LARIMER COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION

Minutes of June 11, 2014

 

The Larimer County Planning Commission met in a rescheduled session on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hearing Room.  Commissioners’ Christman, Cox, Gerrard, Miller, Wallace, and Zitti were present.  Commissioners Glick and Jensen were absent.  Commissioner Dougherty presided as Chairman.  Also present were Matt Lafferty, Principle Planner, Terry Gilbert, Planning and Building Services Director, Rob Helmick, Senior Planner, Michael Whitley, Planner II, Traci Shambo, Engineering Department, Doug Ryan, Health Department, and Jill Wilson, Recording Secretary. 

 

COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE COUNTY LAND USE CODE: 

None

 

COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING OTHER RELEVANT LAND USE MATTERS NOT ON THE AGENDA:  

None.

 

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE APRIL 16, 2014 MEETING:   MOTION by Commissioner Cox approve the minutes, seconded by Commissioner Wallace.  This received unanimous voice approval.

 

AMENDMENTS TO THE AGENDA:

None.

 

ITEM:

 

ITEM #1  SOUTH LARIMER COUNTY LINE 1041 #14-Z1927 :  

Commissioner Cox recused herself from the hearing as she lived in the area and was impacted by the application.

 

Mr. Helmick provided background information on the request to construct a new 16” diameter high-pressure natural gas transmission line to replace an existing 8” line.   There would be approximately 5 miles of new pipeline both in the Town of Berthoud and unincorporated Larimer County, which would commence south of County Road 10E and Highway 287 south to the Larimer/Boulder County line using existing and new ROW/easements.  He identified the preferred route chosen by Xcel Energy and noted that Xcel had worked with many property owners regarding the route and easements.  He mentioned that hundreds of effected property owners were notified along the route.  He noted comments from the Engineering Department and recommended an additional condition of approval that would state, “Any floodplain crossings will require Floodplain Special Review and permits as noted in comments from the Engineering Department dated April 1, 2014.”

 

Cheryl Diedrich, Xcel Energy/Public Service Company of Colorado and Randy Blank, Xcel Energy/Public Service Company of Colorado, concurred with Mr. Helmick’s presentation and reiterated that the purpose of the project was to replace the existing 8” pipeline that was installed in 1929, which was in need of replacement.  It was being upsized in order to increase capacity.  He stated that it was the final segment in Larimer County.   

 

Commissioner Gerrard asked why the old easement was not being followed.

 

 

Ms. Diedrich stated that it was the preferred route; however, after the request of several landowners they worked to acquire other easements. 

 

Commissioner Gerrard asked how long the increased capacity would last.

 

Mr. Blank stated that it would increase capacity by 6 times.  He did not foresee replacing it for another 100 years.

 

Ms. Wallace asked what the project timeline was.

 

Mr. Blank explained that construction would most likely begin August 1, 2014 in order to avoid a bald eagle habitat.  The goal was to finish the entire project by the end of the year.

 

PUBLIC TESTIMONY:

Nancy Lamb, asked about the 1,000 foot corridor for which would allow the ability to move the pipeline and wondered if it would it affect property owners not already notified.  She also wondered about abandoning the old pipeline and removing it from the records.

 

Robert Radocy, president of the Homeowners Association in Cobblestone Estates/Eagle View Estates, presented the commission with information and pictures pertaining to the property.

He stated that he had been working with Xcel on an easement that would cross property in the subdivision.  The alignment was proposed to go through two outlots located in the subdivision, which caused concern regarding surface disturbance and structures erected on top of the land.  There was also mature landscaping in that area.  Xcel mentioned possibly boring in that area, which might alleviate the concerns if it occurred.  If boring would not occur, they asked that Xcel stay within the existing road right-of-way instead of incurring damage to the properties.

 

Jill Wilson, resident of Vaquero Estates, explained that the pipeline would be running on 2 sides of her property and a staging area would be across the street from her home.  She had spoke with Xcel on questions regarding timing of the project.  The route had been negotiated with the Vaquero Estates Homeowners Association but wondered if Xcel and the Homeowners Association had discussed taking the easement through the open space to the north as it would affect far less property owners.

 

Larry Wrenn, resident on County Road 21, stated that the easement was located on the east side of County Road 21 where his driveway and fencing was.  He asked if it would be bored or trenched in that area.  If bored, how deep.

 

Ms. Diedrich stated that the 1,000 foot corridor was provided to allow work with the individual landowners during construction and not have to come back in for approval if the line ended up needing to be moved slightly.  She did state that most easements had been agreed upon with most property owners. 

 

Mr. Blank stated that the corridor would be 500 feet on either side of the centerline of the road.  He explained that the old line would be abandoned in place.

 

 

 

 

Ms. Diedrich stated that it could be a negotiation with the landowner whether to abandon the old easement.  Once lines were abandoned, a release the record for the easement would be completed. 

