Larimer County delays Thornton water hearings

Douglas Road pipeline would feed city supply

Kevin M. Smith
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 2/19/18

Larimer County has asked the city of Thornton to submit additional details for its proposed pipeline under Douglas Road, delaying hearings scheduled for February until the more detailed plans have …

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Larimer County delays Thornton water hearings

Douglas Road pipeline would feed city supply

Posted

Larimer County has asked the city of Thornton to submit additional details for its proposed pipeline under Douglas Road, delaying hearings scheduled for February until the more detailed plans have been submitted, according to Larimer County officials.

The Larimer County Community Development Division sent a letter to the city of Thornton on Jan. 16 canceling the public hearing with the planning commission that had been scheduled for Feb. 21 as well as the public hearing with the board of county commissioners scheduled for March 26.

The letter asks for more specific information on the project including topographic and elevation data, property lines adjacent to the existing right of way, specific pipe alignment, anticipated construction schedule and a pavement restoration plan among other details.

“Once we get that and get it evaluated, we’ll get the process going again,” said Rob Helmick, senior planner in Larimer county’s planning department.

Helmick said Thornton’s initial application was typical for the size and scope of the project. Based on the concerns of county residents however, the planning department asked for more specifics at this stage of the process.

Thornton officials said they are taking the delay in stride.

“It’s a little bit of a delay, but it’s not substantial,” said Todd Barnes, communications director for the city of Thornton. “We looked at it as a good opportunity, to be honest with you, it’s a great opportunity to give the county more precise information so that when they talk to their constituents, we’re all talking from a more knowledgeable space.”

Barnes noted it was information the city would have to provide later in the process regardless and staff is prepared to deliver the answers to the county.

Water rights

After buying water rights in rural Larimer County in the 1980s, Thornton is ready to begin the process of tapping into that as it anticipates population growth.

The section through Larimer County would start eastward on Douglas Road then turn south on County Line Road on the eastern edge adjacent to Weld County.

The total cost is estimated at $435 million, according to Mark Koleber, Thornton Water Project director.

The 48-inch pipeline would go through 26 miles of Larimer County and transport 40 million gallons of water per day.

However, some residents have already expressed concern. A group calling itself No Pipe Dream held a meeting Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the Larimer County Courthouse to discuss the project. Residents along Douglas Road are worried about right-of-way acquisition and environmental impacts from the project.

The city’s response to Larimer County, Thornton officials touted the project as beneficial

“Thornton welcomes the opportunity to provide this information for Larimer County, so both entities can more precisely identify whether Thornton can construct the pipeline completely within the Douglas Road right-of-way, or if there are areas where going outside of it may be needed,” the statement reads.

“Thornton believes this is a positive development for everyone involved in the Thornton Water Project. It has always been our intent to define a specific route along Douglas Road, avoid the use of private property along the road where we can, and work with the community on the location of the pump station.”

The full statement and additional details on the project can be found at www.thorntonwaterpoject.com.

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