Minutes of December 15, 2004


The Larimer County Planning Commission met in a regular session on Wednesday, December 15, 2004, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hearing Room.  Commissioners’ Huddleston, Korb, Nelson, Pond, terMeer, Waldo, and Wallace were present. Commissioner Morgan presided as Chairman.  Commissioner Boulter was absent.  Also present were Rob Helmick, Principal Planner, David Karan, Planner II, Karin Madson, Planner II, Traci Downs, Engineering Department, Doug Ryan, Environmental Health, and Jill Albracht, Planning Technician and Recording Secretary.








APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE NOVEMBER 17, 2004 MEETING: MOTION by Commissioner Pond to approve the minutes, seconded by Commissioner Huddleston.  This received unanimous voice approval.






ITEM #1 MEADOWLARK RIDGE CONSERVATION DEVELOPMENT #04-S2268: Ms. Madson provided background information on the request for a Conservation Development Land Division to create 5 lots on 40 acres, including 4 residential lots and 1 residual lot with a residential building envelope.  The request also included an appeal to the Larimer County Land Use Code Sub-Section 8.14.2.G – Maximum length of a dead-end access, requesting that the proposed new lots be served by an access greater than 660 feet.


Commissioner Korb 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 appeal to the Larimer County Land Use Code Sub-Section 8.14.2.G maximum length of a dead-end access, requesting that the proposed new lots be served by an access greater than 660 feet, be approved with the conditions that 1) the new homes will have residential fire sprinkler systems and 2) a hammer-head turn around will be installed between Lots 1 and 2 as shown on the Preliminary Plat;


BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners that the Meadowlark Ridge Conservation Development, file #04-S2268, for the property described on “Exhibit A” to the minutes, be approved subject to the following conditions:








A.   The Final Plat shall be consistent with the approved preliminary plan and with the information contained in the Meadowlark Ridge Conservation Development Preliminary Plat (File # 04-S2268) 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 Meadowlark Ridge Conservation Development.


B.   The following fees shall be collected at building permit issuance for new single family dwellings: Thompson R2-J school fee, Larimer County fees for County and Regional Transportation Capital Expansion, and Larimer County Park Regional Park Fee (in lieu of dedication).  The fee amount that is current at the time building permit application shall apply. 


C.   The applicant shall comply with the requirements of the Loveland Fire District as outlined in the memo from Romeo P. Gervais, Deputy Fire Marshal, and dated October 8, 2004.


D.   Engineered footings and foundations may be required for new habitable construction. Engineering for any new residential and/or septic system construction shall be done in consideration of the recommendations of the Colorado Geological Survey as outlined in the letter from TC Wait dated October 14, 2004.


E.   Passive radon mitigation measures shall be included in the construction of all new residential structures in this development. Radon detection tests are required in all new residential structures on this site. The results of these tests shall be submitted to the Planning Department once the structure is enclosed but prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy. As an alternative, a builder may present a prepaid receipt for a radon tester that specifies that a test will be done within 30 days. A permanent certificate of occupancy can be issued when the prepaid receipt is submitted.


F.   During the Final Plat review process for this development and prior to approval, the applicant shall resolve the technical issues found in the following referral letter:


·  Larimer County Engineering Department by Christie Coleman, dated October 1, 2004.


G.   The applicant shall execute an agreement with the Christian Lateral Ditch Company prior to final plat approval.


Commissioner Pond seconded the Motion.


Commissioners' Huddleston, Korb, Nelson, Pond, terMeer, Waldo, Wallace, and Chairman Morgan voted in favor of the Motion.









ITEM #2 HOFF CONSERVATION DEVELOPMENT #03-S2205:  Mr. Karan provided background information on the request for a Conservation Development to divide 146 acres into 14 lots including three residual lots, located on the southeast corner of the intersection of County Road 11 and Colorado State Highway 1.  He stated that the Planning Department recommended denial of the application feeling the cluster design did not meet the Land Use Code’s definition of a cluster.


Traci Downs, Engineering Department, stated that the proposal met all of the Land Use Code Section 8 standards; however, some technical issues still needed to be addressed and that the May 12, 2004 Engineering memo addressed those issues along with connectivity.  She explained that the applicant had not responded to the memo due to the cluster design issue with the Planning Department. 


Commissioner Korb asked for more information regarding the project’s connectivity.


Mr. Karan explained that staff was recommending a cluster location in the southwestern corner of the property because it would facilitate connectivity to the south.  There was development potential to the east; however, an irrigation ditch made it impractical to connect to the eastern property.  As a result, staff supported an appeal to connectivity to the east of the property but not to the south. 


