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MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Monday, February 9, 2009
The Board of County Commissioners met at 3:00 p.m. with Matt Lafferty, Principal Planner. Chair Pro-Tem Johnson presided and Commissioner Donnelly was present. Also present were: Tom Garton, Dan Henderson, and Eric Fried, Building Department; David Ayraud, Assistant County Attorney; and Gael Cookman, Deputy Clerk.
Chair Pro-Tem Johnson opened the hearing with the Pledge of Allegiance and noted that there were no Planning Land Use items to discuss.
Chair Pro-Tem Johnson and Commissioner Donnelly then presented the 2008 Outstanding Professionalism Awards for building and construction. The following individuals received this award: Wane Gilbert with Mountain Range Shadow Builders (nominated by Dan Henderson); Paul Bennett with Alpine Engineering (nominated by Susan Zeller Wheeler); Kevin Dorsey with Neenan Company (nominated by Stan Griep & Katie James); and L.R. Barker with L.R. Barker Builder (nominated by Eric Fried). The Board thanked the recipients for their dedication and professionalism.
The meeting recessed at 3:15 p.m.
The Board of County Commissioners reconvened at 6:30 p.m. with Matt Lafferty, Principal Planner. Chair Rennels presided and Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson were present. Also present were: Doug Ryan, Environmental Health Department; Traci Shambo, Engineering Department; David Ayraud, Assistant County Attorney; and Melissa Lohry, Deputy Clerk.
Chair Rennels opened the hearing with the Pledge of Allegiance and asked for public comment on the County Budget or Land Use Code. No one from the audience addressed the Board regarding either of these topics.
1a. GRAYCOR BLASTING SPECIAL EXCEPTION, FILE #08-Z1691: This is a request for Special Exception for the use of an existing building and surrounding lands to store company equipment, operate a regional base, and the store explosives used by the company. The site is located within an area of rural development on 35-acre-parcels adjacent to County Road 15, which has been redeveloped for access to the City of Fort Collins’ Soapstone Open Space, to the north.
The request for approval of a Special Exception was heard by the Larimer County Planning Commission at their meeting on November 19, 2008. Based upon the applicant’s project description, the site will act as both an explosives storage site, already licensed by the state and federal agencies, base of operations, and vehicle storage site for the regional business hub of Graycor Blasting Company. A 5000-square-foot metal building currently exists on site and, at the time of the staff site visit, 3 large trucks, several other vehicles, and a mobile office were parked on-site.
The Planning Commission recommended denial of the application based on staff’s report and the testimony received at the hearing. After the hearing, the applicant requested time to evaluate options and possibly pursue an alternate course of action. At the end of the first week of January, the applicant submitted a letter to staff and requested a hearing with the County Commissioners be set for the Special Exception. In the letter, the applicant’s attorney outlined alternate strategies and “interpretations” to achieve their desired result. In another, subsequent letter the attorney makes claims regarding the nature of the business and the use. Principally, the attorney claims the use can be broken into its component parts and each component can then be evaluated separately. Staff disagrees.
The attorney’s letters attempt to minimize the impact of the uses by evaluating their component parts, rather than examining the entirety of the use. It is important to note that the original occupation related to the storage of the explosive for “personal use,” has since expanded into a business use which employs several individuals, many residing in the area. An examination of Graycor’s corporate web page clearly indicates this is the business location, not just the Selby’s home, as the applicant’s attorney has claimed.
It is important to note that from staff’s perspective, the Special Exception cannot be broken into parts. While it is feasible to eliminate parts of a use, is not appropriate to suggest that the Special Exception is a compilation of Special Exceptions.
The applicant has recently removed vehicles from the property by assigning them to employees who take them home as “work vehicles.” If the use consisted only of the trucks, and they did not travel to the Selby’s residence daily, this might work. However, the trucks or some portion of them will still have to travel to and from the site to conduct business and to pick up trailers, which will still be stored at the site.
In reviewing the record, it is clear that a significant portion of the objections from neighbors are objections to the storage of explosives at the site. In 2006, when the explosives were first stored on the property, it was determined that the use could be considered an adjunct or accessory to the single family dwelling. This was predicated on several elements; the permitting by state and federal agencies, the amount of explosives stored, the size of the structures necessary, and the level of traffic to and from the site. As an ostensible home occupation, the use could exist for the resident and no more than one employee. Implicit in that determination is a level of traffic and a character of use. It is not possible to separate the storage from the other elements of the use, and therefore, it cannot be considered in isolation and, like a home occupation, it must be considered a part of the overall use.
Chair Rennels opened the hearing to the applicant and Timothy Goddard, attorney representing the applicant, addressed the Board. Mr. Goddard stated that the application has changed as employees have been directed to park their work vehicles, including large vacuum trucks, at their residences. Therefore, according to Mr. Goddard, those vehicles will not need to make daily trips to the property, essentially eliminating the home business.
Jeff Smith, Graycor Blasting Company, addressed the Board and stated that the bunker in which the explosives are stored is secure and meets all federal and state regulations.
Lars Selby, son of applicant, addressed the Board and stated that the vehicle trips per day to and from the property are exaggerated, he estimated only one truck and trailer enter and exit the property per month. Mr. Selby also stated that he and his father currently maintain Rodeo Hills Road and are willing to maintain Rawhide Road, if required.
