MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Monday, JANUARY 31, 2005
PUBLIC HEARING REGARDING PROPOSED
CAMPGROUND AT HORSETOOTH RESERVOIR
(#8 & 9)
The Board of County Commissioners met at 6:30 p.m. with Gary Buffington, Director of Parks and Open Lands. Chair Rennels presided, and Commissioners Wagner and Gibson were present. Also present were: Frank Lancaster, and Deni LaRue, Commissioners Office; Marc Engemoen, Public Works Director; Mark Caughlan, Horsetooth Park District Manager; and Gael Cookman, Deputy Clerk.
Chair Rennels requested that Mr. Engemoen, Mr. Buffington, and Mr. Brian Pierson, from the Bureau of Reclamation, provide a brief description of the campground proposal before she opened up the hearing for public comment. Chair Rennels also noted that there will be no decision made at this hearing as it is for informational gathering.
Mr. Engemoen explained that Parks and Open Lands Department exists to provide recreation for county residents; he stated that their task is to create a sustainable parks system, while facing rising costs each year. Mr. Engemoen noted that the Parks Department has been managing Horsetooth Park for 51 years in conjunction with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). Mr. Engemoen stated that there are a limited number of boats allowed on the lake and that offering other services, such as additional campsites, is a means of catering to all residents. Mr. Engemoen noted that this will allow the Parks Department to continue to operate without increasing prices or lowering the level of services provided. Mr. Engemoen stated that there are not many places left to locate a campground and that any proposal for a new campground would be controversial due to neighborhood concerns of traffic, noise, trash, etc. Mr. Engemoen explained that they want to investigate this option and thoroughly include the public in this process.
Mr. Buffington presented a slide show of the proposal and explained that it would be a 36 unit campground on a ten-acre site just beyond the north dam of Horsetooth Reservoir. Mr. Buffington noted that the site would accommodate tent, car/pick-up, and recreational vehicle campers; he explained that it would cost between $400,000 to $500,000 to construct and that the funding sources would include Conservation Trust Fund (lottery dollars), Title 28 Federal Matching Funds, and a potential grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. Mr. Buffington stated there is a growing demand for camping and recreation in northern Colorado; he stated that approximately 800,000 visitors enjoyed Horsetooth Park and Reservoir last year and that the campgrounds were full to capacity between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Mr. Buffington also explained that there are two alternative sites being considered: the Eltuck Bay from Lory State Park, and Dixon Cove which is to the north of Inlet Bay.
Mr. Pierson explained the history of the partnership between the Bureau of Reclamation and the Parks Department; noting that the BOR's role in relationship to the campground is to oversee the programs with the use of a Resource Management Plan (RMP). Larimer County manages all aspects of recreation related to Horsetooth, and any proceeds that the County derives as a result of the recreation are reinvested back into the resource, and BOR derives no revenue from the process. Mr. Pierson noted that the campground being proposed was not included in the RMP and an environmental assessment has not been conducted regarding this proposal. Mr. Pierson noted that the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requires compliance because it involves Federal land. In order to include the campground in the NEPA study would require an amendment to the RMP from 1995; he noted that there are several issues that need to be examined through the NEPA process. Mr. Pierson stated that there are alternatives to the proposed action and mitigation measures that can be utilized through the NEPA process to minimize impacts to both human and non-human factors to the environment. Chair Rennels asked if the NEPA study is where the mitigation recommendations come from and Mr. Pierson replied in the affirmative.
Chair Rennels opened the hearing up for public comment, noting that there are a number of people present that wish to speak regarding this proposal; she requested that speakers limit their time to two minutes, and if their comments are being represented by a group, then to allow a spokesperson the opportunity to present the information on behalf of the rest.
Lisa Ashbach addressed the Board stating that she is part of a group called CATCH (Citizens Against The Campground at Horsetooth) who are opposed to this proposal; she read excerpts from a letter from a local historian regarding the importance of the Bellvue valley. Ms. Ashbach presented 489 petitions from individuals against the construction of this campground and noted that 224 of the petitions are from Bellvue residents; she also noted that there is a second copy of the petitions for Senator Wayne Allard.
