RED FEATHER LAKES PLANNING ADVISORY COMMITTEE
FIRE HOUSE MEETING ROOM
44 FIRE HOUSE LANE , RED FEATHER LAKES
August 2, 2012, 1:30-3:30 PM
The meeting was called to order at 1:30 PM by Chairperson Lon Hughes.
Roll Call: Robert Allman, Ted Carter, Roger Clark, Terri Donnelly, Lon Hughes, Eunice Michalka, Donald Roger, Roger Svendsen
Member Excused Absences, Ross Reid, Lucille Schmidt. Note: Michael Sledge recently resigned from the PAC, and sad to say, Michael passed away in early August from his long battle with cancer. We appreciate all the helpful contributions he made since the original formation of the RFLPAC.
Larimer County Representation: LARCO Senior Planner Rob Helmick
Guests Present: Gary Wiegil, Shirley Pfankuch, Doug Burdette, Timi Kae Burdette, Jim Ekberg, Mike Frost, Steve Koeckeritz, Jan Jordan-King, Deen Staberg, Larry Kelso, Jim Tiffin, Janet Tiffin, Cris Meeks, Mark McGee, Gordon L. Hutchinson, Ed Miller, Mary Caldwell, Marianne Ehrlich, Duane Ehrlich, Jody Lambert, Helen R. Koller, Darleen M. Oslo, Maggie Mora, Marge Wolf, Shelley Culisher, Doug Race, Bob Strazer
Adoption of Agenda: The agenda was accepted as proposed
Approval of Minutes: The minutes were approved as written.
- Committee Member Communications –Roger reported that there has been no activity on Water and Sewer items. There has been no word from Mr. Binds from G&W Telecommunications. We assume the grant activity being sought by his company was not successful. A brief discussion about CenturyLink concluded they have not taken any action to improve service. Rob Allman said he recently called his own number and found out he is no longer in business, which is completely incorrect. There has been no communication to any PAC members from CenturyLink.
- County Communications – Rob reported that Linda Hoffman is now the County Manager on a standard six month trial period. Russ Legg is now the acting Planning Director. The County is working to understand how it can help those impacted by the High Park fire. There continue to be many peripheral residents impacted, even though they did not experience fire damage directly. Rob said there continues to be growth in business activity … not dramatic, but growth none the less.
Comments from the Audience :
1. It was determined that everyone in the audience was interested in the PAC review of the Slash Solutions implementation on Creedmore Rd. A sign-up sheet was circulated to identify all those in attendance. The attendees are listed above in the guest list.
Note: After some discussion, Ted
Carter suggested we revise the agenda order to address the action item
regarding Slash Solutions first.
- Slash Solutions Annual Review/Comments: The audience was informed they would have a chance to speak prior to any PAC vote on this item. Rob provided a brief background surrounding this activity. About one year ago, an organization named Slash Solutions approached the County and requested they take over the County sort yard on Creedmore road. This effort was addressed by the routine “Location & Extent” procedure used by the County Planning Dept. The PAC requested an annual review and comment procedure be adopted in conjunction with the process. What follows is in keeping with that request. Rob also noted that a number of comments have been received by the County which further stresses the need for a review of this activity. Ted C. requested a review of the PAC By-Laws to be sure we had sufficient PAC members present to make a decision on this issue. Rob reported that five affirmative votes were required in order for the PAC recommendation to be valid. We had adequate PAC representation. Since the PAC has not performed a review like this, a procedure was developed.
- Rob reported that Slash Solutions followed established Planning Dept. procedures and began operations in September, 2011.
- To lead off the discussion, Shirley Pfankuch from S.S. described what has been done from the beginning of operations until the present. She passed out some information for all the PAC members. Highlights included 318 billed customers with at least 76 from RFL. In addition, 130 people signed a petition located at the facility in favor of the operation. A total of 10,499 Cubic Yds of slash has been burned along with 571 Cubic Yds of logs/stumps. A great deal of material has also been removed by trucks as well as donated as fire wood. The package contained a substantial list of “greater community” supporters. Inspections of the facility have found it to be 100% in compliance with required regulations. Shirley also reviewed the reason the current site was selected and that those reasons remain valid. She also stressed the safety precautions that are taken and the very conservative approach taken in their operation.
- Next, Lon asked for input from residents that wanted to voice dissatisfaction with the SS operation. Jodi Lambert lives across the street. He did not understand why there was no public notification of the proposed operation. He voiced concern over the safety of the operation and of its operation increasing resident exposure to beetle infestation. Jody did conclude saying he thought an operation was needed in RFL, but not at the current location. Mary Caldwell was very displeased about the amount of smoke generated by the site. She has contacted Shannon McMillan from CO State Health and claimed the County inspection was not performed properly and that the emissions actually failed State limits. The criterion is an air opacity limit. There seems to be controversy about whether the limit is 10 or 20. It was agreed by all parties that the correct criteria needs clarification. Ms. McMillan was reported to be working to reach the County inspector. Duane and Marianne Ehrlich, also across the street, said the smoke is essentially non-stop. She cannot work on her donation projects in RFL due to the odor that they absorb from the smoke.
