Southern Delivery System update

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Colorado Springs Utilities and some 13 property owners in Pueblo West are still dealing with respect to easements for the Southern Delivery System. Not everyone is happy with the situation, including the Pueblo County Commissioners. Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Commissioners on Feb. 8 wrote a letter to SDS project Director John Fredell that pointed to conditions in the 1041 land-use permit requiring Colorado Springs to pay for a second appraisal if any landowner disagrees with the SDS appraisal. Colorado Springs is expected to discuss issues raised in the letter at the commissioners meeting at 9 a.m. today, said John Cordova, Pueblo County Commission chairman…

On Tuesday, Fredell told Colorado Springs City Council that Utilities had agreed to pay for second appraisals in any case, but Maxwell made a point of bringing up the letter from commissioners. Council members indicated they had copies of the letter as well. All three of the property owners spoke at Tuesday’s council meeting and said Colorado Springs had offered to pay for new appraisals only in the past few days, telling them that up until that time they were told the option wasn’t available…

Commissioners indicated Colorado Springs may not be in compliance with the land acquisition portion of the [1041 permit from Pueblo County]. In his reply to commissioners, Fredell said all of the concerns brought up by commissioners have been addressed. In the case of the action that already was filed, he said Utilities has tried for more than a year to contact the heirs of the deceased landowner…

This is the second time in recent months commissioners have contacted Colorado Springs about 1041 issues. In December, the commissioners asked Colorado Springs to pay almost $150,000 in legal fees for a Pueblo West lawsuit against the county over SDS issues. Colorado Springs declined to pay.

More coverage from Daniel Chaćon writing for The Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

A reluctant City Council authorized the use of eminent domain Tuesday to acquire 15 property easements in Pueblo West that Colorado Springs Utilities needs to build the 62-mile Southern Delivery System water pipeline. The council voted 7-1 to move forward with condemnation proceedings but instructed the city-owned utility to continue to negotiate with property owners until after appraisals on their land have been completed…

Despite a month of phone calls, letters and two group meetings with property owners to try to reach agreement, including an explanation on how the offers were developed, Utilities officials said the two sides were at an impasse. “We need to move forward,” Fredell said. “There has to be a point where we decide we can’t reach agreement.”

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

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