Colorado Springs Utilities may buy Summit County parcels to keep development from encroaching on Blue River System

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette (R. Scott Rappold):

The city-owned utility will ask City Council on Tuesday for approval to buy three parcels, 1.6 acres in a growing area near Hoosier Pass, for $240,000, to keep residential development from encroaching on its oldest trans-mountain water line, the Blue River System. About 10 percent of Colorado Springs’ water is diverted from the Blue River watershed and under the Continental Divide at Hoosier Pass. The system began delivering water in 1953. Utilities doesn’t own the land, but easements along the pipeline’s path. In recent years, Utilities officials have grown concerned about development near the water system. The area is 10 miles south of Breckenridge, a booming ski-resort town, and houses and mountain subdivisions now abound in this once-rural area…

Utilities wants to buy the land and leave it undeveloped, and has a willing seller. The three parcels were appraised at $270,000, Utilities wrote in a memo to the council. A search of real estate Web sites shows that, while homes in Quandary Village are selling in the $700,000 to $900,000 range, while half-acre vacant lots are going for up to $240,000. Berry acknowledged that buying expensive mountain real estate is not ideal for a utility struggling with rising costs and about to embark on a major expansion of its water network, the $1.4 billion Southern Delivery System. “The alternative would be twice as costly,” Berry said. “In the grand scheme of things, yeah, you’d like to avoid that situation but if you have to do it, there’s nothing more important than preserving the integrity of those pipes and that water.”

More transmountain/transbasin diversions coverage here.

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