March 27, 2007


            The regular meeting of the Larimer County Board of Adjustment was held in the County Board Hearing Room in the Larimer County Courthouse, Fort Collins, Colorado at 7:00 p.m., March 28, 2007.  Members Evelyn King, Larry Chisesi, Kent Bruxvoort, and Jean Christman were present.  Also in attendance were County Planning Staff members Matt Lafferty and Samantha Mott, and Assistant County Attorney Jeannine S. Haag.


            By Motion duly made, seconded and carried, the reading of the Minutes of the meeting of February 27, 2007 was dispensed with and such Minutes were approved.


File No:           #07-BOA0644  (Elkaholic Ranch Setback Variance)

Owner:            Elkaholic Ranch, LLC

Applicant:       Zuri Betz and Rachel Katz

Property Description:



CR; EX NE OF NE OF SE, LESS 1351-280,1351-282


            The Application of Zuri Betz and Rachel Katz, requesting a variance was presented to the Board.  The Application requested a setback variance upon the above-described property to allow an existing storage building with a future addition to be located 18 feet from the centerline of Black Hollow Creek rather than the required minimum of 100 feet in the O-Open zone.


            The Board having heard the testimony and arguments concerning the Application, and having reviewed the record and being fully advised in the premises adopted the following findings:




1.         This hearing has been duly advertised in a newspaper of general circulation as required by law.


2.         The property location is Southeast Quarter of Section 35, Township 9 North, Range 74; located approximately 4 miles west of the intersection of County Road 69 and Highway 14.








3.         Site data is as follows:


a.         Land Area:                               47.95 Acres

b.    Proposed Use:                          Recreational

c.    Existing Zoning:             O-Open

d.    Surrounding Zoning:                  O-Open

e.    Existing Land Use:                    Recreational

f.    Surrounding Land Uses:            Residential, Recreational

g.    Access:                                    Highway 14


4.         The applicants request a setback variance to allow an existing 110 square foot storage shed with an attached deck to remain 18 feet from the centerline of Black Hollow Creek. The applicants also initially asked for approval for future expansion of the building but agreed during the hearing to withdraw this request.  Pursuant to Sections 4.1.5.B and 4.9.2.B of the Larimer County Land Use Code, the setback requirement for a creek is 100 feet from the centerline.  The existing storage building is less than 120 square feet.  Based on the size of the building and its use for storage only, a building permit was not required for construction.  The building must, however, still meet setbacks.


5.         Based on the topography and the fact that there are numerous other buildings within the immediate area that encroach into the creek setback staff supports the variance request for the existing storage building.  Staff does not, however support a future expansion of the building.  The existing storage building is less than 120 square feet.  While construction of buildings this close to creeks is generally discouraged based on health and safety reasons as well as water quality issues, the variance is justified based on the small size of the building. Because there are no concrete plans as to what a future expansion might entail, the County is better served by requiring that any future proposed additions or expansions go through the proper County process, such as applying for another variance if the expansion does not meet setbacks.


6.         There were no persons in attendance who objected to the request.


7.         The applicable review criteria for the variance have been met as follows:


A.        There are special circumstances or conditions, such as exceptional topographic conditions, narrowness, shallowness or the shape of property, or other extraordinary and exceptional situations or conditions of such piece of property, that are peculiar to the land or structure for which the variance is requested.


The property is a steep and irregular lot on 47.95 acres with numerous rock outcroppings.  The steep topography and the shape of the lot are physical conditions that limit the area in which a storage building could be placed.  The proposed location is not the only semi-flat area to locate the building, but the other areas are along the creek and would also require a variance from the setback requirement.


B.        The special circumstances are not the result of actions or inactions by the applicant or the current owner.


The circumstances described in Paragraph A above are not the result of action or inaction of the applicant.  The property’s physical characteristics and location were not created or altered by the applicant. 


C.        The strict interpretation and enforcement of the Land Use Code provisions listed above would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other land in the area or land with the same zoning designation and would cause an unnecessary and undue hardship.


Because of the shape and slope of the lot, strict interpretation and enforcement of the provisions of the Code would cause on unnecessary and undue hardship.  In addition, there are numerous other buildings in the immediate area, including sheds and single family dwellings that do not meet the required creek setback distance because they were either granted a variance or were built prior to the setback requirements.  If denied this request, the owners would be denied a similar right.


D.        Granting the variance is the minimum action that will allow use of the land or structure.


Granting the variance will allow the owner reasonable use of the land while retaining the buildings and will not adversely impact neighboring properties or their owners.


E.         Granting the variance will not result in a substantial adverse impact on other property in the vicinity of the subject land or structure.


It is not anticipated that granting the variance would adversely affect any neighbors or their property.  No objections have been received by any of the neighboring property owners at this time.  The County has received letters of support from 7 neighboring property owners.


F.         Granting the variance is consistent with the purpose of the Land Use Code and the Master Plan.


Granting the setback variance requested would not impair the intent and purpose of the Code or Master Plan.  Granting the variances will allow the owner reasonable use of the land and will not adversely impact neighboring properties or their owners.


G.        The recommendations of referral agencies have been considered.


Referral agency comments were considered.  No objections were offered from other agencies or departments.


8.         To approve this request would promote the harmonious development of the area, would be in the best interest of the people of Larimer County, would promote the convenience, prosperity and general welfare of the applicant and the immediate inhabitants of the area, and would be in consonance with the intent and purposes of the Larimer County Land Use Code.


Evelyn King moved and Kent Bruxvoort seconded the Motion that the Board adopt the following Resolution:




WHEREAS, the Board having adopted its Findings and said Findings being incorporated in this Resolution by this reference as though fully set forth herein;


NOW, BE IT RESOLVED that applicants be and they hereby are granted a setback variance to allow an existing 110 square foot storage shed with an attached deck to remain 18 feet from the centerline of Black Hollow Creek and to deny applicants’ request for future expansion of the building into or within the setbacks and subject to the following conditions:


1.         Failure to comply with any conditions of the variance approval may result in reconsideration of the use and possible revocation of the approval by the Board of Adjustment.


2.         This approval shall automatically expire one year from the date of this Resolution unless prior to expiration the applicants (a) take affirmative action consistent with this approval or (b) submit a written request showing good cause to extend the one year time limit.


3.         Any future additions or buildings that would be within any setbacks as defined in the Land Use Code must be approved through the applicable County review process prior to construction.


4.         The storage building may not be used as a habitable space.


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if this action involves approval of a use (or expansion of a use) not otherwise permitted on the subject property, and if in the future the subject property is divided, then this action shall only pertain to one parcel resulting from any such division(s) and the Board of County Commissioners shall in its discretion determine which one of the resulting parcels shall enjoy the benefits of this action.


The question was called and members Evelyn King, Larry Chisesi, Kent Bruxvoort and Jean Christman voted in favor of the Resolution.  The Findings and Resolution were duly adopted and the setback variance (excluding future expansion of the building into or within the setbacks) was granted subject to conditions.






By Motion duly made, seconded and carried, the meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.









            By Motion duly made, seconded and carried the above and foregoing minutes were approved on the _____ day of __________________, 2007.


                                                            LARIMER COUNTY BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT



                                                By:       __________________________________________