County Offices, Courts and Landfill will be closed on Monday, July 4 for the Independence Day Holiday. Critical services at Larimer County are not disrupted by closures.
LAPAC Meeting Minutes
August 20, 2013
Members present: Susanne Cordery-Cotter, Mandy Kotzman, Allan Leibow, Ed Ott, John Schmid, Alison Schonhoff, Cordelia Stone, Ed Stoner.
Larimer County Planning Staff Members Present : Samantha Mott, Matt Lafferty
Meeting Called to Order: Mandy Kotzman (Chair) called meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Agenda: adopted (motion by Ed Stoner, seconded by Cordelia Stone, all in favor.)
Meeting Minutes: July 16, 2013 meeting minutes adopted (motion by Cordelia Stone, seconded by Alison Schonhoff, all in favor)
County Communication Items (by Samantha Mott):
LAPAC Member Communication items:
Eric Sutherland: Work was completed at Lions Park restoration project, payment of $350,000 paid by Greeley to Larimer County Parks and Recreation for the work. But Greeley pipeline is scheduled to come through. Looks like payment for remediation that is not needed yet. What did County give away to get the $350k? Lions Park is owned by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Larimer County has a 99 year lease. Digging up natural areas by municipality. Eric wants public records – they have been withheld by County employees. We need transparency in government. He is seeking records to show what we gave up for the $350k. So that Greeley can come through with a pipeline?
Samantha will follow up with Mr. Sutherland.
Betty Wilmouth – Atlas cell tower – we were not aware of the process, we got incorrect answers. LAPAC should know there were things that were inaccurate and done improperly. It will now have to move, this was their plan. At public meeting said they spent a great deal of money to remove mobile home before any review. County commissioners were trying to make nice, moving air conditioned building out of view and assured us the cell tower was not up on hill. Now the building will double in size and move, and they will put tower up on hill. They were going to make it look like a windmill, none has camouflage per their website. No limit to the number of devices allowed on the tower. Other Counties make a surety so they have to go in to remove obsolete devices. Property for sale, there is a contract on it. Water Cottages, a dummy company for Atlas, bought it for less than the asking price, transferred it around, to another name. It is to serve a 1.5 mile strip of highway to improve connection, not needed for my phone. It is one of the few ridges without a tower on it. Land Use Code says use existing structures when available. Atlas said there were none. This is not true, the power line has cell tower on it, it is already up, this can go on power line towers.
Nancy Easley 4200 W Co. Rd. 4E, land use said it is for horse grazing but people living in house there also. Expressed concerns at first BCC meeting, they agreed to move it toward 287. Looking to south and seeing it. Tower looks small from the cement plant. It is a 79 foot tower, 19 ft. setback on one side, setback should be at least as tall as tower. Cannot prove much, but heats up and melts body tissue (microwave). Community is in a bowl. 1-yr ago meeting with commissioners, back to original drawing location, which we said no to. But back to original site. Family comes there daily and rides ATVs and barbeques, keeps it mowed. Placed horses in corner. Health concerns. Moved there to get away. For 1.5 miles it is ridiculous to interrupt the valley there for phones that already have service.
Matt Lafferty: it will come before LAPAC next month with revised application. Original got approval. Two year time limit on approval, but this is an active application. See County website, or call Matt or the planner. It will be before LAPAC meeting September 17. County can expand the 500 feet neigbor notification radius.
Pope Community Hall Amended Special Review:
Allan Leibow and John Schmid recuse themselves. John will speak as adjacent land owner.
Presentation by Matt Lafferty:
This is the fifth application for this property for an events center. Last year December the BCC decided 2 to 0 to approve the Pope Community Hall subject to a list of conditions. See pg. 19, conditions begin on pg. 26. Conditions 1-20 for community hall, and 5 for signage appeal that was granted. Applicant: 22 events separate from camps (8 camps). Six of the 22 can be outdoors, 16 must be indoors (correction to the packet). Of the 6 outdoors, there can be one per month; two events per month max. This request is to modify the conditions as follows:
· Change from 22 to 48 events.
· Not constrict them to indoors or outdoors.
· Add some parking.
Applicant wanted to hold to 22 events for compatibility with neighborhood, and can be indoors or outdoors. If 6 outdoors is not a nuisance, then 22 should not be a nuisance. However, after discussing Boutique Events Center which is approved at 48 events, can have dance activity outside, the modification tonight is for Staff to support 48 events and not restricted to indoors or outdoors (see pg. 9, condition no. 8, Staff modifies that to 48 weddings), and allow one per week. Compatibility is established by the land use code. Beyond the land use code, compatibility is highly subjective. This meets the Land Use Code.
LAPAC member questions:
County Road 52G and Bingham Hill Road have same status? Both are minor collectors per LaPorte Area Plan.
Camps? Seasonal camp for basketball camps. Limited in size and scope.