Hal Cochrane explained that he specializes in economics and natural resource issues, and stated that in his opinion the proposal uses unorthodox economics with assertions that are unsubstantiated. Mr. Cochrane stated that the most important test is that the benefit exceeds the cost and the benefit should accrue to the county residents; he noted that all the costs must be disclosed and that construction costs have not been entered into the calculation, that GOCO funds cannot be kept off the books, and that the external costs have not been addressed. Mr. Cochrane stated that the canal adjoining the property will be a natural attraction for children and wanted to know if the County will be self-insured to pay for injuries that could occur. Mr. Cochrane stated that there will be traffic, dust, and noise and light pollution; he does not see this as an amenity but rather a dis-amenity to the citizens and he does not believe that the County should be in competition with the RV parks in this area.
Bruce Peacock noted that he has examined the campground operational budget and it states that $70,000 in revenue would be generated; however Mr. Peacock believes this is a seriously flawed estimate due to the following: There has been no actual demand studies conducted to substantiate the levels of revenue projected. There are significant differences between the availability of boat ramps and commercial services on the south end compared to the north end where this campground is proposed. Mr. Peacock stated that costs are omitted concerning liability and fire hazard insurance; he further noted that the budget season is outlined as 7 months long; however, Park Rangers have only been budgeted for 5 months. In addition, one-third of the camping season has not been included in the budget for grounds maintenance in the way of restroom up-keep, trash removal, tree watering, etc. Mr. Peacock noted concern with cigarette smoking and generators with regards to the potential fire hazard. Finally, Mr. Peacock stated that the Parks Department should provide diversity by creating more biking, hiking and bird watching areas.
Jason Gonzales addressed the Board and read two letters from RV Park owners in the area (Heron Lake RV Park and the KOA Park on Highway 287). Both of which expressed concern and voiced objections to adding another campground in the area, especially with it having the unfair advantage of being a government entity.
Joe Gonzales noted that he has resided in the Bellvue area for over 20 years and described the traffic congestion surrounding Santanka Cove; he explained that there is only one Park Ranger there to collect fees, not to enforce compliance with park rules or monitor the area. Mr. Gonzales explained that the north end boating season is much shorter as the water recedes and mooring of boats is not allowed.
Peter Seekell questioned how it was that a campground could be proposed for a floodplain area; as per the Larimer County Land Use Code, and RV Park could not be built in a floodplain. Mr. Seekell also noted that Homeland Security and safety could be put at risk by placing a campground so close to the dam.
Douglas Prince addressed the Board with questions surrounding water issues: how will they get it; how much will it cost; how will gray water from showers be treated and disposed of; will it affect their wells and will sewage seep from the campground into their wells.
Neil Spencer stated his big concern was for the safety of the area; he explained that RV Parks attract transient people and invites crime. Mr. Spencer stated that they live in a very sparsely populated area that has virtually no crime, and after speaking with the Sheriff's Department, it was apparent that they would not be providing extra patrolling of the area. Mr. Spencer stated that they cannot depend upon the Sheriff's Department for security as the response time is far too long to be effective.
Alan Miller stated that he is a runner and his daughter rides her bike along the roadway, and that there are numerous runners and cyclists in this area; for safety's sake, he requested that bike lanes be constructed if the County plans to start bringing a bunch of RV's into this area.
Nancy Huff also noted her concern with injury or death due to the canal being so close to the campground; she agreed that increased fire danger must be considered as there are so few routes of escape. Ms. Huff stated that wildlife in the form of coyotes and bears will be attracted to the extra trash from campers. And finally, she stated that there are limitations to Horsetooth Park and that Parks Department should respect these limits rather than exploit them.
Roland Dixon addressed the Board noting that he has been a Bellvue resident for 30 years. Mr. Dixon was emphatic that this is a bad proposal for a number of reasons, many of which are stated above. Mr. Dixon explained that there are two large mule deer herds in this area and if a fence is constructed and blocks their normal migration patterns, they will be forced down to the roadway, which in turn will cause motorist hazards. Mr. Dixon stated that there is wildlife in the form of raptor birds that will be negatively affected, the increased traffic, noise and light pollution, trash, and lack of law enforcement and security are real issues and he would expect nothing less than a unanimous vote against this proposal from the Board.
Tom Mclellan requested the Board to represent the residents of the Bellvue as most moved to the area for the peace and quiet, and they do not wish to have this campground constructed. Mr. Mcllellan noted that the road to the proposed campground will not accommodate the additional traffic; and in his opinion, there are already ample RV sites available for campers visiting the area.
