MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
The Board of County Commissioners met at 12:00 p.m. with Frank Lancaster, County Manager. Chair Donnelly presided and Commissioners Gaiter and Johnson were present. Also present was Gael Cookman, Deputy Clerk.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Johnson moved that the Board of County Commissioners go into executive session for the purpose of discussing personal matters, as outlined in 24-6-402-(4)(f) C.R.S.
Motion carried 3-0.
The executive session ended at 12:20 p.m., with no action taken.
LAND USE HEARING
The Board of County Commissioners reconvened at 3:00 p.m. with Matt Lafferty, Principal Planner. Chair Donnelly presided and Commissioners Gaiter and Johnson were present. Also present were: Toby Stauffer, Planning Department; Dave Shirk, Estes Park Panning Department; Traci Shambo, Engineering Department; Jeannine Haag, County Attorney’s Office; and Gael Cookman, Deputy Clerk.
Chair Donnelly opened the hearing with the Pledge of Allegiance and asked for public comment on the County Budget and Land Use Code. Joanna Darden addressed the Board with concerns regarding the way that the Town of Estes Park is utilizing Open Space funds for Bond Park.
Mr. Lafferty requested that this item number one be moved to the consent agenda. Nobody was present to discuss this item, so the Board agreed to move it to consent.
1. ESTES VALLEY DEVELOPMENT CODE AMENDMENT – RELIGIOUS LAND USE AND INSTITUTIONALIZED PERSONS ACT: This is a proposal to amend the Estes Valley Development Code (EVDC) to address the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), a federal law passed in 2000. This law is applicable to local land use regulations involving religious assemblies and institutionalized persons. The provisions of this law and court decisions concerning this law have caused local governments to examine local regulations concerning religious assemblies and, if appropriate, revise those regulations. Religious assemblies should not be held to a higher standard than other assembly uses with similar impacts.
Private Schools: The EVDC currently has limited development standards for private schools. Private schools have been allowed in all residential zoning districts as a use-by-right. This could result in development of private schools that are incompatible with the surrounding area. For example,
▪ Private schools can be established on any residential lot regardless of size;
▪ Private schools under 2,000 square feet that have fewer than ten parking spaces do not require landscaping; and
▪ There is no maximum impervious coverage or floor area ratio.
Note: Public schools are subject to Location and Extent Review. This means the Board serves in an advisory capacity only.
Code revisions are drafted to provide clear development standards and review processes that:
▪ Are consistent with the purpose and character of the zoning districts; and
▪ Are compliant with RLUIPA.
The amendments allow schools and religious assemblies as a use-by-right in the CO Commercial and A Accommodations zoning districts, and by Special Review in the R-2 Two-Family and RM Multi-family zoning districts. The vast majority, if not all, religious assemblies and schools in the Estes Valley, are located in these zoning districts.
On July 19, 2011, the Estes Valley Planning Commission:
▪ Conducted a public hearing on this issue;
▪ Found that the proposed text amendments to the Estes Valley Development Code comply with review standards set forth in Section 3.3.D; and
▪ Voted (6-0, with one vacation position) to recommend that the Town Board of Trustees and the Board of County Commissioners approve the amendments.
On September 27, 2011, the Town Board of the Town of Estes Park voted unanimously (6-0) to approve the proposed amendments.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Gaiter moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the proposed amendments to the Estes Valley Development Code to address Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and Private Schools, as recommended and outlined above.
Motion carried 3-0.
2. HERITAGE FRAMES SIGN APPEAL, FILE #11-G0226: The applicant is seeking two appeals:
1. To Section 10.5 to allow an off-premise sign to advertise a business that is not located on the same property as the sign; and
2. To Section 10.6 which would allow a home occupation to have a sign that is larger than 4 sq. ft. in area and taller than 6 feet as required by the section.
The existing sign is located on a property that is along I-25, the business is on a nearby property and both properties are under the same ownership. The sign is made up of two panels; each is 4’ X 8’, 32 square feet, double-sided, for a total of 64 square feet of sign face. The height of the overall sign from ground to the top of the sign is 12’ 6”.
