Thornton files lawsuit against Larimer County

Thornton's Latest Application

Submitted Dec 11, 2018, Denied Feb 11, 2019

 

It's long and complicated, but here is Thornton's new/revised 1041 application, still advocating a pipeline, but with the preferred route just a mile north of Douglas Road along County Road 56 and possibly through Braidwood and Eagle Lake neighborhoods. Thornton appeared to have dismissed advice from a good share of the working group and the public that advocated for the Poudre Alternative. 


Click the link below to access the latest application, selecting the heading "Thornton Revised Documents."


 https://www.larimerwaterprojects.org/information-and-data/ 

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Update on the 1041 Process

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The history of Thornton’s 1041 Permit....

On August 1, 2018 the County Commissioners tabled Thornton's 1041 application and asked for a continuance until December 17, 2018. In the meantime, a working group of 30 individuals, neighborhood leads and groups met to guide Thornton's next route decision. The commissioners asked for a "significantly changed" application with several route alternatives. 


On Dec 11, 2018 Thornton submitted its third draft of their 1041, naming a pipeline along Cty Road 56 as their desired choice, cutting through Braidwood and Eagle Lake neighborhoods, despite overwhelming public desire for a river route at the recent open house held by the county.


On December 17, 2018 Thornton presented its revised 1041. 


On Jan 28, 2019 neighborhood groups, No Pipe Dream and Save the Poudre presented, along with county staff who supported the new route.  


On Feb 4, 2019 the public gave comments, with 90% asking for denial and a Poudre Alternative. 


On Feb 11, 2019 the commissioners voted to deny the application.


A little history...because there were 72 speakers signed up to speak at the hearing on July 9, 2018 the commissioners added a second night and then a third night to finalize their vote due to so many people who signed up to speak. The hearings ended on August 1.  An almost exact repeat happened with the Jan-Feb 2019 hearings. Now that's public action that made a difference. 


This was the first time Larimer County denied a 1041 in its entire history.


All hearings were held at:

     200 W. Oak Street

     Fort Collins

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Larimer County provides the following information about the 1041 process…

Activities of State Interest-1041 Review:  State Statutes allow local governments to designate certain areas and activities of state interest and require permits for development involving those areas and activities. A 1041 Permit is required prior to conducting any activity that has been designated as a Matter of State Interest (power plants, solar energy power plants, transmission lines, pipelines, etc..).  


1041 Permits for Designated Matters of State Interest Larimer County Land Use Code – Section 14.0  


Areas and Activities of State Interest includes regulations for activities that have been designated by the county as a ‘matter of state interest’ and requires approval of a 1041 permit, unless specifically exempted.    


Larimer County’s ‘designated matters of state interests’ are listed in Section 14.4, and include power plants, solar energy power plants, transmissions lines, substations, water, sewer and gas pipelines, gas storage facilities.  Other activities which may be designated by the county from time to time.


Purpose - Areas and Activities of State Interest (1041 Permit) review is to facilitate the identification, designation and  regulation of areas or activities of state interest consistent with applicable statutory requirements.


1041 Permit Approval  - A 1041 Permit is required prior to conducting any activity that has been designated as a Matter of State Interest, unless the County Commissioners have granted an appeal to the requirement for a Permit or have adopted an intergovernmental agreement such that a 1041 Permit is not required.  


The Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners evaluate each proposed use for compliance with the general permit requirements listed in Section 14.10 and additional specific review criteria listed in Section 14.11 of the Land Use Code, as applicable.  


The County Commissioners may impose ‘conditions’ when approving a 1041 Permit.  


This is a discretionary approval process by the County Commissioners.  


Steps in the 1041 Permit Review Process...

1.   Pre-application conference    

2.   1041 Permit Application and Review  

3.   Planning Commission Hearing  

4.   County Commissioner Hearing  

5.   Final Development Plans upon approval (Conditions of Approval, Development Agreement,  


Source: https://www.larimer.org/sites/default/files/uploads/2017/1041_options.pdf

Read Larimer County's Land Use Code - Section 14

Comments from the Commissioners

Quotes from the 8/1/18 Hearing

  

“I would hope the project would come back significantly different than it is today – and we will need to go through the process again – and there better be (significant changes).” –Steve Johnson


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On Criteria 2 of 1041 application, concerning public outreach


“We are talking about the public process – it is important and critical and Thornton has sadly missed the boat on this.” –Tom Donnelly 


“If you live in Larimer I ask what is the benefit to Larimer County? I tend to think that the balance isn’t there.” –Lew Gaiter, III


“I recommend that you sit down with staff and improve the public process, make sure we include the people on these alternative routes. Let’s do with Douglas Road people and people on County Road 56 what was done with Eagle Lake and let’s see if we can come up with something that has a high level of public acceptance…” –Lew Gaiter, III


“Even in the presentation tonight one of the things I saw was that once it is permitted (you said) then we will sit down and go through the public process. That’s backwards. Go through the public process first and then come back and ask for the permit.” – Lew Gaiter, III 


“I don’t want to deny you the water. My job is to protect the citizens of Larimer County. I’m open to Thornton working with staff and more importantly, citizens.” –Lew Gaiter, III


“You did a good job working with Eagle Lake but the public process appeared to break down when you started looking at Douglas Road.” –Steve Johnson 


“…the proposal is not ready for primetime. What I heard from comments is that there are others to collaborate with." --Steve Johnson


On alternative routes


To the Mayor of Thornton: “Your staff went to your Council with several alternatives, we saw one of them, or variations of one of them here tonight. I think your Council acted in perfect accord to the duty they have to the citizens of Thornton. Your Council looked at all of those alternatives and you asked which one gives us the best quantity or water, the best quality, the most economical and what is best for the citizens of Thornton. That is exactly what I would do if I were on the Council of Thornton or the Mayor of Thornton. We, because of our 1041 powers, have a slightly different duty. We have a duty to the citizens of Larimer County…. Not surprisingly, sometimes we will come up with different opinions on what the best alternatives for our citizens as compared to your citizens. I think that is clearly where we are tonight.” –Steve Johnson


"You said in your rebuttal document that the quantity of water would be diminished. That’s not in my criteria. You said the quality of water would be diminished. That’s not in my criteria. You said the cost would be higher. That’s not in my criteria. The net effect is that Thornton would have to come up with better water treatment which you have the capability of accomplishing. I understand that is not optimal but it is reasonable. It seems to me that you have figured out how to do this and it sure has less impact on my constituents." --Steve Johnson


“I don’t need more information on this option – I don’t think this meets our criteria – I need other alternatives and other options that better meets our criteria….I think that is a better way to go. Procedurally, there needs to be a lot more public input.” –Steve Johnson 


  

On Poudre Alternative


One of the alternatives you presented to your Council was the Poudre River Alternative…. I do not accept your premise that the 1041 powers can’t cause, either through your actions or the deciding body’s action, a change in water diversion. But the alternative you presented to your Council doesn’t even require that. The alternative you presented to your Council, diverted water from your current diversion point, used the two reservoirs that the storage company is very interested in and ran a pipe down Shields and put the water the Poudre River…. NISP is publicly talking about taking the water out at East Mulberry ahead of the water treatment plant and they have said taking it out there is much better quality than taking it out further down and that might be an option for you. –Steve Johnson



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Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country. 

(Franklin D. Roosevelt)