Rol Linder noted that the County encourages 10, 15, and 35 acre parcels in order to avoid density and traffic issues, and to minimize the impact on wildlife and erosion of land. Mr. Linder stated that he has given 700 acres in order to protect this valley and this proposal is totally against their efforts.
James Carrion stated that he lives in the Red Rocks Estates and that the entire subdivision is under a conservation easement; he read a portion of the easement noting its purpose is to ensure wildlife and scenic views, and that the land will remain intact with no further subdividing, no commercial activities, and no recreational vehicle usage. Mr. Carrion wanted to know what gives the Parks Department the right to interfere with the conservation development that was placed upon his property, by building a RV Park right next door. Mr. Carrion then re-capped the concerns that were brought up by the individuals listed above.
At this point Chair Rennels noted that a number of additional individuals had signed a roster in order to have the opportunity to address the Board. Chair Rennels explained that she would call the names of these individuals and they could either come to the podium and provide new comments or simply state that their comments had been noted. Many individuals stated that their comments had already been made; however, the following individuals addressed the Board with additional issues:
Mike Friehauf stated that trying to compare the south end of Horsetooth to the north end is like trying to compare apples to oranges; they are just not alike. Mr. Friehauf stated that their community did not expect there would be an RV park when they moved to this area and adding the campground will detract from their quality of life.
Mike Matson requested the Board respect the Pleasant Valley area, preserve the property and keep the heritage of the land.
Roseanne Cochran stated that she is a cyclist and a runner and it would be a travesty to bring RV's into the area and interfere with the safety of the roadway.
Janette Prince noted that she lives next door to what used to be the motorcycle track and her personal experience is that the increased traffic is a nuisance, creates dust, and the noise that echoes through the valley is unbearable.
Bill Wardlow stated that he enjoys passing the pond and fears that it will be utterly destroyed. Mr. Wardlow also explained that the Parks Department has suggested the use of volunteers to assist with the campground; however, he noted that volunteer help will not be reliable or dependable enough to maintain the campground.
Adam Brandon re-emphasized the traffic issues, and stated that the corners on the roadway are too tight for RV's.
Teresa Nugent noted her concern with the increased fire risk and lack of security measures as the campground will be within 100 feet of the dam, which does not comply with Homeland Security measures and regulations.
Andrea Cooperstein stated that she is a local realtor and has clients that are trying to sell their homes on the south bay due to the all the noise and traffic and loitering around their properties from the adjacent campground. Ms. Cooperstein stated that the campground will lower the values of the homes if it is approved.
Tim Goddard wanted to point out how fortunate the County is to have citizens committed to preserving the heritage of their property, and not subdividing it or commercializing it.
Maya Ashbach stated that there is already enough traffic and speeding issues on the roadway and she would like to continue to ride her horses; she questioned how the Parks Department will keep the citizens safe in this capacity.
Randy Pope stated that this proposal is a poor idea; he noted that the road is already too busy and will not be able to accommodate RV's passing safely.
Alan Miller noted that the County spends millions of dollars to buy open space, and he pointed out that the Bellvue area is being maintained as open space by the residents at no expense to the County.
At this time, Chair Rennels called for a five minute recess. When the Board reconvened, Commissioner Gibson commented that it is a balancing act in making sure all areas are covered when looking into new proposals, and public involvement is crucial in insuring that all aspects are looked at. Commissioner Wagner questioned staff as to whether or not there are existing transportation issues in this area. Mr. Engemoen stated that there are many roads in the County that are in need of improvement, and this is in line with the rest of them, but is not earmarked for improvement at this time. Mr. Engemoen explained that a study would have to be completed to determine whether or not additional turn lanes or widening of the road would be required; he stated that the first step is to put the proposal out to the public, which assists staff in identifying the issues. Chair Rennels asked for a brief explanation regarding the two alternative options. Mr. Engemoen explained that the other two options are not quite as appealing up front as there is no agreement between Lory State Park and Larimer County for the Eltuck Bay usage; Lory State Park is currently not open 24 hours and they do not have camping on site. Mr. Engemoen stated that this alone would change the nature of the park, and there would be the same level of concern from the surrounding neighbors regarding traffic, noise, loitering, etc. Mr. Buffington stated that Dixon Cove is located on County property; therefore, the use of Title 28 money would not be available, and there would be additional costs to pave the road leading up to the site which would add major construction costs just in obtaining road access. Finally, Mr. Buffington noted that there would still be concern from adjoining neighbors with this option as well. Chair Rennels asked if staff would have a more complete list of information on the other options within the next six weeks, so that all three options could be considered side by side. Mr. Engemoen stated that yes they will have more data and will be able to look at what it will cost to pursue all options. Commissioner Gibson recapped that the four top concerns seemed to surround traffic, wildlife, property values, and safety. Commissioner Wagner asked for clarification regarding current use of campsites by county residents versus non-residents. Mr. Buffington stated that the campsites are full to capacity from Memorial Day to Labor Day and he would estimate that it is a fifty-fifty split of usage by residents and non-residents. Mr. Buffington noted that they recently began using an automated system that allows individuals to book campsite reservations on-line, and this will also allow staff to run statistics on usage and will provide the opportunity to survey customers. Chair Rennels encouraged citizens to communicate with the Board and staff regarding this proposal in the coming weeks; she also noted that citizens can sign up for BOR information by e-mailing email@example.com.
