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RED FEATHER LAKES PLANNING ADVISORY COMMITTEE

FIRE HOUSE MEETING ROOM

44 FIRE HOUSE LANE , RED FEATHER LAKES

September 9, 2010, 1:30-3:30 PM

 

MEETING NOTES

 

The meeting was called to order at 1:38 PM by Chairperson Ted Carter

 

Members in Attendance: Gene Barker, Barbra Bowman, Susan Bradley, Ted Carter, Terry Ferebee and Lucille Schmitt

 

Members Excused Absences. All other members had excused absences.

 

Larimer County Representation: Rob Helmick, LARCO Planning,

 

Guests Present: Jeff Hohnstein, Jack Backer, John Baker, Bud Thomas, Roger Clark, Don Shields, Bill Mason, Mary Douglas, Terri Donnelly, Timi Kae Burdette, and Judy Viola

 

Adoption of Agenda: The agenda was approved as written.

 

Approval of Minutes: August 12, 2010 minutes were approved. 

 

Communications from Committee Members :  None

 

Communications from County Representatives :

 

Rob Helmick advised that the web site for the Bald Mountain communication proposal has been updated and that the survey consultant for the County will be on site to propose the proposed alignment, the access road and site and tower location on Thursday, September 16th and Friday, September 17th between the hours of 9:00 am and 10:30 am.  The County Construction Manager will meet with the GEOTECH engineer AT 9:00 am, September 10th on site.  The survey has not been scheduled but should take place next week.  Updated information will be posted on the County Bald Mountain Proposal web site.  Rob further advised that if there is a proposal to build, there would be a formal review opportunity for the RFLPAC before it goes to the County Planning Commission.  Terry Ferebee asked why the RFLPAC would review this proposal since it is outside of the RFL boundaries and Rob stated that he knows of at least two PAC members that would agitate for the PAC to discuss the proposal.

 

Comments from the Audience :

 

Bud Thomas asked Rob Helmick if there was any way to get some public money to help maintain Ramona since it has been declared a public road.  Currently, Bud maintains Ramona by getting funds from local residents.  Rob recommended that Bud speak with Rusty McDaniel at the County.

 

Roger Clark asked if RFLPAC members can telephonically attend RFLPAC meetings.  Ted Carter advised that this is something that can be looked into.  Ted asked Rob if the County would allow members to vote by teleconference and Rob advised that the County Commissioners vote by teleconference.  Susan Bradley advised that she would benefit from teleconferencing.  Gene Barker stated that his concern would be that eventually no one would show up for the meeting and that he gains a lot of information from the personal interaction at the meetings between the Board members. 

 

Action Item:  None

 

Updates:

 

1.         Road centerline project: Rob Helmick stated that he has a “stamped draft” of the centerline survey that he will be leave in the Red Feather Library for citizen review. 

 

2.         DSL/High Speed Internet subcommittee: Rob Helmick advised that a telecommunication consultant has contacted their office about trying to locate a number of towers to bounce WI-FI from down on the plains to Red Feather.  There was some discussion about using the FOX TV tower that is located just over the Weld County line south of Wellington to bounce the signal to various towers that would eventually bring WI-FI to Red Feather Lakes. 

 

3.         Storage and Irrigation Gene Barker advised that Ted Carter wrote a letter to the Storage and Irrigation Company.  The Storage and Irrigation members discussed the letter at the Storage and Irrigation Company meeting after a certain amount of discussion, it was concluded that the Storage and Irrigation Company would pick two people to work with the RFLPAC.  Ted Carter’s letter is quoted:

 

“August 12, 2010

 

“Board of Directors & Stockholders of RFS&I

PO Box 527

Red Feather lakes, CO 80545

 

“Dear RFS&I Board Members & Stockholders,

 

“The Red Feather Lakes Plan Advisory Committee, PAC, has become very concerned about the growing risk to our community concerning the water that supplies our lakes, which is crucial to maintaining the character and charm of our community.  The concern focuses on the possibility of losing our water due to the low priority of recreational water rights along with the risk of water pollution due to the long term use of many septic systems in our community.  This concern has been growing due in large part to the education provided by two PAC members, Dennis Frydendall and Gene Barker.  The attached appendix details the background surrounding our concern.

 

“The PAC is concerned that RFS&I does not currently have the time or resources necessary to explore solutions, though the water expertise, is certainly concentrated within your organization.  Though the PAC has limited water expertise, we would like to meet with a representative group from S&I to investigate possible risk mitigation measures.  Several members of the PAC would like to volunteer their time to assist in exploring options.  It has been suggested that the most logical step to eliminating these risks would be the establishment of a domestic water supply and/or a sewer system.  This would be an enormous undertaking and would require years to accomplish, however the PAC believes our community should be proactive in this area so as to avoid an emergency situation sometime in the future.  It is clear that the loss of our water in RFL would be devastating and would probably result in a dramatic loss of population.

