At the August 28th Board of Trustees meeting, a Public Hearing was held on the conditional use permit held by the Reclamation Ridge gravel pit. The Town had received reports of violations, including stockpiling of materials, operating after hours, dust, noise and traffic.
The hearing had been scheduled after proper notice had been given by the Town. Town Attorney Scott Krob explained that it was a quasi-judicial hearing of complaints that also allows Reclamation Ridge to respond. The Trustees had several possible options to consider: if violations were found, whether to terminate their agreement, suspend the conditional use permit which is due to expire in March 2019, modify the permit as deemed appropriate and/or impose up to $1,000 per day in fine(s) for violation(s).
Based on testimony given during the hearing, the Trustees needed to determine whether conditions had been violated, and if so, which sanctions should be imposed.
The hearing started with complaints and residents of homes in close proximity to the gravel pit talked of concerns with traffic, dust, noise and visibility of equipment and material stockpiles. Several submitted photos and documentation to the Trustees as supplement to their complaints.
Ken Evans, with Reclamation Ridge, next addressed each of the complaints as they had been heard. Evans told the Trustees that the fuel truck that had been reported on CR 613 was not delivering fuel to the gravel pit. He explained that the fuel company they use, Blackwell Oil, has red trucks, and that they always enter from Highway 34. He also pointed out that there isn’t any way to get into the gravel pit from CR 613 and asked the complainant why he hadn’t spoken with the driver to ask where he was headed.
Evans stated that noise is also a non-issue. Utilizing a decibel meter to measure noise levels in a radius surrounding the pit, they found that, at 100’, noise was recorded at 74 decibels. In comparison, a lawnmower measures 120 decibels. The noise proved non-reportable at homes located closeby. He told the Trustees the reports were on record and he would be happy to provide them.
As for operating hours, Evans stated that he had been at the pit most of the summer and they shut down crusher operations around 6:45 pm and were never open past 7 pm. He asked the Trustees “If there is a violation, where’s the report from the Sheriff or Police Department?” He told them he had requested the information but had not received anything.
Evans admitted there’s dust in operations, trucks, loaders running from source to crusher and from the crusher itself. He told the Trustees that, two days after the last meeting where he gave them an update, complaints had been filed with the state. It started at the Division of Minerals and Geology and then went on to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and they had already been up to the pit conducting multiple investigations. “Per the mining land reclamation department, they reported back that we are in compliance”, said Evans.
“Every morning, at 4 am, we are up watering the roads – we have a schedule of who waters and when we water”, Evans stated. No citations have been received from CDPHE and they were found to be fully in compliance. He added that they are also responsible to reclaim the property. “They have over $100,000 of our money to make sure we do the right thing”.
On the subject of stockpiled materials, Evans encouraged the Trustees to read paragraph N of the agreement. The definition of neighboring properties, as town and the board decided, meant “immediate neighboring properties”. The only property that fits this description is the Holly property, and, “nothing has changed in the landscape”. Evans told the Trustees the stockpiles above the mesa are a minimum of 15’ lower than the existing headwall. “You can see their house from the pit floor, could see it one, three, five years ago, and, in 2007, when the pit was purchased. “This is a non-issue on our side”, said Evans.
Several others, including a former owner of the pit and Reclamation Ridge’s Safety Officer, addressed the Board in support of pit operations, safety and compliance.
Next, the Board worked to determine whether there were and violations, and if so, which conditions. They recognized there was no compelling evidence proving operation outside their normal hours of operation, found that complaints related to dust and noise were credible (but subjective) and the stockpiles were within view of nearby homes.
Trustee Johnson motioned that the height of the stockpiles was in violation and visible from neighboring properties. Trustee O’Flaherty seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Trustee Raible asked Evans “Is there anything you can do to lower the height of the piles?” Evans responded, saying “I would have never entered into the conditional use permit if I knew we’d be here tonight. Nothing has changed to the view corridors, you could see equipment, a person walking – nothing has changed. It is not possible to reduce height – we cannot change the height”.
