Minutes of September 19, 2018


The Larimer County Planning Commission met in a regular session on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hearing Room.  Commissioners’ Choate, Dougherty, Gerrard, Johnson, Lucas, Miller and Wallace were present. Commissioner Jensen presided as Chairman.  Commissioner Caraway was absent.  County Staff present were Lesli Ellis, Community Development Director, Matt Lafferty, Principal Planner, Carol Kuhn, Principal Planner, Michael Whitley, Planner II, Clint Jones, Engineering Department, Lea Schneider, Health Department, and Debby Johnson, Recording Secretary. 


The Planning Commission went on a site visit to the Chinook Dog Ranch.




COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING OTHER RELEVANT LAND USE MATTERS NOT ON THE AGENDA:   Matt Lafferty informed the Planning Commission that October is National Community Planning Month and he will be asking the Board of County Commissioners to recognize this.




Commissioner Choate asked that a change be made on the August 15, 2018 minutes.


Ms. Johnson, the Recording Secretary, acknowledged this change.


MOTION by Commissioner Gerrard to approve the minutes, seconded by Commissioner Lucas.  Commissioner’s Choate, Gerrard, Jensen, Johnson, Lucas, Miller and Wallace in favor of the motion.  Commissioner Dougherty abstaining.




REMOVED ITEM:  Ms. Kuhn stated that Crystal Lakes 12th Lot 20 Special Exception, File#17-ZONE2257, was removed from the agenda.




Commissioner Johnson stated that she knows a member of the team that is presenting for the applicant and she feels she can view this application in a fair and unbiased manor.


ITEM #1 CHINOOK DOG RANCH, FILE#17-ZONE2300 :   Mr. Whitley provided background information on the request for a A) Special Review for a Pet Animal Facility (Dog Boarding) in the O - Open Zoning District; and B) Appeal to Section 8.6.3.B.1.g regarding the Larimer County Rural Area Road Standards.  Located at 7150 N. County Road 3, Wellington; located on the east side of N. County Road 3 approximately one half mile north of the intersection of N. County Road 3 and E. County Road 60.  The applicants’ project description indicates they would like to build a new 4,300 square foot building to be used as a kennel to accommodate up to 50 boarded dogs. Nine play yards are proposed east and west of the kennel building.  Those play yards are proposed to be enclosed by a solid wood fence.  Six additional outdoor play areas are proposed north of the enclosed kennel building.  Those play yards are proposed to be approximately 13,700 square feet. A third outdoor area is proposed between the kennel building and western property line. That area is proposed to be approximately 34,000 square feet.  The area would be used for supervised swimming within an existing pond, fetch, Frisbee, etc. The proposed fencing surrounding the play yards north of the building and the third outdoor area is described in the project description as “see through but generally impenetrable.”  The existing home on the property would be used as a residence for the manager of the kennel.




Commissioner Lucas asked about the maximum number of dogs per play area.


Mr. Whitley pointed out the plot plan and play area again in the presentation and stated that there will be one dog per yard from the hours of 7-11 a.m., unless shared by a family with two dogs.


Commissioner Gerrard asked how the condition for maximum number of dogs is policed.


Mr. Whitley replied that we rely on the applicant for voluntary compliance with many of the conditions of approval.


Commissioner Gerrard asked about the appeal and if the applicant would consider combining the access points.


Mr. Whitley replied that during the review with the applicant they were told that the access points need to meet the standards.


Commissioner Gerrard asked what type of material is being used for the fencing.


Mr. Whitley replied that the project description notes that a solid wood fence will be used to enclose the fenced play areas east and west of the kennel building.  Open fencing is proposed to enclose the outdoor kennels north of the building and the area west of the kennel.  This is described as “see through but generally impenetrable”.  Mr. Whitley stated that the applicant might be able to give a better description.


Chairman Jensen asked about the distance between the north and the south access points.


Mr. Whitley replied 410 feet.


Chairman Jensen asked if they could accomplish the 300 foot separation if they did away with the middle access point.


Mr. Whitley replied yes.


Chairman Jensen asked about the access points across the road from this site.


Mr. Whitley replied that there are two public roads that access County Road 3 and there is not a conflict concern with the properties across the street.


Amelia Tuttle, the applicant’s representative, talked about the appeal and stated that the proposed access is from CR 3 near the south end of the property.  There is an existing access drive for the proposed manager’s residence on the north end.  This access can double as a secondary access for emergency service.


