LARIMER COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION
Minutes of January 21, 2009
The Larimer County Planning Commission met in a regular session on Wednesday, January 21, 2009, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hearing Room. Commissioners Benton, Cox, Glick, Hart, Hess, Wallace, and Weitkunat were present. Commissioner Oppenheimer was absent. Commissioner Morgan presided as Chairman. Also present were Matt Lafferty, Principal Planner, Rob Helmick, Senior Planner, Michael Whitley, Planner II, Traci Downs, Engineering Department, Doug Ryan, Health Department and Jill Wilson, Planning Technician and Recording Secretary.
Matt Lafferty accompanied Commissioners’ Cox, Glick, Hart, Morgan, and Weitkunat today on a site visit to Fireside RV Park Special Exception, Schrader Propane Livermore Facility Special Exception, and Loveland Police Gun Range Location and Extent.
COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE COUNTY LAND USE CODE:
COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING OTHER RELEVANT LAND USE MATTERS NOT ON THE AGENDA:
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE DECEMBER 17, 2008 MEETINGS: MOTION by Commissioner Glick to approve the minutes, seconded by Commissioner Cox. This received unanimous voice approval.
AMENDMENTS TO THE AGENDA:
Mr. Lafferty stated that the applicants for the Loveland Police Gun Range Location and Extent #08-Z1721 requested to table the item to the March 18, 2009 Planning Commission hearing. He explained that the applicant had been working with Larimer County and surrounding property owners and due to some legal issues the City of Loveland wished to table the application.
Commissioner Wallace moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission table the Loveland Police Gun Range Location and Extent, file #08-Z1721, to the March 18, 2009 Planning Commission hearing.
Commissioner Hart seconded the Motion.
Commissioners' Benton, Cox, Glick, Hart, Hess, Wallace, Weitkunat, and Chairman Morgan voted in favor of the Motion.
MOTION PASSED: 8-0
Tom Gaskill, 3131 N. County Road 29, was representing the property owners, surrounding neighbors, investors, and other concerned citizens with respect to the Loveland Police Department’s illegal use of its gun and rifle range and ordinance zone. He came to present the report that was given to the Planning Commission members; however, since the item was tabled he wished to record a complaint about the City of Loveland’s unseemly behavior during the last few days. The Location and Extent review process was a result of a long time property owner registering a formal code compliance complaint to the County against the City’s use. That complaint came after ongoing citizen complaints to the City. In mid-October the City applied for the process. Then days after receiving the surrounding neighborhood’s rebuttal and the Development Services Team’s recommendation for denial and two days prior to the hearing the City sent a letter to the Planning Department to withdraw its application. Late this afternoon he was informed that the City would instead table the application. In the neighbors views they saw those actions as an attempt at shrinking away of its acknowledgment of illegality and as an attempt to derail and undermine the due process of the constituents that he represented. The City had also requested a formal hearing to waive the application fee citing “the spirit of the historic and ongoing intergovernmental cooperation” between the County and the City. The Planning Department’s recommendation for that request was a denial stating “there have been no fee waiver requests regarding these types of applications and internal departments to the County even pay this fee.” He saw that waiver request as an abuse of the purposes of the intergovernmental cooperation. Those two incidents showed a pattern that was disconcerting and disappointing. However, it no way diminished the honorable gestures that they shared with chief of police and other fine city staff members during the process.
Mr. Lafferty explained that the County Attorney contacted the City Attorney and advised them to table the application rather than withdrawing in order to continue to work on legal matters between the two agencies.
ITEM #1 FIRESIDE RV PARK SPECIAL REVIEW #08-Z1716 : Mr. Lafferty provided background information on the request for a Special Review for the Fireside RV Park and Cabins which included an appeal to Standards 18.3.2.D, 18.3.2.F, and 18.3.3.F of the Larimer County Land Use Code pertaining to comfort stations and setbacks for RV Park sites. The site is situated on the south side of US Highway 34, approximately ¾ mile east of County Road 27. It had existed since the 1960’s. The current owners learned of the illegal arrangements that had occurred with the previous owners and were therefore trying to resolve the issue.
Commissioner Wallace moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners that the Fireside RV Park Special Review, file #08-Z1716, and appeals to Sections 18.3.2.D, 18.3.2.F, and 18.3.3.F of the Larimer County Land Use Code, for the property described on “Exhibit A” to the minutes, be approved subject to the following conditions:
1. This Special Review approval shall automatically expire without a public hearing if the use is not commenced within three years of the date of approval.
2. The Site shall be developed consistent with the approved plan and with the information contained in the Fireside RV Park Special Review File #08-Z1716 except as modified by the conditions of approval or agreement of the County and applicant. The applicant shall be subject to all other verbal or written representations and commitments of record for the Fireside RV Park Special Review.
3. Failure to comply with any conditions of the Special Review approval may result in reconsideration of the use and possible revocation of the approval by the Board of Commissioners
4. This application is approved without the requirement for a Development Agreement.
5. In the event the applicant fails to comply with any conditions of approval or otherwise fails to use the property consistent with the approved Special Review, applicant agrees that in addition to all other remedies available to County, County may withhold building permits, issue a written notice to applicant to appear and show cause why the Special Review approval should not be revoked, and/or bring a court action for enforcement of the terms of the Special Review. All remedies are cumulative and the County’s election to use one shall not preclude use of another. In the event County must retain legal counsel and/or pursue a court action to enforce the terms of this Special Review approval, applicant agrees to pay all expenses incurred by County including, but not limited to, reasonable attorney’s fees.
