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LARIMER COUNTY RURAL LAND USE ADVISORY BOARD

MEETING MINUTES

Monday, July 11, 2011

5:00 p.m.

Larimer County Courthouse Lake Estes Conference Room (Suite 333)

 

Rural Land Use Advisory Board:

Planning Division Staff:

Present:

Linda Hoffmann

Suzanne Bassinger

Brenda Gimeson

Kristin Grazier

Pam Stringer

 Lauren Light

 

 Bill Sears

 

 Bill Spencer

 

 

 

Absent:

 

John Hatfield

Mike Lynch

 

William Prewitt

 

 

AGENDA TOPICS:

 

Chair Spencer updated the board members of why this special meeting was called—there was some question about the voting procedure at the last meeting and there is additional information about the fire plan for the Three Bell Ranch project.  He also made note that two of the members, Light and Sears, where not present at the June 19, 2011 RLAUB meeting so there will be a full presentation of the action item.  Chair Spencer then gave the floor to Linda Hoffmann to re-visit the general rules regarding board members responsibility.

 

Linda went over some general information regarding the role of board members.  She clarified for the members that if they know or feel they have a bias opinion or conflict of interest with a project on the agenda, they should disclose this at the beginning of the meeting and either excuse themselves from the room or sit quietly in the back but they should not participate in the discussions.  The idea is to not influence the other board members.  What constitutes a conflict of interest would be a business relationship that you would benefit financially or where the outcome of the decision could impact you personally.  If you just don’t like someone for the color of their hair, their profession or financial status, that doesn’t create a conflict.  However, if you feel those things will influence your decision or create a conflict for you, you should state that at the beginning of the meeting.  The Land Use Code does not give permission for discrimination based on your likes or dislikes.  Your decision on a project needs to be made on the material presented and be based on the merit of the project only.  Linda also stated that if we haven’t done a good job of communicating this to past members, we will work in the future to communicate this to any new members appointed. 

 

Member Graizer made a suggestion that three questions should potentially be asked before each meeting.  1)  Does anyone have a conflict of interest with this project?  2)  Does anyone feel they should recuse themselves from voting on this project?  3)  Does anyone have a bias or been in contact with the applicant that they need to disclose.   Linda replied that should be protocol. 

Chair Spencer then asked the three questions.  None of the members had a bias; conflict of interest or had contact with the applicant.

 

1.   Three Bell Ranch RLUP – Action Item

 

Brenda gave an overview of the Three Bell Ranch RLUP project which included a slide presentation. The property is generally located north of County Road 32E at the intersection of County Road 3, northwest of the Town of Windsor and just south of the Town of Timnath.  The applicant, Timnath Farms Investments, LLC, is proposing to divide approximately 340 +/- acres in the FA-1 Farming District into 8 lots.  There are two existing conservation easements which were recently purchased by Larimer County Parks and Open Lands on this property.   As part of the conservation agreement, the applicants retained the ability to place 8 homesites on the property.  The southern portion of the property is in the Windsor Growth Management Area, which means the Town has to give permission for the RLUP development.  The Town of Windsor has given approval of the RLUP development.  The Town of Timnath does not have an IGA but had no comment regarding the project.  Because the density is limited, one unit per 42.5 acres, this project qualifies for administrative review.   The number of homesties they are requesting is less than what they could have if they divided into 35 acres parcels. Therefore, no community meeting is required.  The only notice to adjacent property owners will be mailed when a BCC Hearing is scheduled. 

 

Within the 8 homesites, there will be 6 single family residential lots ranging in size from 3-6 acres and two larger residual lots that will remain free from further development.  Each residual lot will have a 5-acre building envelope to accommodate the homesites, and those building envelopes will be determined at final plat stage.  Uses allowed on the residual land will be the same as in the conservation easement.  Larimer County Natural Resources will be monitoring the residual land for compliance. There is also an existing gravel mine on the northern parcel which Lafarge will be mining.  The Board of County Commissioners just approved a 5-year extension for the gravel mining, until 2016.  This is also allowed by the conservation easement. 

 

The majority of the property is in the floodplain and the floodway.  When Larimer County adopted the flood insurance maps, in the 1970’s, they adopted the half-foot floodway line.   FEMA regulations go to the one-foot floodway line.  All of the homesites and the access to these homesites are in the floodplain but not all of them are in the floodway.  Brenda pointed out on an aerial map both the half-foot floodway line and the FEMA one-foot floodway line.  Lots 1-3 are outside the floodway so building envelopes will not be required.  Lots 4-8 all have a portion of the lot located in the floodway.  Each of these lots will have a designated building envelope outside of the floodway where all the development will occur. 

