Douglas County attorney Lance Ingalls said the withdrawal of the application ends the process completely. If the developers decide to resume work toward approval of the project, it would require a completely new application, Ingalls said. It was not clear why Penley Water pulled the plug. Officials for Penley Water could not immediately be reached today for comment.
On Tuesday, Penley Water Co. [Chris Fellows] called the reservoir essential for weaning Front Range suburbs from wells, which produce less and less water as underground aquifers are depleted. The proposed $105 million reservoir would inundate about 306 acres west of Sedalia and hold up to 22,500 acre-feet of water. That’s slightly larger than Denver Water’s Marston reservoir.
It would be the second major new reservoir in the Denver area for which little or no water has been acquired. Parker Water & Sanitation District is building the $230 million Rueter-Hess reservoir to store up to 72,000 acre-feet of water…
Building before buying water reflects a need for storage capacity, said Ralf Topper, senior hydrologist for the Colorado Geological Survey. “The available water storage systems on streams and rivers are few and far between, because all the water rights have been previously allocated. So one of the options is to create these off-channel reservoirs,” Topper said. “The challenge is to get water to them.”[…]
State records show 18 pipeline companies have been formed to move water in and out of Penley reservoir. These would connect Penley to Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch and other Front Range locations.
Commissioners cited public safety and potential hazards among the reasons for their unanimous vote against Penley Reservoir. Their decision came after three nights and 11 hours of public hearings, where nearly 90 people spoke out against the proposal.
Penley Water Company is seeking county permission to build a reservoir just north of Colorado 67, adjacent to the Indian Creek Ranch subdivision. The applicant submitted a proposal with two options, one of which is a 22,500 acre-foot water storage reservoir on nearly 430 acres.
Neighboring residents joined forces to attend the planning commission hearings and deliver the message that such a proposal could hurt their property values, destroy natural habitat and create an unnecessary safety hazard.
The proposed dam site is on a site that requires detailed geotechnical and geological investigations to address potential hazard mitigation issues, according to the planning department staff report. The Douglas County planning staff recommended approval of either option, with conditions.
[The Planning Commission] recommended denial of the special-use request. Their recommendation for denial will go to the county commissioners, who have final say on the project…
The reservoir is proposed as a water storage solution for area water authorities. The developer came to the county with two options, a smaller, 14,000 acre-foot reservoir covering 292 acres or the larger reservoir covering about 430 acres. While Ventana’s umbrella corporation, the Penley Water Company, moves forward with a proposal for the reservoir, no plan has been submitted for a proposed subdivision near the site. The Penley Dam is situated to overlook houses in Indian Creek Ranch, another subdivision of 5-acre lots.
In November, residents in the Indian Creek area, near Sedalia, got together and organized an opposition group to Ventana Capital’s application for the Penley Dam Project, part of the proposed Penley Ranch development. The project’s effects on property values, aesthetics and possibly the flood plain were their main issues.
[Note: I was mistaken about this project. It is on Indian Creek, not Plum Creek. I still don’t know about water rights that would be used to fill the reservoir.]
In December the Douglas County planning staff recommended approval for the project and sent it on the the Douglas County Planning Commission.
On January 10 the Commission voted unanimously (8-0) against the project, according to email from a Coyote Gulch reader.
The hearing before the Board of Commissioners originally scheduled for January 25 has now been continued to February 7. Here’s the notice from Douglas County:
The Douglas County Board of County Commissioners hearing to consider a Use By Special Review application for 3485 N. State Hwy 67-Penley Reservoir (Project File No. US2010-006), noticed for Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 2:30 p.m., is being continued to Monday, February 7, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. This continuation is necessary to accommodate the numerous requests from citizens for an evening hearing.
Additional hearings are tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, February 23 and Thursday, February 24, 2011, also at 6:30 p.m. All project documents are available on the County’s website here.
From the Douglas County News Press (Rhonda Moore):
The county planning staff recommends the county approve two options for the developer to choose from, one of which could result in construction of a 22,500 acre-foot water storage reservoir on nearly 430 acres.
Neighbors decry the proposal, with concerns the dam poses a potential safety hazard and will destroy mountain views, natural habitat and property values…
Ventana Capital proposes Penley Ranch as a development of more than 35 five-acre lots surrounding a non-recreational reservoir, which can provide a water storage solution for area water authorities. They came to the county with two options, a smaller, 14,000 acre-foot reservoir covering 292 acres, or the larger reservoir covering about 430 acres…
The planning staff recommends approval of both options, allowing the developer to decide which of the two will move forward. Among the conditions of approval are recommendations to perform detailed geotechnical and geologic investigations, provide the appropriate federal and state permits and comply with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requirements for the Preble’s Jumping Mouse. The dam site is identified as a potential habitat for the endangered mouse, according to a referral response from the fish and wildlife service. Another referral agency, the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS), responded with concerns that the dam is proposed on a site underlain by a complex series of faults.
Karen Barry, geological engineer with the CGS, says while the existing geotechnical report addresses whether the site soil can support embankments, further investigation can address potential hazards. “It is likely that geologic hazards and soil constraints can be mitigated,” Berry writes in her Jun 16 referral agency response. “Currently the application does not adequately identify or provide plans to mitigate such hazards.”[…]
The planning commission public hearing for the Penley Dam application continues at 7 p.m., Jan. 10 in the commissioner’s hearing room at 100 Third St. in Castle Rock.
Developers are looking to build a water reservoir on the 1,179-acre Penley Ranch in Douglas County near Sedalia along Colorado State Highway 67. The property is located near Jarre Canyon, and has long been a favorite view for nearby homeowners and those who have hunted and walked the land. Some neighbors in the nearby Indian Creek Ranch subdivision say the proposed reservoir and two dams would decrease property values and add costs for flood insurance…
The reservoir on the land would hold anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 acre-feet of water, depending on which one of the two options are chosen by Douglas County planners. “Option A,” as it is called, would hold more water at a total cost of $150 million, whereas “Option B” would hold less at a cost of roughly $56 million. The reservoir and dams would require final approval from federal and state authorities before construction begins. Fellows says it is too early to say what city, county, or water district may eventually control the water, and could not guarantee Douglas County would receive any water…
The reservoir would have no public use and would have a security fence to keep people out of the property, according to developers.