Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson
> Meetings & Minutes > Commissioners' Minutes > BCC Minutes for 02/21/06  





The Courthouse offices were closed on Monday in observance of Presidents' Day.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006



(#20 & 21)


The Board of County Commissioners met at 9:00 a.m. with County Manager Frank Lancaster.  Chair Gibson presided and Commissioner Rennels was present.  Also present were:  Donna Hart and Deni LaRue, Commissioners’ Office; Bob Johnson, Ron Winne, Rusty McDaniel and Mark Peterson, Engineering; Marc Engemoen, Public Works; Scott Doyle and Jan Kuhnen, Clerk & Recorder’s Office; Dick Edwards and Reghan Cloudman, U.S. Forest Service; Gary Buffington and Mark Caughlan, Parks and Open Lands; Drew Stoll of EDAW, Inc.; Casey Stewart, Planning; and Angela Myers, Deputy Clerk.


1.  PUBLIC COMMENT:  Concerning the County Road 38E Bridge Project (Larimer County Project #263), Chair Gibson invited Danny Flemings to approach the Board.  Mr. Flemings indicated that he is deferring this comments to Mr. Ben Reding. 


Ben Reding, homeowner in the project area, approached the Board and provided a printed outline of homeowner concerns regarding this project.  Mr. Reding indicated that the homeowners are not disputing the need for bridge replacements.  However, he said that there are many homeowners present who are concerned about how the process for this project has been handled thus far and the County’s intentions for this bridge project going forward.  Mr. Reding explained that, at this point, the homeowners feel that preparations for the project are incomplete.  He requested that the County require all of the typical reports; including environmental and safety studies and utility reports. 


Mr. Reding stated that the homeowners are further requesting that the County do a baseline study, which he estimates would cost approximately $10,000, to see if the project can be accomplished within the right-of-way already owned by the County.  If it is determined by this baseline study that the project cannot feasibly stay within these boundaries, then an environmental impact study should substantiate the rationale for moving outside them.  The homeowners are further concerned about caring for the land in this area. 


Curt Flather, John Watkins and Julie Venor, homeowners in the project area, each approached the Board and indicated their concurrence with Mr. Reding’s comments and further expressed concern regarding vehicle speeds in this area. 

Phil Skraba, homeowner in the project area, commented that he supports the project 100 percent and also supports his neighbors in their concerns regarding land impact. 


John Merriam, homeowner in the project area, commented that he is also concerned about straightening the road, although he does agree that the bridges themselves need to be replaced.  He indicated that his main concern is the environmental impact on the creek bed and the open space in this area, especially considering that one of the few springs active year-round is on that creek.


Steve Shevenock, homeowner in the project area, expressed his concurrence with the concerns conveyed by the other homeowners.  He further commented that one of the reasons noted by the County for requiring the additional land was to reduce the cost of the project by providing space for a second roadway during construction, and he wondered if a study had been conducted to first determine if the project could be effectively accomplished within the existing right-of-way.


Ignacia Lovett, homeowner in the project area, addressed the Board and expressed her concern that straightening the road will only cause traffic to move even faster, thereby making the road less safe if it is straightened.


Chair Gibson invited the Engineering Department staff to respond to the concerns expressed by the homeowners.  Mark Peterson, County Engineer, and Ron Winne, Project Manager, approached the Board.  Mr. Peterson commented on the consultants and sub-consultants working on the project and the studies that have been accomplished thus far.


Chair Gibson asked if an environmental study has been done on the project.  Mr. Winne indicated that a complete study on endangered species, wetlands, and all environmental issues has been accomplished and is available for review by any who have interest.  Mr. Winne went further to say that they are currently going through the Army Corps 404 Permit process, which involves even more environmental reporting. 


Chair Gibson asked about the process of communication.  Mr. Winne explained the evolution of the project and the reasoning behind its expansion into realignment. 


Commissioner Rennels commented that much of the homeowner concern appears to be stemming from the lack of communication regarding realignment.  Discussion ensued regarding the types of notification given, attendance at the original open house, satisfaction expressed by those who did attend the original open house.  Discussion continued regarding the types of communication that could, and perhaps should, have been used in preparation for this project and the additional meeting held for those homeowners who were not aware of the original meeting. 


