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Conversion and consequences

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Title:
Conversion and consequences agricultural lands in Larimer County, Colorado
Creator:
Crangle-Krizman, Kimball
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Language:
English
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99 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Cities and towns -- Growth -- Colorado -- Larimer County ( lcsh )
Land use -- Colorado -- Larimer County ( lcsh )
Land subdivision -- Colorado -- Larimer County ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Colorado -- Larimer County ( lcsh )
Agriculture ( fast )
Cities and towns -- Growth ( fast )
Economic history ( fast )
Land subdivision ( fast )
Land use ( fast )
Economic conditions -- Larimer County (Colo.) ( lcsh )
Colorado -- Larimer County ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 92-99).
General Note:
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Kimball Crangle-Krizman.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
54514193 ( OCLC )
ocm54514193
Classification:
LD1190.A78 2003m C72 ( lcc )

Full Text
CONVERSION AND CONSEQUENCES:
AGRICULTURAL LANDS IN LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO
by
Kimball Crangle-Krizman
B.S. Economics, University of Kansas, 1998
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Urban and Regional Planning
2003


1
I
This thesis for the Master of Urban and Regional Planning
degree by
Kimball Crangle-Krizman
has been approved
by
Thomas A. Clark
Date


Crangle-Krizman, Kimball (M.U.R.P.)
Conversion and Consequences: Agricultural Lands in Larimer County, Colorado.
Thesis directed by Professor Thomas A. Clark.
ABSTRACT
A common theme of the American landscape has been the absorption of rural
areas into expanding metropolitan regions. The front range of Colorados Rocky
Mountains, serving as host to a conduit of growth between Colorado Springs and
Fort Collins, has been an example of this theme. As a result of population
pressures, a booming economy in the 1990s, and the desire by homeowners to buy
a bigger house in the country, rural landscapes have been transformed from
isolated countryside to the citys edge.
Larimer County, anchored by the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland, now has
become the north end of Colorados Front Range sprawl. It features awesome
expanses of mountain landscapes and gentle transition where foothills give way to
rolling plains. People are pulled into Larimer County for its quality of life -
including clean air, proximity to nature and scenic beauty. Unfortunately, as
population continues to increase and more ground is developed, these quality of
life factors are being displaced by environmental degradation, loss of habitat,
congestion, unaffordable housing and the destruction of the former agricultural
culture. As growth continues to surge forward, the awkward reality of the
transformation between an agricultural landscape and a sprawling conglomeration
of edge cities and the expanding fringe is a force to manage. Without
111


management the fringe is certain to be lacking of the quality, environmental
treasures, ecological habitat and diversity the landscape currently offers.
Alternatively, well-informed growth will retain the quality of life by preserving
natural areas that feature important environmental and habitat characteristics, the
rural character and agricultural heritage of the lands in Larimer County. Although
loss of total food and fiber output is not an immediate or insurmountable threat if
it happens, urban expansion and urban sprawl onto agricultural lands demands our
attention. We need to work to ensure a reasonable balance between farm and
urban land that reflects the full economic, cultural, environmental, and social
value of land use.
This study identifies the significance of agricultural lands in Larimer County,
those parcels at risk of conversion, and the consequences that will ensue from the
reduction of agricultural lands.
The abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend this publication.
Signed
Thomas A. Clark
IV


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
It is with gratitude that I acknowledge the valuable guidance, time and
encouragement given to me throughout this entire study by Dr. Thomas A. Clark,
Professor, University of Colorado-Denver, my thesis advisor.
My gratitude and appreciation are also due to my parents, Robert D. and S. Jeanne
Crangle. They taught me to respect the land we claim as our own, but
acknowledge the reality that we are merely borrowing this land for a short time.
Without their knowledge and guidance my appreciation for open lands, star-filled
nights, and the struggle to remain on the land would not have developed. Without
their time and sacrifice, I would not be the person I am today.
My thanks are also due to my husband, Hayden Krizman, who not only lost
countless hours of my time, but who provided me the essential encouragement
and support I needed. I must also thank my dogs Faulkner, Kooter and Sorel, for
providing me companionship while I worked on my study and who understood
why we couldnt go running as much.
Fort Collins, Spring 2003
Kimball Crangle-Krizman


CONTENTS
Figures.......................................................viii
Tables........................................................ix
CHAPTER
l. INTRODUCTION........................................1
Purpose of the Study..........................2
Scope of the Study............................3
Data Limitations..............................3
The Arrangement of the Thesis.................4
H. LITERATURE REVIEW...................................6
Agricultural Lands as Public Goods............9
Rural Communities............................10
Land Values..................................11
Critical Mass............................... 12
Impermanence Syndrome........................13
Agricultural Productivity....................15
m. METHODOLOGY........................................18
IV. LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO...........................20
Agriculture in Colorado......................25
Agriculture in Larimer County................31
Water..................................34
History of Water.......................35
Local Support for Water Use and Agriculture..39
V. LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO AND CONVERGING
PRESSURE...........................................40
vi


VI. ALTERNATIVES AND CONCLUSION
53
Water Solutions.............................................60
Land Solutions..............................................62
Cultural Solutions..........................................63
County Solutions............................................63


APPENDIX
A. The Right to Farm.........................................67
B. Cropland Values: Irrigated and Non-Irrigated Land.........68
C. Land and Water Features of Larimer County................69
D. Larimer County Land Use Code..............................75
E. Appraisal Methods.........................................82
F. Conservation Easement Tax Code: Federal and State........85
G. Fort Collins-Timnath-Windsor Community Separator..........91
BIBLIOGRAPHY........................................................92
viii


FIGURES
Figure
4.1 Interstate 25 in Colorado........................................
4.2 Larimer County, Colorado.........................................
4.3 Land Use in Colorado.............................................
4.4 Agricultural Lands by Category, State of Colorado................
4.5 Irrigated Farmland in Colorado, 1959 -1997.......................
4.6 Agricultural Land Trends in Larimer County, Colorado.
1959-1997........................................................
4.7 The Value of Land and Buildings per Acre, Larimer County, Colorado.
1978-1997........................................................
4.8 Average Total Production Expenses per Farm, Larimer County,
Colorado. 1987-1997..............................................
4.9 Water Divisions of Colorado......................................
5.1 Soil Suitability for Agriculture, Larimer County, Colorado.......
5.2 Agricultural Tract Size, Larimer County, Colorado................
5.3 Development Pressure, Larimer County, Colorado...................
5.4 Location of Development Land Sales, Larimer County, Colorado.....
5.5 Location of Rural Land Sales, Larimer County, Colorado...........
21
22
24
26
30
31
33
34
37
41
43
45
49
51
IX


TABLES
Table
4.1 Population Change in Larimer County, Colorado 1990 2000.23
5.1 Development Land Values, Larimer County, Colorado.........48
5.2 Rural Land Values, Larimer County, Colorado...............50
x


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
A common theme in the American landscape has been the absorption of rural
areas into expanding metropolitan regions. The front range of Colorados Rocky
Mountains, serving as host to a conduit of growth between Colorado Springs and
Fort Collins, has been an example of this theme. As a result of population
pressures, a booming economy in the 1990s and the desire by homeowners to buy
a bigger house in the country, rural landscapes have been transformed from
isolated countryside to the citys edge.
People are pulled into Larimer County, Colorado for its quality of life including
clean air, proximity to nature and scenic beauty. Unfortunately, as population
continues to increase and more ground is developed, these quality of life factors
are being displaced by environmental degradation, loss of habitat, congestion,
unaffordable housing and the destruction of the former agricultural culture.
Sprawling, low developments ultimately threaten not only the culture, but
agricultural occupations.
As demand increases for affordable large residences with big back yards, cropland
and pasture are planted to new subdivisions. Currently undeveloped, these tracts
will soon be covered with housing, retail centers, employers, streets and other
support infrastructure.
1


As prices continue to increase and growth continues to surge forward, the
awkward reality of the transformation between an agricultural landscape and a
sprawling conglomeration of edge cities and the expanding fringe is a force to
manage. Without management the fringe is certain to be lacking of the quality,
environmental treasures, ecological habitat and diversity the landscape currently
offers. Alternatively, well-informed growth will retain the highly sought quality
of life by preserving natural areas that feature important environmental and
habitat characteristics, the rural character and agricultural heritage of the lands in
Larimer County. Although loss of total food and fiber output is not an immediate
threat or an insurmountable threat if it happens, urban expansion and the threat of
urban sprawl onto agricultural lands demands our attention. We need to work to
ensure a reasonable balance between farm and urban land that reflects the full
economic, cultural, environmental, and social value of land use.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this analysis is to identify and examine the driving forces of
change, the character of the development, and its impact on agriculture and rural
communities in Larimer County, Colorado. Water ownership issues, and the
future of lands lacking water, are fundamental to understanding the complexity of
retaining farming and ranching operations within the Front Range landscape. By
identifying the pressures that exist on agricultural parcels, this study examines
which parcels are more likely to convert to a non-agricultural land use and the
consequences that will ensue from this conversion. The consequences of land
conversion are shown to affect the agricultural production on remaining parcels,
the lingering rural community and the future inhabitants of the region. It is
established that continuation of the status quo will forever alter the landscape,
2


quality of life and culture of Larimer County. This study evaluates these effects,
determines the extent of conversion, and encourages alternatives to mitigate land
conversion.
Scope of the Study
The scope of this study focuses on the plains of the eastern edge of Larimer
County, Colorado. Featuring awesome expanses of mountain landscapes and the
gentle transition where foothills give way to rolling plains, Larimer County now
has become the north end of Colorados Front Range sprawl. This focused scope
will identify immediate threats inherent to agricultural lands. The study will
provide spatial representation of those parcels in danger of conversion and
provide context for feasible alternatives.
Data Limitations
Data limitations are inherent. Statistical and geographical information are
restricted to available data. In most cases, the data are not as current as the author
wished. The data collected from the Census of Agriculture is current through
1997. The 2002 Census reports are not available at the time of printing.
Real estate data is collected from two sources. The first source is known as
Information and Real Estate Services (IRES) which is a database of transactions
in which real estate agents were involved. The second source is from the Larimer
County Assessors Office. The data from IRES are very complete in nature and
provide specific transaction information. Unfortunately, many agricultural real
estate transactions do not use the services of a real estate agent. Often, these
3


unaccounted transactions occur between tenants of land and vacant landowners,
neighbors or family members. The Larimer County Assessors office does keep a
record of every transaction within the county and attempts to produce current and
accurate information, although this goal is not always attained. When
transactions are made, actual compensation, if in the form of money, is not
accurately reported to soften future real estate or other taxes.
Spatial and economic data are changing constantly. Due to current variable
economic conditions, trends established in the recent past may provide misleading
expectations. While these data limitations are unfortunate, the analysis does
accomplish a thorough review of issues that are inherent to the future landscape.
Facts and methodology are presented to ensure data limitations do not hamper the
purpose of the study. The author believes there is a reasonable balance that
allows the region to retain part of its agricultural character while serving the needs
of the more numerous non-agricultural residents.
The Arrangement of the Thesis
The first chapter provides an introduction to the study. Chapter two reviews
literature regarding spatial reactions to economic trends and consumer behavior.
Market incentives for the conversion of agricultural lands are introduced and the
resultant consequences are considered. Following the literature review, the third
chapter examines the methodology employed by the study. The fourth chapter
introduces Larimer County, Colorado. Demographic assessments evaluate local
social, cultural and economic characteristics. Trends of urbanization, farmland
policy and community politics are discussed. The fifth chapter analyzes how
conversion is occurring in Larimer County. Real estate trends are examined in
4


detail, including their impact on agriculture, the incentives that exist to subdivide
agricultural lands, and some options available to conserve these parcels.
Geographical data reveal the foundations established by the literature. The final
chapter suggests alternatives which fit the current statutory framework as well as
new policy tools to manage the direction, rate and efficiency of urban growth in a
way that preserves an agricultural role. Appendices and the bibliography
conclude the thesis.
5


CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW
Agriculture is influenced by the proximity to urbanized areas and concentrations
of population brought about by growth (Heimlich & Anderson, 2001).
Nationally, Metropolitan Statistical Areas, defined by the Bureau of the Census,
contain approximately 20 percent of total U.S. land area but 80 percent of the U.S.
population (Heimlich & Anderson, 2001). Settlement patterns in the U.S. now
concentrate in metropolitan areas and deconcentration trends occur at the
metropolitan fringe and nearby nonmetropolitan territory (HUD, 2000).
Studies have shown that the majority of people, especially families, find that
single-family housing is important to their sense of well-being (Morill, 1997). As
space within urban boundaries become more limited or costly, people look to the
exurbs for housing. The National Association of Homebuilders indicates that
people are willing to move further from city employment and retail centers to
obtain more space in their living environment (Homebuyers, 1996). In the US,
nearly 80 percent of the land used in home constructed between 1994 and 1997
was in nonmetropolitan areas (Heimlich & Anderson, 2001). Along the Front
Range, the desire to acquire larger, cheaper homes is a driving force of
development on the edge of established urban areas.
The appeal for new development results in the basins, ranges, farmlands and
habitat of the region becoming viable options for low density housing and
commercial centers (Gersh, 1995). Colorado has nurtured this desire to sprawl
6


since 1972, when Senate Bill 35 permitted subdivisions of land into 35 acres
without any regulation. This fact endorses rural, exurban growth to embed itself
in sporadic positions among agricultural lands (Maestas, Knight & Gilbert, 2001).
Large lot housing densities rapidly consume the landscape and reduce more
intensive development opportunities in the same space. This actually limits the
market of available development spaces which increase housing values (Clark,
1996) and leads to more sprawl and public subsidization.
As urban areas grow, the expansion of public services is often subsidized by
localities. Greater costs are associated with new infrastructure and public services
that are often not paid by the new developments they serve (Burchell & others,
1998; Heimlich & Anderson, 2001). Although actual public expenditures vary
depending on lot size, tract dispersion and distance from existing services, studies
indicate that more contiguous, compact housing patterns are less costly than
dispersed developments (Frank, 1989; Burchell & others, 1998; Speir &
Stephenson, 2002). Studies have concluded that although agricultural spaces
generate relatively little tax revenue, they make a net positive contribution to local
budgets (Heimlich & Anderson, 2001). Haggerty (2003) reviewed 47 fiscal
impact studies from thirteen states to show that converting agricultural land into
residential uses results in local government subsidization. These studies show
that residential land uses demand anywhere from $1.02 $3.25 in services for
every dollar of revenue generated for those services. Agricultural land uses
demand $.02 $.99 for every dollar they provide in revenue (Haggerty, 2003).
On average, residential property lost 17 cents for every dollar of tax revenue
while agricultural land produced an average surplus of 69 cents for every dollar of
revenue (Haggerty, 2003). As areas continue to experience rural growth, the
7


provision of public services to low density residential communities is a high cost
and inefficient fact. Conversely, preservation of agricultural parcels can
encourage higher density development, reducing the cost of services and thereby
reducing the costs of being a resident (Loomis, Rameker & Seidl, 2000).
Agricultural lands near metropolitan areas are being converted into three
categories of uses as they absorb growth; urban and built up lands; low density,
non-agricultural rural lands; and public open lands (NRCS, 2001). Urban and
built up lands are residential, commercial, and industrial uses as well as
highways, roads, rail lines and bridges. In Colorado, low density non-agricultural
rural lands include farms and ranches that have been reduced to 35 acre
ranchettes and other low density residential uses. Public open land conversions
are lands purchased by governing entities for use as state parks, wildlife habitat,
open spaces and wilderness areas. The conversion of agricultural lands
constitutes a significant land use change phenomenon in the West (Maestas,
Knight & Gilbert, 2001).
As growth provokes competition between localities, many communities depend
on their amenity values as benefits to attract economic development and therefore
act as economic stabilizers. The amenities of a community may include
environmental quality, natural beauty, proximity to nature and cultural amenities
(Gersh, 1995). Providing ample natural amenities and recreational opportunities
the Mountain West has attracted economic development in the service, recreation,
and information industries (Maestas, Knight & Gilbert, 2001; Power 1996).
Agricultural spaces provide natural amenities in the form of high quality wildlife
habitat, watershed space, scenic and viewscapes and open spaces (Huntsinger &
8


Hopkinson, 1996; Loomis, Rameker & Seidl, 2000; Maestas, Knight & Gilbert,
2001). The regions that still retain agricultural tracts have significant economic,
environmental, and quality of life benefits that are in danger of being lost.
Notably, studies have indicated that a negative economic impact is associated
with the loss of open lands (Heimlich & Anderson, 2001; Haggerty, 2003).
Agricultural Lands as Public Goods
The natural environment is a shared public resource where everyone may benefit
from increasing property values and an enhanced quality of life (McCleod &
Inman, 1999; Riebsame, Gosnell & Theobald, 1996; Perceptions, 2000;
Loomis, Rameker & Seidl, 2000). The natural amenities provided by agricultural
lands are non-excludable, non-consumptive public goods (Loomis, Rameker &
Seidl, 2000). The values that farm and ranch lands provide are often taken for
granted until they are lost to conversion. Studies indicate that the market value of
protecting lands along the Front Range from development average $26,582 per
acre (Loomis, Rameker & Seidl, 2000). It is difficult to ascertain the benefits
versus the costs of protecting agricultural lands in present values. Studies that
have done this conclude that even in areas benefiting the most from the
conservation of agricultural lands, the benefits are only worth 13 percent of the
costs to acquire these lands (Heimlich & Anderson, 2001). The monetarily
unquantifiable costs of growth are measured by the loss of familiar landscapes,
the loss of natures proximity, increasing congestion and the presence of run-on
cities (Clark, 1996). As growth expands, it can destroy the very amenities that
drew earlier residents, leading to further exurban expansion (Heimlich &
Anderson, 2001). Since agricultural lands are still a dominating facet of the
9


landscape surrounding the metropolitan areas of Larimer County, retaining these
amenities is still possible.
Rural Communities
Increased non-agricultural land uses near agricultural operations create negative
changes in the agricultural operations (Zollinger & Krannich, 2002) and affect the
rural community. As new folks move in and established families move out, there
has been a transformation in the lifestyle, land uses, economic systems, values
and the politics that have historically dominated the Western culture (Nichols,
Murphy & Kenney, 2001). Agriculture suffers most from the population influx
(McCormick, 1998). The new residential and commercial developments
occurring in previously utilized agricultural lands create a host of new problems
for local ranchers and farmers. Not least of them is a conflict in cultures. The
adverse affects include nuisance claims, increased property taxes to pay for
encroaching urban services, increased cost of doing business and the reduction in
nearby agricultural support services. Adjacent urbanization generates complaints
about farm odors and noises. Even though Colorado and many other Western
states have adopted right-to-farm laws (see Appendix A) to protect agricultural
operators against nuisance lawsuits, there are often significant informal pressures
from non-agricultural neighbors (Lockeretz, 1989). Conflicts arise between
commuters and farm traffic on rural roads, the time of operations and the method
of practice like the application of pesticides (Price & Harris, 2000). The
sustainability of rural society is strongly valued by agricultural operators (Duram,
1997). Once this diminishes, the desire to remain in the area diminishes as well.
10


Land Values
As urbanization extends into the rural landscape, the price of land rises as it
reflects the future potential of development (Heimlich & Anderson, 2001). The
result is a high price paid by urban associates and the undervaluation of land for
their agricultural uses (Nelson, 1992). Empirical studies have shown that distance
to urban areas is inversely related to the differences in price between use value
and market value of agricultural land (Jin Shi, Phipps & Colyer, 1997).
Therefore, the quantity of land demanded for agricultural purposes by agricultural
operators is very responsive to land rents. Competition for these lands increases
as population pressures intensify the demand for agricultural lands (Lopez, Shah
& Altobello, 1994). The ability for people to reside in an exurban location with
acceptable accessibility, nearby natural amenities, facilities and public
infrastructure all work to increase rural land values. The sale of any land parcel at
an inflated value encourages surrounding landowners to expect inflated values for
their parcels as well (Jin Shi, Phipps & Colyer, 1997). The identified highest and
best use of a parcel determines the market value (USPAP, 2002). In current
Larimer County market conditions, the agricultural use value is not the most
profitable. A higher use is attributed for urban and other rural land uses as they
are the best use (most profitable) of the land as established by the market. The
value of the agricultural land should be dependant on investments in equipment,
farming practices, irrigation and support structures. These investments affect the
quality and quantity of the product, as well as the monetary returns of the
operation. Unfortunately, the market recognizes other uses as superior, ensuring
the increase of land prices. Persistent residual affects ensue. Agricultural
operators cannot accumulate land because of the increased prices (Lockeretz,
1989). This prevents operators from expanding their operations or realizing
11


economies of scale with newer technologies to increase productivity (Lockeretz,
1989). Landowners are pressured by higher real estate taxes that result from land
price increases (Price & Harris, 2000). Ranchers and farmers who have owned
land for generations face property taxes and estate taxes that cannot be paid by
traditional agriculture. Many realize the price increases are going to destroy the
characteristics of their rural culture. These cultural changes are not insignificant.
Agricultural producers who feel displaced culturally often relocate to begin new
operations away from the urban area. As more long term operators vacate, the
cultural sentiment changes. Even if farmers and ranchers want to retain their land
in an agricultural capacity, it becomes increasingly difficult. The overall affect is
the local reduction in amount agricultural lands and the amenities they provide.
Critical Mass
For farms and wildlife to survive, a region must maintain a critical mass of
agricultural land (Daniels, 1999). The critical mass is the threshold required to
sustain agricultural support services such as trucking, processing, feed mills and
machine dealers. These agribusinesses constitute the infrastructure required for a
viable farming and ranching industry. Areas where parcels of land become
fragmented are more likely to evidence the conversion of agricultural lands to
other uses. As the number of land owners increase, the values, goals, business
practices, lifestyles, and visions of an acceptable landscape change. The support
services required for a variety of businesses is not as homogenous as with similar,
large-scale production operations. The cost of doing business increases as critical
mass decreases. The net income of agricultural producers is ultimately affected.
For example, as support services move away from urbanizing areas, the travel
time increases to obtain services and supplies for scattered agricultural operators.
12


With less agricultural consumers of water, competition increases between
municipalities and the remaining agricultural producers. Water rights increase in
price due to the increased demand for them from municipalities. The ability to
share costs of fertilizing and applying pesticides and herbicides is no longer
available. Areas that had been sprayed from the air now require surface
applications, which are more timely and expensive. These barriers to profitability
result in land left idle, or utilized with only minor investment (Haggerty, 2003).
Impermanence Syndrome
The increasing prices, pressures and demand of adjacent parcels perpetuate a
cycle of farmland and habitat conversion and ends agricultural productivity
(Carver & Yahner, 1996; Gersh, 1995). Once a tract is lost to development, the
tracts in the surrounding area are less likely to remain in production agriculture.
Resentment ensues and the motivation to remain in a changing community
diminishes. Impacts on the converted tract are often small in comparison to the
current and future consequences impacting adjacent farmland (Carver & Yahner,
1996). As one tract falls to development, adjacent parcels see their inevitable
departure (Zollinger & Krannich, 2002). Existing operators view the changing
landscape surrounding them as an increasingly problematic place for agricultural
business (Zollinger & Krannich, 2002). A perception of impending negative
change increases an agricultural operators propensity to sell landholdings to a
non-agricultural use (Zollinger & Krannich, 2002). When farmers and ranchers
believe that urbanization will absorb their land holdings, the result can be the
decision not to invest in their operations, to shift from high investment selections
to lower investment options, or to leave the land idle. Producers no longer see the
13


benefit to investing in long term improvements or maintain their existing
improvements such as barns, fences, irrigation systems or drainage systems
(Lockeretz, 1989). Acknowledgement and adoption to the short time horizon for
agricultural operations is known as the impermanence syndrome (Berry, 1978;
Nelson, 1998; Huntsinger & Hopkinson, 1996; Heimlich & Anderson, 1987).
The exodus quickens as critical mass diminishes.
The impermanence syndrome and reduction in critical mass are induced by
spillovers. Spillovers are externalities produced by political jurisdictions but felt
outside of their boundaries. Externalities are inefficiencies produced by a market
place. Non-agricultural land uses create negative externalities for adjacent
agricultural operations (Nelson, 1998).
One spillover that induces impermanence is overvalued lands, previously
discussed. When lands are attractive to urban interest, the ability for agricultural
operators to compete for land accumulation is significantly diminished. As the
barriers to successful operations continue to stack up, the impermanence
syndrome is acknowledged. This spillover encourages land speculation by
farmers and ranchers feeling impermanence, who come to believe that
development is upon them. These incremental reactions encourage further
spillovers.
Conversely, the removal of agricultural operations by development works to
eliminate associated positive spillovers. For example, the presence of open
spaces, viewscapes, habitat and sense of place are permanently omitted from the
14