 

This development will be done in two phases.  Phase 1 consists of the access road and lots 7 & 8 (two southern lots).  Phase 2 will only occur after the mining is completed, when all material is removed and the final contours of the land are determined.  Phase 2 will include the remaining Lots 1-6 and the remaining road along with a new bridge.   The applicants determined that the existing bridge will not be rebuilt.  The exact location of the new bridge will be determined at a later date.  The bridge is also in the floodway.  The RLUP requires the bridge to meet the standards for a 10 year storm event.  Because the bridge is in a floodway, the bridge design will need to be reviewed and approved by the Floodplain Review Board.  The applicant and the Engineering department agreed that the approaches could pass the 10 year flood event but the bridge decking must meet the 100 year event. 

 

The RLUP code does not address fire standards.   Typically, the RLUP requires fire sprinkler systems instead of the higher standards of a secondary access for RLUP lots.  New information has been provided by the applicant since the last meeting.  The applicants have worked and agreed with the Windsor/Severance Fire District to a fire plan.  The fire plan requires the individual homesites to have a fire sprinkler system and requires turnouts to be installed on the internal roads every 1000 feet, but no secondary access will be required.  An e-mail from the Windsor/Severance Fire District confirms that agreement stating they will provide fire protection to this development under these agreed to conditions.

 

Referral Agencies:

The following agencies were sent a referral notice:  Engineering, Health, Addressing, Water District, Windsor/Severance Fire District, DOW, US Fish & Wildfire, Army Corp of Engineers and Neighboring Towns (Windsor and Timnath).

 

Technical Issues:

Portion of the lots in the floodway zone

o  Condition of approval will require each lot to have at least 2 acres outside of the floodway where all the development will occur, including the septic systems. 

o  All building envelopes, homesites, and septic systems will be located outside the ½’ floodway area and the lowest floor of all residential structures will be elevated at least 18” above the 100-year base flood elevation.

 

Bridge in floodway

o  Must meet 10-year storm event as called out in RLUP standards.

o  Applicant has agreed to design bridge to pass a 100-year storm (won’t wash out bridge) with the water passing underneath the bridge.

o  Bridge approaches to pass a 10-year event.     

o  Applicants have decided to not redo existing bridge but build a new bridge at a different location.  Bridge design required to be reviewed and approved by Flood Review Board.   Applicants are aware of this.

 

Access Road in the floodway

o  Access Road must meet 10-year storm event as called out in RLUP standards. 

o  If any fill is placed within the floodway, this will trigger Flood Plain Review Board approval and may have to go to FEMA.

 

Floodplain Modeling

o  All of the floodplain modeling will be done before building permit issuance instead of lot sale restriction. 

o  Unable to model for a someday condition, need to model on the then current conditions for the affected lots before building permits can be issued. This could put buyers at risk thinking they are buying building permit ready lot, so will be adding disclosures notifying them that these are non-building permit ready lots and they may never be buildable until the modeling, design and construction of access and bridge is complete for affected lots.

 

Basements

o  Lowest floor elevated at least 18” above base flood elevation including basement. 

 

Health Department

o  Need letter of commitment from the water district

o  Septic Systems – each lot will require at least 2 acres outside the floodway and each lot must demonstrate septic system feasibility at building permit issuance.

 

Fire District

o  Fire Sprinkler systems will be installed in the individual homes.

o  Turnouts will be installed on the internal roads every 1000 feet.

o  No secondary or emergency access will be required.

o  Fire Plan be a recommendation of approval.

 

Staff  Request:  Approve the Three Bell Ranch RLUP with the standard conditions that require compliance with RLUP standards, as well as the additional conditions regarding lot locations, roadway and bridge design, floodway modeling and basements as outlined by staff in this presentation.

  • Each lot to have at least 2 acres outside of the floodway where all the development will occur, including the septic systems.  Each lot must demonstrate septic system feasibility at building permit issuance.
  • All building envelopes, homesites, and septic systems will be located outside the ½’ floodway area and the lowest floor of all residential structures will be elevated at least 18” above the 100-year base flood elevation.

o  Bridge and roadway design must meet 10-year storm event as called out in RLUP standards with bridge decking passing a 100-year storm and bridge approaches passing a 10-year event. Review and approval by the Flood Review Board will be required for the bridge and possibly for access road if any fill is needed. 

o  Disclosures notifying potential purchasers that these are non-building permit ready lots and they may never be buildable until the modeling, design and construction of access and bridge is complete for affected lots.

  • Lowest floor elevated at least 18” above base flood elevation including basement. 
  • Need letter of commitment from water district
  • Fire sprinkler systems will be installed in the individual homes.
  • Turnouts will be installed on the internal roads every 1000 feet.
  • No secondary or emergency access will be required.

 

Board Discussion:

 

Member Bassinger questioned how the eight sites were determined and when the Conservation Easement was agreed upon.  Brenda stated the homesites locations were determined when they negotiated the conservation easement with the Open Lands Department.  The Conservation Easement was recorded last year (2010).  Typically in conservation easements, development rights are given up.  But in some cases, they do allow a certain number of homesites to be built.  This is the case for this particular conservation easement where the ability to build 8 homesites was retained in the agreement. 

