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LARIMER COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION
Minutes of November 17, 2010
The Larimer County Planning Commission met in a regular session on Wednesday, November 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hearing Room. Commissioners’ Cox, Glick, Hess, Miller, Wallace, Weitkunat and Wendt were present. Commissioner Dougherty was absent. Commissioner Hart presided as Chairman. Also present were Matt Lafferty, Principle Planner, Rob Helmick, Senior Planner, Toby Stauffer, Planner II, Jeff Goodell, Engineering Department, Doug Ryan, Health Department and Jill Wilson, Planning Technician and Recording Secretary.
Mr. Lafferty accompanied Commissioners Cox, Glick, Hart, Miller, Wallace, Weitkunat, and Wendt on a site visit to Organic Solutions Special Review and Beckers Stable Special Review. Commissioner Hess visited the sites independently.
COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE COUNTY LAND USE CODE:
COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC REGARDING OTHER RELEVANT LAND USE MATTERS NOT ON THE AGENDA:
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FOR THE OCTOBER 20, 2010 MEETINGS: MOTION by Commissioner Cox to approve the minutes, seconded by Commissioner Glick. This received unanimous voice approval.
AMENDMENTS TO THE AGENDA:
ITEM #1 AMENDMENTS TO THE LARIMER COUNTY LAND USE CODE, SECTION 10 - SIGNS #10-CA0012: Ms. Stauffer provided background information on the request to amend the Land Use Code, Section 10 Signs.
Commissioner Cox moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Larimer County Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners approve the Amendments to the Larimer County, Section 10 - Signs, file #10-CA0112.
Commissioner Wallace seconded the Motion.
Commissioners' Cox, Glick, Hess, Miller, Wallace, Weitkunat, and Chairman Hart voted in favor of the Motion.
MOTION PASSED: 8-0
ITEM #2 ORGANIC SOLUTIONS SPECIAL REVIEW #10-Z1812: Mr. Helmick provided background information on the request for a medical marijuana dispensary located south of the intersection of Carpenter Road and South College Avenue in the Colland Center commercial area. The request also included an appeal to Section 4.3.3.F of the Larimer County Land Use Code regarding distance/separation requirements from a single family residence. Mr. Helmick noted that Long View Farm Open Space was located to the west of the site; however, staff was not classifying it as a public park. He explained that the proposal was for a medical marijuana dispensary with no grow operation included. The dispensary was proposing to serve 45-60 patients a day on a six day a week 9am to 6pm schedule. The location of the site was 484 feet from a residential property to the southeast, which triggered the appeal to the distance requirements. He noted that there was no sidewalk or direct pedestrian traffic way in front of the site along Highway 287. Cedar Supply was located directly to the south of the site and had an 8-foot high razor wire fence surrounding it, which blocked access to site from the south and helped with compatibility issues. He noted that there was a dirt pedestrian path behind the gas station. He stated that there were neighborhood concerns regarding the location; however, the Development Services Team was recommending approval of the application.
Chairman Hart questioned the number of registered medical marijuana patients in Larimer County.
Commissioner Wendt asked how House Bill 1284 measured distances.
Mr. Helmick stated that House Bill 1284 measured the distance through a direct pedestrian or vehicle route not a direct line through properties.
Commissioner Cox asked where the nearest dispensary was?
Mr. Helmick replied that there was a dispensary just south of Trilby.
James Hinojos, applicant for Organic Solutions, gave a background about himself. He pointed out that to the south was Cedar Supply, a business that had an 8-foot razor wire fence that went around the property and made it difficult to access the subject site. He also noted that there was no pedestrian access or sidewalk along Highway 287 in front of the business. He stated that he hired a traffic engineer to look at the past, present, and future traffic counts, which concluded that traffic would not significantly increase. He acknowledged the proximity of Cottonwood Elementary and stated that he did analyze the area regarding that concern and found that the school was 3,100 feet away. He also noted that the closest bus route was over 2,100 feet away. He showed the proposed floor plan of the building and addressed security. He also noted that the other tenant of the building did not have an issue with the business. He mentioned that medical marijuana was on par with pharmacies in regards of crime and provided articles and statistics reinforcing that. He further explained that direct pedestrian access as defined by House Bill 1285 put the location of the site 770 feet from the nearest resident. He also showed that property values did not decrease in regards to proximity to medical marijuana dispensaries. He stated that he sent 320 letters which noticed the neighborhood meeting and noted that only 4% of the people that attended still had concerns after the meeting was over. He explained that he received his statistics regarding registered patient users from the State website.