Traffic studies done for both Boutique and Pope.
Two weddings conducted so far, one year to evaluate compatibility – is it compatible?
BCC approved – what changed? No. of events, level of activity. Applicant made the conditions part of their application, and BCC approved it.
Fire sprinkler system? Was installed prior to first wedding.
Sewage for 130 attendees – approved at 170? Yes, already approved by Health Dept., Health Dept. is looking into this –
Any complaints from weddings? A letter from 2 neighbors, one re camps, and one re special event – doors to gym potentially left open, based on number of vehicles there seemed too many people with no sprinkler system. Also sound measurements did not indicate locations of measurements.
Flowers House? It is a non conforming use. No limit to events.
Tapestry House? was a Special Exception, not limited on number of events.
Community hall not defined until five years ago.
Presentation by Applicant:
Randy Pope: We are completely bamboozled as to how our neighborhood got to the condition it’s in. We do things in the neighborhood, I clean snow from driveways, we were friends with neighbors, somehow this got derailed. We believed we reached out to the best of our knowledge. We are happy that Allan and Emily got approved [Boutique Events Center]. We are the first events center to come through after the approval of “community hall” in FA which occurred in 2009. No template to follow. Was a long and difficult process. Ag property should be able to be used for things other than ag., so it is not automatically turned into a subdivision. We had to traverse something not done before, we have made some mistakes. Were approved in 2010 for 60 events, invested a lot of money. In august 2010 had been noise complaints and BCC asked for show-cause hearing – we were found to have not violated any conditions of approval. Preserve it for our kids. December 2010 another show-cause hearing, (unprecedented) and Commissioners decided to revoke our Special Review. One day you are operating and booked, then in 23 seconds you cannot do business after investing $450k. Feels like an injustice. We were the first to go through Land Use Code as a community hall and first in County to have it revoked. Issues had already been resolved. Refunded deposits and gave up 250k of income (not all profit). So you see why we are trying to get back to where we were. We are trying to provide a compromise to the neighbors’ concerns, but still not there. We feel it is not fair. Events – one per month, some indoors, conditions are difficult to meet. December meetings w/ BCC – meeting A one path, Meeting B different path, meeting C added conditions of approval again. Tried to operate in this “box”, cannot do it. Turning away business each month, tens of thousands of dollars in business each month. Not a cohesive neighborhood. We will reach out to each neighbor again to try to help. Bingham Hill rd. is designed to carry 5,000 cars/day before it needs improvements. Carries 1300 per day now, we will add 34 cars/day, per the way the county allocates cars (260 days/yr.).Traffic has been addressed – none of it reaches the oppositions’ driveways, it turns in before their driveways. They don’t know how its impacted them; they did not know there was an event. We have to provide notification to each neighbor for each event, we are asking that it be removed; it picks scab and rubs salt in the wounds. No one else in the County, including Boutique, has the conditions we have, also Tapestry House, nobody cares. What Boutique got approved is the same thing we want. They had benefit of following us. We moved our parking lot at the request of a neighbor, we do dust mitigation. We installed mature landscaping so you can’t see our house. We hosted Floyd Cooper’s 90th birthday party, he had no idea we existed back there. Friend wanted to have his 85th birthday there, but could not because we already had the event for that month. Daughters of the Revolution would like to meet in gym once/month, but cannot because already have events. Have to turn away church gigs, due to one event/month restriction. We minimized lighting at the request of a neighbor; we use flashlight due to no parking lot lighting. We created speaker placement plan, Leibows did same, privacy fence 200’ long for visual and noise control . Neighbors get on ladders to see in and take pictures. Moved receptions inside. Events are concluded by 10pm. No ostentatious sign. Have a police officer. Made our cell numbers available. These came up in Boutique center approval. LAPAC voted 8-0 for what amounts to the same thing we have already done. Tonight we are asking LAPAC to consider these things you have already approved. (I can walk ten minutes and get there). Our neighbors are further apart. Don’t single us out as being different because we are not.
LAPAC Member questions:
· Show-cause on 8/9/10 was for a violation, correct? Presumed violations on second one. People in before Certificate of Occupancy, and other building issues, hard to verify. Board revoked approval after hearing testimony. Per Randy Pope, Commissioner Gaiter said ok to hold event. Had building permit, not PFA permit, I was assured I would get it before Saturday. Got it Monday 4:30 am, two days after the event. But had been to court and dismissed it, but BCC ignored the court. Health dept. took measurements, sheriff called, but no noise violation was documented.
· Page 8, not receive comments from referring agencies. Need this? Matt: not concerned because initial application that had more events and traffic did not raise issues. We will hear from them, e.g. health dept. re septic. Time spacing might allow septic to recover.