Until 2010 the sign was made up of one 4’ X 8’ panel. The original 32 sq. ft. sign was determined to be illegal in 1991; it had been in its current location since 1985. The sign is illegal because it is an off premise sign, advertising a business that is not on the same property as the sign. An additional 4’ X 8’ sign was added in 2010, and the additional sign brought the property to the attention of our Code Compliance Section.
Currently the use on the property is not approved as a home occupation; however, it functions like a home occupation or an accessory rural occupation in a residential/agricultural zone district. The business use has been on the property since 1985.
To approve an appeal from the applicable requirements in Section 10 of this Code, the County Commissioners must consider the following review criteria and find that each criterion has been met or determined to be inapplicable:
A. Approval of the appeal is consistent with the purpose and intent of this Code;
The purpose of the sign code is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, provide property owners with an opportunity for safe and effective identification of uses, avoid clutter, and protect and maintain the visual appearance of various areas of the county.
Section 10.5 prohibits various sign types, including off-premise signs that add to visual clutter and can impair safety and welfare of the public. Allowing an off-premise sign to remain and allowing the sign to increase in size is not consistent with the purpose and intent of the sign code. The larger sign adds to visual clutter, and may impact safety and welfare of the public by drawing attention from drivers along I-25.
B. There are extraordinary or exceptional conditions on the site which would result in a peculiar or undue hardship on the property owner if Section 10 of this Code is strictly enforced;
There are not extraordinary or exceptional conditions on this site which result in a hardship to the owners if the sign code is enforced. The property where the business is located has adequate area to advertise the business and the sign could be moved 170 feet to the east to be located on the property with the business. The business was successful with the original signage for 26 years, so if the original 4’ X 8’ sign was moved, the business could likely continue to have success and the additional sign may not be needed.
C. Approval of the appeal would not result in an economic or marketing advantage over other businesses which have signs which comply with Section 10 of this Code.
Approval of the appeal would not result in an economic or marketing advantage over other existing businesses in the area because there are no businesses adjacent to the property. The closest non-residential use to the property is a Greek Orthodox Church which has a sign that is about 12 sq. ft. in area and 6 feet or less in height.
The Heritage Frames sign, a 32 sq. ft. sign or a 64 sq. ft. sign, will have an advantage over any new business, nonresidential use, home occupation, or accessory rural occupation that could come to the area. If another business or nonresidential use were to locate nearby, the use would be allowed a 20 sq. ft. sign that could be 6 feet tall. A home occupation or rural occupation would be allowed a 4 sq. ft. sign that could be 6 feet tall. Any business or nonresidential use would need to appeal the code to achieve the same level of signage as Heritage Frames to compete in that area.
Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has no issues with the proposed sign, and no permits from CDOT are required.
The Code Compliance Section has indicated that there are several outstanding permits of record and an active Code Violation for an illegal sign. The Sign Appeal is one step to resolve the outstanding code violation, the owner has been working with the Code Compliance Section and additional effort will be needed after this decision is made.
The Development Services Team recommends denial of this request, Heritage Frames Sign Appeal, given that is does not meet review criteria A and B as listed above.
However, should the Commissioners wish to approve this request, the Development Services Team offers the following conditions for consideration.
1. No additional signage shall be added to either property without prior approval.
2. Building permit application for the sign shall occur within 60 days from the date of this approval.
3. This approval is only given for the signs included in this request.
4. This approval does not constitute approval of the use on the site.
Ms. Stauffer briefly explained the appeal as outlined above.
The applicant, Martin Vermilyea, explained that he was unaware of the sign restrictions when he added the second part to his existing sign. Mr. Vermilyea stated that the addition was needed to explain that they frame artwork - not houses. He stated that the sign is working well and asked the Board to support his appeal.
Chair Donnelly opened up the hearing for public comment and Lou Trionfera, a neighbor in the area, stated that he fully supported the signs and to please approve the appeal.
There was no further public comment.
Much discussion ensued with Chair Donnelly stating his support for the appeal and the 64 square foot sign; however, Commissioners Johnson and Gaiter were inclined to support the original 32 square foot sign.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Johnson moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Heritage Frames Sign Appeal to allow an off-premise sign to advertise a business that is not located on the same property as the sign.