 

“I look forward to your positive response to attend an exploratory meeting to discuss this subject.  I will arrange a mutually agreed on time and place for the meeting upon your agreement to meet.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ted Carter, Chairperson RFLPAC”

 

The Appendix is quoted:

 

·    “The Red Feather Lakes Plan Advisory Committee, PAC, was formed in the Fall of 2004

 

o   Thirteen volunteer members appointed by Larimer County Commissioners

o   Each member typically serves a three year term but can serve multiple terms

o   Members have diverse backgrounds and interests

o   Monthly meeting Open to the Public

o   PAC has no legal authority.  It can only make recommendations to the County Planning Dept and the County Commissioners.

 

·    The PAC documented the Red Feather Lakes Area Plan in August, 2006

 

o   Based on Community Survey and several Community Open Houses

o   Accepted by Larimer County Commissioners

o   Plan Identifies existing conditions as well as opportunities, Issues and Constraints

o   The subject most discussed and highlighted in the RFL Area Plan is the lack of a domestic water supply and community sewer system

 

·    “The lack of a water and sewer system poses several risks and constraints on RFL

 

o   Limitations on area development

o   Risk of losing Recreational Water Rights thru legal action by Front Range Community / Communities needing domestic water

o   Quality of well water is largely unknown, however many RFL property owners do not drink their well water.

o   Risk of pollution of lakes due to long term use of community leach fields

 

·    PAC cannot undertake the development of a water and sewer system, however it can perform tasks that would be helpful to a group developing such a system.” 

 

The Red Feather Storage and Irrigation’s response to Ted Carter’s letter is quoted:

 

“September 6, 2010

 

“Ted Carter

“Chairperson RFLPAC

 

“Dear Ted,

 

“Gene Barker distributed your letter to the stockholders at our annual meeting, September 4, 2010.  After some explanation and discussion, a motion was passed proposing that the Storage & Irrigation Co. and the PAC appoint a committee to explore the steps necessary to provide domestic water and sewer for the Red Feather community.

 

“Following the meeting, the Board of Directors discussed some of the most obvious steps, which included legal advice to change existing water rights, engineering service to lay out a plan for the entire community, and the problem of financing these exploratory efforts.

 

Dennis Frydendall”

 

Additional comments at PAC meeting:

 

Dennis Frydendall:

 

·    One of the legal situations that we find ourselves in is that our water rights for domestic water would work fine if we take the water directly out of the lakes, treat it and use it that way.  We would have to go back into the court system to make it suitable for augmentation rights.

·    The other side of the issue is the people who have paid money to the Storage and Irrigation Company over the years are the people that we think ought to be our customers first.

·    There is more private land up here that could be developed if water was available.  There is enough private land where there would not be enough water left to have lakes.  We will have to ultimately face some kind of restriction and that is something that this committee should explore. 

·    There is about 7,000 acres of private land in Red Feather and with all of our water rights, if we drained everything we had every year, we could not provide domestic water for all areas, depending on the density.  So, the point is that there is a limit on the water that will have to be considered in terms of any plan of service.

·    For every three homes in Red Feather you need an acre foot of water and Hiawatha will hold 380 acre foot of water and you have to realize that year around the lake water is evaporating where you lose two or three feet of water that does not go into homes. 

 

Gene Barker advised that there are other sources of water that is available for Red Feather and maybe we should be looking at those sources.  Gene also stated that their shareholders will not like their water being in pipes instead of being in the lakes. 

 

Lucille Schmitt read a paragraph out of a 1971 book which stated “At a public meeting in 1968 attended by 223 persons a steering committee was selected, a Denver engineering firm was engaged to work out proposals for a water and sanitation.  The expense of these recommendations was too great for public action but ground work was done for future formation of a water district.”  Lucille also stated that without getting something together and getting people to talk in a progressive fashion, they will be looking at the minutes of our meeting 40 years from now and think that is what they through they could do. 

 

Due to the absence of five of the REFPAC, Ted Carter recommended that the discussion of water be tabled until the next PAC meeting.  Terry Ferebee made a motion to table the water discussion until the October 14, 2010 RFLPAC meeting.  The motion was seconded by Barbra Bowman.  There was no discussion and all RFLPAC members present concurred. 

