Douglas County: Sterling Ranch scores enough water to start turning dirt on part of the project


From The Denver Post (Carlos Illescas):

The Douglas County Planning Commission and the county commissioners originally approved Sterling Ranch several years ago but it has since been challenged, first by a community group in court then by a judge who blocked it August. Citing state law, the judge argued that Sterling Ranch had not lined up enough water and needed to prove it had enough water secured though build-out.

But a change to a state law in the legislature this year gave developers the leeway to phase-in water requirements whenever a certain stage of a project is up for approval by a government entity — at least that’s the way supporters see it.

It was not clear whether the community organization would fight it again this time. John Ebel asked the three-member commission how it could “ignore law, ignore the court, ignore promises made.”

Harold Smethills, managing director of Sterling Ranch, said developers hope to break ground on the project late this year or early next year. “Of course we’re very excited,” Smethills said. “This has been almost six years of public hearings.”
The county commissioners must still approve the development plans for each phase of the project but Wednesday’s ruling sets the project in motion, Smethills said.

From The Denver Post (Carlos Illescas):

About 80 people attended the special hearing in Castle Rock, with all 14 speakers urging the board not to approve it. Opponents say the project would negatively impact the quality of life, while supporters say the area is primed for growth.

Sterling Ranch would be home to about 31,000 people in 12,050 homes on 3,400 acres south of Chatfield State Park and east of Roxborough State Park. It would include 1,200 acres of residential neighborhoods, 1,200 acres of parks and open space, and 500 acres of commercial and retail properties.

According to a fiscal analysis done for Sterling Ranch, the project would have an economic impact of more than $435 million annually.

More Sterling Ranch coverage here.

Drought news: Aurora relaxes watering restrictions #COdrought


From 7 News (Deb Stanley) via The Denver Post:

Aurora Water is joining Denver Water in loosening its watering restrictions. In April, Aurora city officials adopted a two-day a week watering schedule, because its reservoirs were at 46 percent of capacity. Thanks to heavy spring snow and a system to recapture water in the South Platte River, the reservoirs are now at 67 percent of capacity, officials said. Residents can now pick which three days they water, but watering is still banned between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.