Larimer County Open Lands Advisory Board Meeting Minutes
Thursday May 27, 2004 5:00-8:00 p.m., Loveland Library MP Room
Open Lands Board Members
Lori Jeffrey-Clark Sue Sparling
Nancy Wallace Mark DeGregorio
Brian Hayes Wendell Amos
Bob Streeter Duane Pond
K-Lynn Cameron Charlie Johnson
Meegan Flenniken Jerry White
Dan Rieves Gary Buffington
Peter Kast Jim White
Jean Carpenter Eric Hamrick
Chair, Nancy Wallace called the meeting to order at 5:15 p.m.
The minutes of both March 2004 and April 2004 were approved as printed with a motion from Sue Sparling and seconded by Bob Streeter.
Carrie Pfister, from Carter Lake Sail Club came to clarify minutes from last month. Their lease agreement is a licensee and they do not view it as a concessionaire or exclusive use facility. In December 2003 they amended their contract to include a task force to work with LC on developing a marina at Carter Lake. Disappointed to see that last months’ OLAB Directors report included a presentation of results without coming back to sail club. Club feels that they are negotiating in good faith but that the proper agreed upon channels were not followed. They look forward and hope process will get back on track to let there be a win-win situation.
· Field trips to Carter Lake, Pinewood and Flatiron Reservoir areas needs to be rescheduled – June 11th 1:30-4:30 p.m.
· Results of Devil’s Backbone Management Plan Public Meeting – approximately 50-60 people in attendance and general input was in favor of the current vision for the future regional trail, western trail loop and possible future western trailhead. Also support for separation of trail uses. Great deal of interest from adjacent neighborhoods for neighborhood access points to trail system. Hunting was brought up as a discussion item per request from the DOW for limited public hunting and public opinion was generally not in favor. Some individuals were ok with limited hunting, and some were open to studying the need and public’s interest in hunting there.
· Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space Construction underway – water district signed off on construction documents; road for construction that will be final road is in place and parking lot/building grading in completed. The bird viewing blinds have been field located and finalized by Larimer County, Ft. Collins and Audubon Reps. Grand opening will likely be end of October.
· Fossil Creek Manager position is advertised now thru June 14th.
· Annual OLAB picnic July 31st at Chimney Hollow – Farewell to Wendell and Nancy.
· May 21st Larimer County Commissioners sponsored an Agricultural Summit at the Fairgrounds. 80-100 people in attendance and discussion focused on future of agriculture in Larimer County. Traditional view of Agriculture has been large-scale and will we need to look at something different in future such as smaller acreages growing herbs and other cottage industries.
· Upcoming OLAB meetings will discuss various policies from carrying capacity and neighborhood access policies to memorials.
· City of Ft. Collins closed on Soapstone Ranch purchase.
· TNC and Ft. Collins closed on Robert’s Ranch 5000 acre CE in the Laramie Foothills – Larimer County is a partner in this CE acquisition.
· Two open positions on the OLAB will be interviewed June 21st – there were 9 applicants, 6 will be interviewed for the two positions.
· Dan Rieves, Boating Safety Program at Carter and Horsetooth Reservoirs. Federal government money for boat safety programs. Currently there are no classes open to the public in the Ft. Collins area and 14-16 year olds are required to take a boating safety class to be able to operate a boat. Larimer County Parks Program in partnership with State Parks will offer boating safety to 14-16 year olds this year. The Northern Colorado Boat Academy at Boyd Lake provides training to a 2-day class on boat handling and rangering. Presence of patrol boat on the water at Larimer County managed reservoirs helps deflect problems. No major accidents on Larimer County managed lakes in several years. Rangers contact boats for regulation violations, registration issues, and operational issues. Every boat contacted receives a boat safety inspection by a ranger.
· Ackerman Conservation Easement I – Final Review: This property is in the Laramie Foothills and Buckeye/Waverly Priority Protection Areas of the Open Lands Master Plan. These 566 acres in two parcels will be done in part with a Farmland Protection Program Grant ($276,226) Larimer County received. These two easements combined are valued at $820,000 and Larimer County will pay $443,774 towards the CE. The landowner is donating $100,000 toward the CE value. Both have prime soils and different types of water rights associated with them. The CE will require that both parcels remain in irrigated agriculture.
· Ackerman Conservation Easement II – Final Review: This CE is an equal partnership with Larimer County and the landowner each putting $100,000 towards the CE value. This parcel is not in irrigated agriculture but represents protection of a large hogback with good visibility and rangeland. This easement would be officially donated in 2005. Bob Streeter recommended that we look into an NRCS grassland grant towards this project if possible. K-Lynn clarified that we can look into this possibility and that we strategically have saved out the irrigated agricultural parcels of this larger ranch to qualify for future FPP grants.
Wendell Amos motioned to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners
to approve expenditure of $543,774 from Help Preserve Open Space Sales Tax
dollars towards these three conservation easement project. Duane Pond seconded.
Motion carried unanimously.
