RED FEATHE RLAKES PLANNING ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Fire House Meeting Room

44 Fire House Lane, Red Feather Lakes, CO

 

August 14, 2008 Meeting Notes

 

The meeting was called to order at 1:30 PM by Chairperson Lucille Schmidt.

 

Members in Attendance: Gene Allen, Susan Bradley, Ted Carter, Terry Ferebee, Bill Gilbert, Lucille Schmidt, Roger Svendsen and Bud Thomas

 

Members Excused Absences : All other members had excused absences

 

Audience Members : Jill Bennett – LARCO Planning Department, Ed Schemm, LARCO Asst Environmental Health Director and Jerry White, LARCO Senior Land Agent

 

Guest Present : Robert Allen, Janet McNally, Sarah Myers, Mark Corwin, Del McNally and Pat Bradley

 

Approval of Minutes : The minutes of July 10, 2008 were approved as amended (moved by Ted Carter and seconded by Susan Bradley

 

Adoption of Agenda: The agenda was approved as written (moved by Ted Carter and seconded by Bud Thomas.

 

Communications from Committee Members : None

 

Communications from Guest : Sarah Myers, Red Feather Library Director advised the PAC that the library is facing issues pertaining to septic, sewer and water.  Sarah’s presentation is quoted:

 

“The Red Feather Mountain Library District is the smallest library district in Colorado.  Our district covers just 37 square miles with a 2.5 mill levy.  Thanks for the opportunity to talk to the PAC today.  The Library Board of Trustees and I felt it was important for the PAC to know about some of the expensive infrastructure issues that the Library has been facing.  We felt that the PAC should know about these issues, and consider it as a representative sample: other businesses in Red Feather are dealing with expensive infrastructure issues too and this presents many challenges, both in expenses and in time. 

 

“We’ve had problems in the past with our septic tank.  We recently had to make some major repairs on that, which ended up around $2000.  Then we learned that the sewer line had a negative flow and needed to be replaced.  This was just done in July to the tune of around $4000. 

 

“And, since the building expansion in 2005, when the Library had to go through several permit process with the County, we learned that the Library needed to be designated as a public water source since we supply water, have several sinks, a drinking fountain and a kitchenette sink in the Community Room.  As you probably know, the Library is one of the only public buildings that is open during the holiday weekends AND year round with consistent open hours year round.  The Library is a very popular place, and the number of daily visits has increased over 70% since 2004 and the library is a great stop for people needing restrooms and water during the holiday weekends and anytime.  While our mission is to serve the public and we are pleased to do this, you can imagine that the costs to maintain the services and infrastructure are ever increasing.  And for the past 3 years, we have been working with the Larimer County Public Health department, and now for the past year, we have been working with the State of Colorado Public Health department to transition to a public water supply.

 

“Definition of Public Water Supply is:

 

Public water supply refers to water withdrawn by public and private water suppliers and delivered to users.  Public water suppliers provide water to domestic, commercial, and industrial users, to facilities generating thermoelectric power, for public use, and occasionally for mining and irrigation. 

 

“With the public Water Supply system, when an individual business has to install this, the costs and regulations are quite high and very time intensive.  The Library District has had to contract with a water engineer to develop a system approved by the State, monitor the system, administer chlorine and test the water on a regular basis, and complete all of the paperwork required by the State regulations.  This means a new line item in the Library’s budget, estimating between $2000-3000 per year.  We now have a budget for this and make sure the Library can meet all the requirements.  The State regulations are also changing, and increasing, quite rapidly and we get letters nearly every other month stating new regulations, procedures and more paperwork.  This is getting extremely difficult for one small library district, with 2 full time and 1 part time staff to handle. 

 

“After submitting our filtration design system to the State for approval, we learned just last week that the system was denied.  We have several options but all time consuming and expensive. 

