MARCH 11, 2011, 1:30-3:30 PM




The meeting was called to order at 1:34 PM by Chair Roger Svendsen


Members in Attendance: Terry Ferebee, Lon Hughes, Eunice Michalka, Ross Reid, Donald Rogers, and Roger Svendsen


Members Excused Absences. All other members had excused absences.


Larimer County Representation: Commissioner Gaither, Larimer County Planning Director Linda Hoffmann, Rob Helmick, LARCO Senior Planner and Samantha Mott, LARCO Staff Planner


Guests Present: Stephen Johnson, Bill Gilbert and Scott Horal


Adoption of Agenda: The agenda was approved as written.


Approval of Minutes: February 10, 2011 meeting notes were approved as written.


Communications from Committee Members :


Roger Svendsen introduced Lon Hughes to the PAC and Lon provided the PAC with a brief history of his background.


Communications from County Representatives :


Rob Helmick discussed the RFLPAC letter dated February 10, 2011 to the Larimer County Commissioners pertaining to the Soaring Eagle Ecology Center.  Mr. Helmick memorandum requesting a meeting with the Board and the RFLPAC’s letter is herewith inserted in these meeting notes:


02/22/2011 Mail - Request Meeting...

Rob Helmick <>


Request Meeting with the Board 2/16/11 11:33 AM <> Wed, Feb 16, 2011 at 11:33 AM

To: County Manager, HELMICRP@Iarimenorg

Type of Meeting: Administrative Matters

Name of requestor: Robert Helmick

Department: Planning

Preferred appearance date: 2/22/2011 Time required: 50min Date decision needed: 2/22/2011

Objective: Review and determine position on support letter for Soaring Eagle Ecology Center @ RFL

Situation: The Red Feather PAC has submitted a letter requesting support of and possibly financial support of the Soaring Eagle Ecology Center (SEEC). SEEC is a private non-profit organization, applied for 501(c)(3) IRS status that will offer education to children and adults on the environment. Its formation was a direct result of the concern in Red Feather Lakes about the PSD possibly closing the elementary school. The PAC supports this effort. Currently the SEEC would use the facilities of the school but also utilize land adjacent to the school which has been leased from the Quaintance Est. and Bear Creek Development. As a private educational facility the use and possibly structures will be subject to some level of land use review and possibly BCC action.

Proposal: The letter sent to the BCC proposes that there be an action of endorsement as well as a financial contribution in the form of a founding member @ $1000. We have attached the letter, a funding request letter and the power point slides presented to the PAC.

Advantages: The SEEC is a direct result of local response to the concern with closing of the school. The BCC communicated as did the PAC to the PSD that it was locally important to keep the school open. This branding and additional function will help to continue to recognize the importance of this school to the community.

Disadvantages: To support the use and facilities would create a direct conflict of interest which the BCC cannot do. With the real possibility of having to need some County approvals any action to endorse or to support is a conflict.

Requested action: Acknowledge receipt of the letter and the actions of the community to create the programs.

Potentially Affected Interest: Red Feather Lakes Planning Advisory Committee, Local Red Feather Lakes Citizens, the organizing committee of the Soaring Eagle Ecology Center.

Level of Public Interest and Participations: in the community high, county wide low. Audio/Visual/Computer Needs: none



The Board of County Commissioners met at 9:00 a.m. with Neil Gluckman, Assistant County Manager. Chair Donnelly presided and Commissioners Gaiter and Johnson were present. Also present were: Donna Hart, Bob Keister, and Deni LaRue, Commissioners' Office; Mark Peterson, Engineering Department; Avie Strand, Health Department; Lorenda Volker and Bridget Paris, Human Resources; Rob Helmick, Planning Department; Marc Engemoen, Public Works Department; William Ressue, County Attorney's Office; and Melissa Lohry, Deputy Clerk.

5. REVIEW & DETERMINE POSITION ON SUPPORT LETTER FOR SOARING EAGLE ECOLOGY CENTER AT RED FEATHER LAKES: Mr. Helmick presented a letter from the Larimer County Planning Commission requesting the Board's endorsement and financial support of the proposed ecology center. Mr. Helmick explained that if the Board decided to support the center, they may be faced with a conflict of interest regarding future building or development plans.

Commissioner Johnson proposed the Board submit a letter of support relating to the concept of the ecology center but non-specific to any proposed location, building, or development.

Chair Donnelly and Commissioner Gaiter supported Commissioner Johnson's proposal.