area. Other spillovers to note include traffic congestion, increased auto
dependency, increased pollution, and loss of local food and fiber.
Agricultural Productivity
The distance from residential development impacts overall agricultural
productivity (Carver & Yahner, 1996). Non-farm neighbors may see themselves
at risk in regard to safety and health from surrounding agricultural uses, adding
pressure on surrounding pastures and croplands. As crucial farmland is lost, less
productive land is looked to as a substitute. If marginally productive land must be
used, means employed to make it productive are utilized (Nelson, 1998). The
lands selected to absorb relocating agricultural operations are vulnerable (Greene
& Stager, 2001). They require more costs (monetary and environmentally) to
ensure production. The quantity and quality of the goods produced suffer (Greene
& Stager, 2001). If agricultural markets continue to decline in the future, it is
likely these replacement lands will also be lost. This will have significant impacts
on the future of Colorados agricultural production.
Productivity is diminished as land is divided and sold for lifestyle farmers
whose primary use of the land is as a residence and secondary use is for hobby,
recreational or part-time operations (Heimlich & Anderson, 2001). These farms
account for 16 18 percent of all U.S. farms but only contribute one percent of
aggregate agricultural product sales (Heimlich & Anderson, 2001).
There are positive impacts of urbanization on agriculture to note. For instance,
there are greater opportunities to supplement farm income with off-farm sources.
Nationally, 90 percent of average farm household income was from off-farm
15


employment, spousal income and other business income in 1999. The percentage
in recent years has suggested that 83 to 90 percent of average farm household
income is derived from off-farm sources (Sommer, Hoppe, Green & Korb, 1998;
Heimlich & Anderson, 2001). These financial abilities can help stabilize families
in years of poor production. These positive externalities can also help reduce the
pressure to vacate the land due to a down year.
Proximity to urban areas opens the door to increasing the local market for goods
produced on farms. Direct marketing of high value crops allow operators to enjoy
retail prices for their products (Lockeretz, 1989). Farmers markets, direct sales
to local restaurants and supermarkets, and road-side stands are new revenue
sources (Price & Harris, 2000). Switching to locally demanded, high-value crops
can also reduce the land requirement and operating costs of a producer.
These positive effects of urbanity have not deterred the conversion of the
agricultural landscape. It would seem that they may be incentive enough to retain
some agricultural parcels, and should be further explored. If remaining lands can
be preserved, the quality of life improves for the community. As previously
discussed, these agricultural parcels act as a visual buffer between communities,
add an aesthetic component of the landscape, provide habitat for wildlife and
native plants, and provide access to locally grown farm products.
Of course, the best positive externality is appreciated by agricultural operators
themselves. The sale of agricultural land to creeping urban users provides a big
payoff. Land represents a lifetime investment and a retirement package to life-
long producers (Zollinger & Krannick, 2002; McCormick, 1998). To these folks,
16


selling their land at an inflated value is appealing. This incentive is encouraged as
critical mass is decreased and the impermanence syndrome sets in. If agricultural
occupants feel communal support and can tap into the other positive affects of
urbanization, the enticement of cash may be merely a component of the decision
to sell or remain.
The literature reviewed identifies the social, cultural, and economical fabric that
often supports the conversion of agricultural land uses to other uses. It is
unknown how these theories on agricultural land conversion relate to the lands in
eastern Larimer County. This study will test the concept and process of
impermanence on eastern Larimer County lands. This study will then extend the
realm of impermanence by determining if local planning regulations encourage or
discourage agricultural land conversion. The results will allow local and regional
planners the ability to recognize how regulations can retain or remove agricultural
operations form the landscape.
17


CHAPTER m
METHODOLOGY
This analysis focuses on Larimer County, Colorado. Justification for analysis of
the conversion of agricultural lands in Larimer County is provided. Published
sources discussing agricultural productivity, quality of life, the desires of local
inhabitants and water availability are investigated. Literature sources are
examined in relation to transitions occurring within eastern Larimer County.
These resources establish the significance of agricultural lands and the pressures
urbanization puts upon them. Identifying the likelihood of agricultural land
conversion is accomplished by evaluating variables such as regulatory policies,
consumer desires, market trends and the forces of urbanization. To indicate the
chances of agricultural land conversion this study evaluates areas of land masses
devoted to agricultural uses, land uses and development patterns, and proximity to
urban areas. Spatial data provide representation of these data and pronounce
trends in land uses. Other methods employed to exemplify the pressures on
agricultural lands include the analysis of land values, water, water values and
regulatory deficiencies. Historic data and recent trends provide context for
retaining water in agricultural capacities, a necessity for productive agricultural
lands.
As the literature revealed, lands that are susceptible to urbanization can often be
predicted by market trends. This study considers that these endangered
agricultural lands can be highlighted by spatial trends and market values. Land
values are an indicator of development pressures, barriers to new agricultural
18


operations, and the investment required to assemble large parcels of land into
bundles of critical mass. Appropriately, land values are utilized to identify areas
of potential agricultural land conversions.
Real estate values for land are analyzed from recent sales. Transactions between
December 1999 and March 2003 provide current development and agricultural
land values. This data acknowledges the factors affecting value, such as the cost
to improve and install infrastructure, obtain water rights, access and other
services. Spatial land use trends are analyzed with regard to the regulatory
structure. Along the eastern edge of Larimer County, the guiding regulatory
system is the Larimer County Land Use Code and applicable laws of the State of
Colorado. By analyzing the permissible land uses and densities, this study
considers the scarcity of land in relation to the current and fixture demands
established by the literature review and local trends. The results are scrutinized to
indicate the likelihood of agricultural conversion.
Spatial data are compiled with regard to superior soils for agricultural production
and the pressure from development. This study utilizes the Land Evaluation and
Site Assessment (LESA) system developed by the Natural Resources
Conservation Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USD A, 2003). In
agricultural land evaluation, the LESA system rates and groups soils ranging from
the best to least suited for agricultural uses. Lands are evaluated based on data
from the National Soil Survey and sites are assessed based on local regulations
and land consumption patterns.
19


CHAPTER IV
LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO
The recent pace of development in the Rocky Mountain West has been amazing.
Recent Census figures show the three fastest growing states are Nevada, Arizona
and Colorado (US Census Bureau, 1990, 2000).
The Front Range of the Rocky Mountains was home to nearly 82 percent of the
states population in 2000 (DOLA, 2002). The Interstate 25 Corridor, which runs
north to south along the Front Range, has been experiencing significant growth.
80 percent of the states population growth between 1990 and 2000 occurred
along the Front Range and 1-25 Corridor (Census, 2000; DOLA, 2002). This
growth is facilitated by converting agricultural lands to residential uses.
20


Figure 4.1. Interstate 25 in Colorado,

ou
columbine
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KnCflid
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''-Hayden I Estes Park <$>1
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creede Moffat] *, 0 - 1 " y
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V
<->lli_V|llki
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. / tFort Garland
? a-\ V k :i* Rio Grande]
/ '^Bayfield
X CedarwootT Jpfrtipas Toonerullle
(55G
Durango
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O
/ villegreen0
Trinidad
TWO Buttesc
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Natl,
Kim Natl
0 Grassland'
Raton-
^Branson
Folsom
Source: MapQuest, 2003.
Larimer County, anchored by the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland, has become
the north end of Colorados Front Range sprawl. Interstate 25 is the main conduit
of growth.
21


Figure 4.2. Larimer County, Colorado.
Source: MapQuest, 2003.
The 1-25 Corridor opens Northern Colorado to metropolitan Denver. New
regional commercial developments are slated for development to help fill the
vacant land gaps between existing communities. These gaps are currently
utilized by agricultural operations.
22


In rural communities within the county, the way of life has been transformed from
small-town agricultural to bedroom communities. The populations of
unincorporated areas of Larimer County grew by 21% between 1990 and 2000
(Compass, 2003). Located close to 1-25, these small towns are attractive to
commuters who travel to Fort Collins, Loveland and metropolitan Denver for
employment, social and cultural opportunities.
Table 4.1. Population Change in Larimer County, Colorado 1990 2000.
1990 2000 % Change
Larimer County 186,136 251,494 35.11%
Berthoud 2,990 4,839 38.21%
Estes Park 3,184 5,413 70.01%
Fort Collins 87,758 118,652 35.20%
Johnstown1 1,579 3,827 142.37%
Loveland 37,352 50,608 35.49%
Timnath 190 223 17.37%
Wellington 1,340 2,672 99.40%
Windsor2 5,062 9,896 95.50%
Source: US Census Bureau, 1990,2000.
Growth is not expected to slow. Estimates indicate that the Front Range of
Colorado will have over five million residents by 2025, retaining 80 percent of the
states entire population. Larimer County and the Fort Collins MSA are expected
to have 376,333 people, or nearly 50 percent more people than those residing in
1 The Town of Johnston did not include land in Larimer County until the late 1990s
2 The Town of Windsor did not include land in Larimer County until the mid 1990s.
23


the county in 2000 (DOLA, 2002). The open tracts of land that still dominate
Colorados landscape are vulnerable to this anticipated growth and reactive
development.
The State of Colorado has 66.6 million acres and the most recent estimates are
that only 3 percent of the state is developed. 36 percent of the state is federally
owned, 5 percent is state owned, 8 percent is non-agricultural rural land and the
remaining 48 percent are lands devoted to agricultural uses (Obermann, Carlson
& Batchelder, 2000, Colorado Department of Agriculture, 1997).
Figure 4.3. Land Use in Colorado.
State Owned
Non-Agricultural,
Rural
7%
Federally Owned
36%
Agricultural
49%
Developed
3%
Source: Oberman, Carlson & Batchelder, 2000.
24


Although a large portion of the state is publicly owned and managed, a larger
percentage is privately owned. Farms and ranches account for more than 85% of
the privately-held undeveloped land in the state (Propp, Leeper & Carlson, 2002).
As the importance of resource extractive industries decline, these lands along the
1-25 Corridor will be incrementally developed to absorb the growing population
in the state. Historically this has been the case. Between 1987 and 1997,
Colorado had 1.4 million acres of agricultural lands converted to other uses; an
average annual rate of agricultural land conversion of 141,000 acres per year
(Oberman, Carlson & Batchelder, 2000). The loss in farm and ranch lands is
accelerating as the average annual loss between 1978 and 1992 was 90,000 acres
(Carlson, 1999; Daniels, 1999).
People are attracted to the region because of the quality of the environment,
proximity to nature, and the scenic beauty (Gersh, 1995). As the literature review
revealed, agricultural lands not only produce crops and livestock, but also provide
visual open spaces for scenic amenities, wildlife habitat, character and definition
between towns. They are an enjoyable feature of the landscape and enhance the
quality of life. In Larimer County, they are in danger of permanent conversion
into non-agricultural uses and developed lands.
Agriculture in Colorado
Of the total land in Colorado, 16 percent (10.7 million acres) is cropland [of
which 3.4 million acres is irrigated], 30 percent is rangeland (20.0 million acres)
and 3 percent (2.0 million acres) is other land is farms (Obermann, Carlson &
Batchelder, 2000). Agricultural lands total 49 percent (32.6 million acres) of all
the land in the state.
25


Figure 4.4. Agricultural Lands by Category, State of Colorado.
Non-Irrigated Cropland
11%
Source: Oberman, Carlson & Batchelder, 2000; Colorado Department of Agriculture, 1997.
In 1997 there were over 28,000 farms and ranches on Colorados agricultural
lands (Propp, Leeper & Carlson, 2002). Approximately 82 percent of these farms
and ranches were owned by individuals and families (American Farmland Trust,
2003).
Land productivity is highly variant based upon the type of crop grown, the soil
conditions, the growing season and the availability of water to irrigate the crops.
26


As indicated, once water is no longer available, land becomes significantly less
productive.
Half of Colorado's irrigated acres, or approximately 1.7 million acres, are defined
as prime farmland by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (NRCS, 1997). The
USDA defines prime agricultural lands as:
Land that has the best combination of physical and chemical
characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed
crops and is also available for these uses. It has the soil quality,
growing season, and moisture supply needed to produce
economically sustained high yields of crops when treated and
managed according to acceptable farming methods, including
water management. In general, prime farmlands have an adequate
and dependable water supply from precipitation or irrigation, a
favorable temperature and growing season, acceptable acidity or
alkalinity, acceptable salt and sodium content, and few or no rocks.
They are permeable to water and air. Prime farmlands are not
excessively erodible or saturated with water for a long period of
time, and they either do not flood frequently or are protected from
flooding.
The American Farmland Trust enhances this definition by indicating that prime
farmland must have a dependable supply of water for 8 out of 10 years of
production (American Farmland Trust, 2003). Prime farmland does not include
land already in or committed to urban development or water storage. Once prime
farmland is converted to an urban use, the soil properties that helped define it as
prime are altered (Greene & Stager, 2001; Maestas, Knight & Gilbert, 2001).
For this reason, lands with highly productive soils and water availability are
specifically excluded from the prime classification if they occur in built-up
areas.
27


