On Tuesday, January 11th, City Council will hear the second reading of the annexation of the Rivertown property adjacent to St. Vrain Creek and Roger’s Grove Nature Area and will determine whether or not to approve the annexation and concept plan. It has come to our attention that approving the annexation of this property ALSO approves the concept plan as it is currently drafted. There are a number of issues with the concept plan that need to be addressed prior to annexation and any development that occurs on this property.
Specifically, Stand With Our St. Vrain Creek is concerned that the concept plan does not comply with Longmont Municipal Code, particularly with the zoning of the property as well as with the compatibility of the proposed development with the adjacent natural areas.
As Council meetings are now virtual, we ask that you send in comments regarding the annexation to City Council prior to the meeting (contact Council members here) and/or call into the meeting on Tuesday the 11th to express your concerns. You can watch City Council meetings live from your computer through the City of Longmont’s YouTube Channel or via the Longmont Public Media Channel at https://longmontpublicmedia.org/watch.
Anyone wishing to provide Public Comment must watch the Livestream of the meeting and call-in only when the Chairperson opens the meeting for public comment. Callers are not able to access the meeting at any other time.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR CALLING IN TO PROVIDE PUBLIC COMMENT:
The toll-free call-in number is: 888 788 0099.
Watch the livestream (instructions above) and write down the Meeting ID when it is displayed at the beginning of the meeting.
WAIT for the Chairperson to invite callers to call-in and then dial the toll-free number, enter the Meeting ID, and, when asked for your Participant ID, press #.
Mute the livestream and listen for instructions on the phone.
Callers will hear confirmation they have entered the meeting, will be told how many others are already participating in the meeting and will be placed in a virtual waiting room until admitted into the meeting.
Callers will be called upon by the last three (3) digits of their phone number and allowed to unmute to provide their comments.
Comments are limited to three minutes per person and each speaker will be asked to state their name and address for the record prior to proceeding with their comments.
Once done speaking, callers should hang up.
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.
If you are unable to attend the Open Forum, please send your written comments to Valeria Skitt, City Clerk, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 1998, Boulder County approved a special use permit to allow gravel mining on 881 acres of property owned by Western Mobile in the St. Vrain River Valley east of Lyons. River valleys are often targeted for gravel mining due to the accumulation of gravel and other sediments that build up in floodplains.
In 2011, the land was sold to Martin Marietta Materials Inc., which is now seeking to continue gravel mining operations on the property. Included with the mines, they’re also planning to build a number of accessory structures within the 100 year flood plain of St. Vrain Creek.
The special use permit included a clause that the permit will lapse if no activity authorized under the permit has been conducted for a continuous period of 5 years or more. On April 11, 2018, Boulder County ruled that the permit is still valid. However, prior to the onset of mining operations, the Boulder County Board of Adjustment must hold public hearings on the proposal.
The first of such public hearings is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6, 2018. The appeal hearing begins at 4:00 PM at the Commissioner’s Hearing Room, 1325 Pearl St., Boulder, CO 80302.
You can find more information about the public hearing here.
Gravel mining on St. Vrain Creek upstream of Longmont would likely increase the risk of flooding, both within the city and in surrounding areas downstream, which would completely defeat the purpose of the Resilient St. Vrain flood mitigation project that Longmont is currently undertaking. This 2014 conference paper by Anthony R. Ladson and Dean A. Judd explains the short and long-term risks of floodplain gravel mining, particularly the likelihood that such mining may alter the flow of flood water and change river channels. As stated in the paper:
A literature review found 37 examples where rivers had broken into gravel mines and the resulting river response had led to bed and bank erosion and threats to infrastructure.
A river is likely to jump tracks into a gravel pond because water follows the path of least resistance. When this happens, it increases the likelihood of damage. In 2013, this was perfectly illustrated when St. Vrain Creek diverted through the former gravel pits at Pella Crossing Open Space in Hygiene as described in this Times Call letter to the editor by Richard Cargill.
Please consider attending the public hearing on Wednesday, June 6 to voice your concerns regarding Martin Marietta’s gravel mining operation.