 

1.          Continue to communicate with the State Public Health office to find out why our system was denied.

2.          Design a better or bigger filtration system – of which the cost is unknown at this time.

3.          Completely shut off all the water in the library – no running water?? This is not a good option at all.

4.          Have water hauled in??? Expense is again unknown…..

5.          And a few other options…..

“As I hope this demonstrates, the Library can not continue to handle this burden on dealing with infrastructure issues alone.  We can not continue to foot these large expenses and time drainers.  If the Library is dealing with this now, on an increasing scale, we know that other businesses are dealing with this too and we know it will only increase in the coming years.  This shows it is very challenging to manage and run a business or public building in Red Feather.  We are going to need help.  Help from the PAC, help from the County and the State, help from the community and most of all, WE ALL NEED TO WORK TOGETHER AND COMMUNICATE.  This will help improve our day to day lives, our public health, and our holiday weekends and serving people who are here then. 

 

“Please let me or the Library Board know if you have any questions or comments about this.  Our Board meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday monthly from 9-11 am in the Community Room and the public is very welcome to attend these meetings and bring questions or discussions during the Citizen Input time at the beginning of the meeting.  Thank you!

 

“(NOTE: The 2.5 mill levy brings in just $127,000 and that number changes per year, plus or minus.  For the rest of the budget we rely on donations, our Friends group and some savings for emergency projects.” 

 

Sarah advised that she is available at the Library from 9 AM to 6 PM Tuesday through Saturday and can be contacted by telephone at 881-2664. 

 

Action Items Scheduled : None

 

Discussion Items – Community Pathways – continued –

 

Jill Bennett introduced Jerry White, LARCO Senior Land Agent.  Jerry discussed his letter to Mark Peterson dated July 9, 2008, subject: Public ROW in Red Feather Lakes.  This letter is quoted:

 

“You have asked for information regarding the nature of the roads in the Red Feather area, and also regarding the potential cost to acquire additional right-of-way (ROW)

 

“For the most part, the roads within the older platted areas of Red Feather have not been dedicated for public use (West Hiawatha Heights, Hiawatha Heights, Romona Heights, South Nokomis Lake, Letitia Lake, Owassa Lake and East Owassa).  Those plats either dedicate the roads to the owners, or have no dedication statement. 

 

“There are some roads which exist as “public roads” because they have been dedicated to public use, have a history of County maintenance, have been improved through an improvement district, or exist as an easement granted by the USFS.  These would include the following: County road 67J, County road 179, County road 73C, County road 218, Hiawatha Highway, Balsam Court, Balsam lane, Chewano Road, Cliff Court, Cliff Drive, Lakeview Court, Papoose Way, Shagwa Drive, Wapiti road, West Grand Drive, and Yampa Lane. 

 

“There are also publicly dedicated roads within some of the “newer” subdivisions (McCarthy Park, Piney Knolls, and High Country Estates).  The roads within Fox Acres are all private. 

 

“Some road have a clear history of broad public use, but are still not considered as “public roads” (e.g. Ramona Drive and the roads within the “downtown” area of Red Feather Lakes).

 

“The older plats are not clear as to the width and the road right-of-way which was established, but it appears they are generally 20’ wide for the primary roads.  The plats also show undefined easements providing access to mot of the interior lots in these subdivisions. 

 

“For the most part, it is not known where the actual roads are situated in relationship to their “platted” locations, but it is apparent that many of the minor roads are outside of the platted ROW’s.  Because the early plats were very crude, it may not be possible to actually locate the roads on the ground, as they are shown on the plat. 

 

“Assuming that there is a desire by the residents to establish and formalize public rights-of-way on some of the major existing roads, this could be accomplished in a couple of ways:

 

1.          Through dedication of ROW from individual property owners to Larimer County

2.          Through court action, roads can be determined to be public where there is a clear history of public use.

 

“It is likely that both of the above procedures would be necessary, considering the large number of property owners, and the fact that most of them are not full time residents.  The court action is not a condemnation, and can be accomplished as a “friendly” litigation which seeks to formalize what already exists.  However, it would likely only establish the ROW as it is now utilized, and may not provide the needed width for proposed improvements. 