To: Larimer County Commissioners

From: Red Feather Lakes Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) Date: February 10, 2011

The Red Feather Lakes Planning Advisory Committee, together with the County Planning Team, have developed an area plan that includes recognition that the Red Feather Elementary School is one of several lynchpins to the viability of the Red Feather Lakes area.

We appreciate the unanimous support the County Commissioners expressed to Poudre School District in 2009 for maintaining our rural school. We are pleased to inform you that the RFL Elementary School has been awarded the first Project Learning Tree certification in the state of Colorado. This designation is in recognition of the commitment of the school and community to environmental education.

In an effort to share the unique outdoor educational benefits the children of Red Feather Lakes Elementary School experience, the PAC has supported the development of an ecology center adjacent to the existing ten acre school campus, with access to Roosevelt National Forest.

The Soaring Eagle Ecology Center (SEEC) is open to all Larimer County students and is committed to providing outdoor educational classes that integrate reading, writing, math, and science with an understanding of our natural environment. Initial classes are scheduled to be offered in the summer of 2011 in cooperation with the local school. These initial classes will cover topics of interest for children from elementary through high school, and include adult and family programs as well.

We, the members of the Red Feather Lakes Planning Advisory Committee, ask for your support of the Soaring Eagle Ecology Center by becoming one of ten Founding Members. A Founding Member commits to donating $1,000 annually for five consecutive years.


We realize these are difficult financial times and there are many worthy demands placed on the County. It is our hope you will recognize the value of this project not only to the Red Feather Lakes area, but to all students of Larimer County and support SEEC from the funds the County receives from the Federal Secure Rural School and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (the initial Act was passed in 1903). It is our understanding that the monies received from this act are to be used "to maintain infrastructure, improve health of watersheds and ecosystems, protect (rural) communities, and strengthen (rural) local economies."

We believe the development of the Soaring Eagle Ecology Center meets the objectives of these funds and The Community Vision communicated in the Red Feather Lakes Area Plan adopted by Larimer County in 2006.

Notwithstanding your contribution, your endorsement will enhance SEEC's ability to receive grants needed to fully develop the Soaring Eagle Ecology Center over the next ten years.

SEEC has applied for 501 (c)(3) status and is a charitable, non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Colorado. For your convenience, a contribution/pledge card is enclosed.

Contributions can be made to Soaring Eagle Ecology Center and mailed to P.O. Box 410, Red Feather Lakes, Co. 80545.

Thank you for your consideration and continued support of the Red Feather Lakes Area Plan. Regards,

Red Feather Lakes Planning Advisory Committee


Comments from the Audience : Stephen Johnson asked why the RFLPAC was having an attendance problem?  Scott Horal advised the RFLPAC that he was interested in the water and sewer situation in RFL that he has some ideas concerning renewable sustainable energy development in RFL. 


Action Item: None




1.     Water and Sewer Subcommittee initial meeting draft memorandum was discussed by the PAC and the draft memorandum is quoted below. 





From: Robert Helmick, AICP Senior Planner


Larimer County Planning


Date:  4/6/2011


Re:     Water and Sewer Subcommittee initial meeting


The Subcommittee met on March 10, 2011 with Ed Schemm, Assistant Director of Environmental Health and Jim Musselwhite, Senior Environmental Health Specialist from the Larimer County Department of Health and the Environment to discuss water, water quality and related issues. 

An out come of the meeting was the preliminary development of a scope of work to address the first question the subcommittee has asked.  “Is there a problem with water and or water quality in Red Feather Lakes”

To determine if there is a problem certain data is necessary, some of which exists, some need correlation or compilation, and some would result from further study or testing. 

·   It is necessary to determine what data already exists and where and in what form.

·   What data is needed and how can it be obtained.

This would include:

·   Water well testing information both residential and commercial public and non public-This exists in partial form but may not be from representative location or may be aged.  It may be necessary upon evaluation to identify possible testing sites and seek cooperation from owners to test their wells or surface water sites.  The data may also not be comprehensive; it may only include bacteriological information.  Development of a list of parameters to test for is necessary.  

·   Water well location depth and flow information-Much of this is available on the Division of Water Resources site.  Some confirmation or refinement of locations may be necessary.  As well as a determination with respect to the number of as yet unregistered or unrecorded wells or other water sources. 

·   Sanitation system information including, location, size, type, age, failures-This information will be available from the Health Department conversion to a data set may be necessary. 

·   Geology information soil depths, bedrock composition, minerals present-Some information may be available locally or through the Colorado Geological Survey.  A determination of relevant geological information is necessary to determine how much additional information is necessary.  

