Posts tagged County Commissioners
Citing a changing regulatory environment and the need for more public health studies to assess the health impacts of oil and gas development, the County Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the moratorium until the end of 2014
Boulder County, Colo. – By unanimous decision, the Board of County Commissioners today voted to extend the temporary moratorium on oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County for 18 months to expire at the end of 2014.
Citing the need for further health and safety studies to test the impacts of oil and gas development on air and water quality, the commissioners stated that the county is not yet prepared – in terms of inspection and monitoring staff, health data, baseline testing and technical expertise – to process new applications for oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County.
The commissioners also noted that with a dynamic regulatory environment around the issue, new rulemaking could affect how the county regulates oil and gas under its own authority in the future.
“We are living in a regulatory environment where regulations and rules are changing rapidly,” said County Commissioner Deb Gardner. “A short delay in extraction is legal, necessary and appropriate when balanced against our fundamental duty as elected officials to protect public health, safety, welfare and the environment from potential adverse impacts of oil and gas exploration and development, and to minimize potential land use conflicts between those activities and current or planned land uses.”
Gardner’s sentiments were supported and confirmed by her fellow commissioners, Cindy Domenico and Elise Jones.
Extensive feedback on the moratorium was received from members of the public over a period of 16 months from February 2012 to the present. Over 1,100 comments were submitted this week alone by the time of the June 18 public hearing, all but about a dozen of which stated a preference for extending the moratorium.
In general, public comments have overwhelmingly supported extending the moratorium to assess health and safety impacts of oil and gas drilling to area residents. In addition, on June 5th the Boulder County Planning Commission, by a vote of 7-0, recommended that the Board of County Commissioners extend the current temporary moratorium.
Today’s public hearing also included a decision to table indefinitely Docket DC-12-0003 “Proposed Amendments to Article 12 of the Boulder County Land Use Code (oil and gas regulations), to include a phasing plan.” With the extended temporary moratorium in place, Land Use staff will to continue to work on developing an inspection and implementation plan for permitting oil and gas applications.
A taped archive of the hearing is available at: www.bouldercounty.org/gov/meetings/pages/hearings.aspx.
For more information about the county’s role in oil and gas development, please visit the county’s Oil and Gas Development webpage.
TAKE ACTION: Contact the County Commissioners @ firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for a multi-year moratorium on fracking until we have results of neutral health impact research such as the National Science Foundation study due in 2018. Before issuing any oil and gas drilling permits, we need to first know the public safety impacts of hydraulic fracturing.
A multi-year moratorium based on the need for health impact studies on fracking would allow time for the results of medical and scientific studies now in the works to be finalized, including a 5-year $12 million study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) being coordinated by the University of Colorado at Boulder, an EPA study on “Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources,” and a multi-year study by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment with Colorado State University.
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Boulder County, Colo. – Tonight, following a public hearing on recently-adopted regulations for oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County, the County Commissioners voted unanimously to extend a temporary moratorium on new oil and gas drilling applications (currently set to end on Feb. 4) until June 10, 2013, and to further assess fees relative to the land use and transportation impacts of local oil and gas operations.
Expressing both a desire to see more work around developing renewable energy options for Boulder County and seeking support from county residents to take their concerns about oil and gas development to state legislators who are currently considering new state rules for drilling operations, the County Commissioners acknowledged that while they don’t think they can go far enough to satisfy all constituent concerns, they are doing everything they can to make sure “we have the most comprehensive and restrictive regulations around oil and gas drilling in the State of Colorado.“
County staff had requested an extension of the Temporary Moratorium on Boulder County’s Processing of Applications for Oil and Gas Development in order to develop a plan to implement the regulations adopted by the Board of County Commissioners in December 2012. Due to the complicated nature of the new restrictions, requirements, standards and conditions that replaced 19-year-old rules for how oil and gas development can occur on unincorporated lands, staff had asked for adequate time to create an Implementation Work Plan.