6. County may conduct periodic inspections to the property and reviews of the status of the Special Review as appropriate to monitor and enforce the terms of the Special Review approval.
7. The Findings and Resolution shall be a servitude running with the Property. Those owners of the Property or any portion of the Property who obtain title subsequent to the date of recording of the Findings and Resolution, their heirs, successors, assigns or transferees, and persons holding under applicants shall comply with the terms and conditions of the Special Review approval.
8. Within 3 months of the Board of County Commissioners approval the property owner shall be required to install signage as follows:
a. At the existing western entrance to the site stating that this access is for the adjacent residential use and emergency access only.
b. At the southern end of the westernmost access stating no exit.
c. At the easternmost access from highway 34 and the entrance and exit from the property.
9. Within 3 months of the Board of County Commissioners approval the property owner shall eliminate the access situated between the existing accesses on the east and west sides of the property from Highway 34.
10. Within 3 months of the Board of County Commissioners approval the property owner shall provide an easement for the access drive to the residential property west of the subject site.
11. Within 3 months of the Board of County Commissioners approval the property owner shall provide and monitoring plan for the maintenance and discharge levels for the on-site septic system.
Commissioner Glick seconded the Motion.
Commissioners' Benton, Cox, Glick, Hart, Hess, Wallace, Weitkunat, and Chairman Morgan voted in favor of the Motion.
MOTION PASSED: 8-0
ITEM #2 SCHRADER PROPANE LIVERMORE FACILITY SPECIAL EXCEPTION #08-Z1696: Mr. Whitley provided background information on the request for a propane storage facility on 2.9 acres located on the west side of U.S. Highway 287, approximately 0.6 miles beyond “The Forks”, 18341 N. Highway 287. If approved three, 30 gallon tanks would be placed on the property. The request also included an appeal to Section 8.6.3.C of the Larimer County Land Use Code regarding paved parking areas and drive aisles.
Commissioner Wallace moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners that Schrader Propane Livermore Facility Special Exception, file #08-Z1696, and appeal to Section 8.6.3.C of the Larimer County Land Use Code, for the property described on “Exhibit B” to the minutes, be approved subject to the following conditions:
1. Failure to comply with any conditions of the Special Exception approval may result in reconsideration of the use and possible revocation of the approval by the Board of Commissioners. The Special Exception approval shall automatically expire without a public hearing if the use is not commenced within three years of the date of approval.
2. The Site shall be developed consistent with the approved plan and with the information contained in the Schrader Propane Livermore Facility Special Exception , File #08-Z1696 , except as modified by the conditions of approval or agreement of the County and applicant. The applicant shall be subject to all other verbal or written representations and commitments of record for the Schrader Propane Livermore Facility Special Exception, File #08-Z1696.
3. The Schrader Propane Livermore Facility Special Exception is approved without the requirement for a Development Agreement. The Findings and Resolution shall apply and shall be a servitude running with the Property. Those owners of the Property or any portion of the Property who obtain title subsequent to the date of recording of the Findings and Resolution, their heirs, successors, assigns or transferees, and persons holding under applicants shall comply with the terms and conditions of the Special Exception approval.
4. In the event the applicant fails to comply with any Conditions of Approval or otherwise fails to use the property consistent with the approved Special Exception, applicant agrees that in addition to all other remedies available to County, County may withhold building permits, issue a written notice to applicant to appear and show cause why the Special Exception approval should not be revoked, and/or bring a court action for enforcement of the terms of the Special Exception. All remedies are cumulative and the County’s election to use one shall not preclude use of another. In the event County must retain legal counsel and/or pursue a court action to enforce the terms of this Special Exception approval, applicant agrees to pay all expenses incurred by County including, but not limited to, reasonable attorney’s fees.
5. County may conduct periodic inspections to the property and reviews of the status of the Special Exception as appropriate to monitor and enforce the terms of the Special Exception approval.
6. Per Section 9.5 and 9.6 of the LCLUC, Transportation Capital Expansion Fees will be required at the time of building permit issuance in accordance with duly enacted transportation capital expansion fee regulations then in effect. The applicant shall also obtain a Development Construction Permit subject to the same requirements.
7. The tanks shall be painted a “desert tan” color and no commercial signage, including commercial logos, shall be allowed on the propane tanks.
8. Two points of access must be provided to the site for emergency vehicle ingress/egress.
9. A 4,000 gallon cistern shall be provided on-site for use by the Livermore Fire Protection District in the event of an incident in the vicinity of the storage site. It shall be the property owner’s responsibility to fill and maintain the cistern.
10. Propane safety training for firefighters shall be made available by Schrader Propane.
11. It is a matter of public record that in the event of a fire at the facility, the Livermore Fire Protection District will revert to an area evacuation.
12. An “Emergency Access Only” sign shall be installed at the northern access and the emergency access must be gated and must remain locked except when needed by emergency personnel.
