Click the link to read the article on the Northglenn Thornton Sentinel website (Luke Zarzecki). Here’s an excerpt:
City Spokesperson Todd Barnes said the city will decide between three ways to move forward: asking for a rehearing at the Court of Appeals, appealing to the Colorado Supreme Court or applying for a new permit. The project will now cost the city an additional $126 million because of the delays and increase in labor and steel costs.
“While we are disappointed with the court’s ultimate decision, we appreciated that the court acknowledged Thornton’s lengthy and active efforts to work with Larimer County and its citizens as we went through the permit process,” said Barnes…
The Larimer County Planning Commission voted to deny the permit on May 16, 2018. In response, Thornton worked to address the concerns raised by the Commission. Thornton then submitted a revised application, which included changing the preferred route: a corridor approach that was recommended by the Commission. With the new edits, the Commission recommended to the Board of Commissioners to approve the project. However, the Board voted unanimously to deny the application on Feb. 11, 2019, saying the project did not meet seven of the 12 criteria. Thornton took the decision to the District Court, claiming the board abused its discretion in denying Thornton’s application. While the Board said that seven of the criteria weren’t met, the District Court ruled that there were only three instances with competent evidence to support the Board’s conclusion. Thornton appealed the decision at the Court of Appeals, who dealt a blow to Thornton, but recognized the Board’s abuse of power.
“Although we agree with Thornton that the Board exceeded its regulatory powers in several respects, we ultimately affirm its decision to deny the permit application,” they wrote in the opinion…
The Larimer Board of County Commissioners also recommended Thornton use the river, but Thornton said that running that water through the City of Fort Collins would degrade the water. The Court of Appeals said the method would also require modification of the water decree and ruled in favor of Thornton. As well, that court noted that making that request is outside of the Board’s power. Additionally, the Court of Appeals ruled the Board abused its discretion by suggesting Thornton’s potential use of eminent domain weakened its application because it was “disfavored by property owners.” The Court said that can’t be considered in the 1041 process.
“It is clear that the Board may not consider Thornton’s potential use of eminent domain during its 1041 review,” the judges wrote.