County staff also presented information from the Oil & Gas Roadway Impact Study to seek direction from the County Commissioners on how to ensure impacts of oil and gas development on the public transportation system are mitigated and the cost of such mitigation is fairly and equitably allocated. Actual fees were not considered for adoption at the hearing, but the Commissioners asked staff to come back in two to three months with a proposal for the maximum legally-defensible fees allowable to mitigate local impacts or an alternate mechanism to recover costs from industry’s impact on the county transportation system.
Staff estimated – and County Commissioners affirmed – that in order to prepare for processing of new drilling and well operation applications, four additional months were necessary. The major components of the Implementation Work Plan will include:
· Development of RFQ/RFP and hiring of consultants / outside expertise
· Staff trainings
· Coordination with involved departments and agencies
· Preparation of application materials, handouts, and public information including website
· Development and adoption of planning and permit fees
· Inspection schedules
· Updating internal databases and tracking systems
· Coordination with Industry on submission of applications
· Coordination with the COGCC to harmonize new State rules with County regulations
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The swearing in of Elise Jones this morning as the District 1 County Commissioner marks the first time Boulder County has seated three women commissioners at the same time. While there is at least one other example of an all-female Board of County Commissioners in the State of Colorado, having three women serve on the Boulder County’s Board marks a historic event for our 151-year old county.
After taking her oath of office, Commissioner Elise Jones thanked the voters, her family and campaign team – many members of whom filled the room – and all of the people along the way who helped her during her 18-month run for office.
“What an incredible honor it is to represent and support Boulder County in a position that Commissioner Toor just deemed the best job in the world,” said Elise Jones. “We’re blessed to live in such a remarkable place, and I look forward to taking part in tackling the challenges that lie before us and continuing the hard work of our present and past county commissioners.”
Jones went on to acknowledge the county’s historic role in being both leader and pioneer in tackling a host of pressing issues that will continue to demand attention in the coming years. Some examples of the challenges she named include fracking, climate change, transit improvements, achievement gap, poverty, and ensuring healthy and sustainable food production on county open space lands.
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“The county is fortunate to have such a highly skilled and talented staff to address these issues thoughtfully and strategically in the best interest of the community we represent,” said Jones. “I want everyone to know that I have an open door policy and want to hear from residents about what’s important to all of you going forward.”
Following an uplifting presentation by outgoing Commissioner Will Toor who captured in a series of inspiring words and photos the many successes and challenges of the past eight years of his service to Boulder County, the two sitting commissioners Cindy Domenico and Deb Gardner recapped the county’s past year’s highlights and events in a 30-minute State of the County address.
A luncheon was held following the swearing in session to honor all past women county commissioners. Able to attend in-person were former County Commissioners Maggie Markey (1974-1981), Josie Heath (1982-1990) and Jana Mendez (1995-2002). Linda Jourgensen (who served for one year in 1990) joined the women by phone.
The swearing in ceremony and both presentations will be available on the county’s website by the end of today at: http://www.bouldercounty.org/gov/meetings/pages/hearings.aspx.
As part of the annual County Reorganization meeting, Cindy Domenico was re-named Chair of the Board, and Deb Gardner will take over the role of Vice-Chair from outgoing Commissioner Will Toor, who was term-limited after serving two consecutive terms. The Chair and Vice-Chair appointments stay in place for one year.
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Boulder County Commissioners reject agreement with Denver Water Board on the proposed Gross Reservoir expansion0
After hearing to more than six hours of public testimony over a span of two public hearings – Dec. 20 and Jan. 7 – and receiving more than 200 written communications from Boulder County residents, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously decided not to support the IGA.
The intergovernmental agreement was signed by the Denver Water Board on December 19, 2012, and would have served in lieu of review of the reservoir expansion project under the Boulder County Land Use Code. The IGA had been negotiated by the staffs of Boulder County and Denver Water as a way to address the impacts of the project and to define appropriate mitigation measures, but ultimately didn’t go far enough in protecting the quality of life for residents in the area in the opinion of the County Commissioners.
While they acknowledged some benefits that would result from the proposed agreement, the County Commissioners indicated that the terms of the proposed agreement did not do enough to protect the health, safety and welfare of their constituents or the environment and that they thought it was premature to enter into any agreement before the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement, which is due later in 2013.