Commissioner Miller asked how many dispensaries were in Loveland.
Mr. Hinojos replied that there were seven in the city limits that were now banned. In Fort Collins, there were approximately five dispensaries in compliance.
Commissioner Hess asked how he would monitor his patients.
Mr. Hinojos replied that he would monitor patient purchase trips and market the business different. He was also looking into packaging that would have a bar code to help track it.
Roger Kifer, stated that there were approximately 30 medical marijuana dispensaries in the area with 12 in Loveland. He mentioned that he did not receive his neighborhood meeting notice until after the meeting had occurred. He stated that he did walk in front of the property to access the gas station. He stated that the bar code packaging was a good idea but it would not stop the crime. He noted from an article that crime did occur resulting from marijuana use.
Bob Wood, resident of Manor Ridge Estates, felt that the facility was too close to the neighborhood, and a variance was not called for under any circumstance. He also felt that it would affect the surrounding commercial businesses. He asked for a recommendation of denial.
Jordon Bergan, asked to play a video that showed the type of people that the applicant was trying to attract to his business.
Brian Debuse, 233 Jewel Court, stated that the school bus picked up kids southeast of the subject property. He was also concerned about the drug use that would occur on the site. He also asked where the marijuana was going to be grown. He noted that the applicant did not show in his analysis the proximity of properties to the dispensaries to support the property value analysis. He stated that he was committed to the area but felt property values would go down
Jeff Vanhook, resident of Manor Ridge, stated that he had children that both walked on the pedestrian path behind the gas station and used the bus stop. He stated the police did not frequent the area and noted that there were burglaries and crimes associated with medical marijuana dispensaries. He stated that a bar code on the packaging was useful but wondered how that would be supplied to law enforcement. He stated that he was against the proposal and did not want it in his neighborhood.
Steve Malara, resident of Manor Ridge, stated that he had four children that frequented the gas station on the path in front of the building. He was opposed of the use and did not understand the need for another dispensary when there were already ones in the area.
Deborah Anderson, lived east of the site and had two children. She noted that there was a walking path behind Cedar Supply and a bus stop on the west side of Highway 287 directly across from the gas station. She was opposed to the proposal and noted that many kids in the area walked to school.
Chris Allison, lived about one mile away and wondered if the building could be expanded. He stated that kids did walk in the front of the business. He stated the medical marijuana did create crime.
Annie Wolfe, resident of Manor Ridge, stated that she did not receive the neighborhood meeting notice. She noted that the applicant’s business plan outlined the hopes of obtaining 70% of the medical marijuana market in northern Colorado, which she felt would increase traffic in the area. She stated that others along with herself walked around in that area. She also noted that there was very little police coverage in the area. She also stated that there were children in the area.
Tasha Hanna and Devin McConnell, stated that the business would be a professional environment. They were concerned that if no medical marijuana dispensaries were allowed then the uses would disperse into neighborhoods and homes. They also pointed out that a medical marijuana card was required to purchase marijuana from the dispensary.
Dave Haughey, 212 Park Place, stated that Cedar Supply did have a fence but acknowledged that businesses did change and the fence might not always be there. He stated that he never received a neighborhood meeting notice letter.
Dr. John H, frequented the bus and stated that he got on and off of the bus in front of the business area. He pointed out that a number of children also used the bus stop. He noted that school bus routes changed all the time.
Paul Smith, lived in a neighborhood that surrounded another dispensary and did not notice crime. He pointed out that there was a liquor store east of the gas station and stated that alcohol created crimes. He pointed out that the alcohol was more easily attainable to children.
Karen Beachum, lived in Manor Ridge Estates, pointed out the medical marijuana dispensaries located in the vicinity. She did not understand why there needed to be so many dispensaries in the same vicinity.
Caleb K, supported the dispensary as marijuana was sold out of homes in his neighborhood before a dispensary was opened in the area.