Commissioner Glick seconded the Motion.
Commissioners' Benton, Cox, Glick, Hart, Hess, Wallace, Weitkunat, and Chairman Morgan voted in favor of the Motion.
MOTION PASSED: 8-0
ITEM #3 MONROE EXCAVATING DEADMAN QUARRY SPECIAL REVIEW #07-Z1650 : Mr. Helmick provided background information on the request to operate a 6.4 acre quarry for construction and roadway materials located on the north side of Deadman Road (County Road 162), ¼ mile west of the intersection with County Road 74E. The quarry currently existed at the site but was never permitted. He explained that the area disturbed by the quarry would be 6.4 acres on a 15 acre site. The area that would totally be disturbed and reclaimed would be 9 acres. He showed pictures of the site and explained that the applicant proposed to have a quarry with a 20 year mine life with a small shop on site. He noted that the site was zoned O-Open which did allow mining. The Red Feather Planning Area Committee (RFLPAC) heard the proposal and made a recommendation of approval that failed on a 2-8 vote which was followed by a Motion to acknowledge the need for gravel for the community but identified a list of compatibility issues including view, noise, hours, lack of harmony, impact on property values, and code enforcement issues. Many neighbors had been concerned with the noise and dust issues with the days and hours of operation, others were adamant with the appropriateness of location as well as the method of establishing the use. The Development Services Team had found that if operations were appropriately conditioned that operations could minimize the impacts and could be compatible. He noted that the site was very visible to the road but because of the topography there was no way to screen the operation. The applicant had demonstrated that they would and could comply with the applicable standards and requirements of the Land Use Code as it related to water, sewer, drainage, and fire protection. He explained that Poudre Valley REA did a Location and Extent review for part of the property in order to put a substation on the site. That led to information regarding complaints about the property, and the property became a code compliance issue. The zoning violation was in relation to junk equipment and materials on the upper part of the site which had been resolved or were in the process of being resolved. The outstanding issues were of the concerns raised by RFLPAC as well as neighbors. He noted that while the Planning Department evaluated the use they examined Masonville area which had a number of quarries that had been approved with a similar profile, higher densities of long residential use nearby, and a higher level of development and use activity on those quarries. That consideration influenced the Development Services Team’s recommendation of approval with 17 conditions.
Commissioner Glick stated that one of the conditions was that no oil changes or maintenance could take place on the site. He asked how close the nearest maintenance facility was because the cost of maintenance off site could be very expensive and time consuming. He also asked who was responsible for monitoring the revegitation plan and noxious weeds?
Mr. Helmick replied that the responsibility for reclamation relied on the Mined Land Reclamation Board in which Mr. Monroe had to place a bond with to ensure reclamation.
Commissioner Weitkunat asked if the approval was only for the 6.5 acres to be used?
Mr. Helmick stated that it was 6.5 acres to be mined but 9.8 acres would be disturbed because of the layout of the slopes to access the materials. He noted that the permit was for 9.8 acres but the entire property was 15.6 acres.
Commissioner Morgan stated that there had been compliance issues over the years and asked what the status of the clean up was?
Mr. Helmick replied that the site was substantially cleaned up but not fully cleaned up.
Marion Monroe, Monroe Excavating, stated that there had never been any concrete recycled at the site but there was some asphalt and most had been hauled away. He remarked that many of the pictures in the agenda packet were old pictures and much of the cars, etc. had been removed. He admitted that there were still a few more things to move and there was some heavy equipment on top of the hill. He believed that the business did help the community because the resource was close. He stated that he had tried to be a good neighbor but some of the people had bought homes there knowing that the mine was there.
Commissioner Hart confirmed that Mr. Monroe hauled an average of one truck per day. He asked if Mr. Monroe would have a problem with an added condition that would limit the mine to that?
Mr. Monroe replied that when Crystal Lakes ordered from them once a year he hauled more loads. He confirmed that on average it was one load per day.
Commissioner Cox asked where he was in the permitting process with the State?
Mr. Monroe replied that everything was complete. He was just waiting for county approval.
Paul Barker, 3816 Cresent Drive – applicant, stated that when the traffic analysis was put together different loading impacts throughout the year were assumed. In the winter time there was no activity but in the summer time when gravel was being sold there might be a couple loads hauled a day. Historically Mr. Monroe had sold quite a bit of material to Crystal Lakes and for a short period of time there were trucks that came in and hauled the material off. Therefore he could not say 100% for sure that there was just an average of one truck load per day every 365 days. He preferred to calculate it on a yard base as he would mine 5,000 to 10,000 cubic yards per year. He pointed out that on the site was a one acre site that Poudre Valley REA had purchased from the property. The site had been mined and leveled and prepared for the substation. He showed and explained that the mining and reclamation would occur in phases on the site over a 20 year time period. He stated that the permit from the Mined Land Board of Reclamation was approved in December of 2007. Since that time they had been working on getting to the point they were at tonight. He stated that they had the stormwater discharge permit and showed where and how the stormwater detention would work. He noted that they had also obtained the air pollution permits. He stated that the only condition of approval that there was an issue with was condition 2.d which was that heavy equipment maintenance including oil changes be done off site. He explained that some of the equipment would be very difficult to haul to another site to just do an oil change. He also mentioned that there was a crusher on site and stated that it would be difficult to haul it away to do maintenance on. He explained that some work had been done to mitigate some of the neighbor’s concerns.
