LARIMER COUNTY RURAL LAND USE ADVISORY BOARD

PHONE CONFERENCE MEETING MINUTES

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Larimer County Courthouse Lake Estes Conference Room (Suite 333)

 

Rural Land Use Board:

 

Present:

Staff:

Alan Carlson

Brenda Gimeson

Debra Herston

Pam Stringer

Ryan Hostetler

Randy Mergler

Joe Wise

 

Absent:

Kristin Grazier

 

 

 

AGENDA TOPICS:

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:12 p.m.

 

1.  Cottonwood Farms RLUP Amended Development Agreement - Action Item

 

Brenda gave an overview of the Cottonwood Farms RLUP Amended Development Agreement request. The applicant is Silverwhip, LLC and the property is located northeast of Fort Collins, north of the intersection of County Road 48E (Vine Drive) and County Road 3. The Cottonwood Farms RLUP was approved in 2001 with four single-family residential lots, and two Residual Lots (Residual Lot A and B). Residual Lot A is 44 acres in size and the recorded Development Agreement restricts its use as follows: Development and construction of buildings and structures on Residual Lot A shall be precluded except for one-single-family dwelling and agricultural outbuildings which are clearly necessary and incidental to the use of Residual Lot A for agricultural purposes. At the time of the Rural Land Plan approval and when the applicants purchased the lot, there was an existing modular home on the property that was the single-family residence. In 2014, the applicants decided to build a new home on the property. Since they have horses and desire help to care for them, in September 2014, they submitted an application to the County requesting allowance to convert the modular home to a detached accessory living unit for a caretaker. That use is allowed by the Land Use Code (Section 4.3.10) as an accessory use and structure if the following conditions can be met:

  1. Accessory living area in a detached building is subject to review and approval through the public site plan review process in section 6.2;
  2. The single-family character of the property must be maintained. The entrance(s) to the accessory living area must not be visible from any road;
  3. The total square footage of the accessory living area is limited to 40 percent of the square footage in the single-family dwelling, excluding any garage or basement area, whether finished or not, or 800 square feet, whichever is less;
  4. One additional off-road parking space must be provided for each bedroom in the detached accessory living area;
  5. Building permit applications for accessory living area are subject to all applicable impact fees, including transportation capital expansion fees applicable to a multi-family land use type as defined in section 9.5;
  6. Accessory living area is to be used solely for guests of the occupants of the single-family dwelling or those providing a service on site in exchange for their residency; and

 

  1.  The accessory living area must not be rented or leased separately from the single-family

dwelling.

 

As part of the review process for the Accessory Living Unit, referral agencies and neighbors were notified of the proposal. During that time, the neighbors raised several concerns about the proposal. Most of the concerns were regarding a private covenant they believe restricts the use of the property in addition to the development agreement language and some concerns about the appearance of the structure and property. In December 2014, a public hearing before the Board of County Commissioners was held regarding the request for the accessory living unit.  At that hearing, the restriction in the Development Agreement (Section 3) was determined to be a limiting factor and the proposal was denied based on that restriction. The applicants still wish to pursue the accessory living unit so are proposing to modify the language in the development agreement to allow the addition of the detached accessory living unit on Residual Lot A.

 

Brenda presented further background information about a decision that was made by the Board of County Commissioners in May 2009 regarding the interpretation of regulations for RLUP lots. That decision was that within RLUP projects, on common lots and residual lands, the uses stipulated in the documents approving the project govern land uses until such time as those approval documents are amended in accordance with the prescribed procedures for doing so and that if a use permitted on common lots and residual lands within an approved RLUP project requires County approval (such as Special Review or Minor Special Review), the RLUP approval for allowing the use does not preclude the requirement for other applicable review and approval processes.

 

If the proposed amended development agreement is approved, the applicants will still be required to submit an application for a Public Site Plan process to obtain approval of the detached accessory living unit. This proposal is strictly to amend the development agreement language to allow the right to apply for a detached accessory living unit, not to grant approval of the detached accessory living unit. 

 

Section 38 of the Development Agreement for Cottonwood Farms R.L.U.P. outlines how the document can be amended. It states: Section 3 may be amended only with the written consent of the County and all the owners(s) of Residual Lots A and B and Lots 1-4 after published notice and a hearing before the Board o/County Commissioners. The applicants have obtained signed agreements with Lots 1- 4 and Residual Lot B to modify the language.

 

With the agreement of Lots 1- 4 and Residual Lot B, they are now approaching the County for modification of the development agreement language. Additionally, there is a recorded conservation easement on the property, held by the Legacy Land Trust. They have submitted a letter stating they have no objection to the request for the detached accessory living unit.

