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Larimer County Hot Topics

Larimer County Hot Topics

Saturday, February 11th - Clarifications To Proposed Livestock Regulation Amendments... 

In 1963 when Larimer County addressed livestock in the Land Use Code there were mostly horses and cows in the region. Today’s livestock choices also include emus, alpacas, ostriches, llamas and others. The County is updating the land use code regulations to reflect these additional livestock choices. Citizens can review the proposed amendments to the livestock regulations on the county’s web site at:

and attend a public hearing on the issue on Wednesday, February 15 at 6:30p.m. in the Larimer County Courthouse Offices Building Hearing Room, 200 West Oak Street, Fort Collins.

As with any proposed changes, there are numerous questions circulating about these proposed amendments. Here are some clarifications:

Q:  How will the revised regulations affect my existing livestock or equine facility? Will I have to get rid of my animals or equine facility if the revised regulations are adopted?

A:  If existing uses are consistent with the new regulations there will be no effect at all.  Any use that is legally established before an amendment to the Land Use Code cannot be eliminated by new regulations.  If the existing legal use is not consistent with the new regulations the use becomes ‘non-conforming’ and is “grandfathered” in, meaning it is still okay even if the land is sold.  However these ‘non-conforming uses cannot be extended, expanded or changed in character without going through an appeal process, which may or may not allow changes.  

Q: Why do we need an ‘Animal Unit Equivalent’?

A:  Animal Unit Equivalents are based on weight and a table in the proposed amendments reflects this so that all animals are treated the same. Horses and cows, for example, are given a value of 1 based on 1,000 pounds of weight and other livestock are compared to this. Because horses and cows have more potential impact on a neighborhood than a llama or alpaca the animal unit equivalent would allow more of the smaller animals letting the Code treat all animals equally.

Q:  Where did the stocking rate of one animal unit equivalent per acre of land come from?

A:  The recommended stocking rate that is proposed came from the Agricultural Advisory Board, a group of citizen volunteers from the agricultural industry who applied and were appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to serve on the Agricultural Advisory Board.

Q:  Where did we get the numbers for the table?

A:  The original proposed table was prepared by the Cooperative Extension Office.  This table was revised to include numbers suggested at a Planning Commission hearing. These revised numbers were also reviewed by the Extension Office. There are hundreds of such tables in existence and the numbers vary considerably depending on the purpose of the table.  The proposed amendments equate an animal unit to approximately 1,000 pounds of animal weight, an average weight of a cow or horse.

Q:  Why do we need animal regulations now?

A:  Again, Larimer County has had some animal regulations since the first Zoning Resolution was approved by the County Commissioners in 1963.  These regulations are silent on many types of animals, such as emus, alpacas and others. The proposed regulations attempt to address all the different types of animals.   Having precise regulations helps everyone.  Animal owners, as well as neighbors, know how many animals are allowed by right and if the property owner wants additional animals there is a process for the County Commissioners to consider such a request.

Q:  What if I want more animals than the regulations allow “by right”?

A:  The Board of County Commissioners is authorized, by the regulations, to approve additional animals through the Minor Special Review and Special Review processes.  These reviews are intended to address potential impacts of animal uses on the environment and the neighborhood.  The applications are referred to various agencies which will make recommendations to the Commissioners.  The neighbors will be also notified so they have an opportunity to comment.  The final decision rests with the Board of County Commissioners.

Q:  How will the revised regulations affect 4-H projects?

A:  A draft of the proposed amendments was referred to the Extension Office and 4-H representatives support the regulations because the proposed changes are intended to address land stewardship, and the 4-H program wants to promote stewardship among its members. Like any other livestock owner, 4-H projects would be expected to meet the regulations. The non-conforming use provisions would also apply to a property that has had 4-H projects in the past.  If the use is legally established, these revisions to the livestock regulations will not change anything.

The Larimer County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed amendments on Wednesday, February 15 at 6:30p.m. in the Larimer County Courthouse Offices Building Hearing Room, 200 West Oak Street, Fort Collins. The Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners who also will hold a hearing on the topic.  Citizens can view the suggested comparisons on the County’s web site, the Virtual Courthouse at:, or simply go to and check under Hot Topics.

For further information please contact Al Kadera in the Larimer County Planning Department at (970) 498-7699, .

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FDR 128, looking down Railsback Hill

Looking down Railsback Hill on
FDR 128 on Friday morning

Friday, February 10th - County On Accident Alert... 

A fast moving front dropped up to 3 inches of snow across the area creating slippery roads and prompting several counties, including Larimer, to go to Accident Alert status. 

Numerous accident have been reported with the majority occurring on major highways. Local roads are being reported as snow-packed with icing in the usual spots.

Residents are advised to allow extra travel time for their morning commute and to be prepared for slick driving conditions.

Chains, studded-tires and 4WD are recommended for travel on FDR 128 and other roads on Storm Mountain.

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Spectacular sunrise on Thursday morning

Spectacular sunrise on Thursday

Thursday, February 9th - Colorful Start To Day... 

Area residents were  treated to a spectacular sunrise today as clouds associated with an approaching front glowed brilliant orange in the morning sky. 

High winds are currently sweeping across our area ahead of the approaching front, which is expected to bring snow and much colder temperatures beginning this evening.