Irrigation is an essential component of Colorado agriculture. Irrigated Colorado
crops generated $1 billion of revenue in 1997, compared to $.3 billion produced
by non-irrigated crops in the state (Colorado Department of Agriculture, 1997).
On average, irrigated production is worth $294.12 per acre. Non-irrigated
production is worth $41.10 per acre (see Appendix B). Irrigation also helps make
dry ranchlands productive. 1997 livestock sales totaled $3.2 billion (Colorado
Department of Agriculture, 1997).
The location of the states prime farmland is hard to define but is known to exist
in the eight-county Denver metropolitan area. These counties include Adams,
Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer and Weld Counties.
The American Farmland Trust has identified Larimer County as one of two
counties in eastern Colorado where growth poses increasingly serious threats to
farm and ranch land3. Larimer County has the sixth highest amount of prime
agricultural land in the state with 99,000 acres. Weld County, neighboring to the
East, is the states leader with 365,000 acres of prime agricultural land (GOCO,
1998). Together, these two counties constitute a total of464,000 acres of prime
farmland, or 27.3 percent of the prime land in the entire state of Colorado. If
prime lands are converted in Larimer County, it is simply a matter of time before
neighboring prime lands in Weld County become victims of the impermanence
syndrome. As development has occurred, many agricultural producers have
already relocated from the Front Range to Eastern Colorado. The Colorado
Department of Agriculture indicates that increased agricultural activity in Eastern
Colorado compensates for some losses of Front Range cropland. However, the
farmed acreage in Eastern Colorado often depends upon water from the Ogallala
3 The other County identified is Weld County.
28


aquifer, a finite, nonrenewable water source. The Colorado Department of
Agriculture indicates that nearly 20 percent of the state's irrigated acreage (or
680,000 acres) is dependent upon Ogallala water (Colorado Department of
Agriculture, 1997; American Farmland Trust, 2003).
As previously mentioned, an adequate water supply is a requirement for prime
agricultural land. Although many agricultural producers have reduced production
or relocated, the amount of irrigated farm land in Colorado has remained fairly
stable since 1959 (Colorado Department of Agriculture, 1997). A recent study
indicates that eastern Colorado has seen an intensification of agriculture due to a
76 percent increase in harvested irrigated land between 1950 and 1997 (Patron,
Gutmann, &Travis, 2003). This fact confirms the relocation of irrigated
agriculture away from the Front Range and onto the Plains of Colorado.
29


Figure 4.5. Irrigated Farmland In Colorado. 1959 1997.
The total land that will remain in agriculture in the future is in danger of
significantly declining. A combination of growth pressures, vulnerability and
expense to keep less suitable agricultural lands in production, and increasing legal
complexities of drawing water from unestablished locations will threaten eastern
Colorado (and the State of Colorados) agricultural production.
30


Agriculture in Larimer County
Larimer County is estimated to contain 542,000 acres of total farmland (Census of
Agriculture, 1997). The acres of farmland in Larimer County have been steadily
diminishing over the last half-century.
Figure 4.6. Agricultural Land Trends in Larimer County, Colorado. 1959 -
1997.
Total agricultural lands have declined by 30 percent since 1959, when there were
771,000 acres (Census of Agriculture, 1997; Colorado Department of Agriculture,
1999). The number of irrigated acreage has diminished 30 percent since 1959,
31


when there were 110,000 acres of irrigated land. In 1997 only 78,000 acres were
irrigated. (Census of Agriculture, 1997; Colorado Department of Agriculture,
1999).
Data indicates that the total employment in Larimer Countys agribusiness was
4.5 percent in 1997. Total income from agribusiness in the same year was 2.07
percent of the total county income (Hine, Gamer & Hoag, 1997). These numbers
are small relative to neighboring Weld County, where agribusiness employed 17.0
percent of the total county and earned 11.58 percent of the total county income.
Nevertheless, the importance of agriculture has remained stable in Larimer
County even though the agricultural culture has been changing. While Larimer
County has more farms related to cattle and hay production, it ranks in the top 100
counties in the U.S. for the market value of sheep, horses and dry edible beans.
The value of land and buildings in Larimer County is consistently above that of
the State of Colorado. As urbanization has occurred within the county, the value
of land has risen dramatically. The following data demonstrates how rising land
prices relate to other portions of the state.
32


Figure 4.7. The Value of Land and Buildings per Acre, Larimer County,
Colorado. 1978 -1997.
Interestingly, the average total production expenses in Larimer County have been
significantly less than that of the remainder of the state, and decreasing slightly
since 1987. These data may indicate that smaller lifestyle farms are operating in
the county than high production farms. This also reflects on the shifting
agricultural culture throughout the county.
33


Figure 4.8. Average Total Production Expenses per Farm, Larimer County,
Colorado. 1987-1997.
Water
Although most of the state's water is on the western slope, most of the population
lives on the Front Range (Lofholm, 1999). As population pressures surge along
the Front Range, water demand has become a concern to all land users. Long-
term agricultural productivity is dependant on reliable water. The semi-arid
climate of Larimer County creates a low supply of water and deeply rooted
34


conflicts over water ownership. Resultant water regulations have the power to
increasingly dominate land planning strategies.
History of Water
The need for water became apparent when settlers moved into the Colorado
Mountains to mine for gold in the late 1850s. Water was a required resource for
the mineral sluicing process. The eventual miracle of turning three quarters of a
million acres of semi-desert land into fertile farms started shortly after (Water,
2002). Water diversions were enhanced when local inhabitants of land
surrounding rivers and streams began diverting water for agricultural purposes. In
northeastern Colorado, the Union Colony constructed ditches from the Poudre
River into the fields surrounding Greeley and put about 12,000 acres of ground
into irrigation (Water, 2002). The early success of diverting water prompted
the construction of more ditches and canals. By the turn of the century reservoirs
were being constructed to store snow melt runoffs and enhance river supplies.
As more diversion and storage techniques were utilized, conflicts over water
ownership developed.
To help define the rights of users, Colorado adopted the prior appropriation
doctrine in Article XVI of its 1876 Constitution (Kehrwald, 2002). Colorado
Revised Statue 37-82-101 indicates that an appropriation is the intent to take
accompanied by some open physical demonstration of the intent for a valuable
and beneficial use. The appropriation is recognized legally when the act
evidencing the intent is performed.
35


Water is first distributed by the date of appropriation and then by its recognized
beneficial use. The beneficial uses are ranked by state statute as domestic,
agricultural, industrial and recreational uses. Although not the highest beneficial
use, agricultural users were the first to acquire water rights, and therefore have the
priority right. Agricultural users captured, stored, channeled and distributed water
from the major rivers and hundreds of tributaries to the agricultural fields. With
adequate sources of water, these lands hosted cattle ranchers and crop growers for
decades. The original 1876 prior appropriation doctrine was the legal basis for
surface water rights until groundwater policies were established in the 1960s. A
major drought in the 1950s prompted a wave of groundwater development. Large
capacity wells drew water for agricultural irrigation from underground aquifers
(Kehwald, 2003). The well's impacts were not immediately realized by surface
users. When they were, the courts determined that well pumping rates far exceed
ground percolation rates. They ruled that diversion of groundwater impacted the
availability of water on the surface, thereby causing injury to senior appropriated
water rights (Fosha, 1997). The 1969 Water Rights Determination and
Administration Act was adopted as a detailed program to define groundwater
sources and increase the supply of water available for beneficial use. The Act
created seven water divisions based upon the drainage patterns of various rivers in
Colorado.
36


Figure 4.9. Water Divisions of Colorado.
Larimer County water sources. Larimer County is included within Water
Division 1 along with the Denver metropolitan area, Loveland, Longmont,
Greeley, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Sterling, Burlington, Wray and
Julesburg. This division consists of the drainage basins of the South Platte River,
the Big Laramie River, the Arikaree River, the north and south forks of the
Republican River, the Smokey Hill River, Sandy and Frenchman Creeks, and
their tributaries (Colorado Water, 2003). Larimer County benefits most from
37


the Cache La Poudre River and the Big Thompson River. Important irrigation
diversions from these rivers include ditches, canals and reservoirs.
Irrigation is an essential component to current and future agriculture in Northern
Colorado. Within Water Division 1 are 1.4 million irrigated acres of land, 540
major farm and ranch irrigation diversions, 370 reservoirs and 6,418 miles of
canals (Water, 2002).
By their early priority entitlement, agricultural users are permitted to use a like
amount to the use first appropriated. Since irrigation accounts for 94 percent of
the consumptive water use in the State of Colorado (Estimating Use, 1995),
municipalities identify the potential to convert agricultural water to feed growing
population pressures. Agriculture can not survive without water. Municipalities
can not grow without new water sources and already struggle to accumulate
enough water to service current residents. The result is a competition between
municipalities and agricultural users for finite water supplies. The scarcity
encourages price increases. Price increases entice the conversion of agricultural
water and discourages the accumulation of water by agricultural producers.
Once an agricultural parcel is dried up significant expense and effort are
required to return that parcel to productive agriculture. As growth of the region
continues, cities and towns must either re-allocate water from agricultural uses or
construct new storage devises without causing injury to senior water users. It is
easier and more time efficient to acquire water from the agricultural sector. In
part, this is true due to the number of agricultural water owners willing to sell.
The current water market condition pronounces a future where land use will be
38


determined by who can afford the water. Nowhere, however, is the issue more
intense than in Larimer and Weld Counties (Putting Creativity, 2001). As
growth extends north along the Front Range, water in these two counties will
dictate future land use.
Local Support for Water Use and Agriculture
There is a fundamental desire for agriculture to remain a vibrant occupation on
the landscape, and therefore a general opposition of agriculture-to-urban water
transfers (Nichols, Murphy & Kenney, 2001). Unfortunately, water is cost
prohibitive to purchase. As an example, 1.00 share of North Poudre Irrigation
Company was selling for $44,000 during the winter of2003. That same share of
water cost $5,000 in 1998. A gap exists between the current market rate for water
and the current agricultural-use value for the same water. The opportunity cost of
an agricultural operator trying to replace lost water rights is too high and thus is a
barrier to operations. This supports the trend of operators to relocate to other,
more affordable areas.
A desire is present to maintain agriculture in Larimer County. A study conducted
in May 2001 by Colorado State University reported that nearly all respondents of
the survey felt that maintaining agricultural land and water in agricultural
production was very or moderately important (96.2 percent). The reasons
respondents felt retaining agriculture was for food and fiber production (81.6
percent) and open space and wildlife habitat (74.6 percent). 80 percent of
respondents indicated that the presence of agriculture in Colorado was very
important to the quality of life (Fix, Wallace & Bright, 2001).
39


CHAPTER V
LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO
AND CONVERGING PRESSURE
The literature suggests that as development pressures increase and urban areas
expand, impermanence is established throughout the agricultural communities.
As previously identified, successful agricultural operations require a relatively
reliable and affordable water supply in addition to good soils. Good soils are
present in the eastern segment of Larimer County. Water is also readily available.
As the demand increases for development parcels, the price of both the good soil
and the available water are quickly becoming out of reach for the agricultural
sector.
Identification of the most valuable agricultural parcels in Larimer County is
necessary. These parcels may then be evaluated with regard to the impermanence
syndrome, future development paths and opportunities to retain critical mass. The
following map indicates the parcels with soils that yield productive agriculture.
This data is based on the LES A system which assesses land areas for their soils
suitability for agricultural production and agricultural economic viability (USDA,
2003). These parcels can not be considered as prime as they simply indicate the
soils capability. These may be prime if water is available.
40


Figure 5.1. Soil Suitability for Agriculture
Larimer County, Colorado
Urban Areas
Parcels
Soil Suitability for Agriculture
Low
High
Source: Sillin & Swope, 2001; USDA/NRCS LESA; The Author
41


It is evident that those soils most suited for agricultural uses are concentrated
along the eastern plains of the county. The best soils are located nearby the high
growth areas of Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor and Berthoud.
Recognizing the areas of critical land masses is an essential element to determine
the likelihood of the impermanence syndrome. The following map identifies the
size of parcels in Larimer County. The large accumulation of agricultural parcels
is evident in the northern part of Larimer County. The southern part of the county
is dispersed among many different owners (see Appendix C). The map illustrates
the line of reasoning shown by the literature: those lands in urbanizing areas of
the county have been divided to support the increasing population and their
lifestyle preferences.
42


