Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

LARIMER COUNTY RURAL LAND USE ADVISORY BOARD

MEETING MINUTES

Monday, May 5, 2014

Larimer County Courthouse Lake Estes Conference Room (Suite 333)

 

Rural Land Use Board:

 

Present:

Staff:

Suzanne Bassinger

Brenda Gimeson

Alan Carlson

Terry Gilbert

Debra Herston

Pam Stringer

Ryan Hostetler

 

Kara Lamb

 

Bill Spencer

 

 

 

Absent:

Kristin Grazier

 

 

AGENDA TOPICS:

 

Secretary Lamb, acting as Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:05 p.m.

 

1.   Approval of the February 20, 2014 minutes.  Member Spencer made a motion to approve the minutes from the February 20, 2014 meeting.  Member Hostetler seconded.  All were in favor.

 

Approval of the April 7, 2014 minutes.  Member Spencer made a motion to approve to approve the minutes from the April 7, 2014.  Member Carlson seconded.  All were in favor.

 

2.   Nelson RLUP - Action Item

Brenda gave an overview of the Nelson RLUP project, which included a slide presentation.  The project is located 2 miles north of the Town of Wellington on County Road 9 between County Road 70 and 72.  The applicant, David Nelson, is proposing to divide 79.5+/- acres into four (4) single-family residential lots, approximately 5 acres in size, and 1 Residual Lot, approximately 59.5 +/- acres in size, with building envelopes for agricultural support buildings only.  Dry land grazing will continue on the residual land with the option of leasing or selling the residual lot.  Access for these lots will be taken off County Road 9.  The zoning district for this property is O-Open which allows one unit per 10 acres by zoning.  At this time, water will be provided by on-lot wells.  If Northern Colorado Water is determined to be available, and feasible, it is possible the lot sizes could range from 2-5 acres.  Sewer will be provided by on-site septic systems and fire protection will be provided by Wellington Fire.  The surrounding area includes a RLUP to the north of this property that has not been able to obtain their required water but the majority of the surrounding area parcels are 35 acre or larger, with a few subdivision and exemptions.  The North Poudre Canal separates the property and the Boxelder Creek is located southwest of the property.  Boxelder Creek is defined as a Class 3 wetland.  The Residual Lot will be protected from further development for a minimum of 40 years.  The application is proposing to cluster the homes sites at the top of the hill for a couple of reasons: 1) marketing and 2) if the residual lot was located at the top of the hill the applicant felt it would be harder to maintain and access.  The applicant is not proposing to create a HOA for Nelson RLUP.  Brenda informed the board that this project will be going before the Board of County Commissioners for consideration on June 16, 2014.

Referral Agencies:

The project was referred to the following agencies:  Engineering Department, Health Department, Northern Colorado Water Association, Wellington Fire, Parks & Wildlife, North Poudre Irrigation and the Division of Water Resources.

 

A summary of the comments and concerns received are as follows:

 

Community Concerns:

–  Placement of home sites near existing residences and at top of hill

–  Number of buildings allowed on lots in addition to the homesite

–  Noise generated from development and use of open lands for dirt bike tracks or shooting range

–  Water, or lack of it

 

Technical Issues:

      Engineering Department Requirements:

  • Requesting enough  right-of-way along CR 9 to meet 50’ half right-of-way

v  Proposing condition of approval to require this

  • Requesting drainage paths be preserved and water quality protected

v  Standards in RLUP Code require this be met.  Proposing additional condition of approval requiring inclusion in drainage review for an investigation of the need for best management practices for non-point source runoff to protect ditch water

  • New access permits required with paved apron off CR 9

v  Proposing standard condition of approval requiring access permits that will in turn require the paved apron

 

Heath Department Requirements:

  • Reasonable plan for septic system placement

v  (soils suitable, large lot sizes, and canal buffered with residual lot)

  • State statutes allow water wells but water quality and quantity issues should be considered by new lot owners. 

v  Proposing a note to be added to the Disclosure statement about potential water quality & quantity issues.

  • Rural Area issues and Horse Pasture Management comments. 

v  Standard disclosure notes will be included that discuss rural area issues and horse pasture management on small lots.

 

Division of Water Resources:

  • Plan meets requirements for cluster developments and well permits will be issued within state statute regulations.
  • Alternate water source may not be favorably commented on due to temporary nature of water supply.

North Poudre Irrigation CO:

•  Should be no interference with ditch activities, including encroachments onto property, blocked access, road use by property owners, and stormwater additions.  Property owners should be notified of ditch maintenance activities

•  No structures within 100’ of ditch.

v  Lots are well outside of 100’ area. 

 

Wellington Fire Requirements:

  • No comments provided
  • Does not have an adopted Fire Code
  • RLUP regulations do not specifically address fire requirements.  

v  RLUP road standards include requirements for turnarounds at dead-end roads only

  • Development Standards in Land Use Code do not apply to RLUP projects
  • Generally would require automatic fire protection sprinklers for new residential structures or written permission for variance from the requirement from fire district.

v  Because of wells & no public water, will likely require cisterns in home.  This may not work well or may be cost prohibitive.

  • Could require applicant to work directly with the fire district to make fire plan before final approval and then make disclosure notes regarding the plan. 

 

Staff’s Recommendations:

 

Approval of the Nelson RLUP with the standard conditions that require compliance with RLUP standards, as well as additional conditions as follows:

 

  • Require engineer report to include an investigation of best management practices to control non-point source run-off.
  • Require a dedication of right-of-way along existing County Road to meet 50’ half-right-of-way.
  • Require access spacing requirements be met and access permit.
  • Require applicant to work with the Wellington Fire District to come up with a fire plan before final approval.

