REMINDER: Wildlife Management Plan Public Meeting/Open House

Let your voice be heard! Longmont is updating its Wildlife Management Plan and is holding the first of several public meetings THIS Thursday, March 7th from 6 to 8pm at 7 S. Sunset Street.

We need YOU to come out in support of our wildlife and habitat protection. We literally cannot protect Longmont’s wildlife without you! The meeting will be discussing Longmont’s 150 foot riparian setback that is established in the Longmont Land Development Code. This buffer, which prevents new building within 150 feet of St. Vrain Creek, is crucial to protect species that live, breed, and commute in and along the river corridor as well as to keep our river clean and protect against future floods.

Comments on the Wildlife Management Plan will be used to inform the second phase of the Land Development Code update (dealing with regulations regarding streams, wetlands, riparian areas, and wildlife) as well as standards for development along the river corridor.

If you are absolutely unable to attend the meeting, please send your comments to Dan Wolford via email: dan.wolford@longmont.colorado.gov or via phone: 303-774-4691 and plan to attend the second meeting on Thursday, April 4th.

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The Remarkable Riparian Zone: What’s Going On With Our St. Vrain Greenway?

thumbnail of Longmont Public Forum presentation flyerOn Wednesday, February 27th, Longmont Political Revolution is sponsoring a presentation at the Longmont Public Library featuring Stand With Our St. Vrain Creek and Front Range Nesting Bald Eagle Studies.

Stand’s half of the presentation, titled “The Remarkable Riparian Zone: What’s Happening With Our St. Vrain Greenway?” will explain why a functioning riparian zone is crucial to a healthy river system and how it can help mitigate future floods. It will also detail some of the goings-on regarding the St. Vrain river corridor, including current construction.

Join us from 6:30-8:30pm in the A/B meeting room at the Longmont library (409 4th Ave, Longmont, CO 80501).

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Advisory Panel Meeting to Discuss Future Development of St. Vrain River Corridor

A second meeting of an advisory panel to continue discussion of future development of the St. Vrain river corridor to meet goals B3 and B4 of the Longmont City Council’s workplan has been scheduled for Friday, February 15th from 8:30am to 11:30am at the Longmont Museum. The session is open to the public as observers and we are asking Longmont residents to attend if their schedule allows so that the process is as transparent as possible.

The Longmont City Council developed a workplan (available here) in 2018 to direct their actions and help them meet their goals for the city. Section B of the workplan contains the City Council’s goals for “Longmont’s places”:

In 20 years, Longmont will have a developed Main Street from Pike Road to Highway 66 and a river corridor that stretches from the sugar mill to the fairgrounds as a vibrant economic, residential, cultural and entertainment epicenter that is sustainable and respects the natural environment. This area will:
 Goal B1: Have a diverse housing stock with higher densities and access to high quality public transportation, food and jobs
 Goal B2: Protect and respect our natural public amenities as part of the development process
 Goal B3: Become a nationally recognized geographic center of science, technology, engineering, education, arts, and entrepreneurism
 Goal B4: Bring together private industry, local government, nonprofits, and institutions of higher education as well as the St. Vrain Valley School District to ensure the highest quality, best prepared workforce in the western United States

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January 11 2019 first session of advisory panel notes.

On Friday, January 11th, City Council convened the first meeting of the advisory panel. The notes to the left were compiled from that meeting (click on picture to to see the full notes).

Although the first meeting was also open to the public, it wasn’t publicized very well. Therefore, Stand With Our St. Vrain Creek is seeking to publicize the second meeting to a wider audience. The agenda for the second meeting is below (click on the picture to view the full agenda).

 

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Agenda for the February 15th advisory panel meeting.

Additional supporting documentation for the panel meeting is below:

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St. Vrain Blueprint study area map.

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Land Development Code Updates on 1/22 City Council Agenda

Longmont City Council will be discussing the timing and priority of updates to the second phase of the Land Development Code (which includes the parts of the code dealing with habitat and riparian protections) during the Tuesday, January 22nd City Council meeting. The City Council meeting will be held at 7:00pm at the Civic Center. The City has contracted with Clarion Associates to make the development code updates.

Stand With Our St. Vrain Creek is asking that citizens concerned about our St. Vrain river corridor attend the January 22nd council meeting and to wear green. It is important that council prioritize changes to the development code that strengthen restrictions on development along the riparian corridor in order to protect this important resource.

In preparation for the meeting, City staff has provided the following documents. Click on the picture of each document to access the link to the full text.

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City Council Open Forum

This is a last minute notice, but Longmont is holding another City Council Open forum tonight at 7:00pm at the Civic Center (350 Kimbark Street) where residents can speak about any topic they desire. If you are able to attend, please consider doing so and speaking up in favor of greater riparian protections.

Since residents can speak about any topic for up to 5 minutes, it’s best to show up early to add your name to the speaker list.

https://www.apnews.com/519eccc528c74f4f93e120a7c9077b71

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ACTION ITEM: Attend Longmont City Council Meeting at 7pm on Tuesday, January 22nd

City Council will be reviewing and scheduling the projects they want to pursue in 2019 at the January 22nd City Council meeting. One of the these projects is the revisions to the riparian section of the Land Development Code (LDC). Staff will ask council to prioritize the projects in the order they wish staff to work on them. Also council members will be asked to choose which recommendations of Stand With Our Saint Vrain Creek’s 4/1/2018 letter they wish to include in the LDC revisions.