He stated that the Larimer County noise ordinance had to be maintained at the site and believed that it could be met. He noted that he did a noise survey on the site on December 03, 2008 after asking for county approval to run the equipment to do the study. At the church property, it was the highest reading at 53 decibels as the limit was 54 decibels. Therefore Mr. Monroe agreed that if the church was in session he would not operate on those days. A reading of 48 decibels on the western property was taken and on Mr. Seward’s property it measured 38 decibels. Directly north of the operation it measured 41 decibels. Lastly, he remarked that a mine was a visual impact but when Poudre Valley REA built their substation it would have a very industrial look. Once the mining was done and the area was reclaimed it would like any other hillside.
Commissioner Morgan asked if there would be a lot of nonusable material on the site and piles of materials around?
Mr. Barker explained that there would be a crusher on site and as the mining occurred the material would have to be placed near the crusher. Therefore there would be a stockpile of material that would be used and ran through the crusher. After it was processed through the crusher then there would be a couple of piles of different gradation of material. The other stockpile would be recycled asphalt. Ninety five percent of the materials were the material that they wanted to sell so they did not expect to have many stockpiles sitting on site for long periods of time.
Commissioner Glick asked if he had any ideas to allow on site oil changes as loading and unloading and transporting equipment posed for potential accidents on the road and lots of down time and expense.
Mr. Barker replied that one of the best management practices was a diked in area that would help to contain any oil spills. If spills did occur in that area then that material could be picked up and hauled away to a recycling facility. A secondary containment such as an earth in dike would also be helpful.
Commissioner Cox asked what participation had been done to clean up the junk and junk cars.
Mr. Barker replied that Mr. Monroe was mainly in charge of clean up. He stated that he personally owned the trailer that was on the property but it had been hauled away.
Eugene Barker, part owner of the property, stated that he wanted the mine to be approved partly because he had a memorial in his late wife’s name where trails would be built in Red Feather Lakes. Therefore, in the process of transferring the property to Mr. Monroe, he would get the materials for the trails from the site. He was interested in getting that local material because it would come at a bargain, and it would be available. He was also a board member of the Red Feather Storage and Irrigation Company and stated that many times they needed material and needed it quick, and the site allowed for that easy accessibility. He noted that there was no place in the area to get material quickly.
Commissioner Glick asked if he owned any of the vehicles in question of being cleaned up on the site?
Mr. Eugene Barker stated that Mr. Monroe had moved some items on site which he was not real proud of. He told Mr. Monroe that he had to get rid of them, and Mr. Monroe did get rid of some of them but in the meanwhile some of it was still there. He would like to have it gone because it was an eyesore. He stated that 95% of the junk material was Mr. Monroe’s but he did have some residual material from the Storage and Irrigation Company that he was allowing to be stored there such as posts, culverts, and head gates.
Kevin Manke, 838 Deadman Road, was a part time resident in Red Feather. He lived west of the property and was concerned with how property lines were shown. He asked that the property lines be checked before digging occurred in that area of the property. He stated that the junk material was still on the site. He remarked that the mine took the tranquility away from the area. If digging occurred from Monday to Friday he did not get to enjoy any quiet time because the crusher and beepers were very loud. It was dusty and noisy, and he felt that there was a better place for the mine. He knew that it made sense to have a gravel pit in the area but since it was an illegal mine it should not be approved. He remarked that some land valuations had been done and his land would devaluate $53,000.
Commissioner Benton asked if the mining operation was there when he bought his property?
Mr. Manke replied that the mining operation had been there since 1979 and he bought his property four years ago.
Michael Sledge, 153 Columbine Drive, was a member of the Red Feather Lakes Planning Area Committee. He stated that they did have a hearing on the issue and the group did vote not to approve the use 8-2. There had been a history of poor stewardship on the site, and location did matter in this instance. The Deadman Road was the gateway to the Roosevelt National Forest and that site had been a scar on the land. The Red Feather Lakes Plan stated that view space had to be considered and there was no greater violation of view space in Red Feather Lakes then to take the corridor to the signature entry to the Roosevelt National Forest and turn it into a bigger scar than it already was. However, the issue was that they did need local gravel and everybody on the PAC did not like that there was not enough local gravel and did not want to see anymore damage to the local roads. He noted that there were other sites to get the material but it was not as easy to get as it was at that site. He stated that there were petitions signed years ago in good faith by citizens that thought that the county was trying to stop a local guy trying to make a living and shut down the pit. It implicitly said that the citizens of Red Feather supported the pit but it was not true. The implication on the petition was never that the intention was to expand the pit. He acknowledged Mr. Monroe’s willingness to work with the church but wondered about all of the homeowners. He remarked that if there was poor stewardship and violations on the site then why would the site be expanded to the same steward and then rewarded for not being a good steward.
