ARCO to present soil sampling proposal

At the regular Rico Town Board meeting on Feb. 20, Town Attorney Susan Baker reported that during its January meeting, the Planning Commission began the process of reviewing proposed amendments to the Rico Land Use Code to coincide with adoption of the Institutional Controls/Environmental Remediation Regulations Ordinance. These amendments included consideration of the Environmental Remediation Overlay Zone (EROZ) and Rico Soils Overlay Zone (RSOZ) Districts. Once the VCUP settlement agreement is finalized between the Town and ARCO, staff will apply for amendments to the Rico Land Use Code to add these districts and will formally notice them for public hearing, along with any other necessary amendments. The Planning Commission also reviewed a proposed zoning map which depicts these Districts.

In addition, the Planning Commission considered master planning for the River Corridor, with emphasis on proposed uses for Town-owned properties. Such planning will help facilitate closure of the VCUP because the Town needs to adequately define the extent of future development in the River Corridor in order to secure the necessary funds to remediate Town-owned properties and roads/access areas. Staff believes that "planning" of these River Corridor parcels should eventually be included in the Town's Master Plan by amendments to ensure that future development of the River Corridor is in compliance with the VCUP.

The Planning Commission will conduct a second workshop on these issues on March 27 when Trust for Land Restoration environmental engineer, Dave Folkes, can be present to answer technical questions. In addition, it is hoped that Mark Rudolph of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will also participate in person to answer any questions regarding the VCUP from the State's perspective. Ms. Baker asked if this meeting should be a joint meeting of the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees.

Tom Bloomfield is currently working to revise the proposed Funding and Settlement Agreement and hopes to have a draft to distribute to the Town Team in the coming week. The Team will likely meet towards the end of February to discuss this draft so that a final may be presented to ARCO well in advance of the next scheduled meeting on March 27. Representatives of ARCO plan to come to the Town in person on that date for further discussions regarding the proposed settlement and other VCUP matters. Ms. Baker anticipates that after that meeting, the revised settlement agreement will be discussed by the Town Board during its April meeting. Progress is currently slow because representatives of ARCO are busy with other matters most of February and March 2013. At staff's request, Tom Bloomfield has asked ARCO about sampling of vacant lots per the ICs Ordinance protocol as was previously discussed by the Town Board. Ms. Baker understands that ARCO will present the Town with its sampling proposal in the next few weeks.

CIRSA's attorney Tami Tanoe has contacted the Rico about coming to Rico at the end of April 2013 to do training. These trainings are very thorough and informative and cover potential liability issues, appropriate procedure and other important Town government issues. Ms. Tanoe's schedule is somewhat limited and so the town may have to schedule a special meeting to accommodate the training. This meeting could also be a joint meeting of the Planning Commission and Board of Trustees.