Mr. Winne responded to the speed concerns expressed by the homeowners and commented that the speed limit in this area is currently 45 mph, with advisory signs for slower speeds in the curves.  Discussion ensued regarding the accident reports and their distribution, overall curves in this roadway, design standards, and why straightening of this particular area is being pursued at this time.


Commissioner Rennels suggested that the communication issues being expressed by the homeowners and Election Department be addressed through additional meetings to discuss concerns, consider alterations that could be made to the project and share pertinent information that some involved may not yet be privy to.  Discussion ensued regarding adherence to national design standards; the desire to reconstruct this roadway correctly while performing the required bridge reconstruction in this area; and statistics regarding the fact that high-speed roadways are statistically safer, because they are designed for the speed of travel occurring on them. 


It was agreed that another open house will be scheduled (once the pertinent information is available), for which every effort will be made to invite all affected homeowners in the area.  The open house will represent an opportunity for the Engineering Department to explain the national standards they are trying to adhere to, for the homeowners to share their concerns regarding the current project plan, and for consideration to be made to alterations or explanation be given as to why alterations cannot be made. 






Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the minutes for the week of February 13, 2006, as presented.


Motion carried 2-0.


3.  REVIEW THE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 27, 2006:  Ms. Hart reviewed the upcoming schedule with the Board.






Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the following items as presented on the Consent Agenda for February 21, 2006:


ABATEMENTS:  Weatherford, Robert W./Melinda L. – Parcel #0769240; Orthotic Prosthetic Solutions 2003/2004 – Parcel #8201552.














MISCELLANEOUS:  DCJ Form 30: Certification of Compliance with Regulations, office for Civil Rights, Office of Justice Programs for Subgrants Issued by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice; Personnel Separation Agreement between Larimer County Employee and Larimer County Board of Commissioners.


Motion carried 2-0.


5.  DISCUSSION OF ELECTION MACHINES:  Scott Doyle addressed the Board and provided handouts.  Mr. Doyle explained that the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is in place as of January 1, 2006, and requires that the County have touch-screen equipment available for the disabled community in each voting location in the next federal election cycle.  He went on to explain what the County’s “voting system” consists of, specifying that the part of the “system” he is here to discuss is the equipment that is actually used to cast votes (optical scan machines).


Mr. Doyle described the current status of product availability and vendor certification by the State. He went on to explain that Diebold is the manufacturer of the equipment used here in Larimer County, and that the Colorado Secretary of State is planning to move forward with testing of this equipment in preparation for certification but will wait on federal certification before finalizing. 


Chair Gibson asked about the use of Diebold equipment statewide and discussion ensued regarding same.


Mr. Doyle indicated that he is against buying a new system for which there is a 90 to 120-day delivery time.  In addition to the timing issues involved in equipment delivery, acceptance testing must be done on each piece of equipment received.  He indicated that this acceptance testing could take upwards of 800 man-hours to accomplish.  Discussion ensued regarding how this acceptance testing would be accomplished.


Mr. Doyle continued by explaining that the next step, after acceptance testing, would be training of staff on the new equipment and software, handling of any software glitches, and training of the public.  All of these steps would have to be undertaken and accomplished prior to early voting, which will open the third week in July 2006.  Discussion ensued regarding these timelines.  Commissioner Rennels asked if the Secretary of State’s office has provided for use of the existing equipment if these efforts are undertaken in good faith, but cannot be accomplished within the five-month window between now and the primary election.  Mr. Doyle responded that it has not.


Mr. Doyle explained that, given the circumstances described, he believes that retrofitting the County’s current equipment is the best plan.  This would require that Diebold rectify the current certification situation in short order.  He explained that within a two-week window, hard calls will have to be made with regard to using our current equipment in the next election.  If the decision is made to use our current equipment, and Diebold can get their federal certification into the Secretary of State’s office, the County would retrofit its current AccuVote machines and use them.  The County would also purchase a minimal number of touch-screens that will work with that particular software, and move forward cautiously.  He explained that this approach minimizes the financial impact to the County, moves into the future of new technology cautiously after the new equipment has been proven effective, keeps the County in compliance with HAVA by including the purchase of enough touch screens to meet these requirements, and provides negotiating power with vendors in the future as the immediate rush for their equipment slows.