The Board agreed that, before they would levy any sort of penalty, they needed time to make a more educated decision on what modification to the agreement they wished to make. “I’d like to see us get this done sooner than later,” said Trustee Shaw.
Grand Elk Traffic Control options presented
Next, Chief James Kraker presented his findings on the traffic study to the Board and residents in attendance at the meeting. The study had been conducted in response to a request on Thompson and nearby roads in the Grand Elk subdivision. CR 56, where it turns into Thompson Road and continues to US 40 being the primary area of focus.
Granby PD had placed a traffic trailer and recorded a “non-scientific” study. Kraker told them the results had been skewed due to construction traffic running from site to site, but that they had identified peak traffic times.
Following up after neighbors had placed a non-compliant speed bump to try to slow traffic down, Kraker said that placement of signage should be more than 20-28’, as was initially placed by neighbors. He did say that properly engineered speed bumps would serve to funnel traffic to Thompson Road, but that EMS and Fire officials should also give opinion on this solution.
Kraker said he had also spoken with Chris Baer at Grand County Road and Bridge and he is willing to post signage on County Road 56 advising drivers of reduced speeds from 40 mph to 25 mph in the next month.
Adding that patrolling will be increased, Kraker stated “added enforcement will be huge”. He told the Board and residents “This isn’t insurmountable. I believe in engineering, but I believe in communication and education as well”.
The study did not recommend placement of a stop sign, but did recommend properly engineered speed bumps (suited for speeds of 25 mph) on Wildhorse and Ten Mile Drive.
Grand Elk residents voiced their concerns stemming from speeding traffic traveling through their neighborhoods. One resident stated “I don’t want to see a child or a golfer hit because we didn’t do anything about it”. Another stated that thousands of subdivisions have speed bumps. “Common sense has to prevail here”. Residents told the Trustees that neither EMS nor the Fire Department drove through their neighborhoods very often and shouldn’t be factored in the decision.
A resident of CR 56 stated “I don’t think it’s necessary to penalize the many for the indiscretions of a few.” Adding that he’d like to see residents of Grand Elk abide by pedestrian laws as well. “Nobody uses the pedestrian path on Thompson”. Another resident told Chief Kraker he agreed that a reduced speed ahead sign would help. “There are alot of construction people working up the hill, and they’re not familiar with the roads. If the traffic trailer wasn’t there, they wouldn’t even know they were speeding”.
Mayor Paul Chavoustie asked if there was a place to install a permanent speed limit flasher that advises people they’re speeding? The devices cost between $3,000-4,000 and they have been proven effective as a reminder to slow down.
Grand County EMS Chief, Ray Jennings, told them he has driven ambulances for over 35 years and sustained damage from speed bumps and dips. “The ambulance is a 15,500 pound vehicle, and the passenger would like a smooth ride”. Jennings stated that EMS has responded to calls in Grand Elk quite often. “For us, when you talk about speed control – let’s put up better signage and enforce the speed limits. Signs make a huge difference”.
Ron Thompson, Granby Fire Chief also told them they’ve had numerous calls in Grand Elk. “Fire Trucks weigh 56,000 pounds and having to stop at dips in the road wastes time.”
“We’re gonna look at it carefully and come back and make a recommendation” said Chief Kraker.
September 11th Executive Session results in successful negotiation
At the September 11th meeting, following an Executive Session, the Board approved all eight items discussed during the closed session. All items pertained to the new Sun Communities development in west Granby. It is anticipated that Smith Creek Crossing (“SCC”) will be open for occupancy on or about the summer of 2019. Sun may phase the construction, and in this scenario, would target 150-200 sites being ready on this date and the balance being completed and open in the summer of 2020.
The Residency/Non-residency Transition Plan splits buyers into two groups in the initial stage.
Group 1: Town of Granby residents, individuals employed full time by a business located within the Town of Granby, Town of Granby business owners, Town of Granby full time employees, Granby Sanitation District full time employees, East Grand School District full time employees, and Grand Fire Protection District No. 1 full time employees, who intend to make SCC their primary residence.
