Telluride Town Council approves statement of opposition to San Miguel Valley Corp’s water court application for raw water facilities

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From the Telluride Watch:

The filing concerns conditional water rights SMVC alleges it retained when the town acquired the 572-acre parcel in June 2008 after a lengthy condemnation battle. “It is SMVC’s understanding, based upon relevant case law concerning the use and enjoyment of water rights, that it therefore has retained all land use interests necessary for the full use and enjoyment of SMVC’s retained water rights, including the SMVC Conditional Water Rights,” attorneys for the company notified the town last February in a letter obtained by The Watch through a public records request. In essence, the company is putting forth a legal argument that maintains it has the right to access the Valley Floor and to construct whatever facilities there it deems necessary in order to exercise its water rights – including buildings or reservoirs.

More coverage from The Telluride Daily Planet (Katie Klingsporn):

In January, SMVC filed an application with the District Water Court seeking to make changes regarding points of diversion, conditional water rights, ground water rights and others on the Valley Floor. And on Tuesday afternoon, the Telluride Town Council voted unanimously to file a statement of opposition in the case. The town has until the end of February to file its statement.

The statement of opposition is a legal maneuver that makes the town a party to the proceedings. In water court proceedings, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a dispute. However in this instance, the town is opposed to some of SMVC’s assertions in the application about its water rights on the Valley Floor, according to Town Attorney Kevin Geiger. SMVC may have had water rights on paper that were proposed for the land at one time, Geiger said. But “now that they don’t own that property anymore, it seems highly doubtful that they can move forward on that.”[…]

[Chris Cummins, an attorney who represents SMVC] said the purpose of the application is to make changes to SMVC’s conditional water rights in light of the town’s condemnation. He did not comment on the disagreements the town and SMVC have over those rights.

More San Miguel watershed coverage here and here.

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