 

4.         Environmental Learning Center.  Judy Viola advised the PAC that she and others are in the process of forming the Environmental Learning Center at the Red Feather School, which will be called the Soaring Eagle Ecology Center.  The Eagle is also the mascot for the school.  The Center will be on private land and independent of the school, but will be in collaboration with the School District and, CSU Environmental Learning Center, Forest Service, City of Fort Collins, and Larimer County government.  The by-laws and article of incorporation have been written and currently going over the mission and vision statements.  The Center does have an advisory team and Judy asked the PAC membership if it would consider having Susan Bradley be the liaison between the Advisory Team and the PAC.  Judy further advised that she expects the Center to be up and running and offering classes by the summer, 2011. 

 

The RFLPAC and county representative discussed the necessity of having a motion rendered in order for Susan Bradley to be the liaison between the PAC and the Environmental Learning Center Advisory Team.  The decision was that a motion was not needed at this time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion Item :

 

1.    Sawmill Junction Presentation by Roger Clark

 

Roger Clark:  Roger purchased 3.2 acres that has a commercial well on it.  The site is fairly level and easy to work with to develop.  He is hoping to increase the employment opportunities in Red Feather by bringing in at least six new businesses.  These businesses may include: auto body and automotive shop with an attached car wash.  The car wash will use recyclable water from two 3,000 tanks.  A new 5,000 square foot building will be constructed.  Businesses proposed for this building are a laundry mat, possibly a branch bank, beauty shop, clinic, fitness center, insurance office, plumber or electrician office, This building is designed after the Rio Grande Southern Depot in Telluride, Colorado.  Another phase is the storage barn that may be used as a feed store.  Accommodations that could go along with a feed store are things like a dog grooming business.  The other building on the site has been used for heavy equipment repair and storage and this building will probably be kept the same.  The Ponderosa Reality will remain there as we have a long term lease on that building.  For fire protection, the plan is to put in two 200,000 gallon underground tanks that can be used by pumper trucks.  The idea is to keep as many of the trees as possible.  However, some of them will have to be removed because you can’t build buildings around them all.  He wants to keep the character very rural and mountainous.  The area is more of a service area than a retail area.  The laundry mat will have some 40 and 60 pound machines.  Hopefully, the body shop will be in operation this Fall and then the other businesses come on line next Spring. 

 

Don Shields, WG Architects:  The grounds will be kept as natural as possible; parking lot will be gravel; there will be no exterior pole lights; there will be security lighting on the doors just like someone would have on their house; car wash will have two bays; the auto body, automotive shop and car wash will be approximately 9,500 square feet; excess runoff will be routed to a detention pond next to the road and then into the ditch;

 

Rob Helmick: The County has just received the site plan review; back in November we acknowledged the existence of the heavy machinery, which is not a use currently allowed in Red Feather, but it has been there before dirt – so that is there.  The site development plan will be reviewed for its technical consistency with the rules and regulations.  There are one or two setback questions that the County will have to look at and paving is a question, which are currently code requirements, but have been modified by the horse regulations dealing with rural uses.  This plan leaves a space for a mini-storage unit which will require a special review because the model for Red Feather Lakes is the B zone and not the C zone.

 

Susan Bradley made a motion that the RFLPAC support the Sawmill Junction development.  Terry Ferebee seconded the motion and all RFLPAC members present approved the motion. 

 

 

 

 

2.    Districts Presentation by John Baker/Engineering;

 

John Baker of Baker and Associates, a consulting civil environmental engineering firm:  has worked with small districts and small municipalities in regards to water and waste water for 33 years; has read the RFLPAC comprehensive plan developed in 2006 and this plan does a pretty good job of identifying some of the things that the community will need to do in order to form a district to provide water and/or sewer service to part or all of the community.  The logical next step to that is the preparation of a service plan.  The service plan would be an engineering study that would encompass practicality costs and factors that would go into putting in such a system.  What areas of the community is it practical to serve.  The hills and valleys in RFL complicate the waste water problem.  Water is easier to work with because you can push it up hill.  It is hard to do that with waste water.  The type of treatment and where you would put the treatment facility all becomes integrated with the water rights situation.  Part of the service plan would be to have a sub-consultant working with a civil engineer who is a water rights engineer/expert.  The sub-consultant would confer with the District and research the water rights in the area and would come up with a recommendation what you can or cannot do.  Maybe it would be easier to service the downtown area or certain density of housing area away from the downtown area.  You have to have the density and the population to support a water and sanitation system.  There may be grants or special funding available.

 

Rob Helmick advised that there may be some planning grants available to get some of the initial feasibility and planning done in order to make some decisions.  You will need to get a sense of the heartbeat of the community is concerning some of these issues.

 

Roger Clark advised that the USDA can provide some money for a feasibility study.  The office for this area is located in Wray, Colorado.  Jack Baker advised that there has been more money allocated towards these types of programs. 

 

RFLPAC meeting adjourned at 3:30 PM

 

Submitted by Terry Ferebee

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.