High temperatures tomorrow are expected to be in the 20's, a stark change to today's predicted high of 60°F. Snowfall across the area is expected to begin late this evening with accumulations of 1 to 3 inches expected.

No weather alerts or warnings are currently in effect for our area.

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Painting of Hagues Peak by Jim Disney

Painting of Hagues Peak by Jim Disney

Wednesday, February 8th - County To Hold Open House for Disney Painting... 

On Tuesday, February 14, from 2:30p.m. to 4p.m., the public is invited to a reception featuring the latest work of Jim Disney of Loveland. Disney, a painter and former County Commissioner, was commissioned by Larimer County to paint Hagues Peak, the highest mountain in Larimer County. The reception takes place in the Courthouse Offices Building, Commissioners’ Office, 2nd floor, 200 West Oak Street, in Fort Collins. There will be a short program at 3p.m. during the reception. 

Displaying artwork by regional artists was part of the building plan for the Courthouse Offices Building, which opened in the summer of 2003. Disney was asked to do a painting for the Commissioners’ Office. Disney, who served as County Commissioner from 1993-2001, helped create an awareness of Hagues Peak, calling it the “reclusive giant of the Mummy Range.”

Associated Facts

  • The painting is titled “Hagues Peak”
  • Hagues Peak, 13,560 feet, is the highest mountain in Larimer County
  • Hagues peak is the highest of the twenty seven summits in the Mummy Range that grace the northern section of Rocky Mountain National Park
  • The view point depicted in the painting is from the upper reaches of the Hague Creek drainage looking at the rugged west face at sunset
  • The medium is oil on a panel
  • The size of the painting is 48” X 72”
  • The painting will hang in the Commissioners’ Office, 2nd floor, 200 W. Oak St., Fort Collins
  • The painting cost Larimer County $5,000
  • Hagues Peak is named for the Hague brothers, James and Arnold, who worked for Clarence King on the Survey of the 40th Parallel. James Hague was one of the men who exposed the Great Diamond Hoax, and his report on the mining industry told all that was known about western mining in 1870. His younger brother, Arnold (1840-1917), was more intimately connected with the Estes Park region than was James. Arnold climbed Longs Peak with Clarence King and Henry Adams in 1871.

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Rock work continues in Big Thompson Canyon

Rock work continues in Big
Thompson Canyon

Tuesday, February 7th - Rock Work Continues In Canyon... 

Workers will be continuing rock work in the Big Thompson Canyon this week in an attempt to secure and/or remove dangerous sections of loose rock.

Our recent nice weather has made this a prime opportunity to perform this needed work prior to our springtime snows and summer rains, which are notorious for contributing to rock slides throughout the canyon. 

In addition, there have been recent reports of minor earth tremors in the area sending smaller loose rocks tumbling down the canyon's steeper slopes.

Rock work on Highway 34 in the Big Thompson Canyon is expected to continue from 8AM to 4PM on Monday through Friday until mid-March. Residents are advised to allow extra travel time if commuting the canyon, as minor delays can be expected.

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Missing Loveland camper Shaw Green

Shawn Green found alive
on Sunday.

Monday, February 6th - Missing Camper Found Alive... 

After a three day ordeal in the wilderness, a missing camper was found alive on Sunday morning. A search dog reportedly located the man a few hundred feet from the trail.

Shawn Green, a 23 year old Loveland resident, was reported missing on Friday when he failed to show up at the trailhead to be picked up as planned. Green had been dropped off by a friend at 8AM on Thursday morning at the Big Elk Meadows entrance to the Johnny Park area, between Lyons and Estes Park, for an overnight camping trip.

Search and rescue crews with trained dogs reportedly found Green around 10AM on Sunday, slumped over a rock in a semiconscious state about three miles from the parking area. He was reported to be suffering from hypothermia but had no other apparent injuries.

Green was airlifted to Longmont United Hospital for examination and treatment of hypothermia. He is expected to make a full recovery, possibly going home as soon as this afternoon. 

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Mars and the Pleiades Constellation on Monday night

Mars and the Pleiades Constellation
on Monday night.

Sunday, February 5th - Photo Of The Week... 

A dominant object in our current evening skies, Mars, the angry red planet is featured in this week's photo. Taken from Storm Mountain on Monday evening the photo shows Mars passing by the Pleiades constellation. 

From our area, it is very easy to find Mars in the evening sky. Simply look straight up at around 8:00PM MST and you can't miss the planet's bright orange glow. You will also easily be able to see the Pleiades Cluster nearby. 

Mars has for many years been the subject of wonder and mystery with several missions currently underway to learn more about our neighboring planet. Scientists believe that a more complete understanding of Mars will lead to a more complete understanding of how our own planet evolved.

While no life has been found to date, Mars has produced many specimens and geologic markers that indicate a strong possibility of previous forms of life on the planet. The most significant of these markers would be the clear signs of the presence and movement of water on the planet's surface. 

Future missions hope to gain more knowledge of the planets history through in depth analysis of samples and the utilization of new technologies to help reveal some of Mars' many mysteries.

Until then we can all look up and wonder if at one time there was life on that bright orange ball, and if other forms of life still exist in the vast and seemingly endless expanse of what we call space.

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