Commissioner Gibson asked about city use of county voting equipment.  Mr. Doyle replied that the cities, municipalities and towns in Larimer County do rent county voting equipment.  However, given the current landscape, Mr. Doyle said that he has notified them that their ability to use county equipment is on hold.  Mr. Doyle explained that the Secretary of State’s office and the Colorado Municipal League will be meeting later in the week to determine whether or not Diebold equipment can be used for municipal elections in April. 


Mr. Doyle went on by describing the financial aspects of this situation, including the $850,000 in HAVA funds provided to the County for the purchase of disabled accessible voting equipment in the form of DREs or touch screens.  He explained that the County would have to make up the difference between this amount and the cost of an entirely new voting system, which would likely be between $3.5 and $4 million.  He indicated that he has asked for bids on a new system from Sequoia and Hart.  Mr. Doyle went on by explaining that retrofit of the County’s current equipment and the purchase of enough DREs to meet the requirements of HAVA is somewhere within the $600,000 to $800,000 range.  He explained that the $850,000 in HAVA funds must be used to purchase Title 301 disabled accessible voting equipment; therefore, some County funds will have to be used in this scenario.  However, the rest of the state allocated funds will be kept for future purchase of HAVA compliant equipment.


Discussion continued regarding per unit retrofit costs, which are estimated to be in the $250 per machine range.  Retrofit would likely be done on 70 to 80 machines.


Mr. Doyle commented that this is turning out to be “the perfect storm” – federal mandates in the form of HAVA; lack of adequate financial support; State mandates in the form of voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) that has to be attached to each touch screen machine; auditing; precinct data; etc.  Add to this the potential purchase of equipment that has not yet been built or certified, and the five-month window between now and the start of early voting July.


Mr. Doyle then explained another issue coming from the legislature this session - precinct specific reporting.  He emphasized that this data is only used by candidates and serves no benefit to the Clerk’s Office, the County or the citizens of Larimer County.  Rather, it is simply used for candidate campaign purposes.  He explained that if Larimer County is forced to comply with this requirement in the upcoming election year, the County will be forced to purchase more machines at a cost of up to $500,000, and could stand a chance of losing the use of Vote Centers.  He emphasized that the public would be forced to pay for these requirements, while being given less convenience if Vote Centers are not utilized.


Mr. Doyle recommended to the Board that Larimer County not spend millions of dollars on a new voting system at this time, given the fact that it likely may not be possible to have it all operational by mid July.  Although other counties are rushing out to purchase all electronic equipment, Mr. Doyle indicated that he is against spending large sums of money on hasty decisions that may not provide the best equipment for Larimer County over the long term. 


Mr. Doyle said he would like to wait and see if Diebold can become certified; and, after getting through this election period, look at methodically moving to a system that will prove adequate over time for all of Larimer County.  He said that, no matter what happens, the Clerk & Recorder Elections Department will do whatever it takes to maintain sound elections and the secure and verifiable results that have become the norm in this county. 


Commissioner Rennels concurred with the conservative approach suggested, and commented that receiving such a purchase within the window of time in this situation is questionable.  She commented that Diebold is a good company throughout the United States and that they will be seeking certification.  She asked if there is a backup plan, should Diebold not become certified in time for the August election; and she asked George Haas what the County’s legal position would be if Diebold does not become certified. 


Mr. Doyle commented that the options if Diebold does not get certified are to try and purchase an entirely new system and make it operational in the timeframe available; or to go forward with the equipment that the County has, knowing that good elections have been held with it in the past.  The second option would also require the purchase of a certain number of touch screens to meet the requirements of HAVA.  He further asked about the County’s position with respect to precinct-specific reporting in 2006, and not providing this data this year by continuing to hold elections in Vote Centers, rather than precincts.  Discussion ensued regarding the fact that the Clerk’s office is moving aggressively toward providing precinct-specific data even when utilizing Vote Centers; however, such data will not be available through Vote Center use as quickly as 2006.  Mr. Doyle stated that once electronic voting machines are in place countywide, precinct-specific data becomes available at no additional cost.  But to produce precinct-specific data in the 2006 election cycle becomes very expensive, especially given that proposed legislation is looking to require this information on early voting and absentee voting results as well.  Commissioner Gibson commented that it is not that precinct specific data is never going to happen in Larimer County, rather it is just the current timing that makes it an issue.  Mr. Doyle concurred that it is timing and taxpayer dollars.