Mike Selby, applicant, addressed the Board and stated that he would prefer to store most of the vehicles and trailers inside the 5000-square-foot building located on the property. However, the global positioning systems on the explosive transporting trailers do not work inside the building, causing Graycor’s headquarters to call and question their whereabouts. He also stated that staff directed him not to store the vehicles in the building.
Chair Rennels opened the hearing to public comment. Catherine Critz, adjacent land owner, addressed the Board and spoke against approval of the Special Exception, stating that Mr. Selby has 21 pieces of machinery on the property and, even though Mr. Selby has consistently argued the opposite, he is operating a business from the property. Ms. Critz stated that allowing employees to remove vehicles from the property only results in additional traffic and large vehicles scattered throughout the surrounding neighborhoods. Finally, Ms. Critz voiced concern about the proximity of the school bus stop, located at the corner of Rodeo Hills Lane and Cattle Drive, to the bunker in which Mr. Selby stores explosives.
Clint Borkowski and Gary Peterson also spoke in opposition to the Special Exception, citing declining property values, worsening roads, and deteriorating quality of life.
Lou Kinzli, a local real estate broker, addressed the Board and stated that the decline in property values described by Ms. Critz, was not due to Mr. Selby’s business, instead, it is the result of the national economy.
Also speaking in favor of the Special Exception were: Carrie Holbrook, Anna Ditus, Leah Selvage, Brooke Smith, Tom McNeely, Sara Standing, Al Scott, James Martin, Kristopher and Katherine Zwielfel, Barbara Selby, Jason Hodziewich, and William Eberhart. These individuals cited the good nature of Mr. Selby and Graycor Blasting Company. Many also stated that they were comfortable with the close proximity of explosive storage to their homes and children.
Most of those who spoke in favor of approval are employed by the company (or have spouses who are employed by the company) and live in the surrounding neighborhoods. A major concern of these individuals is that if the application is denied, they would be forced to relocate and would not be able to sell their homes.
Chair Rennels closed Public Comment and Mr. Lafferty addressed the Board. Mr. Lafferty reiterated a portion of the Larimer County Land Use Code, which states, a home occupation cannot occupy more than 500-square-feet of the resident’s home. Thus, Mr. Selby’s business does not qualify as a home business.
After some discussion, Commissioners Johnson & Donnelly stated they were inclined to approve the Special Exception request with conditions specific to: an indoor storage requirement, road maintenance and improvements, limitations on the amount of explosives stored on the property, and limitations on the number of trips to and from the property per day.
Chair Rennels stated that she was inclined to deny the Special Exception request as Me. Selby is clearly in violation of the county’s Land Use Code. Chair Rennels stated that approving this exception would drastically change the character of the neighborhood.
Mr. Lafferty requested the item be tabled to allow staff a chance to craft conditions in accordance with the guidelines set forth by Commissioners Johnson & Donnelly.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Johnson moved that the Board of County Commissioners table the Graycor Blasting Special Exception, file #08-Z1691 until April 6, 2008, at 6:30 p.m.
Motion carried 3-0.
1b. GRAYCOR BLASTING CODE COMPLIANCE: This item has been tabled pending the result of Graycor Blasting Special Exception, file #08-Z1691.
There being no further business, the hearing adjourned at 9:45 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2009
LIQUOR LICENSE HEARING FOR
The Board of County Commissioners met at 11:00 a.m. to consider the application for a retail liquor store license for Gail Liquor LLC, dba, Gail’s Liquor. Chair Rennels presided and Commissioners Johnson and Donnelly were present. Also present were: Linda Connors, Assistant County Attorney; Andrea Absmeier, Court Reporter; Denise Ruybal, Tamara Slusher, and Melissa Lohry, Clerk & Recorder's Office; and Gael Cookman, Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Connors reviewed the contents of the application, and presented Exhibit A1 and A2 (photos of the posting of the premises), and Exhibit B, the petition demonstrating the needs and desires of the surrounding neighborhood. Ms. Connors asked the applicant, Gail Rowe, a series of questions regarding the posting of the premises and the circulation of the petition. Ms. Rowe stated that the notice had been posted for over a month. She also noted that there was no opposition from the surrounding neighbors to the granting of this liquor license.
Ms. Connors questioned whether Ms. Rowe was familiar with the liquor laws of Colorado. Ms. Rowe stated that she was familiar with the laws, as she previously owned a retail liquor store. Ms. Connors noted for the record that there was no one in the audience to speak in opposition to granting this liquor license.
Chair Rennels asked if Ms. Rowe if how she intends to train her staff. Ms. Rowe stated that she would be in charge of the liquor store for the most part, and that she would train staff in her office as needed. Chair Rennels strongly suggested that Ms. Rowe consider utilizing Training for Intervention (TIPS) program to train herself and her staff, and directed Ms. Cookman to provide this information to Ms. Rowe.
Finally, Commissioner Johnson noted for the record that this hearing had previously been scheduled for January 12, 2009, and had to be rescheduled due to inclement weather.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Donnelly moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the application and grant a Retail Liquor Store License, for Gail Liquor LLC, dba, Gail’s Liquor, located at 31503 Poudre Canyon, Bellvue, Colorado, conditioned upon Ms. Rowe removing Lloyd Rowe from the Wells Fargo Bank account associated with this business.
Motion carried 3-0.
The hearing adjourned at 11:15 a.m.
KATHAY C. RENNELS, CHAIR
BOARD OF COUNTYCOMMISSIONERS
CLERK AND RECORDER
Melissa E. Lohry, Deputy Clerk