Figure 5.2. Agricultural Tract Size
Larimer County, Colorado
Urban Areas
| | Parcels
Parcel Size
S"~
Large 16,000 Acres
Source: Sillin & Swope, 2001; The Author
43


The largest accumulations of land are evident in the northeastern portion of the
county. These lands are not feeling the same development pressure as those
landholders in the southeastern segment of the county. Since these lands still
constitute a critical mass, they should be targeted for conservation in agricultural
production.
Those parcels nearest to the urban edges are already enveloped within the
impermanence syndrome and slated for development. Many parcels will give
way to urban expansion. The peripheral parcels are great targets for agricultural
conservation efforts in the form of public acquisitions or easements. These
parcels can act as the initial buffer between urban and rural lands and will help
break the cycle of the impermanence syndrome. The following map identifies
those parcels nearest urbanized areas and therefore more susceptible to the
impermanence syndrome.
44


Figure 5.3. Development Pressure
Larimer County, Colorado
Urban Areas
Parcels
Development Pressure
Source: Sillin & Swope, 2001; The Author
45


Unfortunately, the parcels that feel the most pressure to develop feature the best
soils for agricultural uses in Larimer County. These pressured tracts are already
dispersed into small plots and will surrender to conversion more easily. The
current zoning structure for the parcels under the most pressure is conducive to
high growth. In the southeastern comer of the county, the primary zoning for
undeveloped land remains FA-Farming by the Larimer County Land Use Code
(see Appendix D). The principle uses in this classification include agricultural
and single family residential functions. The minimum lot size is 2.3 acres if a
well or septic system is used. If both public water and sewer are available to the
lot, the minimum size permissible is .53 acres. The lands in the northeastern and
eastern section of the county are zoned FA-1 Farming. The primary uses are
also agricultural and single family residential. In this zoning district, the
minimum lot size is 2.3 acres. The current zoning structure for undeveloped
parcels in Larimer County results in an abundance of development opportunities
on present day agricultural lands. The zoning structure encourages those
problems specified in the literature reviewed. Agricultural occupants will
increasingly recognize conflict between their non-agricultural neighbors,
experience increased costs of doing business and feelings of impermanence.
Incentives to convert agricultural lands to development land are also pronounced
in values of land and water. The difference in the price per acre for land in use as
agricultural ground versus ground slated for development is significant.
Development lands are recognized as those most suited for future commercial or
residential uses. Accessibility, infrastructure, physical barriers, visual appeal, and
proximity to previously developed areas can add or detract from the price and
timeline for development. Acknowledging the competition between potential
46


development lands and agricultural lands will permit a glance into future land
uses. Identifying areas better suited for development and those still retaining a
critical mass can provide a guide for future growth. In urbanizing areas of the
county, unimproved ground sold for development has been as high as $35,000. In
these same areas, the average land prices agricultural uses are around $2,000 per
acre. Factors such as access, proximity of services, off site improvements and
location affect the land values. Within Larimer County, no appraisal will consider
the highest and best use of the parcel to be agriculture (see Appendix E). It is
always more profitable to sell a 35 acre tract. Parcels in the southeastern portion
of the county are more valuable due to their proximity to jobs, population
pressures, and proximity to metropolitan Denver. The following data and maps
exhibit the land values throughout the county.
47


Table 5.1. Development Land Values, Larimer County, Colorado.
RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT LAND:
Location Sale Date Sale Price Acres
RD1 0 CORD 4 35, 36-4N-70W, near Berthoud 4/29/2002 . S 1,800,000.00 545
RD2 3064 S CR 5 26-7N-68W 3/7/2000 2000015669 $ 435,853.00 45.25
RD3 NEC 1-25 and CR60 3-8N-68W, Near Wellington 12/11/2001 2001113109 s 1,400,000.00 140
RD4 NE of 1-25 and Prospect 15-7N-68W, off CR 5 7/4/1999 99062749 $ 1,500,000.00 99.75
RD5 6400 N Garfield 25-6N-69W, north of Loveland 8/5/2002 2002083825 $ 750,000.00 71.25
RD6 ECORD 18 near Loveland 6/27/2002 2002070684 $ 2,000,000.00 56.88
RD7 NEC Timberline and Drake 19-7N-68W, in Fort Collins 6/1/2001 2001042396 $ 2,893,200.00 50.21
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT LAND: Location Sale Date CD10CORD26 2/25/2002 35-6N-68W 2002021490 $ Sale Price 1,900,000.00 Acres 125
CD2 0 N Frontage Road 1/15/2002 8803006001 $ 610,000.00 37.5
CD3 OS CORD 5 25.26-6N-68W, Windsor 4/30/2002 2002049348 $ 3,001,500.00 156.25
CD4 SEC 1-25 &CR30 27-6N-68W, Loveland 12/7/2001 2001111238 $ 830,000.00 35.4
Price/Acre
Density
Details
$ 3,302.75
$ 9,632.11
$ 10,000.00
S 15,037.59
S 10,526.32
S 35,161.74
S 57,621.99
Price/Acre
$ 15,200.00
$ 16,266.67
$ 19,209.60
$ 23,446.33
Electric to site
Water and sewer needed
1 residential unit Electric and phone to site
per 2.3 acre Water and sewer needed
1 residential unit
per acre
Electric and phone to site,
Water and sewer needed
2 residential unit No utilities to the site
per acre
2 residential unit Platted by Seller,
per acre
Mixed Use Electric, phone, sewer and
598 Units Platted water to the site.
Density Details
Industrial No utilities to the site
Industrial Electric and phone to site
Water and sewer needed
Industrial
Industrial Electric and phone to site
Water and sewer needed


Figure 5.4. Location of Development Land Sales
Larimer County, Colorado
49


Table S.2. Rural Land Values, Larimer County, Colorado.
NON-AGRICULTURAL, RURAL LAND
Location Sale Date Sale Price Acres
NA1 21520 WCORD 44H 15-7N-71W, Near Bellvue 6/26/2002 2002070364 S 75,000.00 35
NA2 0 E CO RD 74 2-9N-68W, Near Carr 4/2/2003 $ 87,500.00 35
NA3 0 CO RD 68 15-9N-69W, Near Wellington 10/30/2002 2002117624 s 159,900.00 35
NA4 0 E CO RD 58 CR 12-8N-68W, Near Wellington 1/24/2003 2003013834 s 200,000.00 35
NA5 5492 W CO RD 8E 13-4N-70W, Near Berthoud 5/22/2002 2002061476 s 225,000.00 35
NA6 4151 Indian Creek Ranch 1-5N-69W, Near Loveland 6/19/2002 2002069895 s 228,000.00 35
NA7 0 Redstone Canyon 16-7N-70W, Near Loveland 12/9/2002 2002137904 s 250,000.00 37
AGRICULTURAL LAND Location Sale Date Sale Price Acres
A1 0 CORD 15 36-11N-69W, Near Wellington 9/4/2002 2002096573 s 800,000.00 600
A2 0 CO RD 3 24-9N-68W 12/20/2002 2002141430 s 320,000.00 160
A3 15068 NCORD 15 25-10N-69W, Near Wellington 10/28/2002 2002118723 $ 420,000.00 206.47
Price/Acre Density Details
> 2,142.86 1 residential per 35 acres No utilities to the site
2,500.00 1 residential per 35 acres Electric to site Water and sewer needed
> 4,568.57 1 residential per 35 acres Water and Septic Needed
> 5,714.29 1 residential per 35 acres Water in, Septic Needed
> 6,428.57 1 residential per 35 acres Electricity, Septic
i 6,514.29 1 residential per 35 acres Electric to site Water and sewer needed
i 6,756.76 1 residential per 35 acres Has electricity, well
Price/Acre Density Details
5 1,333.33 In agricultural production
5 2,000.00 In agricultural production Sold w/ SI,200,000 of wa
6 2,034.19 In agricultural production


Figure S.S. Location of Rural Land Sales
Larimer County, Colorado
filggliaj Urban ^reas
Township
I I Quarter Section
o
Agricultural Land
Non-Agricultural, Rural Land
N
51


The above data identifies what the literature review alluded to and what this study
anticipated: lands near urban areas are more valuable for development and are
destined to subside due to the impermanence syndrome In one amazing example,
a 40 acre tract of land purchased for $4,000 per acre in 1993 is being offered for
sale for $350,000 per acre 2003. Although, at the time of publication this parcel
was not pending any sale, it emphasizes the spirit of real estate speculation. On
the contrary, the market values for this area support a value of $35,000 per acre of
undeveloped land.
Much of the agricultural land within southeastern Larimer County is either
enveloped or on the verge of the impermanence syndrome. These landowners are
sandwiched between high growth areas. In an area that will continue to be
attractive to residential and commercial consumers, growth is going to occur.
Regional employment and retail amenities in this area have already been
prescribed, and residences will not lag. As these tracts are developed, the
impermanence syndrome will creep further north. This cycle must be interrupted
to save the remaining agricultural lands in the county.
Anything is more profitable than farming.
Bob Saffell, converted his farm into Gateway Center West near Johnston, Colorado4.
4 See Ferrill, 2002.
52


CHAPTER VI
ALTERNATIVES AND CONCLUSION
To combat unrivaled conversion, realistic solutions to keep land productive must
be derived and utilized. Since one of the biggest problems is the incentive to sell
out to development, options that help landowners extract value from their ground
without having to actually sell and vacate the farm are ideal. One method of
value extraction is by conservation easement. A conservation easement is either a
donation or monetaiy compensation to a landowner for the determined market
value. A public entity or non-profit land trust will accept the donation or
compensate the landowner for the conservation easement. The goal of a
conservation easement is to conserve land that features important conservation
values and represents a public good to the region. The transaction is based on the
voluntary participation of the land owner. The monetary value of the easement is
a market-based valuation of the land with and without the encumbrance. Before
and after values are calculated and the difference of the two values is the amount
paid to the landowner or treated as a charitable contribution. The result is the
conservation of the identified values by restricting or prohibiting a specific type of
land use in perpetuity. The easement is legally recorded and is an encumbrance in
perpetuity. Day to day maintenance remains with the landowner and subsequent
landowners. This value can be used as tax credit or a cash refund and is
monitored and approved through IRS and State tax codes (see Appendix F).
The problem that arises with conservation easements is liquidity. For
conservation donations made on or after January 1, 2000, a Colorado state income
53


tax credit is available on the value of the conservation easement. The credit
established for the time period of January 1, 2000 to January 1, 2003 was equal to
the fair market value of the donation up to an amount of $100,000. The donation
cap increased on January 1, 2003. Now, a donation is valued at fair market value
for an amount up to $100,000. Any amount between $100,000 to $260,000 is
assessed at 40 percent of the value (IRS, 2002). One donation is acceptable in a
one year period. Credits can be carried over to subsequent years. To convert the
donation from a tax credit to a refund, the state must have a revenue surplus for
the prior year. If no surplus exists, no refund is permissible. Refunds between
January 1, 2000 and January 1, 2003 were maximized at $20,000. Beginning
January 1, 2003, that maximum increased to $50,000 (IRS, 2002).
Another easement option is a purchase of development rights (PDR) program.
Tailored to meet the ideal of the easement holder, PDR programs can have
varying intentions. Specifically restricting land uses, the ultimate goal of a PDR
program for an agriculture program is to sustain a critical mass of land devoted to
agriculture and to combat the impermanence syndrome (Heimlich & Anderson,
2001). The owner relinquishes the right to develop residential home sites or
commercial buildings while continuing identified permitted uses within the
zoning classification. As with a conservation easement, management of the
parcel remains with the landowner and subsequent landowners. The objective of
purchasing development rights is to conserve land from real estate development
pressures while allowing farmers and ranchers to remain on their land. This
approach retains the agricultural and rural character of the parcel. This
transaction is based on the voluntary participation of the land owner and the
managing entity of the easement. The value is a market-based valuation of the
54


land with and without the encumbrance. Before and after values are calculated
and the difference of the two values is the amount paid to the landowner. The
easement is legally recorded and runs with the land in perpetuity. Day to day
maintenance remains with the landowner and subsequent landowners.
In Larimer County, the before use of any parcel will undoubtedly be a mixture
of residential development in some fashion. Whether a platted subdivision or
simply dividing the land into 35 acre tracts, the baseline of the conservation
easement value will always be one step above agricultural (or blank-slated) uses.
The after value will typically strip most or all of the development capacity off
the property and reduce the land to an agricultural or open space parcel. For this
reason, land owners are usually able to extract a reasonable amount of money
from their land. This makes conservation easements a very viable tool in the fight
to stall impermanence.
Some argue that conservation easement programs compensate landowners for the
unearned increment, or a value that was created by outside sources rather than
by investments made to the land by agriculture (Daniels, 1991). This fact
encourages and embraces one of the spillovers that destroys agricultural lands.
By accepting inflated land values formulated from growth pressures, this program
may actually reinforce a barrier to entering the agricultural marketplace. The
overriding strength of conservation easement programs is that they provide
substantial permanence and work to retain a critical mass. In areas where the
impermanence syndrome has set in, this may be the only option to break the cycle
in progress.
55


