Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson

LAPAC             Meeting Minutes

August 16, 2011


Members Present: Susanne Cordery-Cotter, Andre Duvall, Nancy Grice, Mandy Kotzman, Ed Ott, Paul Resseguie,  Cordelia Stone.


Larimer County Planning Staff Member Present: Rob Helmick


Meeting Called to Order: Mandy Kotzman (Chair) called meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.


Agenda: Adopted as written.


Meeting Minutes: July 19, 2011 meeting minutes were adopted as written (Cordelia Stone motion to approve, Paul Ressiguie second, 6 in favor, 1 opposed.


Member communication items:

1.   Nancy suggested inviting the library district representative back to LAPAC to provide an update presentation. The library district reportedly bought the funeral home across from the downtown library for $ 1 MM, and this raises the question of why there is still not a facility in LaPorte. The Library District’s master plan included a facility in LaPorte. Nancy will draft a letter and circulate it to LAPAC members for review.


County Communications items:  None.


Personal Appearances: None


Discussion Item:

Timberline Resources Special Review 2nd Amendment of Conditions Time Extension.

Rob’s presentation: see packet for details. This item will be in front of the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on Tuesday September 6. Rob’s department has sent out referrals and Rob has heard from three neighbors, there were no major issues. No responses yet from the agency referrals. In response to questions from LAPAC members, Rob acknowledged that the BCC has granted more time to each gravel-mining entity that has requested more time. He indicated that the bottom line is the sand and gravel industries want to hang on to their entitlements.  Mandy questioned the point of the permitting process and time limits. Discussion ensued regarding having “some control” rather than none. The applicant indicated that sand and gravel prices have dropped as much as 50% over the last few years. Andre asked if there is anything in here that allows the applicant to do something they would not otherwise be allowed to do, for example environmentally. Rob responded no, because the applicant will have to comply with standards in place at the time of commencement of mining. The request is a 5-year extension, additional time for posting of collateral, and since Aggregate Industries will not be the operator, requesting that this site not to be linked to the Stegner pit.

Information presented by the applicant, Paul Banks and Mark Goldstein: the Timberline Resources mining is 2 to 3 years out for mining, depending on the economy. There could be overlap of operation of the two pits.  Aggregate Industries as owner of Hawkeye [1] have no interest in Stegner, and vice versa.


LAPAC members questioned the current status of the Stegner pit. According to Rob he has heard some mention of development, however, the State permit and reclamation bond is an issue between Trollco and the former owner. The site was not auctioned, despite trying this year. The State permit (as issued by the Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety, DRMS) remains open until they are done mining, only then reclamation begins. The State will not allow as site to be inactive in perpetuity, it can have only a five year inactive period.


Discussion by LAPAC members  – when this pit was before LAPAC for the first time, one concern expressed by residents was the cumulative impact of both pits operating at same time (traffic, dust, etc), Also, linking the pits gave the County leverage to force Stegner to finish their pit. The applicant responded that the landowner will not renew Aggregate Industries’ lease, it expires September 12, so Aggregate Industries is no longer in Hawkeye.


Aggregate Industries was mining the Stegner pit, and they were going to be mining Hawkeye, but now they are not doing either. Rob will need to ask the County attorney whether the linkage is legal, now that each site will have different operators.


Paul pointed out that there is language in this application that states “the cost of commencing mining is operations can not be justified”. Per recollection Hawkeye was barely economical at the time, so what interest does landowner have for mining? Per Mr. Banks responded that the owner wants the royalty stream. Property owners do not, at this time, have interest in making it a big subdivision, per Mr. Goldstein, new tenant is in and cutting hay.


Discussion ensued regarding old pits and whether they are attractive or not. Some are and some are not. Mandy commented on the attractive renderings that we get presented, and reality. She said that LAPAC does not seem to have authority or power to change unattractive pits. We get dead trees and removed berms.


Comments by the applicant: The applicant mailed letters to surrounding landowners for the request that is in front of us today.  (Per Rob, Banks sent to residents within a 500 ft radius 2 or 3 wks ago; the County sent to residents within a 1000 ft radius. The information went to more than 150 property owners). The Stegner/Aggregate Industries history is more of a rarity than commonplace, per Mr. Banks. Per Mr. Goldstien the landowners have gone to great extent to get Aggregate Industries out of this project. Also, there is reclamation control; there is a plan in place. The MLRB uses the bond and performs the reclamation if the mining company goes bust


Susanne made a motion to approve the dates and disapprove removing the link. Seconded by Mandy.

2 in favor, 3 opposed, 2 abstained. Motion was defeated.


Discussion: Nancy asked whether the investors knew the risk. Applicant responded the Hawkeye Investment Group bought the land it was an agricultural farm at the time. Then they made a lease with Aggregate Industries to mine the site, at that time Aggregate Industries came in and obtained the State, Federal, DOT permits and the Larimer County USR. Around that time the Stegner pit was permitted by another gravel company and Aggregate Industries bought the holdings and took over Stegner. Aggregate Industries was active at Stegner, and BCC imposed the linkage requirements.


Nancy suggested we draft a letter to BCC.


Paul made a motion to deny it all; the applicant says mining cannot be justified (today). No second.


Cordelia made a motion that LAPAC is willing, albeit reluctantly, to support the requested Hawkeye time extension. Ed seconded the motion. 2 in favor, 4 opposed, 1 abstained. Motion was defeated.


Andre made a motion that LAPAC make no mention of approval or disapproval of time, just state our concerns. Motion was seconded by Mandy. 7 in favor. Motion passed.


Discussion ensued, and LAPAC arrived at language to incorporate into the review memo to BCC. The derived language is:


1.   Based on previous input from the citizens of LaPorte, LAPAC  has concerns with two pits in close proximity operating simultaneously, due to cumulative impacts.

2.   LAPAC  and the citizens of LaPorte had a reasonable expectation that the Stegner pit would be completed before the Hawkeye pit began.


Cordelia made a motion to approve the above language items 1 and 2. Seconded by Andre.


Discussion – Ed feels we have failed to do our duty; he feels we should address  items 2 and 3 o f the applicant’s request.


Vote on the motion on the floor: 6 in favor, 1 opposed. Motion carried.


Follow-on discussion: Per Ed, we have stated our concerns, we have no further concerns, and by this action he believes we have indirectly approved the time extension and items 2 and 3. Other members  felt  that we could be construed as indirectly disapproving the time extension.

Comments from audience member Alan Leibow: This issue is being danced around; LAPAC has concerns regarding this new property; we don’t want to have what happened with the Stegner property. LAPAC should say what the concerns are and how to mitigate the concerns.


Discussion:  Mandy said that’s not what’s on the table. Paul agrees with Alan; we’re not sure we want to grant time extension because we’re afraid of what might happen.  Per Andre – no we cannot assume these guys are bad acting, but because they were linked at the beginning that’s the only leverage we have. Paul – also our issues with Stegner are partially due to State requirements that we have no control over. Per Rob, the pit is open due to State issue. In 1989 the State required zoning compliance before granting an MLRB permit, but after that they were delinked and independent.


Motion to adjourn, seconded, motion carried. Meeting adjourned 9:00 p.m.

[1] The site owner of the Timberline Resources gravel mine is Hawkeye Ranch Investment Group, LLC. The applicant uses the term “Hawkeye” when referring to this site.

Background Image: Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson. All rights reserved.