The July 17 city council meeting, beginning at 7 pm in the Council Chambers at 350 Kimbark Street, will be an Open Forum for residents to talk for 5 minutes each to council members about any topic on their minds. There are no other items on the agenda for this meeting. Residents who wish to speak will need to sign up in the lobby of Council Chambers between 6:45pm and 7pm.
City staff is hoping to finalize the first half of the Land Development Code updates in the next couple of months and will then move on to the second half of updates, including those pertaining to rivers/streams/wetlands/riparian areas (15.05.020) and habitat and species protection (15.05.030). Therefore, this is a very crucial time to speak up in favor of stronger riparian and wildlife protections.
Please attend the July 17th city council meeting and consider speaking during the Open Forum to encourage city staff to:
Rewrite the criteria in 15.05.020(E)(3)(b) used to identify circumstances where the 150-foot riparian setback may be reduced in order to eliminate loopholes and
provide more stringent requirements that will effectively protect rivers/streams and riparian habitat from encroaching development/redevelopment;
Expressly prohibit artificial lighting along Longmont’s greenways and within its open spaces and riparian corridors to protect nocturnal wildlife and maintain wildlife movement corridors;
Establish light fixture shielding requirements and vegetation buffers to minimize the impacts of light and noise pollution from nearby development on greenways, open spaces, and riparian corridors, which is especially necessary along the St. Vrain where the removal of vegetation has eliminated an important natural screen and sound dampener;
Restrict building heights adjacent to riparian areas;
Minimize the amount of impervious materials that contribute to storm-water runoff (e.g. concrete sidewalks and parking lots) near rivers/streams and other bodies of water;
Require in 15.05.030 (H) that the planning and development manager rather than the applicant for development retain “a qualified person with demonstrated expertise in the field “ to prepare a required species or habitat conservation plan and that the applicant will reimburse the city for the cost of preparing the conservation plan.; and
Require that variance requests pertaining to the 150-foot riparian setback be decided upon by City Council, an elected body, rather than the Planning and Zoning Commission.
So what’s behind the propensity for floods in Ellicott City? Part of the problem is its vulnerable location: the town lies at the foot of a hill where river branches meet the Patapsco River. And, of course, climate change makes storms wetter and increases the frequency of severe, record-breaking weather. But there’s another thing people are pointing out: concrete. When hard, impermeable concrete replaces absorbent green spaces, it’s much easier for floodwaters to overwhelm stormwater drainage.
Tomorrow, June 12, Longmont City Council will hear from Riverset, LLC., owners of 21 S. Sunset Street, on their proposal that the City annex their property. The property, which is approximately 21 acres formerly owned and mined by Aggregate Industries, lies east of Roger’s Grove and south of St. Vrain Creek. Although the property did not flood during the September 2013 flood event, it is considered to be within the flood plain.
Riverset LLC. plans to develop the property as a mixed use commercial area. However, there are no concrete plans yet on what that might look like. Given the proximity to both Roger’s Grove and St. Vrain Creek, as well as its position within the flood plain, Stand With Our St. Vrain Creek is watching this development closely.
As part of the process to update its Open Space Master Plan, the City of Longmont conducted a survey earlier this year to get feedback on community priorities with regards to open space. The City sent out a survey invite to random Longmont residents as well as allowed people who weren’t selected for the survey to respond to the survey questions on the City’s website.
Survey results have now been posted. Of the top 10 findings of the survey, a majority of survey respondents believe additional open space properties should be acquired to keep pace with population growth. Most respondents also believe that the most important function of open space is to protect natural areas from development, and that it is important to preserve wildlife habitat (including rivers, creeks, riparian corridors, and wetlands).
According to an interview with former FEMA director Craig Fugate, some of the most populous areas of Colorado, including Boulder County, are likely to see more and worse flooding as a result of the current drought. Fugate points to Fort Collins’ program to buy up land in the flood plain as green space as one way to protect against flood damage to homes and businesses.
Longmont’s Planning and Zoning Commission will be holding a public hearing on the updates to the Land Development Code on April 25th at 7pm at the Civic Center (350 Kimbark Street). Please consider attending and speaking in favor of protecting our riparian corridors and Open Space.
Though the sections on habitat and riparian protections are not being updated at this time so their updates coincide with the revamp of the City’s Wildlife Management Plan, the section of the code involving public notification regarding developments IS being updated. Because ALL Longmont residents benefit from the St. Vrain corridor and the City’s Open Space, ALL Longmont residents should be notified when a development application is submitted for a property adjacent to the St. Vrain or City Open Space and not just those residents living within 1000 feet of the proposed development.
If you don’t wish to speak or can’t make it to the P&Z meeting on Wednesday, please submit comments ahead of time via email or by calling 303-651-8330.
Longmont should establish ways to provide community-wide notices when it gets applications proposing private developments near stream corridors, city-owned open space, greenways and wetlands, a resident told City Council members Tuesday night.
The City of Longmont is holding 2 public meetings tonight on the proposed updates to the City’s Land Development Code. The two meetings, which will be identical in content, are being held at the Longmont Museum’s classroom at 400 Quail Road from 3:30pm to 5:00pm and 6:00pm to 7:30pm.
While the update to the Land Development Code doesn’t include changes to the sections of the code dealing with species protection and riparian setbacks, please consider attending one of the two meetings, or sending in comments, urging the City to strengthen these provisions. It is particularly important that they hear from YOU that the 150 foot riparian setback must be retained.