Loveland Bike Trail
 

LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

November 13, 2007

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Jennifer Lee

 

Dale Adamy

Dale Lockwood

 

 

Todd McCowin

 

Staff:

Vic Meyer

 

Doug Ryan

Devin Odell

 

 

Heidi Steltzer

 

 

Bill Zawacki

 

 

 

Quorum: 

This meeting did not contain a quorum, so no official action was taken. 

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Those in attendance introduced themselves.

 

Discussion Items:

Wind Energy Regulations.  The county Planning Department has been working with staff and a number of interested parties on a project to develop land use regulations for wind energy facilities.  The EAB received an initial update on this issue at their meeting in April of 2007.  The general concept for these regulations will be presented to the Planning Commission and County Commissioners at a worksession on November 14.   This discussion item was scheduled to update the EAB and obtain their comments ahead of the worksession.  Doug Ryan has participated on this project as a member of the staff committee.  He outlined the current regulatory concept.  Wind towers have been divided into two classes:  wind energy facilities and accessory generators.  Wind energy facilities are those public or private operations intended to supply electricity from wind generators to customers.  Accessory generators are designed to serve a residence or other development that is on a specific parcel.

 

Private wind energy facilities would be required to go through a land use special review process.  This involves two public hearings and a demonstration of compliance with the review criteria for all special review proposals contained in Section 4.5.3 of the Land Use Code.  Those criteria include the standards related to wildlife, wetlands, hazard areas, and water quality.  In addition, these windfarms would need to comply with a list of specific standards for visual impacts, setbacks, lighting, underground electric lines, noise, access roads and eventual decommissioning.  Applications would need to include detailed studies related to wildlife, wetlands, noise and visual impact.  Public wind energy facilities will be require to apply for a Location and Extent permit as provided in state statutes and the county land use code.  The standard for review for these public facilities is compliance with the county Master Plan.  Because the land use code is designed to implement the vision outlined in the Master Plan, staff would intend to use the land use code standards for private wind energy facilities as a guide to gauge compliance with the Master Plan.

 

Accessory wind generators would fall into two categories: those allowed by right and those requiring a minor special review approval.  Uses by right would be limited to a 40 foot height on a property of at least five acres.  The Minor Special Review category would allow a height up to 75 feet on properties as small as two acres.  The application process for accessory generators would be less detailed than for the full special review.  For example, it is not anticipated that these applications would require a wildlife study or a noise modeling report. 

 

The Advisory Board discussed the general concept for each process, and the level of detail needed required for each type of facility.  They agreed that it is appropriate to obtain detailed analyses on important issues such as wildlife and noise for the wind energy facilities, and that the lack of expected impacts for accessory generators justified a simpler more streamlined process.  A specific suggestion is to consider whether the prohibition on lighting for accessory generators needs be modified to reflect the possibility of a requirement by the FAA.  Mr. Ryan will report back to the Planning Commission and County Commissioners on the EAB discussion.

 

Stormwater Quality Ordinance.   The Advisory Board reviewed the draft ordinance related to stormwater quality.  This ordinance was prepared as part of the overall effort to comply with the County’s NPDES Phase II stormwater permit.  That permit is administered under the authority of the Clean Water Act as delegated to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  One requirement of the permit is to develop a regulation to address illicit connections and discharges into the storm drainage system.  The Advisory Board indicated that the draft ordinance was comprehensive and would be seen as a valuable tool for protecting water quality.  By consensus, the Board authorized the Chair to send a letter of support for adoption of the ordinance.

 

Environmental Priorities.  This is an EAB initiated project to consider important environmental issues and to ultimately communicate about them to the County Commissioners.  Members reviewed their past discussions about environmental priorities going back to February 2006.  One of the important themes that have emerged from these discussions relates to the regional nature of many environmental issues.  Effectively dealing with these types of issues requires coordinated action across government jurisdictions.  One recent unsuccessful example is the attempt to put together a regional transportation authority.  Members indicated that one way to approach coordinated regional efforts is to be alert for projects that have the potential for movement only if they can generate leadership and cooperation among a wide segment of the community.  The EAB intends to consider such projects that involve substantial environmental issues.   One current example is the North I-25 Environmental Impact Study.  This study has been followed by the EAB since 2002, and has the potential to substantially impact future transportation and land use in the region.  The web link to this study is at:  http://www.dot.state.co.us/northi25eis/.  Mr. Ryan will check back with the EIS project team on the possibility of a future update for the EAB.

 

Chair’s Comments:

Dale Lockwood reported on the activities of the EAB’s uranium committee.  This month the committee met with Thomas E. Johnson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at Colorado State University to review his research.  Dr. Johnson has prepared an extensive bibliography of published studies related to uranium mining and use issues.  The committee will continue to research available information and will report back to the EAB when they are ready to review their initial findings. 

 

Updates: 

Doug Ryan reported that he met with the County Commissioners in October to review the EAB recommendations for Environmental Stewardship Awards.  The Commissioners felt that the EAB discussion on the nominations was very useful.  In light of their deliberations and concurrence with the EAB recommendations, the final selection has been made.  Five awards will be presented on December 3 at 3:00 PM in the Commissioners Hearing Room.

 

Doug Ryan provided an update on the Greeley Pipeline Location & Extent application that the EAB commented on in October. The Planning Commission voted to approve the permit with conditions that will require the City of Greeley to work closely with property owners and to develop a best management practices manual to guide the final pipeline selection criteria within the corridor.  One of the effected property owners sent a letter responding to the EAB’s comments.  Dale Lockwood forwarded that response back to the County Commissioners along with a letter to the property owner informing them of the EAB’s responsibility to limit their direct communications to the Commissioners as outlined in county policy for boards and commissions.

 

Bill Zawacki passed around an announcement for the November 14 meeting of the Northern Colorado Clean Energy Cluster’ Innovation after Hours networking and education forum. 

 

EAB Issue Index:

Doug Ryan will update the Issue Index related to the topics discussed at the meeting.

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:30 pm. 

Background Image: Loveland Bike Trail by Sharon Veit. All rights reserved.