·   Census information population, permanent residents, seasonal use-Detail information on this may be available this spring. 

·   Any trends inferred or obvious from any data sources.

From an analysis of the information it is believed that the answer to the question(s) can be arrived at, Is there a problem now? What is it and how big?, Will there be problem in the future?, and what might be possible solutions short and long term.


Some sources of information available on the web include:



Discussion Items:


1.     Accessory Rural Occupation Concept: 


a.    Commissioner Gaither advised that the Board has been looking at ways to boost the economy in the County by allowing its residents to use what they already have on their property.  The plan is to “go from a regulatory based code to an impact based code” – the resident’s impact on their neighbor can only be this much – you can only have so much noise, so much traffic, etc. and then if one would exceed these limits then the resident would fall into a special review situation.   Define what you cannot do instead of defining what you can do.  Commissioner Gaither advised that this concept is a work in progress and that the County is seeking input from the various advisory groups. 


b.    Larimer County Staff Planner Samantha Mott advised that everything in the proposed code amendment below is not set in stone and is subject to change.  The Proposed Code Amendment is quoted below:


“Proposed Code Amendment –

Accessory Rural Occupation Concept




A work session was held with the Board of County Commissioners on January 18, 2011.  The work session discussed possible Code amendments regarding a new accessory use, accessory rural occupation.  Staff was directed to move forward with looking into revisions to the Code and solicit comments and input from various boards, commissions, planning advisory committees, and members of the community.

The purpose of bringing this potential Code amendment to the Red Feather Lakes Planning Advisory Committee is to brainstorm and analyze alternatives for this potential new Code language.

Problem Statement:  

There are some land uses not specifically addressed in the current Land Use Code as well as some uses that are not addressed on a small scale, accessory level (i.e. small scale firewood cutting, excavating, and other limited service businesses).  It is an unintended consequence of the Code that we regulate some uses and limit what people can do on their rural property because the use doesn’t fall under a particular definition in the Code.


Create a new accessory rural occupation use, accessory to dwellings and to agricultural uses, to allow land owners more flexibility to do normal accessory things on their property while maintaining the rural residential or rural agricultural character of the property and surrounding neighborhood.  Home occupations are allowed on any lot as an accessory use to a single family dwelling – this will remain the same.   Home occupation is an urban concept applied countywide.     Low-intensity businesses that fit the definition of home occupation can occur anywhere – even in the rural areas.  Unfortunately, the limitations of a home occupation use often do not ‘fit’ outside the urban densities.  An accessory rural occupation would be a more intense use and would only be allowed in specific zoning districts. 


An accessory rural occupation would be allowed if a lot is outside a Growth Management Area Overlay zoning district, larger than some minimum lot size, and within either the FA-Farming, FA-1 Farming, FO-Forestry, FO-1 Forestry, O-Open, or RE-Rural Estate zoning districts.  The purpose of the more broadly defined accessory rural occupation is to recognize the unique land use characteristics in zoning districts that are more rural in character and that allow agricultural uses and to reasonably accommodate the home-based businesses that traditionally occur in these areas.


The proposal for the new accessory rural occupation category would have two levels:


·   There would be a use by right category that would not require any planning approval if the use meets the standards as outlined in the Code.

o  The use by right category for the proposed new accessory rural occupation would allow property owners more flexibility to do certain uses on their property, up to a defined level (which still needs to be determined), without having to go through a planning process with the Planning Department. 

·   There would be a Public Site Plan category that would allow a more intense use subject to the standards as outlined in the Code.  This level allows for neighborhood input and review by applicable referral agencies.

o  The Public Site Plan category for the proposed new accessory rural occupation would allow property owners flexibility to do certain uses on their property, up to a defined level (which still needs to be determined), with a simplified planning process that allows for neighborhood input.

The Planning Department is still in the information gathering stage.  We will be seeking input from several boards and committees as well as planning advisory committees on the standards that would distinguish the two levels for the proposed accessory rural occupation use.”


c.    Ms. Mott verbally presented this concept to the PAC and asked for and received feedback from the PAC membership. 


d.    Proposed uses specifically prohibited as accessory rural occupations include: accommodation uses, adult uses, auto body shop or similar activities, general industrial uses, hazardous material storage and/or processing, shooting ranges, solid waste disposal or transfer centers, community hall/event center, uses prohibited by state or federal law.


RFLPAC meeting adjourned at 3:35 PM; Next regular meeting: April 14, 2011


Submitted by Terry Ferebee