Group 2: Grand County Residents. Group 1 shall have first priority to purchase a home and rent a home site. Sun shall open sales and lot reservations exclusively to Group 1 by the fall of 2018, when marketing and reservation systems are ready for business (the “Reservation Start Date”). Group 1 shall have first right/priority for all available sites for 3 months from the Reservation Start Date. After the initial 3 months have elapsed, the sales and lot reservation system shall be expanded to include Group 1 as well as Group 2 for an additional 3 months.
For a period of 6 months, beginning on the date that is 6 months after the Reservation Start date, 50% of the remaining non-rented sites shall be solely available to Group 2, and the balance of the sites shall be open to any and all customers.
On the date that is 12 months after the Reservation Start Date, all sites shall be open to any and all customers. Availability of sites with Group 1 and/or Group 2 having priority extends for 12 months from the Reservation Start Date, based on the above scenario.
Short-term Rental restrictions: Resident-owned homes will only be allowed to be rented to third party tenants for a minimum of 3 months. This will be written into the community’s Rules/Covenants.
Sun reserves the right to maintain any mix of resident owned, rental units, and employee sites in the community. Sun may also sell to other employers or institutions who wish to provide employee housing.
Long-term affordability restrictions: Lot rent increases shall not exceed 7% per year, without Town approval.
Short-term Rental regulations drafted
Town Manager Aaron Blair next presented a draft version of rules and regulations pertaining to short-term rentals to the Trustees. He told them this was for their review and future discussion. Issues identified to be problematic include noise, number of occupants, parking, pets and trash and the goal is to find the best way to regulate STRs. The Trustees will look at locations in town that make the best sense, possibly setting limitations on number of STRs allowed in given areas/districts, maximum occupancy calculation, parking and trash challenges. Blair told them he’d schedule a workshop for November 13th to discuss the topic in further detail.
Town agrees to fund cost of Railroad Museum tap fee, with conditions
The Board next discussed possible funding of water tap fees for the Moffat Road Railroad Museum. The Trustees pledged their support of the Museum, but questioned the ability of the museum to fund the installation, estimated at over $9,000. After much discussion, the Board approved funding the $7,170 water tap fee, with the condition that an amended lease, defining museum responsibility of water and sewer fees going forward, be signed, and, that the Town would fund the tap fee when the museum’s escrow account has sufficient funds available to pay for installation.
Downtown Business Enhancement
Blair provided the Trustees with the quarterly Main Street USA update. He told them that DOLA recently came up and spoke to the Chamber Board. The report shows what businesses have opened as well as active projects.
The Dairy Apartment have a permit for excavation to install necessary electrical and water/sewer connections into the foundation. Demo on the project could be in the next couple of weeks. The building itself is of modular construction and is planned to be delivered in January where it will be set in a matter of a few days.
The Granby Garage is in permit phase and will start with work to be done on west side of building. A steel addition should be here September 25 and they’ll also be working on the inside extensively. The business hopes to be open by the end of year. When completed, it will feature a large outdoor patio and there will be no parking in front of the building.
Mind Springs Health is moving into the old PRC building and the Council on Aging will be moving into Mountain Family Center, who will be moving the Thrift Store to the street front location, and will have services in the rear.
Trustee O’Flaherty observed “the changes are really getting traction”. She described a billboard she had seen in Cork, Ireland that showed the town’s projects to date, what was underway and planned and she felt that something like this would be great for the town, to show how we are managing growth. The Town’s sign code prohibits placement of a billboard, but Blair agreed to see if he could find a wall for placement in the Visitor’s Center and Town Clerk, Deb Hess, stated she’d look into poster sizes.
Mayor Chavoustie gave an update on River Run Ranch, telling the Trustees that they are installing 400-500 feet of pipe a day per crew (they have 3 crews) and they already have 10,000’ of pipe installed. They’ve also shared their gratitude in finding that the work done by the previous owner was of very good quality and is holding up well.
To learn more, visit townofgranby.com.