George Haas commented that this is not a discussion of a challenge to election results.  Mr. Doyle commented that HAVA requirements will be met in Larimer County by placing disabled accessible voting equipment at each polling place.  He explained that the piece that is not an issue of HAVA is the precinct-specific reporting data, and the voter verifiable paper audit trail being required by the State.  Mr. Doyle explained that the accessible voting location requirements of HAVA are met through the use of Vote Centers in Larimer County, which is actually ahead of much of the rest of the nation in ensuring accessibility. 


Mr. Haas indicated that, at first glance, he does not think that the conservative approach would be a legal problem for Larimer County at this time.  He stated that good faith efforts, practicality, conflicting mandates, and impossibility of compliance are important factors.  He emphasized that following HAVA requirements is important.  Mr. Doyle indicated that meeting HAVA mandates should not be a problem, but the issues Larimer County may have are more State mandate driven, in the form of certifying equipment that has been successfully used in Larimer County for decades.


Chair Gibson commented that he also supports the conservative approach in this situation.


Mr. Doyle assured the Board that the County will meet the federal requirements, but that the State certification of equipment and precinct-specific reporting data requirements may be issues for Larimer County.  Discussion continued regarding the risks involved.  Mr. Doyle asked Mr. Haas for a legal perspective regarding the consequences of not providing precinct-specific data in this election.  Discussion ensued regarding the dynamics of requiring precinct-specific reporting using Vote Centers in 2006, and the atmosphere of election law in the Colorado legislature.


Chair Gibson and Commissioner Rennels reiterated their support of Mr. Doyle’s conservative approach at this time.


6.  UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE BRIEFING SALE OF PROPERTY:  Dick Edwards, Acting District Ranger for the U.S. Forest Service, approached the Board regarding the land sale being proposed as part of the amendment to extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act. 


Mr. Edwards explained how this Act originated and President Bush’s intent to extend it for five years in an effort to generate an $800 million fund through the sale of parcels of National Forest lands. 


He explained that these parcels would be located in areas that are isolated in nature.  Discussion ensued regarding the meaning of “isolated” in this circumstance, various aspects of the properties that will be considered during the analysis phase when the parcels are being considered for sale, and the public comment process.  Mr. Edwards explained the types of areas that are excluded from this activity (such as wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers and national monuments).  Mr. Edwards shared a map of the parcels being considered with all those present, and discussion ensued regarding same.


Commissioner Rennels asked about the timeline for this project.  Mr. Edwards explained that this information will come out on the Federal Register on February 28, 2006.  The Federal Register will provide all of the information necessary for the public to comment, and 30 days will be given for receipt of public comment.  Discussion ensued regarding the type of information that will be provided by the Federal Register, local public interest, opportunity for posting a Q&A section on the website, and referring interested citizens to the U.S. Forest Service.


7.  WAIVER REQUEST FOR MOUNTAIN VISTA GREENS LIQUOR LICENSE APPLICATION:  Commissioner Rennels explained that this item was brought to the Board last week; and they requested that it be brought before the Board again this week, in case there was any public comment.  There was no public comment on this topic.




Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve waiving the petitioning process, the background investigations, and the fees in the amount of $575.00, for Mountain Vista Greens Optional Premises Liquor License application.


Motion carried 2-0.


8.  HORSETOOTH MOUNTAIN PARK MANAGEMENT PLAN UPDATE:  Gary Buffington approached the Board introduced Drew Stoll of EDAW, Inc., consultant on this project.  Mr. Stoll explained the process thus far and shared maps outlining the plans for the project.  He explained the map, historic visitor experiences, analysis of the trail network, volume of use, and rare butterfly habitat in the park.  Discussion ensued regarding same.  Mr. Buffington confirmed that the report on this project will be made available on the website.