Ed Seward, 525 Thames Drive, owned property contiguous and overlooking the mining operation. He pointed out the demographics of the area and pointed out in pictures that it was an established residential mountain area. His cabin was northwest of the site and from the deck of the cabin he looked down on the operation. The cabin was built almost 30 years ago as a family project and had been a gathering place for the family but since the operation was introduced into the neighborhood they virtually stopped having family functions at the cabin. It was hard to put a value on quality of life issues but at the RFLPAC meeting the applicant indicated that at peak operations there could be as much as one truck load every 15 minutes. He contacted a local realtor in Fort Collins who was also an appraiser and asked what the impact was of a mining operation to property values in a residential mountain area. That realtor told him that people mostly bought mountain properties to get away from the congestion, the noise, the air, and the visual pollution that was experienced in cities. By instituting those factors into a neighborhood you would instantly have a desirable neighborhood turned into an undesirable location and if you tried to sell your house it would most likely stay on the market a very long time as perspective buyers would pass by your neighborhood to buy homes in a more desirable location. The realtor estimated that he would have to discount the home values by as much as 25% to sell them to prospective buyers. Mr. Seward took the most effected property owners and got the appraised value from the Larimer County tax assessor’s site and looked to see what a 25% reduction in property values would mean, and it came out to about $43,000 for each person. He understood that there was a need for gravel in the area but there were two other licensed sites in the area and pointed out that it was not a heavily populated area. He committed to helping Mr. Monroe with the help of the Red Feather PAC to find an alternative site. He remarked that the industrial operation was introduced in the neighborhood illegally, and the applicant owned other gravel pits in the county and understood what the Colorado Mining Law and the Land Use Code required but chose to ignore it. The applicant had operated the site until they got “caught” and now they were asking for approval so they could operate for another 20 years while causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property damage to the surrounding property owners who did not break the law. He requested that the commission disapprove the Special Review request and support the Red Feather Lakes Land Use Development Plan and the recommendations of the Red Feather Lakes PAC.
Ross Reed, 188 Creedmore Lakes Road, stated that he bought his property in 1990 when the gravel pit was a very small operation. Within the last 10-15 years it had gotten increasingly larger every year. When he sat on his porch he could not only hear the machinery but could feel it, and he lived almost a quarter of a mile away. He hated to see an illegal operation granted and a rewarded for poor stewardship. If the gravel pit didn’t exist he wondered if it would get county approval. He stated that just because it was there did not mean that it should be rewarded.
Rick Crutzen, worked for Crystal Lakes, spoke in favor of the project. Crystal Lakes Subdivision had 86 miles of road, and it was the closes pit for them to get road base. It was 7 miles versus 100 miles road trip to town. They had used it in the past but had been unable to use it in the last couple of years because of permitting issues. He stated that they would definitely use the pit again, and it was one of the best road bases he had seen produced.
Commissioner Glick asked if Crystal Lakes used the other two pits that were in the area?
Mr. Crutzen stated that Mr. Monroe owned the other one but could only produce about 10 truck loads at that site. Crystal Lakes needed about 300 truck loads at a time. At the other pit the crusher no longer existed.
Lucille Schmitt, 60 Deer Mountain Court, was a realtor and also a member of Red Feather Lakes PAC. She stated that a lot of the material for maintenance of the lakes in the area came from the site. It was important for the people in the area to have a place to get the material from.
David Fragnall, a Board member of the Red Feather Storage and Irrigation Company, was in favor of the project. The ability to get to a ready source of material to make repairs was critical to their success.
Commissioner Morgan asked about the other sources of material in the area.
Mr. Fragnall stated that for a large scale project they would have to go a long distance to get the material which had implications of cost and wear and tear on County Road 74E.
Bill Gilbert, 17420 Red Feather Lakes Road, was also a member of the Red Feather Lakes PAC. At the PAC meeting in November he had questions about the number of trips per day and the county responded that it would be one trip per day. He asked if the number of trips per day would include the water truck. Mr. Monroe responded by saying that the soil was wetted by some springs in the area; therefore, he did not see any need for any water. He wondered why that was even brought up in the original application if they did not intend to use water trucks. He stated that there was a history of violations that occurred and wondered who from the county would take care of it. If it was approved why should he think that the county would be able to back up the recommendations if there had been poor stewardship for years.
Ben Meyers, 91 Snake Lake Drive, was approximately five miles from the site. He stated that if Red Feather Lakes had a value to the county it was a recreation resource and revenue through recreation. If the gateway was damaged it would seriously hurt the viability of Red Feather Lakes.
Bill Gargan, 4366 Westbrooke Court, was part of the church next to the site. He did not want the use approved because of the many reasons already stated. If approved, it seemed like they were being rewarded for illegally operating for all those years. He did not believe that there would be any enforcement because there hadn’t been so far. He felt that it was a scar on the land.
Mr. Paul Barker stated that the property lines were set by a professional engineer. Also, the land was divided for the Poudre Valley REA site and was examined and approved by the county. He stated that Deadman Road was not the main thoroughfare after new improvements had occurred. He noted that it was mostly a summer time activity, and the two weeks that material was hauled by Crystal Lakes was only two weeks of intense activities and was accounted for in the traffic study. The average trips per year were 4.16 trips per day per year.
Commissioner Hess asked if he would object to a one trip per day average?
Mr. Paul Barker replied that the trips accounted for were the ones to operate the mine plus trips to actually haul the material off the site. If it was limited to one trip per day it would severely limit how much could be taken off the site. He had estimated 868 trucks hauling per year for a total capacity of 5,208 cubic yards.
