LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD (ESAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

 October 9th, 2018

 

Members in Attendance:

Richard Alper

Jim Gerek

Michael Jones

Evelyn King

David Lehman

Allyson Little

Kirk Longstein

George Rinker

Matt Tobler

Katrina Winborn-Miller

Guests

Matt Lafferty, Larimer County Planning and Community Development

Jeremy Call, Logan Simpson Consulting

Stacey Baumgarn, CSU Campus Energy Coordinator

 

Commissioner

Sean Dougherty

 

Staff

Shelley Bayard de Volo, Environmental Coordinator, Engineering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Start:  Call to order 6:05 PM

 

Amendments or Additions to the Agenda:

Richard moved minutes down in agenda, and noted several additional discussion items.

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Members introduced themselves.  Guests included Ann Grant from the Colorado Native Plant Society (CNPS), Northern Chapter, as well as Tess and Pete, private citizens from LaPorte.

 

Citizen Comments:

Ann informed the Board that the CNPS Northern Chapter is looking to be more engaged in advocacy and intends to send its members to various County Board meetings.  One item they are paying close attention to is the recently published UN Assessment Report on Climate Change.    

 

Tess spoke briefly and stated she and her husband were interested in science-related questions concerning the LaPorte Gravel pit.   

 

Discussion Items:

Phase-2 Comprehensive Plan – Visioning

Richard provided the Board a short summary of the Comprehensive Plan and how the ESAB has been involved up to now.  Jeremy thanked ESAB members Rich, Evelyn and Matt for participating at Comp Plan meetings.  He introduced where the process is at this point.  By early Spring 2019 they hope to have the Plan done (preliminary draft).  They envision initially sharing the Visioning and preliminary goals and policy chapter with the ESAB early 2019, and then later the preliminary draft Plan in spring 2019.  Jeremy then went through a presentation on the plan.

 

In response to member questions the following clarifications were provided by Matt:

When staff, stakeholders and the consultants have created a final draft the Plan first goes to the BoCC for consideration, and then to the County Planning Commission for final approval.  This Plan addresses land use, population growth, development, conservation.  It attempts to lace together all the other County Master Plans.     

The plan is geared to 20 yrs into the future with check-in every 5-7 years to look at whether changes need to be made.  It is considered a living document.  The County Strategic Plan provides 5 yrs of tangible action items, that can be funded now and built now.  The Comp Plan provides more policy goals.

 

There will be continuity from the last Master Plan, including items referenced in the audit of the last plan.

 

Once the Comp Plan is complete the Land Use Code be updated in 2019 to help implement it.  The current Land Use Code was written in the 1960s!  There have been ad hoc updates since then, and it was adopted in 2000.  But it really needs updating with the population growth and increase in development.  The Code will change in response to the Comp Plan.  A consultant will be brought in to assist with the development of the Code.

 

Questions were raised about how the County can act as a regional convener.  MPO and 402 transportation – County was a leader to support improvements in the 402 HWY interchange to bring financing.  The County helped convene that issue.  Although the County does not have a housing authority, it can help facilitate discussion among cities that might not otherwise engage in such collaboration.  The County has taken a backseat role in the past, but is looking to take a more active role.

 

It was suggested that the Board should pay attention to future Land Use Code changes and offer to contribute on that issue.

 

Everyone can visit LarimerCompPlan.com to get more info and participate in questionnaires.  The dates of the next several meetings were provided to Board members.

 

Energy Use at Colorado State University, and Larimer County’s Former Green Practices Program

Stacey Baumgarn introduced the work he does as the campus energy coordinator at CSU.  The College’s facilities total 12 million sq ft, they employ 7000 people and have a student body of 30 K – all of which consume energy.  In 2001 CSU committed to embedding sustainability into the web of the University and in 2010 developed a Climate Action Plan with a target of being “net zero carbon” by 2050. 

 

The Climate Action Plan includes five areas within which their program can work – efficiency, behavior/policy, transportation, renewables, and new technologies.  More recently (2017) CSU committed to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Towards that end, CSU produces electricity through its Foothill Campus solar panel array and on-campus rooftop solar panels. They have also joined the STARS program with the Association of the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.  The program tracks progress towards sustainability and rates universities based on 18 categories like water and energy use, research, campus engagement.