 

Vice-Chair Herston asked for clarification regarding the modular and if it still resides on the property and if the neighbors that had concerns regarding the modular were within the Cottonwood Farms RLUP Development or if they were neighboring property owners? Brenda stated they were neighbors outside of the RLUP and that the modular still exists on the property but currently being used as an office, with the kitchen torn out and no water. Brenda clarified that the concerns brought up during the previous request were that the neighbors believe there is a private covenant that restricts how many home sites are allowed and restricts the use of modular and trailer houses to be used for single family dwellings.

 

Member Megler asked for clarification if the modular was on the property even before the RLUP? Brenda confirmed its existence at the time the RLUP was originally approved.

Member Carlson asked about the nature of the private covenant and if a homeowner's association is in existence. Brenda replied she was unsure about the existence of an HOA but they have referred to it as the Zollner Covenant and they believe it's a deed restriction on the property.  Member Carlson asked if this covenant was recorded and if a notice regarding this covenant was given to new property within the area in question. Brenda stated that the Planning Department would not know the answer to that nor does the County enforce private covenants. In fact, the Commissioners made it clear they could only review and enforce the documents the County are a party to, such as the development agreement.

 

Member Mergler asked if the issue is that there will be one extra person living on that property in that accessory unit more than there is right now. Brenda stated yes and that there will be another dwelling unit on the property. Member Mergler asked if the dwelling unit already exists.  Brenda said that is correct.  Member Mergler questioned if they are just changing the use.  Brenda said they are changing it from an main dwelling to an accessory dwelling or a mother-in-laws dwelling or caretakers dwelling.

 

Member Wise questioned if the size of the modular was the issue with the neighbors or that it should be removed entirely now that a new home was built. Brenda stated the modular size does conform to all the land use standards for the accessory living area and the neighbors argument for denial was the existence of the private covenant, the current development agreement restrictions, they didn't believe the size met the requirements and they argued it wasn't compatible with the neighborhood. The Land Use Code outlines under what conditions it would be allowed but what we are asking if the accessory dwelling should be allowed on the residual lot through an amendment to the development agreement if the standards in the Land Use Code can be met?

 

Member Mergler stated he is in favor of the accessory dwelling being allowed on the residual lot, as the modular already exists. Member Wise and Vice-Chair Herston agree with Member Mergler.

 

Member Carlson stated his reasons for approving the amendment to the development agreement is that our decision should not be about how it looks or doesn't look or whether there is a convent or even if the current development agreement doesn't allow it. This is a request for an amendment to the Development Agreement and the property owners within RLUP agree with this amendment. Any visual problems the neighbors had or have with the modular already existed and in fact they will still have to look at it because, if not approved, looks like it will remain on the property as an office. Anyone driving by will not be able to notice if the modular has a kitchen or not so that is not relevant.

 

Member Wise stated another argument is that at the time of approval, the RLUAB was under the understanding that the residual lot was created for single-family purposes and such accessory uses would be permitted under the county code and therefore this should not be an issue. Brenda clarified that staff was under the understanding of the uses permitted and could not speak for the previous RLUAB. However, she is asking the current RLUAB if they have any issues with this structure on a residual lot within the Cottonwood Farms RLUP. Member Wise replied they should be treated exactly as any other single family lot.

 

Vice Chair Herston stated the purpose of the residual lot is for ag use not a single family dwelling, so there is a difference this comes under the ag use because the person whose going to be living there is going to be participating in ag related service, not just a lot that someone can just come and build a house and live there. So since this is ag related service this comes under what the residual lot was meant to be.

 

 

 

Member Hostetler agrees. It does take a lot of maintenance to maintain these properties. The county sometimes makes polices to ' make it harder for the caretakers of our protected lands to stay and care for the lands. So if we are here to protect the land those folks living there are going to need assistance. Taking care of 40 or 100 acres is a lot of work.

 

MOTION:

Member Carlson made the motion to approve the application to amend the development agreement as outlined above. Member Mergler seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote:

 

Alan Carlson

Yes

Randy Mergler

Yes

Debra Herston

Yes

Joes Wise

Yes

Kristin Grazier

Absent

Ryan Hostetler

Yes

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

2.   Other business: Heads up-Brenda is working on a RLUP which she expects to be submitted any day. She will be getting in touch soon to set up a site visit, which will also act as the introduction meeting to the project.

 

Meeting adjourned at 4:45 pm

 

           __________________________                  ___________________________________                      Vice – Chair Herston                                          Member Mergler