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Red Feather Lakes Planning Advisory Committee - Special Meeting 12/7/23

by Nanci Wendland


For more information see the full notes document here.*

View the meeting agenda and packet.


From the Larimer County Boards & Commissions website: “The Red Feather Lakes Planning Advisory Committee (RFLPAC) is a committee of citizens who live, work/volunteer or own property within the Red Feather Lakes Plan Area, appointed by the Larimer County Board of Commissioners. Its purpose is to provide an organized forum to facilitate communication with the County and within the community on issues that impact Red Feather Lakes.”


Key Points from the Dec. 07 meeting:

Frustration is high in Red Feather Lakes (RFL). Larimer County commissioners denied 2 requests from the Planning Advisory committee and updating a 2005-2006 plan for RFL is moving very slowly. 


Now what do they do? The county denied a request for additional funding for ongoing maintenance of an approved RFL public bathroom facility. The RFL Advisory Committee wants a downtown bathroom facility for the public. As more and more people come to RFL for recreation, the only public bathroom facility is in the library, which is closed on weekends. The town requested $25,000 annually. 


Several committee members have been collecting signatures for petitions to get extra funding from the county for the public facility. Now that funding is denied, RFL has space donated for it, but no way to pay for its maintenance. Committee member Grissom is frustrated that out of an approximate $69 million annual budget, the county won’t spare $25,000 to RFL. Due to inflation and increased property taxes, the committee doesn’t want to request an increase in local tax to pay for this.   


Planner Everett and committee Chair Weixelman decided to pick this subject up again at a future work session. 


RFL school zones and child safety will not receive support from Larimer County. 


The committee previously discussed how every year drivers must be reminded to slow down in school zones and stop when a school bus has its flashing lights on. Committee member Gaskill took a list of requests to the Board of County Commissioners. All the following requests were denied.

  • Larger signs. The school is very poorly marked. 

  • Flashing lights at the school zone.

  • Additional signage before the school zone reminding drivers to slow down. 

  • Sheriff patrol before and after school.


Planner Everett said she will get with Mark Peterson, traffic planner, and ask if he’ll come up to RFL and evaluate the problem. Committee member Johnson commented that more kids are living up there now and the county could do something before a child is injured or killed. 


In October, Larimer County Commissioner Kefalas was adamant that the committee read the 2024 RFL plan, update the vision, and mark the data that needs updating. 


At the October 26th meeting, Commissioner Kefalas gave the RFL committee a homework assignment: Review the RFL vision and plan from 2005-2006 and redline sections that need to be updated and/or changed. The committee members were prepared to review and discuss. Commissioner Kefalas did not attend this meeting but in his absence, Larimer County Planner Everett and long-term project Planner, Lafferty, gave guidance on how to start the conversation. 

  1. What does the future of RFL look like?

  2. Has the vision changed from 18 years ago?

  3. Identify land use for downtown.

  4. Is the aim housing growth, or more commercial growth?

  5. Will the town’s infrastructure support future growth? 

  6. Should the growth be on the east side, west, or north?


The conversation was robust. Several committee members wanted more work sessions to discuss ideas in more detail. Planner Everett said there aren’t enough staff to support additional meetings in RFL. Planner Lafferty added that the Larimer County Manager is reviewing all county boards and commissions and how they operate to restructure, update procedures, and prioritize projects in the county in 2024. 


Committee members shared ideas and concerns. Member Schmidt wants to address water and sewer infrastructure. RFL is currently using septic systems that are contaminating the wells used for water. Schmidt said a lot of well tests fail, but the county doesn’t do anything about it. She said high concentrations of arsenic and nitrites have been found in RFL well water. 


Planner Everett asked, “Is it the plan that needs changing, or implementation of the original plan?” Committee member Grissom says he believes the plan is correct, it’s just nothing’s been done about it. Vice Chair Hughes thinks the biggest challenge is convincing residents this is important because a lot of people don’t want growth or change. 


Planner Lafferty asked the committee to present 3 or 4 high-priority projects they want to address and be ready to present to the commissioners in 2024. The committee is going to form a group to brainstorm. Committee member Johnson said the group “needs to decide what we want, why, and how it will affect people.” 


Public Comments started the meeting.

Syd, a resident of Red Feather Lakes claimed that at a November meeting the County Commissioners treated the board “like a room of naughty children.” The group was told by commissioners to get organized, be more efficient, and stop wasting their time. Syd said she will personally host meetings and discuss whatever she wants.  


Fred, president of the RFL Chamber, and volunteer for the RFL Fire Department said he has extra equipment that the town needs and wants to know who in county government could help him facilitate an agreement. Commissioner Kefalas was not at the meeting to answer Fred’s questions. Planner Lafferty will investigate and get back to Fred. Fred also wants to help RFL improve communication with residents and business owners. He said businesses are not aware of this Planning Advisory Committee. If the business owners need or want something, they go directly to the chamber. Fred said the county has been receptive to the Chamber requests and he’s willing to assist this committee with communicating to the county and the residents.    


The meeting adjourned at 3:58 PM.

Next meeting: Jan. 25, 2024, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Firehouse meeting room, 44 Firehouse Lane, Red Feather Lakes, CO


Questions:

  1. Does this committee know about the Safe Routes to School grant for rural areas such as RFL?

  2. Will they consider state grants for the public restroom?

  3. Will Larimer County connect some of its communities to share learning from similar challenges? 


Members Present: Daniel Defibaugh; Ryan McAdams; Lora Gaskill; Ryan Zigray; John Johnson; Roger Svendsen; Vice Chair, Caryn Hughes; Patrick Grissom; Lucille Schmidt. 

Members Absent: Don Rogers; Chair – Janice Weixelman (called in for the first 10 minutes then dropped off the call); Larimer County Liaison Commissioner John Kefalas.

Others Present to Note: Christina Scrutchins, Administrator; Matthew Lafferty, City Planner; Jared Seay, Larimer County Technology; Rebecca Everette, Larimer County Planner; Kate with Larimer County Planning; Fred, President RFL Chamber & volunteer firefighter in RFL; Syd, resident of RFL. 


*Citizen Observers further the commitment of the League of Women Voters to its principle of Citizens Right to Know, however, we are not acting as journalists. Omissions and errors are possible. It is assumed that users of this information are responsible for their own fact-checking. This could include contacting a government clerk, conversing with an elected official or staff, and/or asking us to speak to the Observer who attended.

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