Marcy Wright, owner, discussed her personal experience and the background of the Chinook Dog Ranch.  Ms. Wright provided more information about the appeal and wanting a private drive for the manager so he would not be disturbed at all hours.  Ms. Wright explained in more detail about the indoor facility, sound proofing and the large play area that will be one on one play time.


Commissioner Lucas asked about the process plan for disposing of feces.


Ms. Wright replied that the kennels will have a drainage system that will go into a separate septic tank and will be drained every 2 years and the play yards will be picked up daily and disposed in dog food bags and thrown in the dumpster.  Ms. Wright replied that this is what is done now and it works well.


Commissioner Dougherty asked about the access point on the South and when was it built.


Ms. Wright replied that they have never used it. It is just a gate.


Commissioner Jensen asked the distance from the road to the western most edge of the building.


Ms. Wright replied she does not know.


Commissioner Johnson asked about access for emergency vehicles and is it designed to accommodate these vehicles.


Ms. Wright replied that there is enough room for emergency vehicles to turn around.


Commissioner Johnson asked why the applicant has not heard from the Wellington Fire district.


Ms. Wright replied that we have not heard from them but will follow up.


Ms. Tuttle replied about the access for emergency vehicles and there will need to be some work done to accommodate them and that we have heard from the Wellington Fire district and they have no concerns because the building will be sprinkled.


Mr. Whitley replied that it is not uncommon to not hear from a fire district regarding referral comments.  He further stated that if we don’t hear from them we presume they have no concerns and there were no concerns from staff because the building will be sprinkled.


Commissioner Johnson stated that it was not designed to accommodate a big truck so this would not be a true emergency vehicle access.


Ms. Wright replied that is correct.


Chairman Jensen asked Mr. Whitley if they would have to construct both of the access points to accommodate these emergency vehicles.


Mr. Whitley replied that the new access point would need to meet current access standards.


Clint Jones stated that unless the fire district asked for a secondary access just for emergency vehicles, staff would request it be gated and used only for emergency vehicles.


Commissioner Johnson stated that this would not be a true emergency access.


Ms. Tuttle replied that is correct and it could be used for an emergency vehicle if it was designed properly.


Mr. Whitley stated that the answer to Chairman Jensen’s previous question regarding distance is 316 feet from the east property line to the edge of the play area.


Chairman Jensen asked the width of the north/south area to where the pond would be.


Mr. Whitley replied that it is 120 feet.


Chairman Jensen asked if there would be one dog at a time in the play area.


Ms. Wright replied yes unless there are two from the same family and that they will be supervised.


Commissioner Gerrard asked if they would be willing to tie the southern access to the other property that they own.


Ms. Wright stated that her concern would be selling the three different properties in the future and not sure how difficult it would be to split the properties up again.


Commissioner Gerrard stated that it would solve the access issues if this could be figured out.


Commissioner Dougherty asked Mr. Whitley if along the north edge of the property could there be a road base roadway that could go along that and would it have to meet setbacks.


Mr. Whitley replied if a roadway was proposed it would not have to meet a building setback.


Commissioner Dougherty asked if the applicant would be interested they could also consider keeping the north access and have it come along back to the parking lot.


Mr. Whitley replied yes


Commissioner Dougherty asked the applicant if this would be something she would consider.


Ms. Wright stated that she would need to see it on paper, but she would consider it.


Commissioner Miller stated that it would also speak to the blind spot safety concern.




Jennifer Backurz, neighbor, stated her concerns with the additional noise levels.  The current level of barking noise is at an obnoxious level.  She is also concerned with additional traffic and property values.


Stephen Hendrix, neighbor, stated that he is opposed to increasing the dog operation, the noise from the existing dogs is already hard to handle and he is concerned with additional traffic and his quality of life.


Commissioner Gerrard asked Mr. Hendrix if he can hear the existing facility where he lives.


Mr. Hendrix replied yes.


Commissioner Johnson asked if there is anything the applicant could do to mitigate your concerns.


Mr. Hendrix replied no. He stated they can’t mitigate the current barking noise and the smell.


David Miller stated that he is the neighbor right across the street and he is concerned about the additional barking noise, the light in the parking lot, the extra traffic and odor.