The recurring downside to conservation easement programs is the time involved
to convert conservation into cash. Organizing a conservation easement is time
consuming and emotional. Conservation documents must be derived that are
acceptable to both the landowner and the entity that will manage the easement
(and tax laws when applicable). This can take several months and generate a
feeling of governmental control over the landowner. The process itself can
reinforce the emotions of impermanence and lead to an increased desire to give up
and relocate. Only after the conservation documents are completed can an
appraisal be ordered. The appraisal itself can take longer than one may expect
due to the complexity and unique parameters. After spending months organizing
the easement, enormous expectations are developed regarding the worth of
increased regulation and management. The overwhelming process can lead to
enormous frustration. If an agricultural producer needs cash quickly, selling land
or water is a faster solution.
As another land conservation option, Larimer County has created a tool, with
enabling legislation, which allows land owners financial rewards without having
to sell. The Rural Land Use Process (RLUP) was adopted by the Larimer County
Commissioners in 1996. The RLUP attempts to find ways to extract value from
land so that farmers may continue to operate their farms and remain on their land
in the midst of enormous pressures to cash out. The RLUP assists landowners
develop their property while retaining the agricultural and rural characteristics of
the land. Eligible parcels must be at least 70 acres in size and the development
must retain two-thirds of the land in open space or agricultural production
(RLUP, 2003). The process encourages clustered developments. The residual
parcel, or the land that will remain undeveloped, must have an identified
56


management plan. The RLUP mandates that the residual parcel remain
undeveloped for at least 40 years, and requires a rigid process to alter the use of
the residual when the 40 year period expires. The RLUP is enticing to
landowners who want to develop, but do not want to go through a full subdivision
review process. The process offers density and other incentives to entice
development through the RLUP as an alternative to the unregulated 35 acre use-
by-right (RLUP, 2003). This tool can be more time efficient, decrease costs,
and decrease perceived regulations, all which encourage participation by
landowners. The RLUP is relatively flexible and permits one owner to place their
density allowances on their other, non-contiguous land parcels. This intent is
derived from the idea that one parcel may have more ideal soils for agricultural
uses than another, while the separate parcel may offer superior views, privacy, or
access and therefore be more suited (and profitable) for development. The RLUP
has guided 7,724 acres throughout the county into 358 lots and 40 designated
open lands (RLUP, 2003). The process has also preliminarily approved 1,578
additional acres into 87 lots and 12 open spaces (RLUP, 2003).
Throughout the state, local governmental agencies spend $62 million annually to
preserve open space and the federal government spends approximately $1 million
per year (Carlson, 2002). In Larimer County two governing entities work to
purchase open lands. The Larimer County Open Lands Program and the City of
Fort Collins Natural Areas Program both use sales tax funding to identify,
acquire, and enhance public lands. Larimer County Open Lands has purchased
6,155 acres to be retained as open space and manages 8,088 acres in conservation
easements (LCOL, 2003). The City of Fort Collins preserved 7,542 acres through
2001. The Great Outdoors Colorado Fund (GOCO) which distributes funds
57


collected from state lottery revenues to wildlife, open space, outdoor recreation
and local government projects spends an estimated $35 $40 million annually on
open space projects. GOCO invested $12.9 million in Larimer County projects in
2002 (Duff, 2002). Among the various conservation groups within Larimer
County, over 20,000 acres of land are placed under conservation easements
(Ferreir, 2003). These open space programs are very effective in acquiring or
protecting open spaces throughout the county, but do little in the way of
protecting working agricultural operations. Often times, water is an added cost to
open space acquisitions and not a requirement for recreational activities or the
maintenance of habitat. This leaves the agricultural water to be sold to the next
interested party. Once viable agricultural water sources are removed from
parcels, it is cost prohibitive to convert that ground back to agricultural
production. This noncommittal attitude effectively destroys the use of land in
agricultural production forever.
The desire to retain agriculture is supported by public funding. In 1996, Larimer
County voters approved the Help Preserve Open Spaces sales tax to preserve open
space. The tax, which shares its revenue with the county and six municipalities
within the county5, will continue through 2018. In Fort Collins, residents have
indicated a willingness to pay for open spaces with a sales tax. In November
2002, voters in Fort Collins approved to extend the 1997 Building Community
Choices tax through 2030. Voters approved the measure with 65 percent in-favor
of the tax, which will be used to acquire and protect land and sensitive habitat.
With estimates of more than $150 million dollars in sales tax revenues to be
5 The towns of Berthoud, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Loveland, Timnath and Wellington receive tax
funds prorated by population size.
58


generated (Duff, 2002) the City of Fort Collins will have the opportunity to
conserve large tracts of land outside their city limits.
The desire to retain open spaces and community separation is identified in policy.
In May 2002, the City of Fort Collins adopted The Northern Colorado Separator
Study. In the study, community separators were established a desired amenity
between the cities of Fort Collins, Windsor, Timnath and Wellington. The study
identified the need for open space parcels in these agricultural zones, but did not
provide explicit tools for managing these separators.
In the midst of economic hardships, reduced funding and the increased desire for
economic development over the supervision of growth management policies,
localities and regions must use the tools currently in place to manage land
consumption patterns. Evidence has shown that people want agricultural tracts.
But, consumers are also driving development that destroys these agricultural
tracts. Much like the commonly used regulatory powers of zoning, regulations
systems could encourage the marriage of existing policy with the appreciation of
this analysis to try to retain as much agricultural land as possible. The solution to
retaining agricultural parcels must accommodate market demand and
acknowledge the values of agricultural lands. Market demand will continue to be
accommodated. If agricultural values are not truly accounted for, they will
continue to be an acceptable target for development. The challenge is to account
for this gap to ensure success for both agricultural and consumer demands.
Larimer County residents have provided the funding, governmental entities have
established land development alternatives that encourage cluster design and the
59


need for retaining open spaces has been thoroughly established. The sentiment of
the public is to retain open spaces. This is all a tremendous first step. Without
those pieces in place, the agricultural parcels in the county would be in much
higher danger to convert. Now, the value of agricultural lands to the community
must be acknowledged.
As a realistic option, Larimer County residents should look to existing
alternatives. Many metropolitan areas have gone through the growing pains and
the transition from an agricultural community into a metropolitan community.
Fragmented settlement patterns, although not the most desirable for reasons stated
throughout the study, can still permit forms of agriculture to continue. Farms in
metropolitan areas make up 33 percent of all farms in the U.S. and 16 percent of
all cropland (Heimlich & Anderson, 2001). As seen in the literature review and
specifically in Larimer County, land values near expanding urban areas increase.
As fragmentation ensues, support services vacate along with the critical mass. To
adapt to the higher cost of doing business, agricultural producers need to
substitute traditional products with high-value, less land intensive alternatives.
This can be accomplished by producing locally demanded products, selling these
products to the consumer to ensure retail prices, decrease transportation costs and
decrease the need for costly equipment designed to cover larger tracts of land.
Urban farming can exist and be profitable.
Water Solutions
Agriculture, as shown, is extremely limited without water. The key to retaining
agriculture is to retain water on the agricultural lands. Therefore, the next step is
to provide opportunities for agricultural owners to keep water on their property.
60


This is doable. There are many ditches that have no municipal value. For those
ditches that do have municipal value, lease agreements or compensation for
retaining water are options. Conservation easements and purchase of
development right programs can be coupled with water retention strategies.
Providing agricultural water at a lower cost would be an incentive for agricultural
land protection. The biggest obstacle to this ideal is that someone else must pay
for the value of the water. Enhancing reliability of water supply may be an easier
alternative. Lower cost, more reliable agricultural water could be justified by 20
to 40 year grower agreements to keep land in agricultural production. A relatively
certain and affordable water supply could become a powerful incentive for
agricultural land protection. For example, an agricultural occupant could be lured
to participate if she knew that water supplies would be more reliable in wet and
dry years. If the occupant were guaranteed for a certain percent of their normal-
year water supply, the feeling of permanence may return to the occupant.
Knowing that water was available may be a factor that reduces the feeling of
impermanence.
Effectively addressing the issue of rising water values in this high growth area has
will require creativity. Leasing water from the agricultural sector to
municipalities may be an option. Leases can include subordination agreements,
dry year options, lease-back provisions and water banking options. These tools
can provide municipalities with water during dry months or years of drought and
still retain an agricultural economy (Nichols, Murphy & Kenney, 2001). Leasing
options help minimize the conversion of water off of agricultural parcels and
provide agricultural producers with cash flow during tough years when production
may be slender anyway. Water has a reputation of being difficult, disputatious and
61


litigious and this reputation may worsen over the next several years. Any
effective water solution must be simple, rational and beneficial to be utilized. It is
essential that water remain in use on land parcels to ensure the viability of
agriculture in the county.
Land Solutions
Without a gradual transition between built up areas and prime lands, agricultural
lands on the edge of urbanity may give way more easily to development. One
solution to impermanence is to create a buffer between urban and agricultural
areas through the county. This can be accomplished through conservation
easements and purchase of development rights programs. Unfortunately,
protecting agricultural lands will also have negative, unintended consequences
that must be evaluated. These include a decrease in the supply of available land
for development, thus increasing the price of development and housing. In
periods of economic downturns, less land in development results in less tax
revenues for the locality. Protecting agricultural lands will also keep water from
being transferred into municipal uses and thus limit the ability for cities to provide
expanded services. This action will also reduce the ability for farmers to cash in
their farms as retirement plans. Certainly not an issue to overlook is the fact that
farming, in many cases, does not provide the same returns as does selling the farm
for development.
62


Cultural Solutions
Cultural Solutions are required to help preserve the desire for agricultural
operators to remain within any community. Privately managed associations
should be formed. These Agricultural Operator Associations (AOA), modeled
after the idea of homeowners associations, can be one structured incentive. AO As
can promote bulk orders between members to allow discounts on seed, fertilizer
and aerial spraying. Within similar areas, AO As could coordinate watering
schedules and call on water to encourage natural seepage and increase water
yields. AOA members could help promote the agricultural and rural culture to
help stabilize the feeling of permanence.
County Solutions
Converting agricultural land and open space into its highest and best use may
not provide the local government with surplus revenues, but instead may actually
stress local budgets, decrease service and decrease the quality of life for area
residents (Haggerty, 2003). Seeing ahead of the growth surges will permit
regional planning on the part of sanitation and water districts. Plans can be
created about who will serve which areas and service lines can be placed once
instead of placed and then updated at a later time. Seeing ahead of the surge may
provide time for communities to develop boundaries in which they should annex,
develop regulatory and fiscal policies for in conjunction with the county and
identify future open spaces that will serve as community separators. Increasing
awareness of growth patterns can encourage the proactive acquisitions of
affordable housing sites.
63


If impermanence is too resilient in some areas of the county, agricultural parcels
could be purchased by governmental entities and kept in long term leases.
Purchased lands within the buffer zones could be utilized as urban farming sites.
Smaller land plots in the high growth areas of the county could be leased in
community garden parcels. Different plots could promote different gardening
ideals ranging from organic farming to highly productive and profitable yields.
Classes on farming and gardening could be taught in those gardens to encourage
increased farming on smaller parcels throughout the county. Scholarships can be
granted to help people lease lots, buy seed or lease water. Farmers markets could
be held at these locations. Incremental cultural and social modifications regarding
the appreciation and understanding of agriculture will solicit further support for
agricultural retention programs. As agricultural occupants feel more support from
the community for agriculturally related trades, they will more easily reject the
notion of the impermanence syndrome. Small advances like this will ultimately
break the cycle and promote balance between urbanization and agricultural uses
of the land.
As prices continue to increase and growth continues to surge forward, the
awkward reality of the transformation between an agricultural landscape and a
sprawling conglomeration of edge cities and the expanding fringe is a force to
manage. Without management the fringe is certain to be lacking of the quality,
environmental treasures, ecological habitat and diversity the landscape currently
offers. Alternatively, well-informed growth will retain the highly sought quality
of life by preserving natural areas that feature important environmental and
habitat characteristics, the rural character and agricultural heritage of the lands in
Larimer County. Although loss of total food and fiber output is not an immediate
64


threat or an insurmountable threat if it happens, urban expansion and the threat of
urban sprawl onto agricultural lands demands our attention. We need to work to
ensure a reasonable balance between farm and urban land that reflects the full
economic, cultural, environmental, and social value of land use.
This study has raised pertinent questions that desire further analysis. For
example, does Larimer County need to have productive agricultural lands
anymore? This study has shown that the best soils are those in the midst of
development. The remaining large tracts of land are better suited for dryland
agricultural practices, which are not as productive monetarily. The competition
between water users will continue to keep adequate water supplies out of reach
for agricultural operators. Current market valuation practices indicate that the
highest and best use of the remaining agricultural lands is to house the next
influx of residents.
Alternatively, Larimer Countys neighbor to the east, Weld County, ranks in the
top 100 counties in the nation many agricultural products. Weld County ranks
number one in the United States for market value of Sheep and Lambs sold.
Weld County has also experienced a decline in total farmland, from 2,158,000 in
1959 to 2,086,000 in 1997 (a decline of 11 percent). Significantly, between 1978
and 1997, the total number of irrigated acres declined 6 percent (Census of
Agriculture, 1997; Colorado Department of Agriculture, 1999). Change is
starting to occur in Weld County. Is Larimer Countys best future endeavor to
serve as a buffer between the Interstate-25 Corridor sprawl and interrupt the
expanding impermanence syndrome?
65