We ask that you please attend this council meeting and consider speaking during public invited to be heard urging council members to prioritize revisions to the riparian section of the LDC to strengthen protections and to direct City staff to amend the LDC to reflect all recommendations in Stand With Our Saint Vrain Creek’s 4/1/2018 letter.

What: City Council meeting

When: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 7pm

Where: Longmont Civic Center 350 Kimbark Street, Longmont CO 80501

If you can’t attend the meeting, please consider contacting Longmont City Council at the following email addresses:

Brian.Bagley@longmontcolorado.gov Mayor

Polly.Christensen@longmontcolorado.gov Mayor Pro Tem, Council Member At Large

Aren.Rodriguez@longmontcolorado.gov Council Member At Large

Joan.Peck@longmontcolorado.gov Council Member At Large

Tim.Waters@longmontcolorado.gov Council Member Ward 1

Marcia.Martin@longmontcolorado.gov Council Member Ward 2

Bonnie.Finley@longmontcolorado.gov Council Member Ward 3

Or you can use the contact form: https://www.longmontcolorado.gov/departments/city-council/how-to-contact-city-council/city-council-mayor-contact-form

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St. Vrain and Left Hand Stream Management Plan at Longmont Farmer’s Market

St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District staff are seeking input on the St. Vrain Left Hand Stream Management Plan process to help transition from flood recovery to restoring and protecting stream health. The first opportunity for pubic input on the plan is at the Longmont Farmer’s Market on Saturday, October 13th from 8am to 2pm.

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We Made it into the Paper!–Longmont City Council urged to pause development considerations along St. Vrain River corridor

Postcards presented to Longmont City Council asking for stronger protections for St. Vrain Creek and Longmont’s other Open Space and Natural Areas.

Thank you to everyone who came out to show their support for greater protections for St. Vrain Creek and our other Open Space and Natural Areas this past Tuesday! We made a big splash and were on the front page of the Times Call newspaper on Thursday, October 4.

Longmont City Council urged to pause development considerations along St. Vrain River corridor

By Sam LounsberryStaff Writer

POSTED:   10/03/2018 06:14:51 PM MDT | UPDATED:   ABOUT 16 HOURS AGO

 

Flood recovery work continues Wednesday on the banks of the St. Vrain River in Longmont. Dozens of residents asked Longmont City Council during public

Flood recovery work continues Wednesday on the banks of the St. Vrain River in Longmont. Dozens of residents asked Longmont City Council during public comment at Tuesday’s meeting to pause development near the river’s banks. (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)

Dozens of residents turned out at Tuesday’s Longmont City Council meeting to request a pause on development near the banks of the St. Vrain River.

Proponents for protecting the St. Vrain River from infringing construction dropped off 724 postcards to council members asking the 150-foot setback of development from the stream’s banks be maintained and enforced.

While that setback is in place, it was only in August that updates to the Land Development Code moved the authority to grant a variance to the 150-foot river buffer solely to City Council instead of the city’s planning director.

The contingent of public speakers also gave council members a petition with 520 signatures that supports putting development “in proximity” to the St. Vrain on hold, Stand With Our St. Vrain Creek organizer Shari Malloy said.

“We … urge Longmont Mayor Brian Bagley and City Council members to protect Longmont’s sensitive and important riparian areas from the intrusion of damaging urban development,” the petition reads.

It asks to pause building plans near the river until the Federal Emergency Management Agency approves new floodplain maps for the stream; until funding has been identified for the estimated $60 million in remaining unfunded costs of the Resilient St. Vrain project; and until a second phase of updates to the Land Development Code sections regarding riparian protection and wildlife management are completed.

Kat Bradley-Bennett, a Blue Mountain Circle resident, said the St. Vrain provides important habitat for migrating waterfowl.

“We have the opportunity to preserve this really rich wildlife habitat,” she said.

In a Wednesday interview, Left Hand Brewing’s owner contested the city’s ability to stop all development within the setback.

The Longmont-based brewery is designing conceptual plans for an event venue to host its nonprofit fundraisers, such as Oktoberfest, on land it owns east of its main brewery building on Boston Avenue next to the river.

Eric Wallace, its co-founder and president, said a halt on development near the river would have to be temporary and still allow for “legitimate consideration” of approval for building plans to avoid legal challenges.

“If council is considering each development request within the riparian setback and giving legitimate consideration, it shouldn’t have a big impact on (Left Hand’s plans),” Wallace said. “I don’t know (the city) can take all that land from people.”

However, city leaders have discussed possibly using city funds to buy the 150-foot setback from the St. Vrain along its corridor through the city, Longmont Land Program Administrator Dan Wolford said.

Timeline for petition requests

The three items petitioners want to happen before the city allows development along the St. Vrain River appear to have similar timelines. Although it is unknown when or if remaining funding Resilient St. Vrain project work will be secured, both the FEMA floodplain maps and the Land Development Code updates could be in place within a year.

Updated floodplain maps for the St. Vrain River have been sent to FEMA for review, according to the Longmont city website, and they likely will become effective in early 2019.

The second phase of Land Development Code updates, with changes to the riparian protection and wildlife management sections, is expected to come before council for approval in June 2019.

But the floodplain within the city could be altered again by ongoing Resilient St. Vrain work. That work aims to increase the river’s water capacity with the goal of keeping any future flooding from affecting as wide a swath of land as the 2013 flood.

Sam Lounsberry: 303-473-1322, slounsberry@prairiemountainmedia.com andtwitter.com/samlounz.

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