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Summary of Radon Outreach and Public Comments Received

Contents:

Description of outreach process

Public input was gathered using the "Strategic Development of Informed Consent" model developed by Hans and Annemarie Bleiker of the Institute for Participatory Management. Potentially affected interests were identified and specific methods of communicating with each group were planned. Outreach was conducted January through April, 2003.

A presentation outlining the proposal was given to several City of Fort Collins boards including the Building Review Board, Air Quality Advisory Board, Natural Resources Advisory Board, Affordable Housing Board and the Growth Management Lead Team. Presentations were also made to the Fort Collins Board of Realtors, the Northern Colorado Homebuilders Association, and the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce.

Comments were solicited through articles in organization newsletters, including the Board of Realtors newsletter, the Homebuilders Association newsletter, the Northern Colorado Mortgage Lenders newsletter, and the Larimer County Affordable Housing Coalition email newsletter. Letters inviting comment were sent to groups including radon contractors and mitigators, the State of Colorado Radon Program, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Environmental Health Association, the Association of Radon Science and Technology, CSU Department of Environmental Health, CSU Department of Construction Management, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the Sierra Club. The general public was invited to comment through a website comment form and a voice mail comment line. Advertisements in seven publications promoted the phone and website comment opportunities.

Summary of comments

Fifty-one comments were received through the website or voice mail comment line. Most of these comments (31 comments out of 51) are against the proposal, citing the cost of the systems, lack of citizen choice, and skepticism of the health risks associated with radon exposure. There were three neutral comments. The comments supporting the proposal (18 comments out of 51) cited the health benefits and cost effectiveness of passive radon systems installed during construction versus "retrofitting."

Citizens who were against the proposal gave the following reasons:

  • House prices are too high already (6)
  • There should be a choice for builders and buyers (5)
  • Skepticism of health risks (5)
  • Radon levels vary too much from house to house to require this for all (3)
  • It is not government's role to regulate private property (3)
  • Stop wasting our tax money for this project (3)
  • 47% reduction is not enough to prevent litigation from homeowners (1)
  • Soil test should be required instead of blanket regulation (1)
  • This is overkill (1)
  • Pipe and caulk are allergy triggers (1)
  • Doesn't support caulking and sealing part of regulation (1)
  • Opposes proposal- no reason provided (1)

Citizens who supported the proposal gave the following reasons:

  • It is more cost effective to mitigate during construction than to retrofit (6)
  • Health risks are serious (4)
  • Homes should be safe (3)
  • Supports proposal- no reason provided (3)
  • Testing and mitigation should be required (1)
  • Supports passive, but not active (1)

Neutral questions about radon or the proposal (3)

Letters of comment

Letters of comment from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Western Regional Radon Training Center strongly support the proposal. Letters from Doug Anderson, a Wellington real estate agent strongly oppose the proposal and current regulations. A letter from Fort Collins realtor Jan Bertholf was neutral.

Email and phone conversations

During a phone conversation, Eric Kronwall, a realtor from Fort Collins, proposed a performance based ordinance. An email from citizen Cherie Trine strongly supported requiring active radon mitigation systems. An email from Dave Brown of Kem Homes strongly opposed the proposal.

Notes from meetings with interest groups

During presentations to groups around Fort Collins many questions were asked and comments submitted. These are summarized either in the official minutes of the meeting, or in notes taken by a staff member present. There was support for the proposal from community groups. Citizens cited the health benefits and the cost effectiveness of installing radon systems at construction instead of retrofitting. There were questions about the logistics of the proposal such as who would install/ inspect the systems and the required specifications of passive radon systems. There were some concerns about the increased cost of housing, increased government regulation, and differences in City and County regulations. Builders at the May 2 Brown Bag Lunch supported an alternative that would require a "stub" and not a complete passive radon system. Overall, citizens had mixed feelings about the proposed ordinance.

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