Chair Rennels thanked the audience for the organized manner in which they presented their information and opinions, and for their respect of one another and for the process itself.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2005
The Board of County Commissioners met at 9:30 a.m. with County Manager Frank Lancaster. Chair Rennels presided and Commissioners Wagner and Gibson were present. Also present were: Neil Gluckman, Donna Hart, and Deni LaRue, Commissioner’s Office; and Gael Cookman, Deputy Clerk.
1. PUBLIC COMMENT: No one addressed the Board for public comment.
2. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE WEEK OF JANUARY 24, 2005:
M O T I O N
Commissioner Wagner moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Minutes for the week of January 24, 2005, as presented.
Motion carried 2-0 (Commissioner Gibson abstained).
3. REVIEW OF THE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 7, 2005: Ms. Hart reviewed the upcoming schedule with the Board.
4. CONSENT AGENDA:
M O T I O N
Commissioner Gibson moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the following items as presented on the Consent Agenda for February 1, 2005:
PETITIONS FOR ABATEMENT: As recommended by the County Assessor, the following petitions for abatement are denied: BFN-Loveland, LLC.
02012005A001 AMENDMENT NUMBER ONE (1) TO THE SUBCONTRACT BETWEEN THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO ON BEHALF OF THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT DENVER AND HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER AND THE LARIMER COUNTY WORKFORCE CENTER
02012005D001 DEED OF DEDICATION BY POUDRE VALLEY CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESS, INC. OF SAID PROPERTY AS A PUBLIC HIGHWAY
02012005D002 DEED OF DEDICATION BY ROBERT P. DENISE, JR. OF SAID PROPERTY AS A PUBLIC HIGHWAY
02012005D003 DEED OF DEDICATION BY WILLIAM E. TAYLOR AND JEAN ALISON IMBRIACO OF SAID PROPERTY AS A PUBLIC HIGHWAY
02012005D004 DEED OF DEDICATION BY RANDAL S. STAHL AND BERNADETTE H. CONNELL OF SAID PROPERTY AS A PUBLIC HIGHWAY
02012005D005 DEED OF DEDICATION BY JOHN L. AND KATHRYN S. DILGARDE OF SAID PROPERTY AS A PUBLIC HIGHWAY
02012005D006 DEED OF DEDICATION BY DAVID S. BOSS AND LAUREL J. BOSS OF SAID PROPERTY AS A PUBLIC HIGHWAY
02012005D007 DEED OF DEDICATION BY PAULA K. MOREHOUSE AND KAREN ANN COX OF SAID PROPERTY AS A PUBLIC HIGHWAY
02012005D008 DEED OF DEDICATION BY RYAN RICHARD PARKER OF SAID PROPERTY AS A PUBLIC HIGHWAY
02012005R001 RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING COMPENSATION FOR DISTRICT ATTORNEY APPOINTED OFFICIALS (Christopher M. Rossi)
MISCELLANEOUS DOCUMENTS: Personnel Authorization Request for Application Development and Support in Information Management Department.
LIQUOR LICENSES: The following licenses were both approved and issued: A Hunt Club - Tavern - Fort Collins; Inlet Bay Marina - 3.2% - Fort Collins.
Motion carried 3-0.
