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Minutes - Open Space - September 10, 2008 Approved as amended 10/15/2008. OPEN SPACE BOARD OF TRUSTEES Minutes September 10, 2008 BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT Pat Billig Kay Tauscher Bill Briggs John Putnam Allyn Feinberg STAFF PRESENT Dean Paschall Eric Stone Sue Ellen Harrison Jim Reeder Delani Wheeler Joe Mantione Ann Goodhart Cecil Fenio Ronda Romero Steve Armstead Matt Jones GUEST Bill Mangle CALL TO ORDER The meeting was called to order at 6:05 p.m. AGENDA ITEM 1-Public Participation Mike Barrow, President of Boulder Mountainbike Alliance, distributed a booklet that points out mountain biking preferences for the West Trail Study Area. He noted that many members of the community participated in creating this booklet and it should eliminate any surprises for staff. Ray Bridge, PLAN Boulder County, commended staff on the System-wide Resource Plan and looks forward to seeing the details. AGENDA ITEM 2 -Director's Update Steve Armstead gave an update on the Doudy Draw reroute, in particular, and information about the installation of two bridges. Bill Briggs asked staff about the status of the Highway 93 underpass. Jim Reeder told him that no progress has been made and nothing is expected to happen this fall. Delani Wheeler introduced Eric Stone, the new Resource Systems Division Manager. She also announced that Dean Paschall is now functioning in his new position as Communication and Public Process Manager. She alerted the Board to various conflicts that will necessitate changing the dates/venues of the October and November Open Space Board of Trustees (OSBT) meetings. Staff proposed moving the meetings to the third Wednesdays of the months -October 15 and November 19. Finally, Delani told Boazd members that the bond sale will probably occur in February. Jim Reeder reported that deferred maintenance in the Mazshall Mesa Trail Study Area (TSA), a high priority of the Strategic Operating Plan, will be finished soon. He also announced that a trash can was installed at 5`" Street and University Avenue and the dog station tube went in today. Jim said nothing has been done about signs. Bill Briggs noted that the sign on the unofficial social trail has been removed. Staff recognizes the need for clear information and is working on this. The Board agreed that at this time no changes in signs are needed. AGENDA ITEM 3 -Matters from the Board Allyn Feinberg asked her fellow Board members for any changes or edits to her draft letter to council about the Lottery CIP. She hoped to send the letter to council as soon as possible. Kay AGENDA ITEM IB PAGE 1 Tauscher said the letter is very detailed and represented the Board's intentions. John Putnam noted that it is helpful for council to see the importance of these funds and that ultimately they will be used to satisfy the demands of visitors to the system. AGENDA ITEM 4 -Consideration of the purchase of approximately 179 acres of land in fee and all mineral rights owned by Seller located at 1019 S. Foothills Highway on the west side of Highway 93 together with 1'/. shares of the South Boulder and Bear Creek Ditch Company from the Inter Vivos Trust of Mary E. Shanahan for $6,609,000 for Opeu Space and Mountain Parks purposes.* Ann Goodhart gave a power point presentation as she explained the conditions of the purchase, the details of which are contained in the memo. The homestead has been ranched by the Shanahans since 1863 and the property was designated for preservation in the original open space plan in the 1967. Ann has been working on negotiations since the 1970s. She explained an earlier negotiation that prevented a golf course and housing development there. The currently proposed agreement provides a limited life estate for the current owners and a conservation easement that will coincide with the life estate period. The land can only be used for agriculture and there will be no public access during the life estate period. A family cemetery is present on the property and the family will be allowed to continue using the cemetery with limitations as described in the memo. A small triangular property on the east side of Highway 93 is included in the purchase. Ann said that the state is willing to lease the mineral and oil and gas rights to the depaztment for 99 years for $36,000. Although there are no producing wells in the area cun•ently the lease should be considered. The fee includes the acreage as well as the development rights. The water rights aze valuable because of the seniority and high water yields. Although the purchase price is high it is the largest remaining family ranch next to Boulder; it has historic interest and functions as a buffer along the southern border of the city. Staff feels the property could be divided into 2 private ownerships and the water rights could be sold. Kay Tauscher asked for some clarification about the unattached triangulaz piece of land that is part of the purchase. Ann said the Shanahans decided to include it in the purchase. Kay questioned if the property would be leased for agriculture after the life estate is extinguished. Ann said