 

Member Carlson made a Motion to discuss the conditions of approval.  Member Spencer Seconded Motion.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Member Spencer questioned with the lack of an HOA who is responsible for the residual lot?  Brenda stated whoever owns the residual lot would be responsible.  Member Carlson asked if the applicant had to apply for a well permit through the State.  Brenda replied yes.  When final approval is received we will send the appropriate documents to the State to issue a well permit.  Member Spencer asked if the type of well permit issued would allow watering of livestock.  Brenda stated yes.  As stated in the Division of Water of Resources comments they will issue a domestic well permit, which allows limited amount of water for both lawns and animals.  The Nelson RLUP will receive 2 acre foot of water to be shared between the four lots.  Member Bassinger questioned who monitors these wells?  Brenda replied the State meters these wells to assure compliance.  Vice-Chair Herston asked how many horses would be allowed per lot.  Brenda stated currently it’s the standard one horse per 1/2 acre but a condition of approval can be made by the board on how many horses are allowed, if desired.  Vice-Chair Herston questioned if the applicant had contacted Northern Colorado Water regarding water availability?  Brenda replied that the applicant has contacted Northern Colorado Water and felt at this time it would not be cost efficient to bring public water to serve these lots.  Vice-Chair Herston also inquired about building envelopes and why these lots are not required to have building envelopes on them, especially the lots on the ridgeline?  Brenda stated the experience has shown if there is not a specific reason for placement such as protecting a wetland etc.., that buyers typically will ask to amend them anyway.  If there is not a specific environmental reason for placement it is difficult for County to deny it.  Ridgeline protection is a negotiation within the RLUP, not a requirement.  Member Spencer asked the distance to the nearest neighbor.  Brenda replied across the street but stated that even if a 2 story house was built on Lot 2 it would not obstruct the current neighbors view.  Current property owners are not worried about the view shed as much as they are the distance from the property lines.  Member Carlson stated that it’s not this board’s duty to worry about views and his understanding is…if you don’t own the property you have no input on the location of where your neighbor places their house.  Vice-Chair Herston questioned where the water would be coming from if we required fire sprinklers.  Brenda stated that would be part of the domestic well allocation.  Community Development Director Terry Gilbert stated that Wellington Fire Department is in the process of submitting a draft fire plan, similar to the plan for Poudre Fire Authority, for adoption to the County and it could be adopted before final approval of this plan.    Member Spencer stated he would rather have the motion say work with the fire district.  Secretary Lamb questioned if the County has a responsibility to say there is not enough water in this area.  We are already looking at a water tight situation in this area for houses and domestic use now for fire protections.  Member Hostetler agreed with Secretary Lamb’s concerns.  Brenda stated that anyone can come in and split property into 35 acres without any review and be granted the same water allocation or they can apply through the County for a seven lot subdivision and bring in Northern Colorado Water.  Member Lamb feels that we are following the old west philosophy instead of looking into the future on how we should manage these resources.  Member Carlson stated that is a good question but this board does not have that power and what Brenda is stating is that it could be worse, there could be more lots proposed instead of just 4.  All we are approving the shape of the lots.  Brenda stated that the board could recommend denial due to the lack of water, but this proposal does meet requirements for a state well permit.  Member Bassinger stated there will be no water by 2015 but the people that control the water supply don’t have any land use claim powers. Vice-Chair Herston what is the likelihood if we recommend denial of this RLUP that the owner would just split the parcel into two 35-acre parcels or he would do a subdivision instead?  Would the Board of County Commissioners take responsibility for the lack of water issue?  Brenda stated the amount of water would be the same for a 35 versus the RLUP.  Member Carlson stated if he was personally representing the land owner he would say – who do you think you people are…we don’t know if there is not going to be enough water because we have nothing to base it on except the general knowledge of the area.  What if he can’t sell the lots?  The individuals purchasing these lots are going on a risk of fulfilling their dreams and with that risk they have to take some responsibility to research some of these items we have brought up.  Member Spencer gave his opinion that 35 acre lots are usually not taken care of and with smaller residual lots they are typically not going to overgraze them.

 

MOTION:

 

Motion by Member Carlson to approve the Nelson RLUP with the standard conditions that require compliance with RLUP standards as well as the additional conditions as follows.  Member Spencer seconded the motion.

 

o   Require an engineering report on stormwater management and drainage plan before final approval that would address stormwater quantity and investigates the need for best management practices to control non-source point run-off.

o   Require required right-of-way and access permitting.

o   Require applicant to work directly with the fire district to make fire plan before final approval.

 

Roll Call Vote:

 

Suzanne Bassinger

Yes

Alan Carlson

Yes

Debra Herston

Yes

Ryan Hostetler

Yes

Kara Lamb

Yes

Bill Spencer

Yes

Kristin Grazier

Absent

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

2.   Project Update:  Brenda gave the board an update regarding a possible new project further north of the Nelson RLUP that may be coming soon.  Silver Reef RLUP applicants are still trying to work with Northern Colorado Water and they are hoping to bring that project back in June for recommendation.

 

3.   Other Business:  Member Spencer requested to make a recommendation to the County Commissioners to reduce the size of the Rural Land Use Advisory Board to seven members instead of nine.  When this board was first developed there was a lot of controversy on the 35 Acre Task Force and at that time the Board of County Commissioners’ wanted a large board.  Times have changed and it is getting difficult to get nine people on the board. 

 

MOTION:

 

Motion by Member Spencer to the Board of County Commissioner to amend the by-laws to give this board flexibility between seven to nine members.   Member Bassinger seconded the motion.

 

All were in favor.

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

Member Carlson moved to adjourn.

 

Meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m.

 

            ___________________________                  _____________________________               Secretary Lamb, acting as Chair                         Vice-Chair Herston

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