Janet Miller, neighbor, stated that they were aware of the existing kennel when they bought the property and she is concerned with the new operation and the dogs not be as well trained.  She stated that the noise would be unbearable.  She is concerned about the additional access, increased traffic and HOA concerns.


Commissioner Gerrard asked what time of the day is the noise level the worst.


Ms. Miller replied in the morning and at the end of the day.


Commissioner Gerrard asked if there is anything at night.


Ms. Miller replied that there is a tin can effect because they are barking in the kennel.


Commissioner Gerrard asked how far away from the facility are you.


Ms. Miller replied that our field is 11 acres and the house is directly west to the proposed north driveway.


Commissioner Johnson asked if there is anything the applicant can do to ease your mind.


Ms. Miller replied no.  She stated that she can’t even imagine an additional 50 dogs that they are proposing.


Ernie MacQuiddy stated that he is a neighbor ¾ of a mile away and is concerned about the noise, lighting, additional access to CR 3 and would like to see the fence setback moved.  He is opposed to this application.


Commissioner Johnson asked if the front fence was moved back would this be more compatible for you.


Mr. MacQuiddy stated that if you see fit to approve this application, he would like the fence moved back away from the road.


Commissioner Miller asked if you would like to see a privacy fence put there.


Mr. MacQuiddy stated he doesn’t think that would help all of his concerns.




Chairman Jensen invited the applicant to address the neighbor concerns.


Ms. Wright explained in detail the current operation and that she understands the neighbors concern regarding the current noise, but the new facility will be sound proof.


Commissioner Dougherty asked if she considered moving the facility further east to the Windsor ditch.


Ms. Wright stated she did research this but they use that area for training and recently put in a $20,000 pond and does not want to lose that investment.


Commissioner Dougherty asked what about moving the facility to the west side of the ditch.


Ms. Wright stated that she could consider that but would lose that dog training area.


Commissioner Miller asked if she would consider putting in noise mitigation in the current facility as a condition of approval.


Ms. Wright stated she would consider this but would need to research the cost.


Commissioner Miller asked if the application was approved with the condition that once the new facility was operating for a certain amount of time to cover the cost of putting in noise mitigation in the training facility, would she consider this.


Ms. Wright replied yes. She stated that she wants to be a good neighbor.


Commissioner Dougherty asked Carol Kuhn if a condition of approval could be put on a different property for this application.


Ms. Kuhn replied no, there is no rational nexus.


Commissioner Johnson asked about the light in the parking lot.


Ms. Wright stated that the parking lot will only have the light on during business hours and a motion light on the front door.


Commissioner Johnson asked what kind of mitigation has been considered for the light fixtures so it doesn’t look like a super store parking lot.


Ms. Wright stated that she is still talking to the architect but they will be downward facing lights.


Commissioner Johnson asked if this would be addressed during the site plan phase.


Mr. Whitley replied yes.


Commissioner Dougherty asked if that would include mitigation for light pollution with downward facing lights.


Mr. Whitley replied correct.


Chairman Jensen asked about the hazard on County Road 3 when there is a person walking or riding by and the dog in the play area starts charging the fence.


Ms. Wright stated that she is considering putting the dogs on a 30 foot leash so they don’t charge the fence if someone is walking by.


Commissioner Choate asked if there was a thorough analysis done on having enough water for this additional facility.


Ms. Wright replied that unofficially she had spoken to Northern Colorado Water Association on the phone and was informed with a single tap there would be enough water.


Commissioner Choate asked about Mr. MacQuiddy’s concerns and moving the fenced play area back further away from the road.


Ms. Wright stated that she has considered it.  There is an existing pond area there and she would consider moving the fence up to that pond.


Commissioner Choate asked why she decided to site this facility so far to the west on this lot.


Ms. Wright replied that the original purpose of buying this property was to have a boarding facility and to use the additional land as more training for their current operation.


Commissioner Choate confirmed that she uses the land on the east and west side for training of their current operations.


Ms. Wright replied yes.


Commissioner Johnson asked about the neighbor concerns and asked Ms. Wright if she has had any conversations with the neighbors since March.


Ms. Wright replied no.  She stated unfortunately she doesn’t know her neighbors.


Commissioner Johnson asked if she would be open to meeting with her neighbors and addressing some of their concerns.


Ms. Wright replied absolutely.


Commissioner Johnson suggested Ms. Wright talk to her neighbors.


Commissioner Gerrard agreed with Commissioner Johnson, the applicant should speak to the neighbors.