Motion carried 3-0.
M O T I O N
Commissioner Johnson moved that the Board of County Commissioners allow a 32 square foot sign, with a maximum height of 12 feet 6 inches.
Motion carried 2-1; Chair Donnelly dissenting.
The hearing adjourned at 3:55 p.m.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2011
The Board of County Commissioners met at 9:00 a.m. with Frank Lancaster, County Manager. Chair Donnelly presided and Commissioners Gaiter and Johnson were present. Also present were: Deni LaRue, and Donna Hart, Commissioners’ Office; and Gael Cookman, Deputy Clerk.
1. PUBLIC COMMENT: Eric Sutherland made statements regarding the budget process and provided investment suggestions for the commissioners to consider. Chair Donnelly recommended that Mr. Sutherland provide these suggestions to the county treasurer as well.
Mel Hilgenberg provided comments regarding placement of the Greeley Pipeline and voiced concerns with potential flooding. He also had comments regarding the bonding process and recommended the commissioners consider staffing a full-time magistrate at the jail.
2. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 10, 2011:
M O T I O N
Commissioner Gaiter moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the minutes for the week of October 10, 2011.
Motion carried 3-0.
3. REVIEW OF THE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 24, 2011: Ms. Hart reviewed the schedule for the upcoming week.
4. CONSENT AGENDA:
M O T I O N
Commissioner Johnson moved that the Board of County Commissioners approve the Consent Agenda as outlined below:
10182011A001 COLORADO DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE STATEMENT OF GRANT AWARD, EDWARD BYRNE MEMORIAL JUSTICE ASSISTANCE GRANT PROGRAM, BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND THE COLORADO DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
10182011A002 FIRST AMENDEMENT TO DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT & RESIDUAL LAND USE RESTRICTIONS FOR WILDFLOWER RURAL LAND USE PLAN BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND RYAN AND CHRISTINE HOUDEK & REACH HIGH 118 LICHEN, LLC & RIST VUE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION
10182011A003 DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT FOR HERRERA SUBDIVISION, FILE #09-S2900, BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND THE MARIO HERRERA AND JANICE D. HERRERA REVOCABLE TRUST
10182011R001 FINDINGS AND RESOLUTION APPROVING THE PICO DAIRY MINOR LAND DIVISION
10182011R002 FINDINGS AND RESOLUTION APPROVING THE AMENDED PLAT OF LOTS 1 THROUGH 4 IN THE LEISTIKOW MINOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
10182011R003 FINDINGS AND RESOLUTION DENYING THE ECTON/MAJORS APPEAL TO THE PLANNING DIRECTOR’S DECISION
10182011R004 LOT CONSOLIDATION RESOLUTION APPROVING THE CONSOLIDATION OF LOTS 13 AND 14, ORTON SULLIVAN SUBDIVISION
10182011R005 FINDINGS AND RESOLUTION APPROVING THE SKAER MINOR LAND DIVISION
MISCELLANEOUS: Final Plat Herrera Subdivision.
LIQUOR LICENSES: The following licenses were approved and issued: Fort Namaqua Liquors – Retail Liquor Store – Loveland; Ptarmigan Country Club – Hotel & Restaurant with Optional Premise – Fort Collins; Campsite Pizza – Retail Liquor Store – Fort Collins; Gail’s Liquor – Retail Liquor Store – Bellvue.
Motion carried 3-0.
5. PRESENTATION OF QUARTERLY POLICY GOVERNANCE MONITORING REPORT: Mr. Lancaster presented the Quarterly Policy Governance Monitoring Report and reviewed the contents with the Board.
6. COUNTY MANAGER WORKSESSION: Mr. Lancaster requested agenda items from the commissioners for their upcoming joint meeting with the Loveland and City of Fort Collins council members.
7. COMMISSIONER ACTIVITY REPORTS: The Board detailed their attendance at events during the previous week.
8. LEGAL MATTERS: There were no legal matters to discuss.
There being no further business, the Board adjourned at 9:50 a.m.
TOM DONNELLY, CHAIR
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CLERK AND RECORDER
Gael M. Cookman, Deputy Clerk