that that is the intention of the department although it is impossible to know the future agricultural policies and goals of the department. Bill Briggs asked what would happen to the property if it is not purchased by the city. Ann explained that the development rights agreement would allow the land to be subdivided into two parcels no smaller than 35 acres. Sue Ellen Harrison, city attorney, said that the development rights agreement made in 1985 was not a true conservation easement. The level of protection it afforded is pale compazed to the conservation easements of today. Delani Wheeler added that other agricultural buildings could be built without a conservation easement restricting such activites. John Putnam asked for more details regarding the potential for using the water rights. Ann responded that the only shaze holders of this water aze the city of Lafayette, the Shanahans and the city of Boulder. The Colorado University and the city of Lafayette have expressed interest in the water. Sue Ellen said the city would probably not sell the water. Kay Tauscher asked about the price for the oil and gas rights since she believed no development would be allowed. Ann described the cost as low adding that there have been leases on similar oil and gas rights. AGENDA ITEM IB PAGE 2 Kay questioned if the price was appropriate for this property. Ann said that the price is in the ballpark and that staff knows the last remaining purchases will be expensive. Allyn Feinberg asked about the management practices allowed during the life estate. Ann explained that the Shanahans would manage the property as they have in the past. They may reduce the size of their operation. Allyn asked if there were other aspects of the conservation easement that are unusual. Ann said possibly the limited life estate but it is protective and allows monitoring to take place. Sue Ellen said that the Shanahans do not want a lot of oversight and that this was a very important part of the deal. Ann pointed out that the department has been pleased with their management practices. Ann clarified that there would be no public access to the land during the life estate but the city owns a trail easement along the west side of the property. This easement is not restricted by the life estate. Pat Billig remembers when the development rights agreement was made in 1985 and commended Ann on her persistence. She said this is an appropriate purchase. Public Participation Julie McCabe spoke against the purchase during Public Participation. She believed that the price was too much for what was to be gained and that there would not be any significant change to the property even if it was not purchased by the city. Karen Hollweg spoke in favor of the acquisition stating that its purchase addressed urban shaping and sustainable agricultural activities. Return to Board & Staff Bill Briggs asked about what happens when the life estate expires. Does the conservation easement become void and what happens about public access? Sue Ellen responded that the stipulation of no public access extinguishes with the life estate. Public access would be a determination made by the city at that point in time. There is no way to know how long the life estate will last. John Putnam urged caution when buying ]and in fee over a conservation easement but noted that this property is integral to city shaping. John supported and acknowledged the large cost but felt it is a good investment for the city. Allyn noted that many priority properties have been in negotiations for years. Now everything is more complicated and more expensive. Sue Ellen reminded the Board that development rights is not a conservation easement and getting a conservation easement on this property is critical. John urged staff to pursue the 99-year lease of the oil and gas rights from the State Land Board. MOTION John Putnam moved that the Open Space Board of Trustees recommend that the Boulder City Council approve the purchase of approximately 179 acres of land in fee and all mineral rights, including oil and gas owned by Seller, located at 1019 South Foothills Highway from the Inter Vivos Trust of Mary E. Shanahan for Open Space and Mountain Parks purposes and furthermore that staff pursue the lease of oil and gas rights from the State Land Board on such property. The motion was seconded by Pat Billig. VOTE The motion passed unanimously. AGENDA ITEM IB PAGE 3 AGENDA ITEM 5 -Consideration and recommendation for City Council adoption of an ordinance approving Habitat Conservation Area designation for Eldorado Mountain.