Nestlé Waters Chaffee County project: Chaffee County Commissioners approve 1041 permit

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):

Nestle will be able to pump a maximum of 200 acre-feet of water annually from one spring source at the 16-acre Ruby Mountain Spring site of Nathrop between Salida and Buena Vista…

The commission on Wednesday finalized a list of nearly 50 conditions that deal with environmental, economic-development and water issues. Nestle will be required to establish a $500,000 endowment to fund science, environmental or Chaffee County school projects, plus establish and perpetually replenish a $200,000 mitigation fund to cover the county’s administrative costs for overseeing the permit condition reviews and other unforeseen expenses. In addition, Nestle will be required to hire local contractors, buy supplies locally and employ at least 50 percent of its truck drivers from Chaffee County. Nestle also has pledged to obtain a conservation easement for the property so it will remain open space and can never be developed.

“One area I really struggle with is the project benefits. Do they outweigh future development of that property or those resources?” Commissioner Tim Glenn said. “The alternatives of what might happen, I can see, will be 2-acre subdivisions with wells and septic tanks. “Is that going to be a benefit to the area? In some regards, yes; in some regards, no,” Glenn said…

“My issue was water and long-term water loss. With augmentation, there is no doubt the water is being replenished in time, place and amount. I believe all the conditions satisfy my concerns; we’ve worked hard for the citizens,” Commissioner Dennis Giese said…

“I am pleased with a unanimous vote for approval with the conditions. We will bring a very good project to Chaffee County that will improve the economy, provide open space preservation and restore the (old private) fish hatchery,” said Bruce Lauerman of Nestle.

More coverage from The Mountain Mail (Jennifer Denevan):

County staff members were directed to write separate resolutions – one for the 1041 permit and another for the special land use permit. The resolutions will be considered during a future regular business meeting. Some changes were made to the conditions considered by commissioners during the special meeting Wednesday and must be rewritten, but will be included in both resolutions…

Commissioners discussed conditions with which they had issues and determined how they needed to be rewritten. They wanted to ensure wording fits needs and intent. Commissioners requested clarification of the cost reimbursement fund and the fishing access stipulation. The cost reimbursement fund is money Nestlé would put aside for three types of project-related costs including anticipated and unanticipated – such as lawsuits. Commissioners also discussed the fishing access condition. Holman and Tim Glenn disagreed about access being allowed in the Bighorn Springs area. After rewording the condition, commissioners agreed if Colorado Division of Wildlife personnel don’t find it suitable, Nestlé won’t be required to create a river access point.

More coverage here and here.

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