January 23, 2009

WiII-O-Wisp suspends permit application
Permit application will be resubmitted once questions are answered

By Mike Potter
Staff Writer

Application Withdrawn
The Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District withdraws its application for a water diversion from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Jan 12th (Courtesy Map)

The Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District suspended its water-diversion application on Jan. 12th with the Army Corps of Engineers to refine its proposal.

Margaret Langworthy, project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Littleton office, said the decision to postpone the application was an administrative one, and she was confident ‘the application would be resubmitted.

She said Will-O-Wisp had “stopped the clock” on the Jan. 18 decision. “We can negotiate fully and comfortably,” she added.

Had the application not been withdrawn, any decision that would have been made on Jan. 18 would have been made using inadequate information, which would have likely led to a rejection of the diversion application, Langworthy said.

The Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District submitted a proposal to get 0.7 cubic feet of water per minute for the subdivision from Elk Creek.

The application is requesting authorization to disturb 1.3 acres of wetlands to construct a metering weir (dam placed across Elk Creek to raise or divert the water); an infiltration gallery, an intake structure, a grit chamber, a diversion dam arid a raw water line.

According to the application, “the basic project purpose is to provide raw water to the District.”

Some of Elk Creek’s water is part of the metro district’s decreed water rights, which will serve the Tanglewood planned unit development near Pine Junction.

A new decision deadline for the reworked permit application hasn’t been decided, said Langworthy, and it won’t be until the application is resubmitted.

The need for the withdrawal stems from Will-O-Wisp’s failure to provide answers to the questions posed by the Army Corps of Engineers -- answers needed in order for the Corps to make a decision.

She said a meeting held with a number of entities regarding the application was very productive in that it got a number of people together to discuss what impacts the project could have.

“It served the purpose for the reason we had it, which was to clarify the Corps’ objections and concerns and our responsibilities and limitation,” she said.

Rick Angelica, president of the Will-O-Wisp Metropolitan District, said he understood the need for the application withdrawal in order for the subdivision to move forward with its plan to get water.

“We did not have ample time to review [the questions and concerns raised by the Army Corps of Engineers],” he said.

He said the process will take time and he was never expecting a quick approval from the Corps of Engineers.

“This is not a fast process,” he said. “We’re in no hurry to get it done. We just need to get it done in the right way.”

There is no timetable when the application might be resubmitted, Angelica said.

As of Jan. 15, the Army Corps of Engineers was working to make copies of the application research and public comments to give to Will- 0-Wisp.

Once Angelica has his hands on the copies, he said, he would have a better idea of the timetable to re-file.

“It could be the next day. It could be another week or another month,” he said.

We are in no hurry to get it done. We just need to get it done in the right way” — Rick Angelica, president of the WilI-O-Wisp Metropolitan District

My Woodside Home Page1