5. DISCUSSION OF REPRESENTATION ON STATE MEDICAL SERVICES BOARD: Mr. Lancaster noted that Colorado Counties Inc. is looking for replacement members for the Medical Services Board. Mr. Lancaster explained that Steve Tool has been a member of this Board; however, Mr. Tool's term is up and it is uncertain as to whether or not he can or is willing to serve again. The Board stated their preference would be to ask Mr. Tool to continue serving on this Board. Commissioner Wagner recommended Doug Frisbee as an alternative to serve on the Board if Mr. Tool was unable or unwilling to continue serving in this capacity.
6. QUARTERLY POLICY GOVERNANCE COMPLIANCE REPORT: Mr. Lancaster presented the Board with the County Manager's quarterly policy governance compliance report and noting compliance in all areas except for item 3.3.4 regarding the numbers for the final 2004 budget as the final accounting is still being compiled. Mr. Lancaster suggested the possibility of moving compliance with the annual audit to a point further in the year, as it is usually not completed by the January timeframe.
7. WORKSESSION: Mr. Lancaster explained that the committee hosting the Fort Collins Cinco De Mayo Celebration has requested $1000 from the Board in order to support the planned celebration in May. Mr. Lancaster noted that the Board has supported this activity in the past and he requested approval on the expenditure of $1000 from the Special Project Fund. Commissioner Gibson questioned whether or not other communities have requested such funding and if supporting the Fort Collins celebration sets a precedent for all cities. Mr. Lancaster stated that so far Fort Collins has been the only city to request support, and that the Board could support other requests if they so desired.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Wagner moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the expenditure of $1000 from the Special Projects Fund in support of the annual Cinco De Mayo Celebration.
Motion carried 3-0.
Some discussion ensued regarding where items that require action on behalf of the Board should be placed on the agenda. Mr. Lancaster noted that he would either list them as an item, or under the County Manager's Worksession. Finally, Mr. Lancaster explained some changes as to how the Board needs to store their public e-mail, by either forwarding or transferring them to a folder with their name on it. Mr. Lancaster also noted that for e-mails pertaining to special on-going discussions, such as the Horsetooth Campground issue, he will create a folder for this item so that the public, media or staff will be able to access them easily.
Mr. Gluckman gave the Board an update on House Bill 1153 which pertains to the manner in which Commissioners are elected; by district or by large. The Board indicated that they would take no position on this Bill as it is a permissive Bill and they are satisfied with the way Commissioners are elected in Larimer County. Commissioner Gibson requested the Board's support on House Bill 1030, which pertains to a privately owned toll road from Wellington to Pueblo. The Board noted their support of this Bill, and Mr. Gluckman stated that he would track and keep the Board abreast of it.
8. COMMISSIONER ACTIVITY REPORTS: The Board noted their attendance at events during the past week. Also during this portion of the meeting, Commissioner Wagner requested the Board's support for enacting a primary seatbelt law; which would allow law enforcement to stop vehicles where drivers and passengers are observed not wearing their seatbelts. Commissioner Wagner noted that currently the individual could only be ticketed if they were pulled over for some other offense. Some discussion ensued regarding an individual's responsibility to wear a seatbelt and to seatbelt their children, versus the cost of accidents and injuries that could possibly be avoided if seatbelt use was encouraged by this new law. Commissioner Gibson noted that in his opinion the current law was sufficient and he stated that personal responsibility should prevail. Chair Rennels and Commissioner Wagner indicated their support for the primary law concerning seatbelt usage.
9. LEGAL MATTERS: Mr. Lancaster explained that the contract for cleaning up the Alps tire pile was signed recently and is in place for another six months; however, during the renewal process the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) placed a condition requiring the County to match the grant, which the County has done by waiving the tipping fees at the Landfill and burying the tires, rather than recycling them. Mr. Lancaster further explained that DOLA will also require more of a matching contribution from the Alps Tire Company which could be difficult to obtain as the Alps Tire Company has already donated land and acreage in a conservation easement in exchange for the clean up. Much discussion ensued regarding this topic with the final consensus being that the Department of Local Affairs may have lost sight of the original intent of the grant, as requiring matching contributions will end up harming the clean up efforts dramatically. Mr. Gluckman suggested setting a meeting with Mike Beasley, the Director of DOLA, to discuss this issue and come to a resolution. The Board agreed that this would be a good idea.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:05 a.m.
KATHAY RENNELS, CHAIR
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CLERK AND RECORDER
Gael M. Cookman, Deputy Clerk