The City of Boulder faces the possibility of a year and a half review by the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) of water rights that would make possible construction of a housing development near Boulder Cemetery.
A report by the engineering firm of Morrison Maerle, commissioned by the city in response to concerns of neighbors regarding the proposed construction, recommends that the City apply to the State to amend its existing water rights to serve the development, which currently lies outside city boundaries.
The city Planning Board released the study at its public meeting May 3. Because the findings are under review by the city attorney, the Board tabled discussion to a future meeting.
The proposed 29-acre development, on land owned by Chad Bullock, calls for 36 residential lots. The city has proposed annexing the land in order to provide city services. But that annexation has been challenged by owners of neighboring properties, including McCauley General Partnership and McCauley Family Ranch LLC, who argue that the city must provide adequate water.
Neighbors also have surfaced concerns about possible runoff and traffic from the development and the city’s water and sewer system’s ability to accommodate additional homes.
In its April 29 report to the city, Morrison Maerle noted that the Bullock property holds rights to relatively modest flows of water.
To bring adequate city water to the development, the study noted, the city must apply to expand service beyond the existing place of use, which mostly lies within city limits. An application to the DNRC would combine the city’s four wells under a common place of use, which would include the new residential area.
Morrison Maerle noted that the DNRC statutory timelines include 300 days of review time: “After the DNRC completes a preliminary determination to grant the change will be advertised for public notice, which is commonly held open for 60 days. Commonly it takes the DNRC a year and a half [to] issue a permit.”
Planning Board member LaDana Hintz told attendees that another meeting would be scheduled and publicly noticed following the city attorney’s review.