- Lon then requested comments from the “support” side of the audience. Steve Koeckeritz spoke first saying that a very serious effort was made to contact nearby residents. Names and addresses were obtained from the County Assessors records and notices were mailed to 85 addresses. He also said S. S. representatives went door to door to discuss the operation with residents nearby, but did say not everyone was home. He said no burning is done on weekends and nearby folks are usually notified prior to burn days. He said they try to burn when the smoke is liable to least annoy residents. He said the operation is planned for five years (4 more) and that their lease for the location expires in four more years. Gary Wiegil said beetle infested materials are removed to LaPorte very quickly and the material is de-barked, which kills the beetles promptly. Rob H. said the Location and Extent approval does not require any public notice posting or any other public notification. The County relies on the applicant to communicate their intentions and accepts their data. A number of additional people expressed the serious need for the operation, primarily for fire mitigation. The people included Jan Jordan-King, Ed Miller who reported that chips caused spot fires, Mike Frost who described a worse case scenario if the operation is shut down and folks do not clear out their dead trees leading to insurance companies refusing to insure properties, etc. all resulting in residents suffering major reductions in their home values, Timi Kae Burdette from the RFL Fire Dept. stating that the operation is very fire safe and that the slash must be disposed of, Mark McGee who believes the “industrial operation” is one of the best he has seen and that the operation provides additional jobs in the area for contractors. Several others stated that they would have been unable to afford the removal of their slash and dead trees without the Slash Solution operation. Gary W. stated that he has worked out a solution to essentially eliminate any smoke during the night by covering the burned material with wet ashes. This has been done since the Spring.
- Steve K asked Mary C. conversed and agreed to meet at a TBD location and attempt to develop a plan that will meet the needs of both parties. This was viewed as a very positive step. They agreed to meet before the next PAC meeting so as to report their progress at that time.
- Health Standards Discussion: Mary C. revisited the inspection criteria question and said she understood the limit for opacity was 10. The County readings were 13 and 17. Rob H. said the criterion used by the County employee designated by the State to conduct readings is 20. As of this date, the County employee has not received any different information from the State. Therefore, the PAC could not consider whether or not the Slash Solutions operation meets State criteria. Rob H. commented that if the State standards are not met, then the operation cannot operate, regardless of what the PAC decides. Don R. from the PAC commented that he drives by the operation early in the morning four times per week, and he does not smell anything as he passes. This is before the operation starts its burning.
- Pine Beetle / Fire Concerns: Roger S. commented on his experience with Beetle Busters and said he believes that RFL will experience a massive impact in the next few years. He believes there will be an unbelievable increase in the number of trees killed and that RFL residents will be unable to afford to transport the debris outside the local area. He believes the health issue is also an extreme concern and that without a clear understanding of whether or not the burn operation meets standards, the PAC cannot make a recommendation to the County Planning Dept.
- Inspection Frequency: Lon asked how often testing is performed. Rob H. said inspections are typically requested based on complaints. Lon asked if an inspection could be performed before the next PAC meeting and Rob said he would try to arrange for another inspection. Ted requested Rob to determine which agency truly has the sole authority to decide whether or not Slash Solutions meets health requirements. Once the PAC has that answer, we will be able to proceed. Ted also voiced a concern that one year of operation may not be sufficient to determine the acceptability of this type of operation. Ted brought attention to the fact that Slash Solutions has made a number of improvements and that those results may not have had adequate evaluation at this point. Shirley from Slash Solutions commented that there are two different standards at the State level, one for air curtain burners and one for incinerators. That may be the reason there is confusion. Ted said he thinks the operation should continue for one more year unless there is a health issue. Ted then moved that the PAC postpone any recommendation until the September meeting, at which time we may have accurate health information. Roger seconded Ted’s motion and it passed unanimously. Rob H. said there was no problem with his waiting to report the PAC’s decision to the County Planning Dept.
1. DSL/High Speed Internet: There is no further information beyond what is stated above.
2. Property Line/Survey Issues: No new developments in this area
3. Bald Mountain Tower EIS contract & scoping: The EIS contract has been signed for the scoping activity. Rob said individuals can contact the Federal effort via their web site. (Rob passed out web site information. The Fed contact is Carol Kruse – email@example.com. The County site is http://larimer.org/baldmountain/ ) Rob will be the contact that the PAC can use relative to the scoping effort. As a part of the EIS, the County will contact other communication companies and request their input. The County has the right to accept or reject any input from those companies.
4. Community Signage: Rob repeated his need for a detailed description of what is required. A general description was discussed. Rob A. said he would provide the detail Rob H. requires. Rob H. will champion the effort to gain County approval.
Bill Gilbert commented relative to smoke pollution. The general recommendation is that if one cannot see a quarter mile, they should leave the area. This especially applies to the elderly and ill folks.
RFLPAC meeting adjourned at 3:30 PM; Next regular meeting: September 6, 2012
Respectfully Submitted by Roger Svendsen