· Chimney Hollow IGA with NCWCD. Discussions with HP to purchase the Chimney Hollow property are underway and is generally considered public information at this time. The details of the negotiations will remain confidential. There are 3 main parts to the IGA: purchase, access and responsibilities. Need a recommendation to BCC on these three IGA points. The “District” is NCWCD; the Subdistrict includes 8 cities and Platte River Power Authority.
§ Purchase: NCWCD and LC will purchase Chimney Hollow from HP: County will own 1800 acres and the closing will be 9/30/2004.
§ Access: LC can conduct guided public tours of property prior to dam construction. After construction completed, access will be defined by a Recreation Lease between LC and NCWCD. Subdistrict will construct a new road from CR18E to the proposed future trailhead site. LC will pay for any road construction beyond the trailhead.
§ Responsibilities: Larimer County does not agree with one of these which is that the County should place a covenant on their 1800 acres and allow Subdistrict veto power over any uses on County property which the Subdistrict feels may affect water quality. Access limitations during construction staff would also like to have better resolved before moving forward on IGA.
Duane Pond motioned that we recommend the Board of County Commissioners approve the Chimney Hollow IGA with the exceptions regarding limited access during construction or restriction of a covenant on future county lands unless the language is resolved to suit county staff needs. Bob Streeter seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
· Inclusion in Ft. Collins Growth Management Area (GMA)
Ft. Collins is moving forward with this expansion because they want to have the I-25 interchange included in Ft. Collins GMA. There will be a public open house June 3rd regarding this issue at Redeemer Church on Carpenter Road at 6:30 pm to discuss this as well as making CR 32 a State Highway. Will include all of Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space and there will be a request to annex this open space into the City. We will need to work with the City on an IGA to ensure that we can implement all the parts of our management plan still on this site. Since this open space will now be within city limits what will be the repercussions? We will include provision for County rangers to receive backup from City Police without a financial repercussion; future phase II building plans at the open space will only be subject to a process equivalent to the county’s location and extent review without a site plan; etc. Nancy asked the question of why isn’t the City managing this open space now that it is within city limits? Wendell: We partner with the city in many projects now and turning Fossil Creek over to the City may be the way to go, however, would they operate the property per the existing management plan? K-Lynn clarified that the County and City are equally sharing in the acquisition and development costs and jointly developed both the management and education plans. Nancy: In respect to long term management costs, Fossil Creek came up at the public meetings because of it’s high (level 3) cost of management, maybe if we can come out from management of this site we can stretch our management funds further. Mark: If we set a precedence with Fossil Creek being inside City limits then in the future as all cities are expanding GMA’s then will we eventually turn most our lands over to cities to manage? Nancy: you would have to analyze this on a case by case basis – Fossil Creek fits because of proximity of all their other natural areas, 50% partnership; and the dense development and proximity to the cities. K-Lynn: We would be spending $4.4 million through the life of the tax on management of Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space. Nancy: This could also be an opportunity for the City to buy out the County and help turn some dollars back to the county acquisition fund too. Tom Bender: We are still meeting the goal of providing public access to this area regardless of who manages it. Staff will examine pros and cons to bring back to OLAB for recommendation on a fast track and by next month.
· Management Costs for the Open Lands Program: At last OLAB started user fee discussion and after that discussion and discussions with BCC we decided to change the focus of the public meetings to be funding long term management. We held two public meetings (5/13 in Loveland and 5/19 in Ft. Collins) that were attended by nearly 40 people total. Since we are covering our management costs at this time and will through 2013 we have time to discuss all the options. Summary of all meeting and website comments were compiled and passed out and were broken out into three categories: ideas, concerns, questions/answers
· As acquisition dollars are used to buy more land, to shift allocation between 30% management and 70% acquisition by going back to voters in ballot language amendment.
· Duane: Maybe we have enough trails and public access; shift more towards CE lands.
· Wendell: Would hate to see us charge a user fee because we already pay tax. Would like to see us move towards increasing our bonding and to alter the % we can put towards management. More ranch and ag land in CE’s via bonding.
· Sue: What is the % that Boulder of Jeffco use for acquisition vs. management? K-Lynn: Jeffco has ½% sales tax and no stipulation on %ages but tax is in perpetuity. Boulder does have limitations on % set aside, but they receive general fund dollars to management. City of Ft. Collins requires 80% to acquisition in newly passed city open space tax.
· Mark: Look at a variety and combination of ideas – level of service, level of development, etc. If city taxes are in place, the amount we should pay should be lower.
· Bob: Hate to see first route being shifting acquisition dollars to management fund until we complete critical priorities in Master Plan. Pursuit of endowments should be an option to explore.
· Nancy: Need to still keep fee and CE balance especially in Laramie Foothills
We will be working on this issue through the Summer 2004 and setting up focus groups. One focus group would be a subcommittee of the OLAB and former OLAB members. Volunteers to be on Subcommittee include Sue, Bob, Peter, Nancy, Tom Keith, Linda Stanley.
· Nothing to report.
Motion to executive session made by Wendell Amos and seconded by Bob Streeter.