Repeatedly, the argument revealed in the literature review is that agricultural
lands nearby growing areas are susceptible to conversion. In Colorado,
agricultural land conversion is irrevocable. One of the ideals of any agricultural
prevention program should be to create programs to prevent or reverse the
impermanence syndrome.
66


APPENDIX A
THE RIGHT TO FARM
In response to the increasing conflicts between agricultural operators and their
non-farm neighbors, the State of Colorado subsequently provided Statute §§35-
3.5-101 through 103 to protect the Right to Farm. The statute intended to
conserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of agricultural
land for the production of food and other agricultural products, and to limit the
ability of abutting nonagricultural users to declare agricultural operations to be a
nuisance.
67


APPENDIX B
CROPLAND VALUES: IRRIGATED AND NON IRRIGATED LAND
The value of cropland varies greatly depending on whether it is irrigated or not.
The following table calculates the difference in these values.
Annual Acres Revenue Per
Annual Revenue Farmed Acre
Non-Irrigated
Cropland $300,000,000.00 7,300,000 $41.10
Irrigated
Cropland $1,000,000,000.00 3,400,000 $294.12
This information is based on the fact that there are 7.3 million acres of cropland
that are not irrigated and yield an annual revenue of $.3 billion. There are 3.4
million acres of irrigated cropland that yield an annual revenue of $1 billion1.
1 Colorado Department of Agriculture, 1997
68


APPENDIX C
LAND AND WATER FEATURES OF LARIMER COUNTY
The following maps utilize geographical data to illustrate land and water features
throughout Larimer County. These maps are of a scale that permits the
observance of current land uses such as existing structures and center-pivot
irrigation systems. These views are provided by employing aerial digital
photography. These aerial photographs are then overlaid with parcel lines to
illustrate the size of parcels. It can be observed that those parcels in the
northeastern portion of the county are much larger than those in the southeastern
portion. Water features, such as ditches and canals, are also overlaid, to provide
evidence of irrigations systems in place throughout the county. Lands that may
obtain water from these water sources have the ability to irrigate. Lands farther
away from these water sources incur greater expenses to obtain water, and in
many cases are not able to be served with irrigation water.
Although these are the most recent photographs at the time of printing, they were
taken in 1999. Larimer County intends to release updated aerial photographs,
obtained in 2002. An interesting future study would evaluate the differences
between the 1999 and 2002 aerial data.
69


Location of Enhanced Images
Larimer County, Colorado
Area 1
Area 2
Area 3
KxrC#lU
Ioialtad
Area 4
Larimer County
N
70


Area 1: Land and Water Features
Larimer County Bortier
------ Surface Water Features (Canals and Ditches)
Parcels
N
71


Area 2: Land and Water Features
Larimer County Border
------ Surface Water Features (Canals and Ditches)
Parcels
N
72


Area 3: Land and Water Features
| 1 Lari m er C ounty B order
----Surface Water Features (Canals and Ditches)
Parcels
N
73


Area 4: Land and Water Features
^jLartmer County Border
---Surface Water Features (Canals and Ditches)
Parcels
A
74


APPENDIX D
LARIMER COUNTY LAND USE CODE
Larimer Comity Land Use Code
4.0 Zoning Subsection 4.1
Amended 1 SDecOO
4.1 Zoning Districts File#O0AJA0016
A. The purpose of Zoning Districts is to implement the Larimer
County Master Plan, promote compatible land use patterns and
establish standards appropriate for each zoning district.
B. Uses followed by an (R) are allowed by right.
C. Uses followed by an (S) require approval through the Special
Review Process described in Section 4.5.
D. Uses followed by an (R/S) may be allowed by right or require
Special Review approval based on thresholds in Section 43
(Use Descriptions).
E. Uses followed by an (L) require review through the Location
and Extent Review Process described in Section 13.0.
F. Use Descriptions in Section 43 contain conditions that apply
to certain uses.
G. The number of dwelling units allowed on a site is based on the
presumption that all other applicable standards will be met The
maximum density established for a zoning district is not a
guarantee that such densities may be obtained, nor a valid
justification for varying other dimensional or development
standards.
4.1.1 FA-Farming
A. Principal Uses
Agricultural
1. Farm (R)
2. Sod Farm, Nursery (R)
3. Tree Farm (R)
4. Greenhouse (R)
5. Garden Supply Center (S)
6. Commercial Poultry Farm (S)
7. Feed Yard (S)
8. Boarding Stable (S)
9. Veterinary Hospital/Clinic (S)
10. Kennel (S)
11. Fur Farm (S)
12. Agricultural Labor Housing (S)
13. Packing Facility (R)
Residential
14. Single-Family Dwelling (R)
15. Group Home for Developmental^ Disabled (R)
16. Group Home for the Elderly (R)
17. Group Home (R)
Institutional
18. Cemetery (S)
November 22,1999
4-1
75


Larimer County Land Use Code
19. Hospital (S)
20. School, Public (L)
21. School, Non-public (R/S)See Section 43 (Use Descriptions
and Conditions)
22. Church (R/S)See Section 4-3
23. Child/Elderly Care Center (S)
24. Child/Elderly Care Home (R)
25. Community Hall (R/S)
26. Sheriff/Fire Station (L)
27. State-Licensed Group Home (S)
Recreational
28. Golf Course (S)
29. Country Club (S)
30. Riding Academy (S)
31. Public Park/Playground (L)
32. Trail/Trail Head (L)
Accommodation
33. Seasonal Camp (S)
Industrial
34. Mining (S)
35. Oil and Gas Drilling and Production (S)
Utilities
36. Utility Substation (L)
37. Water Storage Facility (L)
38. Treatment Plant (L)
39. Commercial Mobile Radio Service (R/S)See Section 16
40. Radio and Television Transmitters (S)
B. Lot, Building and Structure Requirements
1. Minimum lot size
a. 100,000 square feet (2.3 acres) if a well or septic
system is used
b. 21,780 square feet (0.5 acre) if both public water and
sewer are used
c. Maximum density in a Conservation Development is
calculated by dividing the total developable area by the
minimum lot size stated in a. or b. above as applicable.
Lots in a Conservation Development that use a well or
individual septic system must contain at least 2 acres
(87,120 square feet). Lots in a Conservation Development
connected to public water and either a public
sewer or community sewer system are not required to
meet minimum lot size requirements (except for the
purpose of calculating density).
2. Minimum setbacks
a. Front yardRefer to Section 8.17 (Supplementary
Regulations for Setbacks from Highways and
County Roads). The setback from an interior subdivision
street or established public or private road must be
25 feet from the property line or from the nearest
November 22, 1999
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Larimer County Land Use Code
edge of the road easement
b. Side yards5 feet
c. Rear yards10 feet
d. Streams, creeks and rivers100 feet from the
centerline of the established water course.
3. Maximum structure height40 feet
4. No parcel can be used for more than one principal building;
additional buildings on a parcel are allowed if they
meet the Accessory Use Criteria in Subsection 43.10.
4.1.2 FA-1 Farming
A Principal Uses
Agricultural
1. Farm (R)
2. Sod Farm, Nursery (R)
3. Tree Farm (R)
4. Greenhouse (R)
5. Garden Supply Center (S)
6. Commercial Poultry Farm (S)
7. Feed Yard (S)
8. Boarding Stable (S)
9. Veterinary Hospital/Clinic (S)
10. Kennel (S)
11. Fur Farm (S)
12. Agricultural Labor Housing (S)
13. Packing Facility (R)
Residential
14. Single-Family Dwelling (R)
15. Dwelling, Cabin (R) (See Subsection 4.3.2)
16. Group Home for the Developmentally Disabled (R)
17. Group Home for the Elderly (R)
18. Group Home (R)
Institutional
19. Cemetery (S)
20. Hospital (S)
21. School, Public (L)
22. School, Non-public (R/S)See Section 43 (Use Descriptions
and Conditions)
23. Church (R/S)See Section 43
24. Child/Elderly Care Center (S)
25. Child/Elderly Care Home (R)
26. Community Hall (R/S) See Section 43
27. Sheriff/Fire Station (L)
28. State-Licensed Group Home (S)
Recreational
29. Golf Course (S)
30. Country Club (S)
31. Riding Academy (S)
November 22,1999
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Larimer County Land Use Code
32. Public Paik/Playground (L)
33. Trail/Trail Head (L)
Accommodation
34. Seasonal Camp (S)
Industrial
34. Mining (S)
35. Oil and Gas Drilling and Production (S)
Utilities
36. Utility Substation (L)
37. Water Storage Facility (L)
38. Treatment Plant (L)
39. Radio and Television Transmitters (S)
40. Commercial Mobile Radio Service (R/S)See Section 16
B. Lot, Building and Structure Requirements
1. Minimum lot size
a. 100,000 square feet (2.3 acres)
b. Maximum density in a Conservation Development is
calculated by dividing the total developable area by
100,000 square feet Lots in a Conservation Development
that use a well or an individual septic system
must contain at least 2 acres (87,120 square feet). Lots
in a Conservation Development connected to public
water and either a public sewer or community sewer
system are not required to meet minimum lot size
requirements (except for the purpose of calculating
density).
2. Minimum setbacks
a. Front yardRefer to Section 8.17 (Supplementary
Regulations for Setbacks from Highways and
County Roads). The setback from an interior subdivision
road or established public or private road must be
25 feet from the property line or from the nearest edge
of the road easement
b. Side yards5 feet
c. Rear yards10 feet
d. Streams, creeks and rivers100 feet from the
centerline of the established water course.
3. Maximum structure height40 feet
4. No parcel can be used for more than one principal building;
additional buildings on a parcel are allowed if they
meet the Accessory Use Criteria in Subsection 4.3.10.
4.13 FO-Forestry
A. Principal Uses
Agricultural
1. Farm (R)
2. Sod Farm, Nursery (R)
3. Tree Farm (R)
November 22,1999
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Larimer County Land Use Code
Utilities
24. Utility Substation (L)
25. Water Storage Facility (L)
26. Treatment Plant (L)
27. Commercial Mobile Radio Service (R/S)See Section 16
28. Radio and Television Transmitters (S)
B. Lot, Building and Structure Requirements
1. Minimum lot size
a. 10 acres (435,600 square feet)
b. Maximum density in a Conservation Development is
calculated by dividing the total developable area by 10
acres. Lots in a Conservation Development that use a
well or septic system must contain at least 2 acres
(87,120 square feet). Lots in a Conservation Development
connected to public water and either a public
sewer or community sewer system are not required to
meet minimum lot size requirements (except for the
purpose of calculating density).
2. Minimum setbacks
a. Front yardRefer to Section 8.17 (Supplementary
Regulations for Setbacks from Highways or County
Roads). The setback from an interior subdivision road
or established public or private road must be 25 feet
from the property line or from the nearest edge of the
road easement
b. Side yards25 feet
c. Rear yard25 feet
d. Streams, creeks and rivers100 feet from the
centerline of the established water course.
3. Maximum structure height40 feet
4. No parcel can be used for more than one principal building;
additional buildings on a parcel are allowed if they
meet the Accessory Use Criteria in Subsection 43.10.
4.1.5 O-Open
A. Principal Uses
Agricultural
1. Farm(R)
2. Sod Farm, Nursery (R)
3. Tree Farm (R)
4. Greenhouse (R)
5. Garden Supply Center (S)
6. Commercial Poultry Farm (S)
7. Feed Yard (S)
8. Boarding Stable (S)
9. Veterinary Hospital/Clinic (S)
10. Livestock Auction (S)
11. Kennel (S)
November 22, 1999
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Larimer County Land Use Code
12. Fur Farm (S)
13. Agricultural Labor Housing (S)
14. Alfalfa Dehydrator (S)
15. Packing Facility (R)
Residential
16. Single-Family Dwelling (R)
17. Dwelling, Cabin (R) (See Subsection 4.3.2)
18. Group Home for tile Developmentally disabled (R)
19. Group Home for the Elderly (R)
20. Group Home (R)
Institutional
21. Cemetery (S)
22. Hospital (S)
23. School, Public (L)
24. School, Non-public (R/S)See Section 43 (Use Descriptions
and Conditions)
25. Church (R/S)See Section 43
26. Community Hall (R/S)See Section 4.3
27. Jail/Prison (S)
28. Sheriff/Fire Station (L)
29. Child/Elderly Care Home (R)
30. Child/Elderly Care Center (S)
31. State-Licensed Group Home (S)
Recreational
32. Golf Course (S)
33. Country Club (S)
34. Riding Academy (S)
35. Shooting Range (S)
36. Public Park/Playground (L)
37. Trail/Trail Head (L)
Accommodation
38. Bed and Breakfast (S)
39. Recreational Vehicle Park and Campground (S)
40. Resort Lodge/Resort Cabins (S)
41. Seasonal Camp (S)
42. Retreat (S)
Industrial
43. Mining (S)
44. Oil and Gas Drilling and Production (S)
45. Land Fill (S)
46. Sawmill (S)
Utilities
47. Utility Substation (L)
48. Treatment Plant (L)
49. Water Storage Facility (L)
50. Radio and Television Transmitters (S)
51. Commercial Mobile Radio Service (R/S)See Section 16
November 22,1999
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Larimer County Land Use Code
Transportation
52. Airport (S)
53. Park and Ride (S)
54. Heliport (S)
55. Train Station (S) B. Lot, Building and Structure Requirements 1. Minimum lot size a. 10 acres (435,600 square feet) b. Maximum density in a Conservation Development is calculated by dividing the developable area by 10 acres. Lots in a Conservation Development that use a well or septic system must contain at least 2 acres (87,120 square feet). Lots in a Conservation Development connected to public water and either a public sewer or community sewer system are not required to. meet minimum lot size requirements (except for the purpose of calculating density). 2. Minimum setbacks for lots created on or before Nov. 29, 1973, including lots created on or before that date that have been reconfigured by Amended Plat, Add-On Agreement or Boundary Line Adjustment: a. Front setbackRefer to Section 8.17 (Supplementary Regulations for Setback Requirements from Highways and County Roads). The setback from an interior subdivision road or established public or private road must be 25 feet from the property line or from the nearest edge of the road easement b. Side setback5 feet c. Rear setback10 feet d. Streams, creeks and rivers100 feet from the centerline of the established water course 3. Minimum setbacks for lots created after Nov. 29,1973: a. Front setbackRefer to Section 8.17 (Supplementary Regulations for Setbacks from Highways and County Roads). The setback from an interior subdivision road or established public or private road must be 25 feet from the property line or from the nearest edge of the road easement b. Side setback25 feet c. Rear setback25 feet d. Streams, creeks and rivers100 feet from the centerline of the established water course. 4. Maximum structure height40 feet 5. No parcel can be used for more than one principal building; additional buildings are allowed on a parcel if they meet the Accessory Use Criteria in Subsection 43.10. Subsection 4.1.53.2 Amended 14Jan02 File #01-CA0028
November 22,1999 4-9
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APPENDIX E
APPRAISAL METHODS
Three primary approaches can be used to determine the values of land subject to
development. The Sales Comparison Approach compares the property in
question (the subject property) and similar properties that have sold recently.
Judgment must be applied when comparing properties; they differ in location,
physical characteristics, time of sale and special conditions of the sale. The sales
prices are adjusted to account for these differences and the result is an indication
of the value of the subject property.
The Cost Approach values the unimproved land first. The cost to either reproduce
or replicate the improvements are then calculated, depreciated to date, and added
to the value of the land to derive the value of the subject property.
The Income Approach has the appearance of greater sophistication. It uses an
investment analysis in which the income streams of similar properties (recently
sold) are analyzed to determine the rate of return of the investments. This rate is
then applied to the subject property to create estimated net income, which can
then be capitalized into the value. If either the subject property or comparable
properties are not in agriculture, this method must be modified. When looking at
agricultural land as a parcel for future development, the development approach, as
a form of the income approach, is used to analyze development costs and
revenues expected from the land once developed. These projections are
discounted over the estimated development time period. The speculation
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involved in estimating development costs, absorption rates, developers profit and
discount rates makes this approach less reliable than the sales comparison
approach.
The concept of highest and best use is fundamental to any analysis of land
valuation. Highest and best use can be classified as that reasonable and probable
use that will support the highest present value (USPAP, 2002) as defined on the
date of the valuation. Highest and best use analysis requires a reasonably
probable and legal alternative use, found to be physically possible, appropriately
supported, financially feasible and which results in the highest land value
(USPAP, 2002). An opinion of the highest and best use of land, therefore, is
derived from current market conditions and consumer demand. Cultural, social
and economic expectations from consumers and producers are heavily relied upon
in this analysis. The highest and best use is the alternative land use that produces
the maximum future benefit for the landowner that is reasonably achievable. The
highest profit scheme is always the highest and best use. In Larimer County,
agricultural land uses are not considered to be the highest and best use. It is more
profitable to develop land into at least 35 acre ranchettes than to retain the land in
agricultural production.
When appraising the value of a conservation easement or purchase of
development rights, the before and after method determines the easements fair
market value and any donation value. This approach values the subject property
before any encumbrances are placed on the property. Since most conservation
easements target vacant lands or lands with remaining development potential,
either the sales comparison approach or the income (development) approach is
83