Following the release of the final EIS, the commissioners will work with county staff on a thorough response to the findings, and continue to work with members of the public to address ongoing concerns about the impacts of the proposed project.
Visit www.bouldercounty.org/property/build/pages/moffatgrossiga.aspx for more information. To view the archived video from last night’s hearing, visit the hearings page and select the business meeting for Jan. 7 at www.bouldercounty.org/gov/meetings/pages/hearings.aspx.
The county’s mill levy and general operating budget to remain flat for 2013
Boulder County, Colo. – The Boulder County Commissioners have adopted a budget of $319.6 million for 2013, down from $321.7 million in 2012.
The 2013 budget represents a nearly flat comparison to the one adopted in 2012, based largely on the fact that the county is in its second year of a biannual property reappraisal cycle. With property values assessed only every other year, the second year in the cycle rarely reflects much of a change in the property tax portion of the county’s projected revenue stream.
The real difference in the budget this year is reflected through a reduction in carryover funds from the year prior and the annual adjustment of revenues in funds other than the General Fund (such as the Road & Bridge Fund and Capital Expenditure Fund) which fluctuate year-to-year based on their designated purpose and funding sources.
In keeping with a flat budget, the County Commissioners have worked hard to bring expenses in line with revenues for 2013, all the while continuing to support programs popular with county residents.
As in past years, the careful and deliberate process of evaluating program requests by elected offices and departments in a public forum has led to sound fiscal decisions that allow the county to function at a high level and continue to provide excellent service to county residents with essentially no increase to the General Fund.
“The 2013 budget is a culmination of more than six months of productive discussion and input from our non-profit leaders, elected officials and department heads who work closely every day with members of the public to figure out how best to meet the needs our community,” said Cindy Domenico, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners. “We are pleased to adopt this fully balanced budget which serves as a guiding document for carrying out the values of our residents.”
Commissioner Deb Gardner said she was pleased to adopt a budget that “balances the long and short term needs of the county and works within a sustainable context to make sure that the county will stay on track for years to come in responding to the priorities set forth by the residents of Boulder County.”
Commissioner Will Toor remarked on the complexity of the county budget and praised the efforts of county leaders and staff for continuing to implement and expand on highly-desired programs for residents, even within a fiscally-constrained framework.
“Whether we look at the strong support for our non-profit community and our human services safety net programs, or the extension of the popular EnergySmart program,” which faces an end to its federal grant in mid-2013, “or the continued improvement of our county’s transportation network, including all modes of transportation, we’re very pleased with the ability to support incremental expansions of these programs despite the fiscal constraints we’re under,” said Toor.
The County Commissioners thanked staff and everyone from the public who participated in the budget process, acknowledging that the collaborative effort in creating next year’s budget made for a much better document through their efforts.
Commissioners certify mill levy
The Commissioners also today certified a mill levy of 24.645 mills, the same as the last two years, which is projected to generate property tax revenues of $134,612,456 in 2013 (up only slightly from $134,408,021 in 2012). The county’s mill levy amount represents roughly 29 percent of a property owner’s total average property tax bill within Boulder County. Other taxing entities that receive property tax revenues include (from 2012 data): school districts (53%), cities and towns (11%), and “other” fire, water and special districts (7%).
For a copy of the funding package for 2013, visit: www.bouldercounty.org/gov/budget.
Boulder County, Colo. – The Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department will host a review of the Management Alternatives proposed by Parks and Open Space staff for the Walker Ranch Management Plan Update.
What: Walker Ranch Management Alternatives meeting
When: Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.
Where: Boulder County Transportation office, second floor 2525 13th St., Boulder
Staff will give a presentation of the management proposals followed by a question-and-answer period.
Ideas received at a public open house in 2011 have been incorporated into the proposals. Staff will present those proposals at this meeting and take public comments and questions. This will not be the last opportunity for public input.
Based on public responses to the alternatives and information gathered during alternatives review, staff will develop and update the plan and present a draft final management plan to the public in December. A 30-day comment period will follow the December presentation. The final proposal to the Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee and the Board of County Commissioners will be scheduled in early 2013.