9.  REFERRAL OF BASSETT APPEAL TO PLANNING COMMISSION:  Casey Stewart explained that this is an appeal to expand an accessory living area beyond the typical limit.  He explained the location of the home, and the location of a remodeled apartment above the garage.  This accessory living area is 900 square feet, when the typical limit is 800 square feet.  The homeowners are appealing the size limit.  Mr. Casey indicated that, given the fact that it is a slight size increase and does not involve any real master plan issues, his recommendation is that the Board not send this appeal to the Planning Commission.




Commissioner Rennels moved that the Board of County Commissioners not refer the Basset Appeal to the Planning Commission and refer it instead to the Board of County Commissioners.


Motion carried 2-0.


10.  LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:  Neil Gluckman commented on active legislation, and a brief discussion ensued regarding same.


11.  WORKSESSION:  Mr. Lancaster indicated that there were no items to discuss.


12.  COMMISSIONER REPORTS:  The Board discussed their attendance at events during the past week.


13.  LEGAL MATTERS:  There were no Legal Matters to discuss.






Commissioner Rennels moved that Board of County Commissioners go into Executive Session for purchase acquisition, lease, transfer or sale of any real or personal property interest as outlined in 24-6-402 (4)(a).


Motion carried 2-0. 


The meeting recessed at 11:35 a.m. with no further action taken.





The Board of County Commissioners reconvened at 3:00 p.m. with Rob Helmick, Principle Planner.  Chair Gibson presided and Commissioner Wagner was present by telephone.  Also present were Christie Coleman, Engineering; Porter Ingrum, Matt Lafferty and Dave Shirk, Planning; Doug Ryan, Environmental Health; Jeannine Haag, Assistant County Attorney; and Angela Myers, Deputy Clerk.


Chair Gibson opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, and asked for public comment on the County Budget and the Land Use Code.  No one from the audience addressed the Board regarding these topics. 


Chair Gibson noted that the first three items on the agenda are consent items and would not be discussed unless requested by the Board, staff or members of the audience. 


1.  HARDY CORRECTIVE REZONING:  This is a request to correct a mistake that happened with the 2000 Comprehensive Rezoning; the property should have been zoned “A-1” Accommodations instead of “E” Estate.


On Tuesday, January 17, 2006, the Estes Valley Planning Commission found that the rezoning is a correction to the 2000 comprehensive rezoning; the rezoning is consistent with the Estes Valley Plan and surrounding zoning; and the rezoning will correct a lot inadvertently rendered nonconforming with the 2000 comprehensive rezoning.  The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the proposed rezoning of PID 3535400020 from “E” Estate to “A-1” Accommodations.


2.  RAMBLING RIVER SUPPLEMENTAL CONDOMINIUM MAP:  This is request for approval of the final supplemental map for the Rambling River Condominium development located at 1985 Moraine Avenue within unincorporated Larimer County.


Staff recommends approval of the requested Supplemental Condominium Map #3 of Rambling River Condominiums subject to the conditions of the Preliminary Condominium Map, as set forth below:


a.      Compliance with Development Plan 04-03 “Rambling River.”

b.      A Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision based on Fill (LOMR-F), whichever is applicable, shall be completed prior to final condominium map approval.

c.      Parcels shall be included in the Northern Colorado Conservancy District.

d.      Any new water service line or existing service line replacement shall require a Service Line Permit from the Building Department.


3.  LAKE SHORE GARDENS LOT 101 PLANNED LAND DIVISION/PLANNED DEVELOPMENT – 04-S2377:  This is a request to rezone the subject property from FA (Farming) to PD (Planned Development) and Preliminary Plat for Lake Shore Gardens Lot 101 (PLD) to create two single-family residential lots on the 1.65 acre property.


The Development Services Team and Planning Commission recommended that the Rezoning of Lake Shore Gardens Lot 101, from FA (Farming) to PD (Planned Development), File #04-S2377 be approved subject to the following conditions:


A.     The rezoning shall be effective upon the recordation of the Final Plat of Lake Shore Gardens Lot 101 Planned Land Division/Planned Development.