Jeremiah Larson, stated that many dispensaries were being shut down, and he was concerned that the marijuana would be grown in homes. He also pointed out the liquor store in the area. He stated that there were very high standards by the State for people that sold medical marijuana.
Mr. Hinojos pointed out that Mr. Haughey attended the neighborhood meeting. He also noted that he had the neighborhood meeting sign in sheet. He mentioned that he sent out letters to the people that attended the neighborhood meeting or wrote into Larimer County addressing concerns to let them know that he wanted to be professional and wanted to be a good neighbor. He pointed out that there were limited numbers of dispensaries as Loveland and Windsor had banned them. He stated that the grow site would be located in eastern Colorado. He stated that he had a plan to provide a line of different products and different outlets besides sweets for patients to consume as he wanted to provide the best alternative/product to help the people. He stated that there would be no expansion as there was a moratorium and under the Special Review he could not expand. He noted that under the State regulations he could only care for 300 patients. In regards to the property values, all sites he noted were located within one mile of a dispensary.
Commissioner Miller stated that he was initially opposed to the request; however, after analysis he was inclined to believe that it could be possibly be the only dispensary in Loveland if they were banned in Loveland and Windsor.
Commissioner Wendt applauded the applicant in his due diligence in his application and presentation. He stated that the location was within 500 feet from a residence.
Commissioner Hess was impressed by the applicant’s professionalism; however, there was a distance requirement which the location did not meet.
Commissioner Weitkunat also commented on the applicant’s professionalism and felt that there was legitimacy in the business. Nevertheless, the proposed use had to be compatible with the surrounding neighborhood and it was not.
Commissioner Cox echoed the prior comments regarding incompatibility with the surrounding neighborhood. She did not feel that having 30 dispensaries in the area was necessary.
Commissioner Glick also agreed with the quality of the application. He stated that he could not support the appeal from the distance requirements. He thanked the citizens for commenting.
Chairman Hart echoed the other comments. He stated that the criterion regarding surrounding neighborhoods would be met.
Commissioner Weitkunat moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners that Organic Solutions Special Review, file #10-Z1812, for the property described on “Exhibit A” to the minutes, be denied.
Commissioner Hess seconded the Motion.
Commissioner Miller voted against the Motion.
Commissioners' Cox, Glick, Hess, Wallace, Weitkunat, and Chairman Hart voted in favor of the Motion.
MOTION PASSED: 7-1
ITEM #3 BECKERS STABLE SPECIAL REVIEW #10-Z1797: Mr. Helmick provided background information on the request for a boarding stable for up to 40 horses located on the east side of Taft Hill Road north of Vine Drive, south of the Poudre River. The site was in the Fort Collins Growth Management Area, and the application was initiated in 2007 as the result of a Code Compliance complaint regarding the number of horses on the site. The site was 4.5 acres and contained a single family home, a barn, several shelters and sheds, an outdoor arena and two large open pen areas. The applicant owned approximately 10 horses and boarded another 24-30. There were several surrounding property owners opposed to the level and intensity of the proposal. He mentioned that there had been livestock/equestrian uses on the site for the past decade if not longer. He explained that the area was contiguous to City Limits and was eligible for annexation; however, the site was to go through Special Review and clear up all code compliance issues before the City of Fort Collins would annex the site. He stated that the applicant proposed manure management and storage, removal of lights on the outdoor arena, plans to create five pens and two turn out areas, and revegetation and maintenance of ground cover for the turn outs. He noted that there were concerns that the proposed measures would not survive with a change of ownership. The Development Services Team concluded that the use was too intense for the site and was not compatible with the surrounding area.
Commissioner Hess asked if donkeys were considered horses according to the land use code.
Mr. Helmick replied yes. Mr. Beckers owned three miniature donkeys.
Commissioner Miller inquired about the history of the site and how long it had been used for equestrian/livestock uses.
Mr. Helmick replied that it had been used for at least 13 years with evidence of it possibly occurring in the 1980’s and even the 1970’s.
Commissioner Wallace asked when the arena was constructed?
Mr. Helmick replied that the arena was there prior to the current owner.