Mr. Helmick clarified that according the traffic study there would be an average of three trips per day.
Commissioner Morgan asked why it was so difficult to clean up the area?
Mr. Paul Barker stated that some of the equipment was old and according to Mr. Monroe it was a collection of old equipment.
Mr. Gene Barker stated that he had a truck there. Mr. Monroe told him that some of the items were antique automobiles. He noted that he did have some of the things moved off.
Mr. Monroe stated that some of the stuff had been moved out but he knew he had more to move. Last year he got rid of some materials and last spring two tractor trailer loads went out, and he intended to clean up more. Many of the things that the commission had pictures of were not there anymore. He noted that he had other locations that he had been cleaning up also. He explained that a lot of it was valuable to him for parts and such but he understood that he was busy and would not have the time to do some of the projects he wanted to. He stated that he continued to work on clean up every chance he got. He explained that his other gravel pit at McNey Hill had to go through zoning approval also or it would have be reclaimed, and with the cost involved that might be what happened. The other gravel pit owned by Crystal Lakes had no more material there to be crushed. If approved, his mine might be the only pit in the area before long. He stated that he had done everything he could with the Catholic Church, resloped the bank and reclaimed it the way PVREA wanted it, and tried to work with all the problems. There was a history of industrial uses on the site and the substation was industrial in nature. He had set some hours that were reasonable to his business and hopefully to the neighbors even though some of the close neighbors weren’t even there that often. He stated that the pit had been shut down for two years so the neighbors should have been able to enjoy their cabins those last two years.
Mr. Helmick stated that the Crystal Lakes pit was known as the Upper Lone Pine Pit. It had an active permit but had not been operated for some time. The permittee was the Crystal Lakes Road and Recreation Association. He noted that the pit was approximately three miles north of the site. Mr. Monroe did own the pit at McNey Hill, and the County was working with him to either resolve the zoning on that property through a Special Review or he would have to shut it down. He stated that the traffic information that the Development Services Team based their evaluation /recommendation from stated that it was approximately a 3-4 trip per day.
Commissioner Wallace asked what the substation would look like.
Mr. Helmick replied that he had not seen a picture of it. From his understanding it would be the other end of the line from the substation off of County Road 19 and County Road 66. That site was approximately one acre and had between 3-12 transformers, large poles surrounded by an 8 foot high chain linked fence with razor wire on the top. Those substations had some noise component associated with them that could change with atmospherics such as wet weather, dry weather, wind, etc. and could effect how they operated. They were not screened and were not required to be screened.
Commissioner Wallace disclosed that the Ripple Substation was located on the southwest corner of her property.
Commissioner Glick asked what the Land Use Code said about view considerations.
Mr. Helmick stated that there was nothing specific in the Land Use Code that spoke to views. There was language in the County Code that spoke to viewsheds principally those that were major entryways to Larimer County such as Highway 287 or Highway 34. There was language in the Red Feather Lakes Plan that discussed the area between Dowdy Lakes and Creedmore Lakes Road but nothing passed that area. He stated that there was nothing in the Code that stated thou shall preserve views or ignore views.
Commissioner Glick asked if the land across from the pit was platted for residential use?
Mr. Helmick replied that across the road a Rural Land Plan had been submitted for consideration but it had not moved forward beyond the preliminary stages.
Commissioner Morgan asked about dust suppression?
Doug Ryan, Health Department, stated that there was a performance level standard that the applicant and all other quarry applicants had to meet. The State allowed for control either on reliance on natural moisture or watering at those transfer or crushing points. As a result the Health Department asked the applicant to submit a fugitive dust control plan. Their plan indicated that they would water the working surface and the stockpiles if and when there was not adequate moisture to meet those performance standards.
Commissioner Morgan asked who monitored it?
Mr. Ryan stated that if the Health Department received complaints then they would go monitor the facility.
Commissioner Hess asked if the material at the site had been tested to see how much water was in the materials.
Mr. Ryan replied no. All they had was Mr. Monroe’s description in his fugitive dust control plan that much of the site had adequate moisture but he did indicate that he did supplement with watering during those times when there wasn’t adequate moisture.
Commissioner Hart stated that he felt that it was important that the Red Feather community had a source of gravel. However in examining the Special Review criteria he did not see that the criteria had been met particularly as it related to compliance with the area plan, compatibility with existing and allowed uses, and substantial adverse impact on nearby properties. As a result he did not see it as a viable project.
Commissioner Benton remarked that he did not have a lot of sympathy for people that purchased their property when the mine was already there and now wanted to complain about it. There was a process of due diligence when purchasing a property. He did agree with Commissioner Hart and did not necessarily believe that it was in harmony with the existing neighborhood.
Commissioner Hess did not think that people should be rewarded for starting an illegal business by allowing them to continue.
Commissioner Weitkunat stated that the O-Open zoning allowed mining operations and mining could really not be compatible with anything. However since it was okay in the zone and a small operation she felt that there could be ways to mitigate and accommodate. If the applicant could meet the conditions she felt that the operation could work and that it was a viable operation as it was certainly needed in the area. Her primary concern was the lack of code compliance, and the inability to clean up the area. It troubled the neighbors and it needed to be corrected. If the visuals could be controlled including the dust and aesthetics she was willing to condition the approval so those aspects could be met. She felt okay letting the application go forward based on the conditions that were set forth.