B.      The permitted uses, lot building and structure requirements, setbacks and structure height limitations for Lake Shore Gardens PD shall be as follows:


1.      The Planned Development (PD) zoning for the property shall be as follows:


PD (Planned Development)


a.      Principal uses - Residential

      Single-family dwelling (R)

      Group home for the developmentally disabled (R)

      Group home for the elderly (R)

      Group home (R)


b.      Lot, building and structure requirements:

1.      Minimum lot size:  0.5 acres

2.      Minimum setbacks:


a.      Front yard – Refer to Section 8.17 (supplementary regulations for setbacks form highways and county roads) of the Larimer County Land Use Code as amended.  The setback from an interior subdivision road or established public or private road must be 25 feet from the property line or from the nearest edge of the road easement.

b.      Side yards – 10 feet.

c.      Rear yards – 10 feet

d.      Streams, creeks, and rivers – 100 feet from the centerline of the established watercourse.


                                    3.         Maximum structure height – 40 feet.


The Development Services Team and Planning Commission further recommended that the Preliminary Plat for the Lake Shore Gardens Lot 101 Planned Land Division, File #05-S2377, be approved subject to the following conditions:


A.     The Final Plat shall be consistent with the approved preliminary plan and with the information contained in the Lake Shore Gardens Lot 101 Planned Land Division (File #03-S2377), except as modified by the conditions of approval or agreement of the County and applicant.  The applicant shall be subject to all other verbal or written representations and commitments of record for the Lake Shore Gardens Lot 101 Planned Land Division.


B.      The following fees shall be collected at building permit issuance for new single family dwellings:  Thompson R2-J school fee, Larimer County fees for County and Regional Transportation Capital Expansion, Larimer County Community and Regional Park Fees (in lieu of dedication) and drainage fees.  The fee amount that is current at the time of building permit application shall apply. 


C.     Passive radon mitigation measures shall be included in construction of residential structures on these lots.  The results of a radon detection test conducted in new dwellings once the structure is enclosed but prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy shall be submitted to the Building Department.  As an alternative, a builder may present a prepaid receipt from a radon tester which specifies that a test will be done within 30 days.  A permanent certificate of occupancy can be issued when the prepaid receipt is submitted.


D.     The applicant shall provide a shared access maintenance agreement for the common driveway for Lots 1 and 2.




Commissioner Wagner moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the consent agenda as outlined above.


Motion carried 2-0.

4.  RININGER APPEAL – 06-G0098:  Porter Ingrum explained that this is a request to change the status of two parcels that are considered non-legal and appeal the minimum lot size requirement of Section 4.1.5.B.1 of the Larimer County Land Use Code.  The applicant would like to eventually combine these parcels into one lot but is currently unable to do so because of the legal status of these parcels.  The subject parcels are 0.23 and 0.09 acres in size and exist in the O-Open Zoning Districts.  The parcels are considered non-conforming with respect to the zoning as they existed prior to the zoning designation. 


According to Senate Bill 35, the division of land into parcels less than thirty-five acres without approval by the appropriate governing body is precluded. In order for these lots to be considered legal they must have been created prior to May 5, 1972.  Research of the County Clerk and Recorders records did not uncover any deeds for these parcels indicating they were created prior to May 5, 1972. 


The Development Service Team supports the applicant's request for an appeal from the minimum lot size requirement of Section 4.1.5.B.1 of the Larimer County Land Use Code and to change the status of two parcels that are considered non-legal on the condition that a Minor Land Division process and approval is required and the two parcels are combined into one lot.


The Development Services Team recommends that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Rininger Appeal subject to the following condition:


A.     The applicant must submit for review and approval a Minor Land Division application that combines the two subject parcels into one lot to ensure compliance with the standards and requirements of the Larimer County Land Use Code, including the Section 8 standards.


There was no applicant present, nor any public comment on this item.




Commissioner Wagner moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Rininger Appeal subject to the conditions as recommended by the Development Services Team.


Motion carried 2-0.


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.










Angela Myers, Deputy Clerk

Background Image: Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson. All rights reserved.