Shane Beckers, 1012 N. Taft Hill Road, bought the property in 1997. He stated that the farm was built in 1927, and the property had primarily been used over the last 30 years for keeping horses and other livestock. He stated that the road/driveway on the property had been covered with recycled asphalt and showed how had rebuilt the house, barn and planted approximately 80 trees on the property. He mentioned manure management and stated that the pens were cleaned every day and proposed to build concrete bunkers in several areas to contain the manure. He stated that the manure was hauled out every two weeks. He explained that the areas where drainage would occur were covered with sand, and the area was sloped to help with drainage. He also mentioned that he applied dust mitigation in the pens called Arena RX. He stated that the bridge over Larimer County Canal #2 was rebuilt to address the concerns of the fire department. He mentioned that he purchased a sprinkler to water the arena to help with dust control and also stated that he was addressing fly and mosquitoes issues. He proposed to build four pens that were 50x50 to help manage the manure with the rest of the area used for grass areas. To help with neighborhood impact there would be no arena lights, no activity after 9 pm, and no public events. He was proposing to maintain 35 total horses on the property. He also stated that he was open to requiring that the Special Review be tied to the owner.
Commissioner Hess asked how many horses were on the property.
Mr. Becker stated that he owned 10 horses with a total of 36 horses currently on the property.
Commissioner Cox asked why he wanted 35 horses.
Mr. Becker stated that it was for sustainability and investment of equipment to maintain a good quality boarding facility.
Commissioner Cox asked what the boarding rates were.
Mr. Becker stated the range could be from $50 to $700.
Commissioner Miller asked about the number of horses that were previously on the property.
Mr. Becker replied that there were approximately 20 horses and 15-20 steers.
Commissioner Wallace asked about the arena usage.
Mr. Becker stated that the arena was used once or twice a day and on weekends.
Commissioner Wallace asked if the horses were taken off site.
Mr. Becker replied that the horses were mainly residents on the property.
Dr. Bruce Connolly, veterinarian at CSU, stated that he serviced some of the horses on site. The facility was well managed and very clean. He spoke to Mr. Becker’s personality and felt that he could handle the number of horses being asked for.
Todd Mowrer, lived next door to the applicant. He stated that Mr. Beckers had been out of compliance for years. He explained that the properties were long and narrow and affected the surrounding neighbors. He questioned the water source on the property. The stable hours noise and activity usually occurred at times when surrounding neighbors were home, and he felt that the use in the neighborhood was incompatible. He noted that there were still arena light poles. He also stated that boarding should be limited to day time hours or until 7 pm. Property values were also an issue plus he felt that annexation would affect values.
Commissioner Cox asked how long he lived on the property.
Mr. Mowrer replied since 1991.
Commissioner Miller asked if the previous owner had equestrian and livestock uses when he purchased his property.
Mr. Mowrer replied yes.
Kathy Doesken, lived within 500 feet of the subject property and kept three horses on her 5-acre property. She was a soil scientist and had done work with manure management. She was also on the Larimer County working group regarding the horse regulations. From the working group it was found that more complaints came from smaller acreage properties and it made it hard to mitigate the issues. She stated that the back of the property had a large open area where no vegetation was growing, and she did not feel like revegetation on that portion was possible. She felt that there should only be 9-10 horses, and the current use was incompatible with the neighborhood. She felt that there needed to be some soil testing on the site.
Gene Wilkon, owned property next to the applicant, stated that neither his tenants nor he had any objections to the use. He pointed out that horses did not make much noise, and the applicant was trying to minimize any concerns. He did not believe it would jeopardize property values in the area.
LuAnn Goodyear, was on the Larimer County horse working group and owned a boarding facility. She had 80 acres and 5 acres were sacrificed land. She acknowledged that the applicant did take care of the property. She was familiar with the dust control mitigation used by the applicant but noted that where the mitigation occurred was not where the horses were moving/running around. The back part of the property was all sacrificed area, and she was concerned with the density of horses for the area.
John Paul, 1100 N Taft Hill Road, stated that the road in and out of the property was narrow and with the number of horse proposed it was a lot of traffic. He was also concerned with the number of horses on the small acreage.
Roger Smith, Sterling Lane, was concerned if the area was annexed and what would happen to his road. He questioned whether it would then be maintained by the city.