* Steve Armstead explained that with the adoption of the Visitor Master Plan (VMP) and the adoption of nine Habitat Conservation Areas (HCAs), each HCA needs to have its boundaries established through ordinance before on-trail restrictions can be enacted. Five HCAs have been approved through ordinance for visitor use restrictions. This particular ordinance covers the HCA in the Eldorado Mountain/Doudy Draw Trail Study Area. Pedestrians will be the only user group allowed to get off trail permits in this area. Legal boundaries provide enforcement capabilities. John Putnam asked about the status of the bridge over the canal, if it would be in place when the trail is opened. Steve told him that it will be in place at some point in November and is necessary in order to access the Goshawk Ridge Trail. Public Participation Ray Bridge, PLAN Boulder County, strongly urged the passing of this ordinance pointing out that this is one of the most important HCAs in the system. Karen Hollweg distributed a recently published study about how recreational activities impact habitats. This underscores the importance of managing the HCAs conservatively. Return to Board & Staff John Putnam asked staff how it works with third-party mapmakers to send the right signal as far as access goes. Steve said that mapmakers are encouraged to check with staff regazding access infom~ation. John asked if staff could be sure that there aze signs indicating entrance into HCAs. Steve said that staff tries to sign the boundaries at points where known and observed access into an HCA occurs. He added that in the last six months three mapmakers have come to staff with questions. Allyn Feinberg recommended some changes in wording to the ordinance -Section 3 instead of as the new trails are complete" to say "as the new trails are built and open to the public." MOTION Bill Briggs moved that the Open Space Board of Trustees support and request council to introduce and adopt an HCA designation ordinance provided as amended. The ordinance will include seven boundary maps and an index map that defines the Eldorado Mountain HCA boundary. Kay Tauscherseconded. VOTE The motion passed unanimously. AGENDA ITEM 6 -Consideration and recommendation for City Council to adopt an ordinance approving Habitat Conservation Area designations for newly acquired properties.* Matt Jones gave the background on the process and reminded the Board that new property planning is a directive of the VMP. He introduced Bill Mangle from the ERO consulting firm that is being contracted by the department to conduct the new property planning. Staff is directed to plan for new properties by assigning a management designation, determining if the property is open or closed and providing an inventory of the natural resources present. Matt reviewed some of the details of the new property plans using the North, Boulder Val]ey Ranch (BVR), West and East "cluster" areas contained in the memo. AGENDA ITEM 1B PAGE 4 Kay Tauscher asked about the terminology "allowed but not encouraged." Matt explained that a person could go there but it is not encouraged because no visitor infrastructure is provided such as trails and signs. There is not a trail and staff has yet to make a determination. Bill Briggs asked for clarification that the designations are temporazy until the TSAs aze completed. He said that this contradicts the default policy of allowing access. The table provided separates the management designation and accessibility. Matt responded that a management area designation in the VMP does not necessarily define public access. There is no infrastructure to support visitor use so the department is taking a middle ground by allowing access but not encouraging it. Public Participation Ray Bridge, PLAN Boulder County, urged council to pass this ordinance noting that the parcels in the west aze the most critical and need to be protected. He said there were some areas where invasive weeds need to be managed. Karen Hollweg asked about the use of the phrase "allowed but not encouraged" referring to access. Joe Mantione explained that the department is trying to prevent the expansion of social trails in those aeeas by not advertising that these lands aze open and by fencing the land but not to disrupt local use until the TSA is complete. Ms. Hollweg asked if areas designated as HCAs will be signed. Joe confirmed that they would. Joe said he did not foresee expanding HCA boundaries into Natural Areas. He expected that these particular designations would be recommended by staff in the TSA process. Pat Billig asked if there are specific criteria for management designations. Joe responded that the criteria for designations are laid out in the Visitor Master Plan. Return to Board & Staff John Putnam asked if some of the properties in the west are accessed by neighbors and Joe said they were. Because of the HCA designation anoff--trail permit is required. Matt clarified that as soon as the ordinance passes visitors will be required to get a permit. These can be obtained on line. Staff needs to know where people go in order to determine impacts. MOTION Kay Tauscher moved that the Open Space Board of Trustees recommends that City Council introduce and adopt a Habitat Conservation Area designation ordinance. The ordinance will include both the eight boundazy maps and an index map that defines HCA boundaries as attached to Agenda Item 6 from the September 10, 2008 OSBT packet. The Open Space Board of Trustees supports the opening and the continued closure recommendations. John Putnam seconded. VOTE The motion passed unanimously. ADJOURNMENT -The meeting adjourned at 7:53 p.m. These minutes were prepared by Cecil Fenio. r APP Y• O Allyn nberg ' ~ Bo hair DATE AGENDA ITEM 1B PAGE S