 

“If the existing roads are recognized by the court as public ROW’s, and if additional ROW is needed for road improvements, it would be necessary to acquire the additional ROW through purchase or donation.  I have researched the sales of vacant parcels in that area over the past 5 years.  Although per-square-foot prices vary widely (from $.37 to $3.53/s.f.), the average is about ($1.34/s.f.  If we assume that the court will establish the existing public ROW to be 20’ wide, and that an additional 30’ of ROW is needed, it may cost as much as $214,000 per mile to purchase the needed ROW ($1.35/s.f. X 30’ X 5280’).  Hopefully, some of the ROW would be donated, and also the designated improvements may not require a 50’ ROW, which would reduce the estimate.  I would emphasize that this is a very rough estimate, and is only for conceptual discussion. 

 

“If the goal of the RFL group is solely to establish a location for utilities, it would seem like “overkill” to create a public ROW just for that purpose. It might be more feasible (and less expensive) to negotiate the acquisition of an easement for the utilities. 

 

“When the County Attorney returns next week, I will seek his opinion on several legal questions in this matter, and let you know his response…..”

 

Jerry discussed his letter and reiterated that the RFL road problems goes back to the 1920 and the way the plats were drawn up.  The road were just sketched in; the wordings on the plats were very unconventional; some with no dedication statements; some with dedication statements to the owner; none on them meet the State laws for the establishment of ROW.  Just because there is a note on a plat that states the road are public does not mean that they are public (this has been confirmed with the County Attorney) because they were not established as prescribed by law.  Therefore, we are almost starting from scratch in defining what a public road is.  There are some roads in RFL that are public and these are the newer subdivisions that have dedication statements on them, forest service roads and possibly roads that are in the Road District. 

 

There was discussion between PAC members and County Representatives concerning Jerry’s presentation.  Lucille asked if the roads are not public does the property under the road belong to the developer.  Gene Allen advised that this may be true.  

 

Jill stated that the road issue is an important side issue to Water and Sewer.  She stated that maybe meeting once every month for two hours is not sufficient time to tackle these issues.  Therefore, it might be helpful for PAC to form some subcommittees to work more closely with LARCO staff more often and then report back to PAC – look at options, funding mechanisms, legal restrictions, and to work on communications with the entire RFL community.  The Commissioners have authorized LARCO staff to work with subcommittees, as they are identified.  Jill stated that ROW issues are quite common in mountain communities.  Roger asked if there are any other mountain communities that are trying to fix the ROW problem.  Lucille advised that Boulder County is currently working with Town Sites.  Jill stated that Town Sites were plated as Town Sites which makes them different from RFL.  Ted Carter asked Jerry to explain his statement that “It might be more feasible (and less expensive) to negotiate the acquisition of an easement for the utilities.”  Jerry advised that it may be easier to get property owners to authorized an easement on their property for water and sewer than to have them authorized a ROW because then the public has the right to use their property.  Gene Allen advised that it would be easier and more cost effective to get an easement parallel and adjacent to established roads.  The PAC reaffirmed that the roads under discussion are the main six roads previously identified and not the spider roads leading off of these main roads.  It would be best to seek ROW on the six main roads that then seek easements on the spider roads.  Gene Barker stated that he would like to go after all the roads at one time instead of doing the main roads first and then the spider roads.  Ted Carter stated that the PAC had previously decided to address only the primary six roads and to start discussing the spider roads was inappropriate. 

Ted Carter made a motion “To establish a subcommittee of three to five people to work with Larimer County Staff to pursue the adjudication of tier one roads.”  Susan Bradley seconded the motion.  The motion carried with Gene Barker voting No.  Subcommittee members are: Gene Barker, Gene Allen, Ted Carter, Susan Bradley and Bill Gilbert with Ted Carter as Chair.  PAC members requested that meeting notes be done and that these notes be communicated to PAC as soon as possible after the meeting. 

 

Ted Carter advised that PAC that he has received some 1960s documentation pertaining to RFL and has permission to distribute these documents to PAC.  Jill Bennett volunteered to copy these documents for each PAC member. 

 

Meeting adjourned at 3:30 PM.  Moved by Bill Gilbert and seconded by Roger Svendsen. 

 

Submitted

 

Terry Ferebee