For more information about the Walker Ranch Management Plan Update, visit www.bouldercounty.org/os/openspace/pages/walkerplan.aspx or contact Resource Planner Jesse Rounds at 303-678-6271 or email@example.com.
Boulder County, Colo. – The Boulder County Commissioners will hold a series of public hearings in October to consider 2013 budget requests from county elected offices and departments, and by special funds and programs.
All hearings will take place in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room on the third floor of the Boulder County Courthouse at 1325 Pearl St. in downtown Boulder. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and comment at any of the following sessions (listed by office, program or fund):
|Tuesday, Oct. 9||Thursday, Oct. 18|
|11 a.m.-noon||9-10:30 a.m.|
|Surveyor||Administrative Services Department|
|Clerk & Recorder||Eldorado Springs LID Fund|
|Capital Expenditure Fund|
|2-4 p.m.||Risk Management Fund|
|Coroner||Recycling Center Fund|
|GIS Task Force||11-11:30 a.m.|
|BC Voice! (Boulder County’s employee representatives committee)|
|Thursday, Oct. 11|
|9-10:30 a.m.||Tuesday, Oct. 23|
|Land Use||10-10:30 a.m.|
|Housing and Human Services Department||Community Services Department|
|Human Services Temporary Safety Net Fund|
|11 a.m.-noon||Integrated Treatment Court|
|Parks and Open Space Department||Public Health|
|Open Space Funds||Mental Health Partners|
|Parks – General Reconstruction|
|Fair Board||Thursday, Oct. 25|
|Tuesday, Oct. 16||Sheriff’s Office|
|District Attorney||Tuesday, Oct. 30|
|Developmental Disabilities Fund||11:30 a.m.|
|Budget Public Hearing (public invited to comment on any 2013 budget requests)|
|Worthy Cause Fund|
|Board of County Commissioners|
A separate public hearing will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, to solicit input from residents on any suggestions and recommendations for the 2013 county budget.
Additionally, the Board of County Commissioners will review all budget requests and public input at a 2013 Budget Work Session to be held from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1 in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room. The public is invited to attend the work session, but no public testimony will be taken. A final budget hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday Nov. 20.
All of the hearings will be streamed live at www.bouldercounty.org/gov/meetings/pages/hearings.aspx.
All funding requests, which can fluctuate up until the time the County Commissioners make their final recommendations to budget staff for inclusion in the 2013 budget package on Nov. 1, can be viewed in-person Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Commissioners’ Office, also on the third floor of the Boulder County Courthouse.
Members of the public may also provide comments about 2013 county funding by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by mail to Boulder County Commissioners’ Office, P.O. Box 471, Boulder, CO 80306, or by phone at 303-441-3500.
The final 2013 budget is scheduled to be adopted by the Board of County Commissioners at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13. By state law, the county must adopt a budget by Dec. 15.
Planning Commission to review regulations on Sept. 24
Boulder County, Colo. – Boulder County has drafted a set of proposed Land Use Code regulations for oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County and is actively seeking review and comment from the public, industry and state agencies.
The draft regulations are available for review on the county’s Oil and Gas Development webpage.
What: Public hearing on the Draft Development Plan Review regulations addressing oil and gas development within the county’s Land Use Code
When: Monday, Sept. 24, 4 p.m.
Where: Boulder County Courthouse, third floor, 1325 Pearl St., Boulder
Land Use staff will present the proposed regulations to the Planning Commission, which will then consider public comments and provide recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners or provide further direction to staff.
Public testimony will be taken at the hearing (each speaker is allowed 3 minutes). Written comments are also encouraged and can be emailed email@example.com or submitted to staff in hard copy at the hearing.
The goal of the draft regulations is to work within the authority provided to counties and enact the most protective land use regulations possible for new oil and gas development. Boulder County recognizes the extent of state authority over these operations and seeks to create local regulations that harmonize with state regulations.
Topics addressed in the regulations include avoidance and mitigation of impacts to the county’s air and water quality, transportation system and environmental resources. The regulations also address land use compatibility issues and emergency response.