Mike Ditullio, Westward Development, 140 N. Roosevelt Avenue, was the project manager for the Hoff Conservation Development.  He stated that the proposed Conservation Development was a 146-acre site that would be developed into 14 lots consisting of eleven, two acre sites and three, 35-acre residual land sites that contained two acre building envelopes.  He accredited the cluster location to a well thought out plan that had a goal to maintain the agricultural and the rural feel of the area.  He stated that he had met with several agencies such as East Larimer County Water Association (ELCO) and CDOT to discuss issues such as access and water.  He explained the irrigation flows and stated that there was an existing concrete irrigation ditch, which he had a goal to keep intact and usable.  He also explained that a formal irrigation plan had not been submitted because of the cluster issue with staff and did not want to submit until the issue was resolved. 


Dino Ditullio, Westward Development, 5020 Hogan Drive, stated that the technical issues presented by staff could be resolved, and the cluster location was the only issue.  He explained the reason behind the chosen cluster location and stated that the cluster met the requirements of the Land Use Code for a Conservation Development.  He quoted Sections 5.3.6, 5.3.7.B.4, 5.3.7.E.1, and 5.3.7.E.3 of the Land Use Code and stated that the maximum amount of contiguous open space was being achieved, and an effort was made to create a visual access to the open space from both the proposed home sites and the adjacent lands.  He explained that it was hard to find people to farm large residual pieces of developed land with no farmstead due to the expensive and unavailable water.  However, developing three smaller acres of residual land such as the 35-acres proposed would allow for hobby farmers more willing to buy shares of the water.  He felt that the proposal was preserving the agricultural uses of the area and that the Land Use Code justified the cluster location. 



Commissioner Wallace asked if the irrigation water would be kept on the property?


Dino Ditullio explained that the residual land owners would get one share of water per their 35-acre parcel, which would allow them to rent additional water.  However, the two acre lots would not have irrigation water with them.  He stated that it would not be feasible to sell a share of water with the parcels if approved as staff recommended.  He also pointed out that parcels over 35-acres would trigger major improvements required by ELCO such as a water line from Highway 1 through the project plus provoke a required connection west to County Road 11. Conversely, if 35-acre parcels were created taps could be pulled from Highway 1. 


Mr. Karan stated that staff was not committed to locating the cluster in the southwest corner of the property and felt that there were many other alternative locations that would be better in terms of more functional residual land. 


The hearing recessed for ten minutes.



Brad Pomeroy, 7514 E. Hensdale Avenue, represented the mineral estate for the Wellington Operating Company.  He pointed out where all of the wells were located as well as the areas that he would like available in order to drill a new well in the future.  He explained that moving the development to the west would make it difficult to perform their operations.  He stated that he would need access to the west drill area, and the location proposed by the applicant allowed that access.  He remarked that Mr. Ditullio had been very accommodating in considering his needs as a mineral interest representative. 


Commissioner terMeer asked if the cluster would interfere if it was located on the eastern portion of the property?


Mr. Pomeroy replied no.  However, any encroachment further to the west or south would create a less than desirable situation. 



Commissioner terMeer asked if it would be possible to locate the cluster on the northeastern side of the property and still maintain the access alignment?


Ms. Downs stated that it would be possible, but the 14 lots would have to be reconfigured.  She explained that there was an objective to create main accesses that were in-line with one another in order to minimize the number of access points on the County Roads. 


Rob Helmick, Principal Planner, stated that the applicant wanted to avoid a cluster location too close to Highway 1.  He also remarked that staff preferred to see clusters pushed away as much as possible from the major thoroughfares in the County to try to maintain the open rural character to the best extent possible.


Commissioner terMeer asked what staffs’ opinion was of Mr. Pomeroy’s comments?


Mr. Helmick stated that a cluster in the southwest portion of the property would not interfere with his interests.


Commissioner Wallace asked if the northwest corner would be suitable for a cluster?


Mr. Helmick stated that he did not think it was feasible or reasonable.


Commissioner Nelson stated that he did not have a problem with the proposed design.  He remarked that it left an open area all of the way around the cluster of homes, and would not push the proposed development toward the existing homes.  He stated that pushing the cluster off to another location did not seem feasible particularly due to the given information on the oil well projects and the proximity of Highway 1.  He also stated that the proposed location was reasonable considering the irrigation flows that existed.  He remarked that the only potential problem would be the connectivity, which could be solved by pursuing a right-of-way out of the cluster to the south.


Commissioner Waldo stated that the proposal was very innovative.  He remarked that farmers were finding it frustrating to farm big tracts of land, and it was not feasible to farm someone else’s land.  On the other hand, he had found that there was an interest in hobby farming.  He stated that it was a great idea to give personal ownership to three different parcels. 


Commissioner Huddleston stated that he was in favor of the applicant’s proposal.  He commented that the area had constraining soils, and the situation could become problematic if more water seeped into the soils.  He mentioned the buffer and stated that it would be an asset to the wildlife and also the developed community.


