level regulations.  The planned North Front Range Emissions and Dispersion Study is an example of such research. 

·  The Arapahoe County model appears to be a workable example of a cooperatively developed process to ensure that local issues are considered in permitting oil and gas activities. 

 

Approval of July Minutes:

Minutes from the July 9, 2013 meeting were approved as submitted

 

Updates:  

Doug Ryan provided members with recent news releases from the Department of Health and Environment about mosquito spraying for West Nile Virus control, and the current status of rabies in the County.  Current information about these topics is available on the Departments website at http://larimer.org/health/

 

EAB Issue Index:

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

 

September Meeting Agenda:

Solid Waste update, Zoonosis, Stewardship committee formation, Bylaw revisions

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:30 PM

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