 

The second part of Stacey’s talk covered his work while formerly employed at Larimer County.  His position as an Energy Conservation Specialist was funded through a US Dept. of Energy - Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (EECBG).  The grant also funded 12 projects in five activity areas: strategy, technical consulting, buildings and facilities, codes and inspections, and onsite renewables.  Some of the projects included installing a rooftop solar panel array on the County building (200 W. Oak Street), developing an energy efficiency and conservation strategy, completing a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory of Larimer County operations, and developing an employee engagement program. When Stacey started his work, the County already had a Green Practices Committee, which helped with the County’s participation in Fort Collins’ Climate Wise Program.  During Stacey’s tenure the County moved from a Gold member of Climate Wise to a Platinum member.  Some of the employee engagement programs included the Justice Center’s participation in the EPA’s “Battle of the Buildings” – in which they were the winner of the Courthouse category.  They reduced energy use by 9.12% and saved over $15,000 in energy costs.

 

By the time Stacey left his position at the County (because funding for his position ended), the programs he started made the County more money than they cost.  Currently, the County does not have an Energy Conservation Specialist, nor a sustainability specialist.   

 

Kirk noted the potential for the County’s position as a convener for sustainability.  For example, the County could participate with the State’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program.  Through this program funding is made available for building improvements that save energy (i.e., windows, insulation, HAVC systems, Solar PV panels) and repayment is made is made through the property tax system. 

 

Approval of Minutes:

The August and September minutes were deferred until the next meeting in November

 

Updates:  Topics of discussion were:

Wasteshed - Jim provided an update on the Wasteshed, particularly last-minute discussion of potentially using an existing commercial landfill for solid waste. The consultant and TAC did a formal risk assessment associated with the County not owning the facility and produced a list of pros and cons. The Consultant also re-did the triple-bottom line analysis with that alternative.  After careful consideration the Wasteshed stakeholder group recommended the best option is to have a County-owned facility.  The TAC will now bring the updated Solid Waste Infrastructure Master Plan back to the PAC and ask them to approve it (October 19th).  They may ask the ESAB to review. 

 

George noted that the benefit of a County-owned facility is that they can better control operations and environmental impacts.  Most did not like the idea of being at the mercy of the private companies.  Sean brought up the fact that Wellington wants to allow development, and that would likely occur north of the town.  Wellington needs to be included in the conversations. Jim noted that there have been two public meetings in Wellington and his sense was there was no major concern from the community as a whole. Evelyn asked if there are mitigating factors for where the Town of Wellington can grow. 

 

NISP - The ESAB comments on the FEIS were submitted to Commissioner Johnson, and later forwarded to Commissioner Dougherty.  The response was that the BCC greatly appreciated the work the ESAB did, but the County chose to not pass those comments on to the US Army Corps of Engineers, and they did not recommend that the ESAB send the comments directly.  There are two things the Commissioners were looking for (1) egregious changes that would cause the BCC to change their mind, (2) new and severe changes compared to the DEIS.  In both cases they did not find those criteria within the comments made. 

 

Environmental Responsibility Policy - Sean responded to Rich’s recent communication to the County Manager about use of the current Environmental Responsibility Policy.  Sean addressed how the Policy will be included in the upcoming Strategic Plan.  He noted that it would be valuable to look at whether the tenets within the Policy are also now included within other County Master Plans – in other words is it redundant to what is in those Plans?  Is the Policy obsolete?  Sean noted that he is working on sections of the Strategic Plan, including Watershed Health and Facilities.  As far as he knows, the Policy has not been formally revoked.  Richard noted that he will summarize what he heard from Sean as follow-up tasks and confirm with Sean before moving forward.

 

ESAB Issue Index:

No changes 

 

Next Meeting Draft Agenda:

The next meeting will be held November 13th.  Discussion items on the draft agenda include presentations from local Watershed Coalitions – The Big Thompson and Poudre River Watershed Coalitions – who are they and what do they do.

 

Adjourn:

Ally moved to close the meeting, and Kirk seconded the motion.  The meeting ended at 8:55 PM