utilized. The evaluation will then determine the market value of the land after the
easement is applied to the property. The encumbered value can be determined by
examining other similarly encumbered parcels, or by appraising the market value
of the property once the encumbrance is in effect through either the sales
comparison approach or the income (development) approach. If the fair market
value is not paid in its entirety, the landowner may apply for tax credits for the
value of the donation. To ensure tax credit qualification, the conservation
easement or purchase of development rights must abide with state and/or federal
tax regulations.
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APPENDIX F
CONSERVATION EASEMENT TAX CODE
FEDERAL AND STATE
IRS Code2
Sec. 170. Charitable, etc., contributions and gifts
TITLE 26, Subtitle A CHAPTER 1. Subchapter B. PART VI Sec. 170
(h)
Qualified conservation contribution
(1) In general
For purposes of subsection (f)(3)(B)(iii), the term "qualified
conservation contribution" means a contribution -
(A) of a qualified real property interest,
(B) to a qualified organization,
(C) exclusively for conservation purposes.
(2) Qualified real property interest
For purposes of this subsection, the term "qualified real property
interest" means any of the following interests in real property:
(A) the entire interest of the donor other than a qualified
mineral interest,
(B) a remainder interest, and
(C) a restriction (granted in perpetuity) on the use which may
be made of the real property.
2 http://www.fourmilab.ch/ustax/www/t26-A-1 -B-VI-170.html
85


(3) Qualified organization
For purposes of paragraph (1), the term "qualified organization"
means an organization which -
(A) is described in clause (v) or (vi) of subsection (b)(1)(A), or
(B) is described in section 501(c)(3) and -
(i) meets the requirements of section 509(a)(2). or
(ii) meets the requirements of section 509(a)(3) and is
controlled by an organization described in subparagraph
(A) or in clause (i) of this subparagraph.
(4) Conservation purpose defined
(A) In general
For purposes of this subsection, the term "conservation
purpose" means -
(i) the preservation of land areas for outdoor recreation by,
or the education of, the general public,
(ii) the protection of a relatively natural habitat of fish,
wildlife, or plants, or similar ecosystem,
(iii) the preservation of open space (including farmland and
forest land) where such preservation is -
(I) for the scenic enjoyment of the general public, or
(II) pursuant to a clearly delineated Federal, State,
or local governmental conservation policy, and will
yield a significant public benefit, or
(iv) the preservation of an historically important land area
or a certified historic structure.
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(B) Certified historic structure
For purposes of subparagraph (A)(iv), the term "certified historic
structure" means any building, structure, or land area which -
(i) is listed in the National Register, or
(ii) is located in a registered historic district (as defined in
section 47(c)(3)(B)) and is certified by the Secretary of the
Interior to the Secretary as being of historic significance to
the district. A building, structure, or land area satisfies the
preceding sentence if it satisfies such sentence either at the
time of the transfer or on the due date (including
extensions) for filing the transferor's return under this
chapter for the taxable year in which the transfer is made.
(5) Exclusively for conservation purposes
For purposes of this subsection -
(A) Conservation purpose must be protected
A contribution shall not be treated as exclusively for
conservation purposes unless the conservation purpose is
protected in perpetuity.
(B) No surface mining permitted
(i) In general
Except as provided in clause (ii), in the case of a
contribution of any interest where there is a retention of a
qualified mineral interest, subparagraph (A) shall not be
treated as met if at any time there may be extraction or
removal of minerals by any surface mining method.
87


(ii) Special rule
With respect to any contribution of property in which the
ownership of the surface estate and mineral interests were
separated before June 13, 1976, and remain so separated,
subparagraph (A) shall be treated as met if the probability
of surface mining occurring on such property is so remote
as to be negligible.
(6) Qualified mineral interest
For purposes of this subsection, the term "qualified mineral
interest" means -
(A) subsurface oil, gas, or other minerals, and
(B) the right to access to such minerals.
Colorado Statutes3
TITLE 38 PROPERTY REAL AND PERSONAL: REAL PROPERTY :
Interests in Land : ARTICLE 30.5 CONSERVATION EASEMENTS
38-30.5-102. Conservation easement in gross.
"Conservation easement in gross", for the purposes of this article, means a
right in the owner of the easement to prohibit or require a limitation upon or an
obligation to perform acts on or with respect to a land or water area or airspace
above the land or water owned by the grantor appropriate to the retaining or
maintaining of such land, water, or airspace, including improvements,
3 http://198.187.128.12/colorado/lpext.dll?f=templates&fh=fs-inain.htin&2.0
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predominantly in a natural, scenic, or open condition, or for wildlife habitat, or for
agricultural, horticultural, recreational, forest, or other use or condition consistent
with the protection of open land having wholesome environmental quality or life-
sustaining ecological diversity, or appropriate to the conservation and
preservation of buildings, sites, or structures having historical, architectural, or
cultural interest or value.
Source: L. 76: Entire article added, p. 750, § 1, effective July 1.
38-30.5-103. Nature of conservation easements in gross.
(1) A conservation easement in gross is an interest in real property freely
transferable in whole or in part for the purposes stated in section 38-30,5-102 and
transferable by any lawful method for the transfer of interests in real property in
this state.
(2) A conservation easement in gross shall not be deemed personal in nature
and shall constitute an interest in real property notwithstanding that it may be
negative in character.
(3) A conservation easement in gross shall be perpetual unless otherwise
stated in the instrument creating it. 4
(4) The particular characteristics of a conservation easement in gross shall be
those granted or specified in the instrument creating the easement.
Source: L. 76: Entire article added, p. 751, § 1, effective July 1.
38-30.5-104. Creation of conservation easements in gross.
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(1) A conservation easement in gross may only be created by the record
owners of the surface of the land by a deed or other instrument of conveyance
specifically stating the intention of the grantor to create such an easement under
this article.
(2) A conservation easement in gross may only be created through a grant to a
governmental entity or to a charitable organization exempt under section 501 (c)
(3) of the "Internal Revenue Code of 1986", as amended, which organization was
created at least two years prior to receipt of the conservation easement.
(3) Repealed.
(4) Conservation easements relating to historical, architectural, or cultural
significance may only be applied to buildings, sites, or structures which have been
listed in the national register of historic places or the state register of historic
properties, which have been designated as a landmark by a local government or
landmarks commission under the provisions of the ordinances of the locality
involved, or which are listed as contributing building sites or structures within a
national, state, or locally designated historic district.
Source: L. 76: Entire article added, p. 751, § 1, effective July 1. L. 85: (3)
repealed and (4) amended, p. 1203, § § 3, 1, effective July 1. L. 99: (2) amended,
p. 632, § 49, effective August 4.
90