Ken Aton 4008 Bingham Hill rd.: we’ve heard a good orator, he has not mentioned one paragraph that he has followed in the Land Use Code. Rule of law for this land, the State, CRS deals with the rule of law, so everyone gets treated fairly, not about orator, emotion, but about facts. Staff has been 100% advocate of applicant, no assistance to us. Zoning on Bingham Hill is FA, zoning across river is O; big difference. (Matt: both allow the use). All property is limited to single residential. Theirs was and they had it removed so they could do this. Nothing says they can have a commercial operation there. Land Use Code allows “ancillary use”, ancillary to farm use. This is not ancillary, it will be primary use. Issues with the two weddings? Yes. County ordinance has specific way to measure noise. Dept. of Health came out, refused to follow the ordinance. Must be taken within five feet of the property line, Doug Ryan refused to do that. First wedding, Staff has never been out there, says it is compatible, but have never been there. Lew Gaiter came out at first wedding. We stood in our driveway and noise exceeded ordinance. Lew commented “this is an experience”. It is a neighborhood of value. Most want to maintain rural residential experience. Popes want a commercial experience.
Sandy Walker 4008 Bingham Hill Rd. – we did have a compatible neighborhood, Randy wanted to build events center. We did not know the process, did not go to meetings. Randy had meeting at his house, we objected. He went to BCC to change zoning, we did not know; we were not there and did not know about it. If we had, we might not be going through any of this. We have as much right for compatibility and peace and quiet. We thought we’d reached compromise to have one event per month, but he’s right back there wanting more. And Lew also said he would not want that happening every month next to his house. Music in gym we don’t hear, just ceremony and cheer and preacher and toast.
Matt Lafferty: dance music is inside, not changing.
Joan Welch Schmid 4009 Bingham Rd. also 3708 . I have a farm, and property bordering Popes on east side. Pope is in the middle of where our properties are. I believe I am a steward of the land, I work on the land all the time. Work on the far. Lifted 400 bales, I saw a turkey buzzard get a dead snake in field – lovely. There are seven event centers in the area. You are stewards of the lands also, don’t turn this into the Black Hills of SD. Keep some areas preserved. I got my grad and undergrad work in boulder in 1966 it has totally changed, also Brighton. Would love to keep our zoning so no commercial enterprises in rural residential areas. Allan offered nine meetings for neighbors before events center went before BCC he developed a relationship. Randy knocked on our door, sat in our kitchen, said this is not about John, about Joan, stop talking to the neighbors. After he was denied the last time, 2011, I was in Debinsky's driveway, Randy drove by and gestured. How can we have a relationship with that going on?
John Schmid 4009 Bingham Hill Rd. – a year ago much discussion in commissioners’ meeting re conditions of approval, they were done because they thought that’s what constituted compatibility. I look at this – elimination of conditions of approval, if they are eliminated and that’s what it took to be compatible, this amounts to incompatibility.
Liz Whitney 4130 Bingham Hill rd .: did not know about the Boutique. Have been opposed to the Preserve, have a sense of fairness and want to learn more. Not in favor of a lot of activity on Bingham Hill Road.
Discussion by LAPAC Members:
· Mandy: we received two letters from neighbors who could not attend, attach to minutes.
· Alison: zoning – already changed? Yes. Special review required.
· Matt Lafferty: Not ancillary use, it is institutional use. FA, O listed as residential, institutional, other types of institutional. Each has categories under these. Under Community Hall it is under 4.3 section of Land Use Code. Zoning allows community hall with Special Review. Zoning was re Minor Residential Development (MRD) on the property, it said County will not authorize MRD unless there is a constraint regarding no use other than residential. Code did not require (2009) us to notify the neighbors. Since then we have changed the code. Pg. 7 Development Services Team – 9 planners, Health, dept., engineering dept., other referral agencies. That team agreed on constraints re 16 indoors and 6 outside. Now in light of the Leibow’s deal, Matt and Terry decided to change it overnight. This is Staff recommendation. Team supported 60 events the first time. Boards and Commissions can look at this form a subjective point of view. Compatibility is subjective for Board.
· Susanne – we need to be fair.
· Boutique Events Center - there were people opposed to Boutique events center also.
· Ed Stoner: Boutique, Tapestry House are on busy roads different than being on Bingham Hill road, the neighborhoods are different.
· Ed Ott: it doesn’t fit Bingham Hill
· Ed Stoner: 2 wedding doesn’t prove anything.
· Alison – we should be consistent, not let emotion get in the way of fairness. Others live in the community.
· Ed Stoner: no sound study for cheering, etc., must consider background music.
Motion by Susanne: Approve for 48 events, no indoor/outdoor restrictions
Cordelia – do not take into account personalities, agree with Alison
Mandy: previously was not supported by LAPAC.
No second, motion dies.
Motion by Ed stoner: Deny the requested changes.
Ed Ott second.
Vote: five in favor, one opposed, motion carries.
Meeting adjourned 9:12 p.m.