 

Member Sears asked when the completion date of the mining would be.  Brenda stated if the mining was not completed by 2016 the applicant/owner would need to go back to the Board of County Commission for an extension, but it is possible it could be extended further into the future.  Member Light asked if the mining was never completed can this development proceed.  Brenda replied yes the development could still move forward.

 

Member Sears asked for clarification regarding the floodplain and the floodway.  You can build in the floodplain but not in the floodway.  Brenda replied that is correct, all the buildings have to be placed outside the half-foot floodway area.

 

Member Grazier asked if there is a difference between the placement of the homesites in the RLUP and what is allowed in the conservation easement.  Brenda replied the only difference is the conservation easement depicts the general area where the development is allowed and the RLUP is more defined.  Brenda went on to say a referral, which included a map of the project, was sent to the Open Lands Department and they had no objections to the location of the homesites. 

 

Member Sears asked who owns the water that flows into the ponds created by mining.  Member Bassinger replied the government does under the reclamation plan.  Member Light requested clarification on the meaning of the red line on the map.  Brenda stated the red line represents the half-foot flood line/floodway and that it will be required that at least 2 acres be provided outside that area for development.  Member Sears asked for clarification about what is the floodplain, the floodway, and the flood fringe.   Linda gave a brief presentation about those differences.  Member Light stated that the county is stricter then the feds. 

 

Motion by Member Sears to approve the project as presented.  Seconded by Member Light.

 

Discussion of the Motion:

 

Member Bassinger does not like isolating four lots across the river without a secondary access, when we recognize that all these lots are in a potential floodway.  Member Light asked if it would be possible to acquire secondary access from the neighboring property?  Chair Spencer mentioned it would be difficult to get another access.  Brenda stated that the only way they could get secondary access and stay on their property would be to build the emergency access right by the eagles nest and that would not be desirable and potentially prohibited by the conservation easement and federal regulations since it is a protected species. 

 

Member Sears stated if a flood happens every 100 years, aren’t the odds higher of being killed by driving on the interstate or smoking cigarettes, but people still doing it.  Member Bassinger agreed.  Member Sears stated people buying these types of property need to be prepared to deal with all the issues involved.  In the event of a flood there is a possibility they could walk out or the fire department has the right to do whatever it takes to evacuate individuals, which includes driving across private property, pumping water out of ponds to put out a fire, or evacuating people by means of a helicopter. Member Graizer shares Member Bassinger’s concern regarding the secondary access.  Member Light stated we can’t protect everyone.  Member Grazier asked if the new letter from the fire department addressed items eleven and twelve, from the original fire department referral letter.  Brenda stated yes.

 

MOTION:

 

Approve the Three Bell Ranch RLUP with the standard conditions that require compliance with RLUP standards as well as the additional conditions regarding lot locations, roadways and bridge design, floodway modeling and basements as outlined by staff in this presentation.

 

  • Each lot to have at least 2 acres outside of the floodway where all the development will occur, including the septic systems.  Each lot must demonstrate septic system feasibility at building permit issuance.
  • All building envelopes, homesites, and septic systems will be located outside the ½’ floodway area and the lowest floor of all residential structures will be elevated at least 18” above the 100-year base flood elevation.

o  Bridge and roadway design must meet 10-year storm event as called out in RLUP standards with bridge decking passing a 100-year storm  and bridge approaches passing a 10-year event. Review and approval by the Flood Review Board will be required for the bridge and possibly for access road if any fill is needed. 

o  Disclosures notifying potential purchasers that these are non-building permit ready lots and they may never be buildable until the modeling, design and construction of access and bridge is complete for affected lots.

  • Lowest floor elevated at least 18” above base flood elevation including basement. 
  • Need letter of commitment from water district
  • Fire sprinkler systems will be installed in the individual homes.
  • Turnouts will be installed on the internal roads every 1000 feet.
  • No secondary or emergency access will be required.

 

Member Bassinger stated that she still doesn’t agree to the lots being in the floodway but is unwilling to put a condition on the project that goes above and beyond what the Windsor / Severance Fire Protection District is requiring.

 

Roll Call Vote:

Suzanne Bassinger

Yes

Kristin Grazier

An unhappy Yes

John Hatfield

Absent

Lauren Light

A happy Yes.  The applicant could create 35 acres parcel instead of the 8 homesites and I am pleased with how much land that has been secured with the two conservations easements. 

Mike Lynch

Absent

William Prewitt

Absent

Bill Sears

Yes—Concurs with Member Light

Bill Spencer

Yes

Motion carried unanimously.

 

Meeting was adjourned.

 

     

            _____________________________                           _________________________                   

              Chair                                                                                 Secretary

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