Leone Coryell, realtor, stated that it was a very well-maintained property and felt that he did a lot of mitigation. She did not see the property values going down and thought it was compatible with the area.
Lee Noda, stated that the applicant had been a good neighbor and he was trying to address all the concerns.
Linda Mowrer, lived south of the applicant, stated that she had complained about the property for 13 years. There was dirt and manure on the property and dust blowing. She felt that the property was more like a feedlot and stated that were many flies. She mentioned that many of the horses arrived after the zoning complaint was filed and stated that the small acreages had impacts on each other.
Kirsty Smith, boarded a horse at the Becker’s property and stated that the property was kept nice. She stated that affordable horse boarding was hard to come by so a small facility was needed.
Mr. Becker stated that he planned to have dust control mitigation on all of the property. Ms. Becker felt that the pasture revegitation would work and explained that she had purchased an arena reel to help water the property. She also stated that all pens would have Arena RX. He stated that fly and dust were issues that could be worked on with the neighbors who also had horses and flies. She stated that they were trying to solve all issues and noted that they felt that it was important to maintain the property and control all of the issues. He also pointed out that the neighbors had a dog grooming business which created traffic. He remarked that they were willing to work with the neighbors and had in the past and that he wanted to attach the Special Review to the owners not the property. He stated that they were willing to reduce the number of horses to 30.
Chairman Hart asked if the Special Review could be attached to the owners and not with the land.
Mr. Lafferty replied that it could be done but was not desirable.
Commissioner Wendt asked what would occur if the application was denied.
Mr. Helmick stated that he would be limited to 9 horses.
Jeff Goodell, Engineering Department, addressed the traffic issue and stated that the property generated less traffic compared to other properties. He noted that the traffic generated did not warrant a turn lane.
Commissioner Miller commented that the property had historically been used in the same way over the last 22 years.
Commissioner Glick remarked that if the property was not approved than there was no guarantee that the sacrifice area would be reseeded. If a Special Review was approved then the County could guarantee that the land was taken care of.
Commissioner Wallace did not believe that the property had the right to have preexisting numbers on the site, especially since it had not been in compliance in the past. She felt that 35 horses was too many on the site but believed that a smaller number could be approved.
Commissioner Weitkunat stated that the applicant seemed to manage the property well; nevertheless, 4.5 acres was too small to have that many horses.
Commissioner Cox stated that the site was a poster child for why Larimer County created regulations for equine facilities. She understood that the requested number of horses applied for was due to a sustainability issue. She wondered if there was a better balance as she believed that the number of horses currently on the site could be causing the increase of mitigation needs.
Chairman Hart agreed that the applicant was doing a great job to restore the property. He stated that the impact to the land had been great, and he did not believe that the application met the Special Review criteria.
Commissioner Glick moved that the Planning Commission adopt the following Resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Planning Commission recommend to the Board of County Commissioners that the Beckers Stable Special Review, file #10-Z1797, for the property described on “Exhibit B” to the minutes, be denied.
Commissioner Wendt seconded the Motion.
Commissioners’ Hess and Miller voted against the Motion.
Commissioners' Cox, Glick, Wallace, Weitkunat, Wendt and Chairman Hart voted in favor of the Motion.
MOTION PASSED: 6-2
REPORT FROM STAFF: Mr. Lafferty reminded the Commission of their upcoming meetings.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the hearing adjourned at 10:15 p.m.
These minutes constitute the Resolution of the Larimer County Planning Commission for the recommendations contained herein which are hereby certified to the Larimer County Board of Commissioners.
Gerald Hart, Chairman Jana Hess, Secretary
Lot 6, Colland Center 3rd Subdivision
TR IN S ½ N ½ S ½ NW ¼ SW ¼ 3-7-69 DESC: BEG AT NW COR OF S ½ N ½ S ½ NW ¼ SW ¼, S 90.6 FT TPOB, E 146.75 FT, N 44.1’ E 15.65 FT, E 58 FT, N 81.19 FT, N 89 30’ 32” E 1097.8 FT, S 0 0’ 39” W 164.7 FT, S 89 30’ 12” W 1313.4 FT, N 74.23 FT TPOB (C33S00E); LESS W 40 FT RD AS IN 1781-599