Commissioner Cox found Mr. Sledge’s testimony very compelling. The reason was because he was representing the community who would benefit most from the gravel pit. She did not agree that it was compatible or in line with the Master Plan. She stated that once the clarification came about that the mine did not have the proper permits that the neighbors did have the right to have issues with it. She had a problem with the credibility of the owners and felt that with 17 conditions attached to the approval that it would never be in compliance due to the code compliance issues already in place.
Commissioner Glick stated that the Planning Commission’s duty was to look at the Land Use Code and its requirements whether the business was in place already or not. He stated that he was basing his decision on as if it was a brand new business coming forth. It was a disturbed sight and the key question was whether it was compatible in a residential area. In his personal opinion if he was an applicant and knew that there were issues he would have been worked very diligently to get those cleaned up before coming and asked for an exception for a review process in order to show good faith. He noted that the county’s resources would be used to keep it in compliance but also did see that the applicant would be under the scrutiny of the neighborhood.
Commissioner Wallace stated that it was a Special Review and mining was allowed in the O-Open zoning district. She noted that mining had been allowed all over the county in areas that were much more residential then the present one. The mining operation was a benefit to the community but the location was an issue. She remarked that the site would be a commercial/industrial site with the substation on it, and the end result when the mining operation ceased would be mitigation but the substation would be there forever. She had sympathy with the community but felt that the Red Feather Lakes Plan was for the Red Feather Lakes community rather then for the outlying area.
Commissioner Morgan stated that his concern with the application was the stewardship issue. He appreciated that it was a one man operation but did not think that it was appropriate that the Planning Commission approve under a Special Review operations that had a history of being in noncompliance. He saw a need and would support the operation but he would only support the application if there were criteria that clearly stated that the existing issues related to the visual impacts were cleaned up. The operation needed to be conducted on a basis where the noise was mitigated and the operation consolidated so material wasn’t spread all over the site. If that could not be accomplished in a responsible manner then the application needed to be denied.
Commissioner Cox moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners that the Monroe Excavating Deadman Quarry Special Review, file #07-Z1650, for the property described on “Exhibit C” to the minutes, be denied.
Commissioner Hess seconded the Motion.
Commissioners' Benton, Wallace, Weitkunat, and Chairman Morgan voted against the Motion.
Commissioners’ Cox, Glick, Hart, and Hess voted in favor of the Motion.
MOTION FAILED: 4-4
Commissioner Glick suggested that a new recommendation be crafted.
Commissioner Benton felt that there were too many conditions that needed to addressed for the Planning Commission to adequately craft a new recommendation.
Commissioner Weitkunat stated that the division of the Planning Commission members dealt with a few issues such as the visual, neighborhood impacts, and transportation.
Mr. Helmick stated that staff had done its best job lying out enforceable conditions that could meet the test of if the use was compatible or be made compatible. He did not feel that it was responsible to write conditions that would require additional maintenance or enforcement actions when the county did not have the resources to do that.
Commissioner Morgan asked the members that voted no to the motion if there was a set of circumstances that would change their vote based on any supplemental conditions.
Commissioner Cox stated that based on Mr. Helmick’s comments she did not see a way to change.
Commissioner Hess remarked that there were already 17 enforceable conditions and she still did not feel that there were enough conditions. Therefore she did not feel that new conditions would change her vote.
Commissioner Hart stated that it was an important operation and sympathized. It was however not a Special Exception but a Special Review of a permitted use. He had not been convinced whether the low level of operation that was proposed could be made compatible because he did not consider it a low level of operation particularly between the months in which the community was a very large community.
Commissioner Glick stated that there had been ongoing issues and when the operation had its peak season was when the community was at their peak season. He felt that the tied vote needed to be sent to the County Commissioners.
ITEM #4 VIKING AUTO BODY SPECIAL EXCEPTION #08-Z1705 : Mr. Wheeler stated that the applicant wished to withdraw the application.
Pete Blattenbauer, applicant, explained that he would look for another site for the business and wanted to withdraw his application.
REPORT FROM STAFF: Mr. Lafferty reminded the Commission of their upcoming meetings.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the hearing adjourned at 10:00 p.m.
These minutes constitute the Resolution of the Larimer County Planning Commission for the recommendations contained herein which are hereby certified to the Larimer County Board of Commissioners.
