Public Meeting at Big Thompson Community Building
January 20, 2009
Is it a fact that fishermen have already received access to many other properties in the canyon?
Yes, anglers have received access to properties over the years that include Sleepy Hollow, Forks, Glade and the Narrows, which are County owned flood parcels that have been designated as Parks. Additionally, the County has identified eight other unimproved roadside parcels which are considered suitable for public access. None of the BT flood parcels sold thus far have been conducive to fishing access. Other properties owned by the Federal Government and the City of Loveland are also available for public access in the Canyon.
How much land along the river is open to fishing? What percent?
The exact percentage is unknown but if you considered all of the public lands along the river from Estes Park to the bottom of the Narrows one would conclude that there is more acres dedicated to public access compared to private ownership.
The public already has access many places along the river, why do they need more?
The public does have access points to the river; however, one must consider that once the County sells a flood parcel it is no longer guaranteed for public access. The public is aware of this and is expressing concerns. Fishermen think that these areas along the river will increase in popularity in the future and there will be a need for additional public access. Additionally, providing public access has been a priority of the Board of County Commissioners.
Why do fishermen want to fish right in front of our houses? Why can't they stay on the other side of the river?
Most certainly, anglers are not fishing in front of homes just because they can. For many anglers fishing the entire width of a waterway is part of the experience while others are satisfied with fishing one side. Fishermen feel that the County owned property along the river near private parcels should remain public so that they will be able to access both sides of the river to fish.
How many fishermen ever volunteered to help maintain public access areas in the canyon?
We have had fishermen as volunteers in our County programs and some fishermen in these groups have offered to help with these parcels when they are designated.
Where is the sanctuary for wildlife? Where is there access for geese, bears, merganser, beaver, ducks which live right there?
Wildlife species move along the river regardless of land ownership and are protected or hunted in approved seasons administered by the Division of Wildlife (DOW). To date the DOW has not requested any special designation for a wildlife sanctuary in this area.
You're not going to take anything from ground that's already in private ownership, correct?
Larimer County does not intend to take ground from private ownership. Our goal is to sell certain County Ownerships not acquire more.
What would stop the County from condemning property and taking additional private property?
Again, Larimer County does not intend to acquire private property as part of the project. In fact, laws governing the power of condemnation (eminent domain) are specific as to when they can be used by a governmental entity, and the circumstances of this project would not qualify for the use of the powers of eminent domain.
Before the County sells other parcels, will you suggest the same proposal on all those properties? If they do, will they try to take my property, too?
Each area within the BT flood parcel project is unique and will be considered for disposition based on the circumstances which exist for a given area. What is finalized in one area may look different in the next. Again, Larimer County does not intend to acquire private property as part of the project and is not taking anyone's private property.
She lives in Cedar Cove; there is a parcel next to her - will an easement go there, too? Will the County string it all the way up to the Honsteins?
Again, each project area in the BT flood parcel project is unique and will be considered for disposition based on the circumstances which exist for a given area. There are no plans to "string" properties together along the river in the Canyon.
If the property sold, there would be no surveying done, and purchasers would have to pay for it themselves. Is that correct?
Early on, the County stated that it would not be surveying its ownerships along the Big Thompson due to the enormous expense that would be incurred. As the Hayden project area developed, it became apparent that a survey would be necessary in order to achieve what was being contemplated. Under normal or simple transaction circumstances, which Hayden is not, the buyer would need to arrange for and pay the cost of a survey if they chose to do so.
If the edge changes with high or low water, who gives up the difference - the County or the owner?
The ownerships will be legally described to given surveyed points. As the water levels rise and fall, the ownerships do not change.
If the County keeps a 10 ft. strip of the land, is that deducted from the price of the lot if sold by the County? What is the square footage?
The County will only be selling what it does not want to retain. If the decision is made to retain up to a certain point, then only the portion that is not retained is sold. Square footages will be calculated once the final decision has been made as to what is being sold and what is being retained for public access.
Would that be the responsibility of the County or the property owners to put up signs?
The County would designate the property as public.
And how will public access be controlled? How will private owners be able to keep the public off?
A lot of the details of exactly how the access will be controlled have not fully been decided; however it will be necessary to mark the boundary in some natural unobtrusive way.
If the County retains ownership under #1 or #2, will the County police it and pick up trash?
The County will remain the responsible party for the property under County ownership.
We heard at the last Parks Advisory Board meeting, that the department is cutting budgets. So where is the money coming from to build a pedestrian corridor?
The concept of a pedestrian corridor is not something that would be built. It could be as simple as an area defined by signage and simple natural boundaries.
What role does the Parks Advisory Board play in this process?
The Parks Advisory Board listens to citizens concerns, staff recommendations, reaches its own decision based on all information available, and makes a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners for their consideration.