Commissioner terMeer stated that she did not feel that the proposed cluster accomplished the goal of the Conservation Development and stated that she would rather see more open space created to the east.  She felt that true clusters were grouped close to other development in order to create more open space to the other side.  She stated that she was against the proposal.


Commissioner Wallace stated that a cluster in the middle of a property would limit the biological diversity, the amount of wildlife in the area, and create a fragmented road.  She remarked that not as much fragmentation would occur if the cluster was next to the lots to the west and that it would still be possible to get three smaller pieces of residual land.  She felt that it was not a Conservation Development that protected the residual land; it was a Conservation Development that put the lots in the middle of the property strictly for the purpose of enhancing the lots.  She also felt that the proposal was not accomplishing the goal of Larimer County, which was to protect farmland.  She stated that she would rather see four, 35 acre tracts than see a cluster in the middle of the property.


Commissioner Pond stated that he had mixed feelings about the location of the Conservation Development.  Nonetheless, he did support Commissioner Nelson’s comment regarding connectivity and felt it should be provided through the property to the south. 


Commissioner Korb commented that he would be more interested in shifting the cluster to the east rather than to the west. 






Dino Ditullio stated that the biggest challenge in moving the cluster to the east was the North Poudre outlet ditch located in that area.  He explained that it was a deep ditch and would create a hazard.  He also remarked on the leach field in the area and stated that it could become an issue if it got close to the water. 


Doug Ryan, Health Department, stated that a traditional type ditch that did not have a large cut-side bank had a minimum setback distance of 100-feet.  However, ditches that had a large cut-bank had a setback distance of four times the height of the cut-bank from where the lot started. 


Dino Ditullio stated that a cluster in the east location would trigger a request from ELCO to loop their system and move the water line to the west to County Road 11.  Consequently, a water line would have to be built that would extend to County Road 11.  


Commissioner Korb asked for Mr. Ditullio’s thoughts on the connectivity.


Dino Ditullio explained that the location of the cluster would determine the connectivity.  He believed that it would be better to cluster towards Highway 1 and cluster with the existing Cottonwood Shores project and have the access points inline. 


Commissioner Korb asked if he would be willing to dedicate a right-of-way?


Dino Ditullio replied yes.


Commissioner Huddleston remarked that moving the cluster to the east would exacerbate the drainage. 


Commissioner Nelson remarked that the neighborhood meeting detailed the neighbor’s comments, which reported that they were pleased with designed proposal and did not want the new lots to back up to theirs.


Dino Ditullio stated that the cluster location was market driven.  He explained that people wanted to live on an acreage that did not cluster up to their neighbors and other neighborhoods. 


Commissioner Waldo remarked that the proposal created a buffer to all of the surrounding properties.  He believed that the effect of clustering was not to have cluster development all in one area with everything else open, but to have more of a series of clusters. 


Chairman Morgan had a concern with the precedent of putting clusters in the center of a project.  He agreed that there needed to be a setback from Highway 1 because development should be pushed away from the roads.  He stated that it would be best to leave the northwest corner open as well as the northeast corner due to the ditch located in that area.  He explained his concerns about pushing the cluster to the southeast due to the incompatibility of locating development close to agricultural ditches.  He mentioned the irrigation issues and stated that the proposed development layout allowed the ditches to move water from three different directions.  He also stated that there was a need for connectivity and the only option available would be to have connectivity to the south since it would not be possible to achieve it from the west or the east.  Lastly, he mentioned the mineral interests involved and stated that they should be taken into consideration. 


Commissioner Korb suggested tabling the application so that the connectivity issue could be addressed and conditions of approval added to the recommendation. 


Dino Ditullio stated that he would be willing to table but requested that an action be taken on the cluster design and location. 


Chairman Morgan stated that Mr. Ditullio’s request could not be granted.  Nonetheless, he asked for a sense of the Commission on whether they felt the design was generally approvable subject to establishing connectivity and conditions of approval.


Commissioner terMeer was undecided.


Commissioner Wallace was against the design and location of the cluster.


Commissioner Pond, Nelson, Korb, Waldo, and Chairman Morgan were in favor of the design and location.


Mr. Helmick suggested tabling the application for 60 days.


Dino Ditullio agreed to table the project for 60 days to the February 16, 2005 hearing.


Commissioner Korb moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:


BE IT RESOLVED that the Hoff Conservation Development, file #03-S2205, be tabled to February 16, 2005 with the design and location of the cluster being satisfactory subject to the resolution of the connectivity and other technical issues. 


Commissioner Nelson seconded the Motion.


Commissioner Wallace voted against the Motion.


Commissioners’ Huddleston, Korb, Nelson, Pond, terMeer, Waldo, and Chairman Morgan voted in favor of the Motion.




REPORT FROM STAFF:  Mr. Helmick reminded the Commission of their upcoming meetings. 


ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, the hearing adjourned at 9:25 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                                             Jason Waldo, Secretary