 

Mr. Blank stated that the plan was to bore the segment of pipeline along County Road 21 by the Eagle View Estates/Cobblestone Farm Developments. 

 

Commissioner Dougherty asked how deep the bore would be.

 

Mr. Blank stated that it had not been determined yet across the Eagle View Estates section as it was at the Boulder County line and those negotiations and approvals with Boulder were not completed yet.  He stated that the typical bore was 20-30 feet deep in the center. 

 

Mr. Diedrich mentioned a website and phone number where people could inquire about the timing of the project.  She also mentioned that the easement in Vaquero Estates had been negotiated with the Homeowners Association. 

 

Mr. Blank stated that they would start to bore on the east side of County Road 21 from just south of County Road 6.  The bore would be approximately 20-30 feet in that area also.

 

Commissioner Miller asked if it was considered to use the open space in Vaquero Estates rather than going by the residences. 

 

Mr. Blank stated that the open space located in the subdivision was too close to Dry Creek Floodplain.  As a result, the line would have been installed within the floodplain.

 

Jesse V., Senior Agent for Xcel right-of-way acquisitions, stated that they negotiated with the Homeowners Association to run the line in the north section of the subdivision; however, the Homeowners Association asked to run the line to the east side.  He noted that there were a few engineering concerns with the floodplain and the east route was chosen.

 

Mr. Helmick stated that the 1000 foot corridor allowed for minor deviations that might occur that would allow the applicant to make those deviations without having to come back in for approval.  He spoke to the possible additional condition of approval, which would state, “Any floodplain crossings will require Floodplain Special Review and permits as noted in comments from the Engineering Department dated April 1, 2014.”

 

DISCUSSION:

Commissioner Wallace spoke to the 1041 review criteria as it applied to the proposed application.

 

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 approval of the South Larimer County Line 1041, file #14-Z1927, subject to the following conditions and added Condition 10:

 

1.   Any final plans shall be consistent with the approved preliminary plan and with the information contained in the PSCO South Larimer County Line Gas Line Replacement 1041 Permit, File #14-Z1927, 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 PSCO South Larimer County Line Gas Line Replacement 1041 Permit, File #14-Z1927.

 

2.   The applicants shall conduct a burrowing owl survey for those areas of the preferred route affecting prairie dog towns.

 

 

 

3.   Construction timing shall be coordinated to avoid conflicts with the bald eagle activity north of CR 8.

 

4.   The applicants shall coordinate all ditch crossings with the appropriate ditch companies and insure that all necessary licenses and agreements are in place prior to construction.

 

5.   The applicant shall coordinate all bores and constructions along the county roads affected by the route and obtain all necessary permits and permissions.

 

6.   All construction on or around all private or privately maintained roads shall be coordinated with the entity responsible for maintenance. 

 

7.   The applicant shall coordinate all construction adjacent to or within the county roads and ROW affected by the route with all emergency service providers and the school district.

 

8.   The applicant shall obtain all necessary and require State and Federal permits for the construction of the pipeline.

 

9.   The approval of this pipeline designates a corridor along the alignment and deviations to accommodate field issues will not affect the approval.  Significant alterations to the route shall be evaluated by the county prior to commencing activity, and may be subject to further review.   

 

10.    Any floodplain crossings will require Floodplain Special Review and permits as noted in comments from the Engineering Department dated April 1, 2014.

 

Commissioner Gerrard seconded the Motion.

 

Commissioners’ Christman, Gerrard, Miller, Wallace, Zitti and Vice-Chairman Dougherty voted in favor of the Motion.

 

MOTION PASSED:  6-0

 

 

 

 

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

 

ADJOURNMENT:   There being no further business, the hearing adjourned at 7:38 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.

 

 

_______________________________                      ______________________________

Sean Dougherty, Vice-Chairman                                Nancy Wallace, Secretary

 

 

 

PLANNING COMMISSION WORKSESSION:

Mr. Whitley asked for a short discussion regarding industrial hemp.  He explained the background of industrial hemp and asked if the definition of agriculture in the Larimer County Land Use Code should be amended to include reference to industrial hemp.  

 

Commissioner Miller asked if hemp looked like marijuana and what effects it had.  

 

Mr. Whitley stated that they were similar but the plants were different.  He explained the difference between hemp and marijuana.

 

Commissioner Miller felt that the definition did not need to be changed.

 

Commissioner Christman stated that it was considered in the agricultural definition and did not feel that it needed to be added. 

 

Commissioner Cox had an issue because it was federally illegal.  She felt that property owners should know if hemp was being produced on property next to theirs.  She thought that there should be some sort of Special Review so neighbors could be notified and be aware that it was in the neighborhood.

 

Commissioner Zitti was inclined to leave it as is but understood Commissioner Cox’s concerns.

 

Commissioner Dougherty stated that there could be a slight adjustment to the definition. 

 

Commissioner Gerrard felt that the definition did not need to be changed.

 

Commissioner Wallace thought that it could be left alone for now and in the future, if needed, the issue could be revisited again.