LARIMER COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION

Minutes of September 16, 2015

 

The Larimer County Planning Commission met in a regular session on Wednesday, September 16, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hearing Room.  Commissioners’ Christman, Gerrard, Glick, Miller, Wallace and Zittti were present.  Commissioners Cox and Dougherty were absent.  Commissioner Jensen presided as Chairman.  Also present were Terry Gilbert, Community Development Division Director, Matt Lafferty, Principle Planner, Meegan Flenniken, Natural Resources Department and Jill Wilson, Recording Secretary. 

 

COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE COUNTY LAND USE CODE: 

Eric Sutherland, stated that the Boxelder Stormwater Authority was constructing a project on County Road 50 that never went through the Location and Extent process.  He went into detail about the history and process of Location and Extent.  It was a mandatory review which stipulated that land could not be condemned until the project was processed through a Location and Extent review.  He stated that condemnation had occurred on four properties, three of which were opposed.  There was also a state statute, Article 28 of Title 30, which required County Building and Zoning Officials to enforce County building and zoning regulations.  He stated that the Location and Extent statue had been incorporated into the Larimer County Land Use Code and should be treated no differently than any other building or zoning violation.  He explained that the project was brought to the County’s attention; however, the project had not been stopped.  He felt that it was unfortunate and unbecoming for the citizens of Larimer County especially when nothing had been done to stop the construction and bring it before the Board through a Location and Extent review.

 

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

None.

 

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE AUGUST 19, 2015 MEETING:   MOTION by Commissioner Glick to approve the minutes, seconded by Commissioner Wallace.  This received unanimous voice approval.

 

AMENDMENTS TO THE AGENDA:

None.

 

ITEM:

 

ITEM #1  LARIMER COUNTY PARKS AND OPEN SPACE VISION FOR THE BIG THOMPSON; RECREATION AND CONSERVATION ASSESSMENT:  Ms. Flenniken explained that Larimer County Natural Resources partnered with the City of Loveland and the Big Thompson River Restoration Coalition and received funding from Great Outdoors Colorado’s Flood Recovery Initiative to complete a comprehensive assessment of outdoor recreation and conservation opportunities in the Big Thompson Canyon.  The project area was the Big Thompson Canyon between the Olympus dam in Estes Park and the western edge of the City of Loveland, near Morey Natural Area. The assessment identified feasible and preferable areas to acquire additional land and/or develop recreation areas for day-use, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, etc. and would guide the department’s efforts and expenditures of the Help Preserve Open Spaces sales tax for the next 5-10 years.  She stated that public involvement for the plan began in January.  A broad range of methods including public meetings, online surveys, and public presentations were used to engage the public during the planning process.  A website

 

 

 

was also established within the Department’s webpage to provide the public with information, public meeting notices, opportunities to provide feedback, and process updates.  She explained that the properties acquired by the county would be categorized into four types:  Category 1 Recreation Parcels, which might have some onsite amenities, Category 2 Conservation Parcels with Limited Public Use, which would have no infrastructure, Category 3 Conservation Parcels with No Public Use, and Category 4 Divestment Parcels.  Lastly, she identified the 16 different priorities for additional public recreation areas. 

 

Commissioner Miller asked how the public could receive notice regarding the proposal. 

 

Ms. Flenniken stated that notice was sent to the landowners in the canyon along with recreation groups and clubs, a press release was done, and the proposal was on the website.

 

Commissioner Miller asked about the divestment of properties.

 

Ms. Flenniken replied that from 1976 the county owned about 164 parcels.  Most properties were along the river or part of previous public access areas.  She stated that there were approximately 8 parcels that were not near or connected to the river with a number being small and between two homes.  As a result, it was determined that they did not have a significant public value and could be sold to homeowners or appropriate parties.

 

Commissioner Christman asked how the Department would prioritize the project.

 

Ms. Flenniken explained that Larimer County would be the lead on five of the priority areas identified in the plan; however, CDOT’s final design needed to be completed first plus grant opportunities needed to be determined.

 

Commissioner Glick asked how CDOT would incorporate their master plan with Larimer County’s plan.  He also asked if there was an intergovernmental agreement with the other agencies.

 

Ms. Flenniken stated that CDOT was on the steering committee and was aware of the plan.  She stated that there were no formal agreements at the current time.

 

Commissioner Glick asked what would happen if funding did not come through and the impact it may have on the projects.

 

Ms. Flenniken replied that the sites were on the vision plan but it did not necessarily mean that they would all happen pending funding and willing landowners.  Also, open space sales tax dollars are available to match grants and help complete projects.

 

Commissioner Glick asked if it was a good use of public funds if the areas could flood again.

 

Ms. Flenniken stated that there were different categories of sites with some areas with no infrastructure.  Other areas with infrastructure would be placed outside of the floodway.

 

Commissioner Jensen asked about the advisory relationships with various conservation organizations and groups in regards to fishery.

 

 

Ms. Flenniken stated that implementation had not occurred yet but noted that they had great relationships with those various organizations including CPW, Trout Unlimited and the Big Thompson River Restoration Coalition.

 

Mr. Lafferty pointed out that the Big Thompson Restoration Coalition looked at restoration of the river and its areas.  The presented plan looked at land conservation and recreational opportunities.

 

PUBLIC TESTIMONY:

William Fitzgerald, lives at the base of Devil’s Backbone along Wild Lane, asked if the trail would be extended and wondered about restoration of Morey Pond.

 

Ms. Flenniken stated that Morey Pond was owned by the City of Loveland, and she was unsure of their plans.  She explained that the plan was to continue a regional trail connection in the “Loveland West” priority area and determine how that trail could be tied to other recreational areas; however, it was a vision plan with numerous options cited and exact trail alignments and locations to tie into Devil’s Backbone or other public areas still needed to be determined.  She stated that land would never be condemned and that they only worked with willing landowners.

 

DISCUSSION:

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

 

BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission approve the Larimer County Parks and Open Space Vision for The Big Thompson; Recreation And Conservation Assessment as part of the Larimer County Master Plan.

 

Commissioner Glick seconded the Motion.

 

Commissioners’ Christman, Glick, Jensen, Miller, Wallace, Zitti and Chairman Jensen voted in favor of the Motion.

 

MOTION PASSED:  7-0

 

 

 

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

 

ADJOURNMENT:   There being no further business, the hearing adjourned at 7:05 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.

 

 

_______________________________                      ______________________________

Jeff Jensen, Chairman                                                 Mina Cox, Secretary