Roger Morgan, Chairman Karen Weitkunat, Secretary
All of Lot 1, Huschka Boundary Line Adjustment, according to the plat thereof entered into record June 13,2007 at Reception No. 20070044605 in the Office of the Clerk and Recorder of Larimer County, Colorado, said Lot 1 being more particularly described as follows: A portion of Section 12, Township 5 North, Range 70 West of the 6th P.M., County of Larimer, State of Colorado being more particularly described as follows: Considering the East line of Section 12, Township 5 North, Range 70 West of the 6th P.M., County of Larimer, State of Colorado as assumed to bear South 00°16'08" East and with all bearings contained herein relative thereto; Beginning at a point on the East line of Section Twelve (12), Township Five (5) North, Range Seventy (70) West of the 6th P.M., where the center line of the Easterly bank of the Rist Ditch intersects the East line of said Section Twelve (1 2), which point is 2645.00 feet, more or less, South of the Northeast corner of said Section Twelve (12); thence North 23°50'00" West 183.60 feet; thence North 12°31'00" West 21 6.00 feet; thence North 27°19'00" West 297.50 feet; thence North 22°36'00" East 134.71 feet to a point on the South line of the right of way of State Highway 34; thence North 43°1 0'00" West 107.15 feet; thence North 40°40'00" West 444.20 feet to the TRUE POINT OF BEGINNING; thence continuing along said Right of Way North 40°40'22" West 154.02 feet; thence North 52°35'00" West 174.91 feet; thence North 70°20'59" West 71.14 feet; thence departing said Right of Way South 36°23'00" West 226.84 feet to a point on the approximate centerline of the South Side Ditch; thence along said centerline the following (7) seven courses and distances; (1) South 04°25'03" East 102.16 feet; (2) South 04°23'43" East 7.70 feet; (3) South 17°11'16" East 69.45 feet; (4) South 06°51'58" East 148.89 feet; (5) South 03°02'25'' East 102.28 feet; (6) South 04°32'06" East 88.57 feet; (7) South 09°42'35'' East 33.65 feet; thence departing said centerline North 37'54'04" East 612.02 feet to a point on the South line of the Right of Way of State Highway 34 and the TRUE POINT OF BEGINNING. Said Lot contains 3.88 Acres, more or less, and is subject to all existing easements and/or rights of way of record.
CONSIDERING THE SOUTH LINE OF THE SW1/4 OF SECTION 1, TOWNSHIP 10 NORTH, RANGE 70 WEST OF THE 6TH P.M., AS BEARING NORTH 68° 34 MINUTES EAST AND WITH ALL BEARINGS HEREIN RELATIVE THERETO; BEGINNING AT THE SW CORNER OF SAID SECTION 27, THENCE NORTH 88°34 MINUTES EAST 498.10 FEET MORE OR LESS TO THE SOUTHWESTERLY RIGHT OF WAY LINE IF U.S. HIGHWAY NORTH 287, THENCE ALONG SAID RIGHT-OF WAY NORTH 54° 12 MINUTES WEST 178.11 FEET AND AGAIN ALONG A CURVE TO THE RIGHT WHOSE RADIUS US 1472.50 FEET TO A POINT WHOSE RESULTANT CHORD BEARS NORTH 43° 39 MINUTES 30 SECONDS WEST 538.79 FEET AND AGAIN NORTH 33° 07 MINUTES WEST 1.36 FEET TO A POINT ON THE WEST LINE OF SAID SECTION 27, THENCE ALONG SAID WEST SOUTH 02° 10 MINUTES EAST 507.94 FEET TO THE POINT OF BEGINNING COUNTY OF LARIMER, STATE OF COLORADO, EXCEPT PARCEL CONVEYED TO BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS BY DEED RECORDED IN BOOK 574 AT PAGE 473 AND EXCEPT PARCEL TO DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS RECORDED IN BOOK 1198 AT PAGE 500 AND 502.
A parcel of land situate in the Northwest quarter of Section 32, Township 10 North,
Range 73 West of the 6Ih P.M., County of Larimer, State of Colorado, and being more particularly described as follows:
Considering the North line of said Northwest quarter as bearing South 87°52'59" East and with all bearings contained herein relative thereto:
Commencing at the Northwest corner of said Section 32, said point also being the TRUE POINT OF BEGINNING of this description; thence along the West line of said Northwest quarter of the Northwest quarter, South 00°14'20’’ East 605.32 feet to the North right-of way of Deadman Road; thence along said North right-of-way the following three (3) courses and distances; (I) South 76°38'00" East 78.12 feet; (2) South 86°33'02" East 610.80 feet; (3) South 80°06'17" East 11.80 feet; thence North 02°02'01" East 160.00 feet; thence South 87°57'59" East 259.24 feet to a point on the West line of that certain parcel of land as described in Book 1103 at Page 599 as recorded in the office of the Clerk and Recorder of said County; thence along said parcel of land the following two (2) courses and distances; (1) North 02°16'35 East 60.85 feet; (2) North 88°51'34" East 169.15 feet (previously recorded as North 89°32'01" East 169.87 feet) to the Southwest corner of that certain parcel of land as described at Reception #17700978, as recorded in the Office of the Clerk and Recorded of said County; thence along said parcel the following two (2) courses and distances: (1) North 01°56'58" East 374.51 feet (previously recorded as North 02°02'01" East 375.61 feet); (2) South 87°52'59" East 187.92 feet; thence North 02°02'01" East 30.50 feet to a point on the North line of said Northwest quarter; thence along said North line, South 87°52'59 East 7.86 feet; thence North 22°06'34 West 32.83 feet; thence North 88°56'03" West 262.94 feet; thence South 87°31'15" West 313. 42 feet to a point on the North line of said Northwest quarter; thence along said North line North 87°52'59" West 757.75 feet to the true point of beginning. The above described parcel contains 15.02 acres, more or less, and is subject to all rights-of-way, easements and descriptions now in use or on record.