Ms. Wright agreed.


Commissioner Johnson stated her concerns to Mr. Whitley about the property to the south and the use without a permit.


Mr. Whitley stated that the property to the south was approved in a special review in 1996.  It does not include the use of the subject property.


Chairman Jensen asked if there were any noise complaints.


Mr. Whitley replied that there have not been any official complaints.


Chairman Jensen asked Mr. Whitley from a code compliance point of view what do the complaints look like in other similar facilities that have been approved.


Mr. Whitley stated there are no violations in other kennels.


Chairman Jensen asked about the traffic study, the frontage and increase of traffic.


Mr. Jones replied during peak season there would be 90 trips per day and in the off season 60 per day, with this amount of trips they are not in the paving threshold.


Commissioner Choate asked if there are any recommendations for improvements to the road.


Mr. Jones replied there are none.


Commissioner Choate asked if the applicant will dedicate the additional right-of-way.


Mr. Jones stated that it is a requirement and the applicant has agreed to the additional right-of-way.


Commissioner Choate stated his concerns and how does the traffic impact require them to give up those property rights at no additional cost.  Commissioner Choate asked if the County pays those costs.


Mr. Jones stated that it is a standard of development.


Mr. Lafferty stated that section 9.6 of the Larimer County Land Use Code covers new road dedications as a requirement of all developments in Larimer County.


Commissioner Choate asked if there is an analysis done for each case.


Mr. Lafferty replied that it is a requested action and we have not been contested on this at this point.


Commissioner Choate stated that the fence going around the north play area will not be done until a future date.  Commissioner Choate asked how it will be measured that this will meet the requirements.


Mr. Whitley replied that we rely on the applicant.


Commissioner Wallace asked if the other facilities in the County are as rural as this one.


Mr. Whitley replied that just a year ago we did the Skyline Investment Special Review that is on 10 acres just north of the Boulder County line with a total of 100 animals and there have been no complaints.


There was also a doggie daycare that was approved on a much smaller lot and there have been no official complaints with that application.


Commissioner Wallace stated that she is not inclined to vote in favor of this application but explained the review criteria in detail.


Commissioner Gerrard mentioned his appreciation for the neighbor’s opposition and stated his concerns with this application, with the current facility and at this time won’t vote in favor of this application.


Commissioner Dougherty stated his concerns and agreed with what has been said already and could not vote in favor of this application.


Commissioner Miller stated his concerns and would vote in favor if certain conditions could be met.


Commissioner Johnson stated her concerns and thinks that there is an opportunity for the applicant to step back and see if some of the concerns could be addressed.


Ms. Kuhn suggested that it is up to the pro view of the Planning Commission, but this may be an opportunity to allow the applicant to request a continuance to take some time and come up with some solutions.


Commissioner Lucas stated that a lot of discussion today has been predicated on a previous approval and it is inconsistent on our part to keep bringing that into the conversation.


Commissioner Choate respectively disagreed with Mr. Lucas because multiple parcels are all being used for the same purpose.  He stated that this is an expansion of an existing use.


Chairman Jensen stated his concerns with compatibility and suggested to the applicant that they table this to a future date.


Ms. Wright agreed.


Commissioner Johnson asked for a continuance date certain.


Chairman Jensen said we will be taking a 3 minute recess.


Ms. Tuttle asked for a continuance until November 21, 2018.


Mr. Lafferty confirmed the date and the Planning Commission will be moved to November 14, 2018 because of Thanksgiving.


Ms. Tuttle stated that this does not work for the applicant.


Mr. Lafferty suggested that we table to a date uncertain.


Ms. Tuttle asked if we would re-notice.


Ms. Kuhn stated that we would take care of the noticing.


Commissioner Gerrard stated that his comments are not based on the applicant having to be forced to do something with the existing property, but it has a history of dogs barking and is in favor of the continuance.


Chairman Jensen clarified what they are asking the applicant to do.


Commissioner Lucas moved that the Planning Commission continue the Chinook Dog Ranch File#17-ZONE2257 to a date uncertain.


Commissioner Gerrard seconded the Motion.


Commissioners’ Lucas, Dougherty, Choate, Gerrard, Wallace, Miller, Johnson and Chairman Jensen voted in favor of the Motion.





ADJOURNMENT:  There being no further business, the hearing adjourned at 8:53 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                                                 Nancy Wallace, Secretary