“These draft regulations are an important part of our multifaceted approach to addressing the issues associated with oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County,” Commissioner Cindy Domenico said. “We are seeking feedback so that we can enact effective regulations that protect our environment and the health and safety of our residents, and harmonize with state and federal regulations.”
• Feb. 2 – The Board of County Commissioners approve a temporary moratorium on the processing of the required development plans for local oil and gas permits under the county Land Use Code (Resolution 2012-16) and release a statement detailing their concerns about the potential for significantly expanded oil and gas drilling within the county.
• March 1 – Public hearing for commissioners to hear staff presentations and public testimony. After the four-hour hearing, commissioners direct staff to continue gathering information about the impacts of oil and gas drilling on air, water, land, roads and infrastructure.
• April 16 – Commissioners vote unanimously to extend temporary moratorium on processing of applications for oil and gas development in unincorporated parts of the county until Feb. 4, 2013 (Resolution 2012-46).
• May 16 – Planning Commission authorizes the initiation of an amendment process to the oil and gas policies in the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan
• June 20 – Planning Commission reviews proposed oil and gas policies amendments presented by Land Use staff, and takes public testimony.
• July 18 – Planning Commission further reviews proposed oil and gas policies amendments presented by Land Use staff, and takes public testimony.
• Aug. 15 – Planning Commission adopts amendments to Comprehensive Plan.
• Aug. 22 – County Commissioners and Planning Commission hold a joint study session to discuss possible future Land Use Code amendments.
The county anticipates adopting a set of regulations by the end of the year. For more information about the county’s role in oil and gas development, upcoming meetings and public involvement opportunities, visit the county’s Oil and Gas Development webpage or contact Jim Webster at 720-564-2600 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public invited to give input at Aug. 7 event
Boulder County, Colo. – Staff from Boulder County Land Use and other departments will host an oil and gas regulations open house on Aug. 7.
Staff will solicit input and give more information about the process and steps the county intends to follow for considering changes to oil and gas regulations in the Boulder County Land Use Code and related programs and policies the county can pursue to address the issue. This will be the second open house the county has hosted to provide information to residents.
What: Boulder County oil and gas regulations open house
When: Tuesday, Aug. 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Boulder County Recycling Center, 1901 63rd St., Boulder
The event will include a short staff presentation at 6:45 p.m.
Staff will be located at stations throughout the open house to listen to residents’ issues and suggestions, answer questions, and provide updated information about the county’s plans to address issues related to oil and gas development. Stations will include information about the Boulder County Land Use Code, open space, public health and transportation.
- Feb. 2 – The Board of County Commissioners approve a temporary moratorium on the processing of the required development plans for local oil and gas permits under the county Land Use Code (Resolution 2012-16) and release a statement detailing their concerns about the potential for significantly expanded oil and gas drilling within the county.
- March 1 – Public hearing for commissioners to hear staff presentations and public testimony. After the four-hour hearing, commissioners direct staff to continue gathering information about the impacts of oil and gas drilling on air, water, land, roads and infrastructure.
- April 16 – Commissioners vote unanimously to extend temporary moratorium on processing of applications for oil and gas development in unincorporated parts of the county until Feb. 4, 2013. (Resolution 2012-46).
- May 16 – Planning Commission approves Docket BCCP-12-0001: Amendments to Oil and Gas Policies, authorizing initiation of an oil and gas policies amendment process.
- June 20 – Planning Commission reviews proposed oil and gas policies amendments presented by Land Use staff, and takes public testimony.
- July 18 – Planning Commission further reviews proposed oil and gas policies amendments presented by Land Use staff, and takes public testimony.
- Aug. 15 – Planning Commission will continue their review of the draft amendments. Public testimony will not be taken on this date.
Boulder County is concerned about the potential for significantly expanded oil and gas drilling within the county, and supports appropriate, tighter restrictions on drilling and increased local control to mitigate the impacts of these activities. While the moratorium is in place, the county is endeavoring to ensure its Comprehensive Plan, Land Use Code and other regulations are as thorough and up-to-date as possible.