February 21, 2008

Will-O-Wisp condemnation in Woodside finalized

Lynda James
Correspondent

On Feb. 15, Eleventh Judicial District Judge Charles Barton signed orders approving stipulations, agreed upon by opposing parties, that condemned and allowed immediate possession of property in Woodside Park subdivision, Unit 5 by the Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District.

Woodside is located north of Pine Junction, and the metro district is located west and south of Pine Junction.

Portions of Lot 131, owned by David and Gail Brown; Lot 133, owned by Douglas and Mary Windemuller; and Lot 134, owned by Magness Land Holdings, were condemned to allow for the construction of facilities that will withdraw water from Elk Creek and pump it up Mount Evans Boulevard to Will-O-Wisp's water facilities near U.S. 285.

Temporary construction easements on all three lots will also be used. The lots will be restored and reseeded when construction is completed.

Some of Elk Creek's water is part of the metro district's decreed water rights, which will serve the Tanglewood Reserve planned unit development. The PUD was approved by Park County's Board of County Commissioners in January 2006.

The Browns will receive $5,266 for a 12-foot-wide permanent utility easement across a portion of the lot's southern boundary. The total area is approximately 2,000 square feet. Part of the water intake facilities and pipeline will be constructed on the land.

Magness Land Holdings will receive $52,400 for a permanent utility easement for the construction of a pipeline, pump station and access road. The total area is approximately eight-tenths of an acre, and it runs along the western boundary of Lot 134 and then diagonally across the lot.

Other stipulations of the agreement with Magness are that the road will remain a "two track" unpaved road, that native plants will be used to landscape any disturbed areas, and that Magness will construct a fence and gate along the southern portion of Lot 134 along Mt. Evans Boulevard and Meadow Drive.

Metro District President Rick Angelica told The Flume that the pump house will be built into a hill and mostly underground. He also said all the diversion, infiltration and piping structures will be underground. The pipe will be buried at a downward slant to allow water to flow by gravity to the pumping facility on Lot 134. Then it will be pumped up Mt. Evans Boulevard to a water holding tank that will be built in the district boundaries.

Angelica said that the district is still negotiating with the Windemullers because the law requires both parties to obtain appraisals of the property. To date, the district's appraisal had been completed. In response to a request from the Windemullers, the district has agreed to pay for their second appraisal.

The Windemullers' stipulation states that a minimum of $17,445 will be paid for approximately one-third acre for a permanent utility easement that will run diagonally across the northern portion of Lot 133. Facilities on Lot 133 will include the water diversion structure, infiltration gallery, water pipeline and the access road. The monetary amount paid for the land may increase depending on the outcome of the second appraisal.

Other stipulations with the Windemullers are that the metro district will pay for the second appraisal; that the district will re-vegetate and restore any areas disturbed by the construction; and that construction activities will be restricted to take place between sunrise and sunset.

Woodside Park Units 5 and 6 Homeowners Association was also a party to the condemnation because the covenants prohibit any use other than residential on the subdivision lots. The HOA withdrew all objections to the immediate possession and condemnation case in the stipulation.

The association's stipulation stated that the property taken would be permanently excluded from the subdivision and therefore the covenants would not apply. The temporary construction easements will be excluded only during construction and then once again become subject to covenants.

The parties also agreed that the terms of the stipulations did not waive any rights each has in a separate lawsuit, Case 05-CV-302, filed in district court.

Newly elected Woodside HOA President Dick Hodges, told The Flume, "The (HOA) board felt it was best to stipulate instead of going through a costly hearing." Hodges also noted that the board members are the same as the ones who voted to oppose the condemnation after it was filed in Dec. 2006. New officers were elected by the board earlier this year.

Angelica told The Flume that the next step for the metro district is to complete the hearing for a Park County water project 1041 permit that was continued by the commissioners in April 2007. It was continued until the final diversion point location was determined and the district had acquired the necessary land for the project.

Angelica said after the 1041 permit approval, construction would begin, and he anticipated that water would be pumped from Elk Creek within a year.

The water will be used by current residents of the Will-O-Wisp subdivision even before Tanglewood completes any homes. He stated the district wanted to relieve the well field that is currently providing water to the 100-plus homes in Will-O-Wisp.

He also noted that Tanglewood developers are required to complete a grade-separated intersection on U.S. 285 before any of the approximately 430 houses in the new subdivision can be occupied.

The district also wants to start electronic water level monitoring in Elk Creek before new houses are added to the district's water system.

No date has yet been set for the completion of Park County's 1041 permit hearing.

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