@BoulderCounty commissioners affirm right to review Gross Reservoir expansion plans

Gross Dam enlargement concept graphic via Denver Water

From The Boulder Daily Camera (Charlie Brennan):

After more than four hours of impassioned pleas from members of the public Thursday night, Boulder County commissioners voted unanimously that Denver Water’s planned expansion of Gross Reservoir must go through the county’s review process.

That vote, affirming an earlier finding by Boulder County Land Use Director Dale Case, now poses a significant challenge for the utility, which serves 1.4 million water users in the Denver metro area — none of them in Boulder County — and claims the project is needed to meet the needs of metro population that’s just going to keep growing.

“I think it’s just critical that local people have their say on this project that affects them the most,” said Boulder County Commissioner Matt Jones, just before the vote was taken…

Denver Water’s plan had been to start construction this year on a project to raise the Gross Reservoir Dam in southwestern Boulder County by 131 feet to a height of 471 feet and to expand the reservoir’s capacity by 77,000 acre-feet.

The cost of the endeavor, said to be the biggest construction project ever contemplated in Boulder County, is now estimated at $464 million (in 2025 dollars) and could take at least six years to complete.

Boulder County Land Use Director Dale Case issued a finding on Oct. 22 that Denver Water’s plans, formally known as the Moffat Collection System Project,were subject to the county’s so-called “1041” review process — that number references the state House bill passed in 1974 allowing local governments to regulate matters of statewide interest through a local permitting process.

Denver Water however, has argued to the contrary.

“We contend that state law exempts the expansion from the 1041 process because it was permitted under local land use codes at the time that the state enacted the law authorizing the 1041 review process,” said Denver Water spokesman Travis Thompson.

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