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When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
– Henry Ford  
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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 5 May 2020  

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    Stricter wastewater laws force new plant
    Building and real estate update
    Did You Know?
 
  Stricter wastewater laws force new plant
  By Pete Gawda

   Like water, wastewater treatment is often taken for granted. Everything is OK as long as sinks drain and toilets flush. However, to keep that system going, rates could soon increase for many people.
   
   There are two wastewater treatment plants serving the rapidly growing subdivisions in Falcon. While the capacity of these plants is sufficient for predicted growth, one of them is currently not in compliance with Colorado law.
   
   Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District operates a wastewater treatment plant that went into operation in 2019 at the intersection of Stapleton Road and Meridian Ranch Boulevard. Cherokee Metropolitan District operates a plant that went into operation in 2010, about 20 miles east of Cimarron Hills.
   
   David Pelser, general manger of Meridian Service Metropolitan District that serves Meridian Ranch, said a small portion of the subdivision's wastewater is treated by the Woodmen Hills' wastewater treatment plant. But the vast majority of the subdivision's wastewater is treated by Cherokee Metropolitan District's wastewater treatment plant. Meridian Ranch owns 45.8 percent of the capacity of the Cherokee plant.
   
   The plant is currently serving 2,300 homes in Meridian Ranch. Pelser said this is a small amount of the 45.8 percent capacity that Meridian Ranch owns. Meridian Ranch is only at half-build-out. “We have enough capacity for the entire build-out,” he said. There are 4,500 homes planned for Meridian Ranch. Pelser said he is confident that Meridian Ranch's share of the Cherokee plant will handle the residential growth plus anticipated commercial growth.
   
   Wastewater billing at Meridian Ranch is a flat monthly fee. In 2019, the fee was $45.50. In 2020, it was increased to $46.90.
   
   According to their website, Cherokee Metropolitan District's wastewater treatment facility has a capacity of 4.8 million gallons per day and presently receives a total of 1.5 MGD. In addition to Cherokee, which produces an average of 1.2 MGD, the plant also serves Meridian Ranch, with an average flow of 0.18 MGD, and Schriever Air Force Base, with an average flow of 0.13 MGD.
   
   The Cherokee website states that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment water quality standards have continually become more stringent. As a result, Cherokee's most recent renewal contains a compliance schedule that calls for greatly enhanced levels of treatment.
   
   Cherokee determined that a new treatment plant is necessary, and they have purchased 165 acres of land north of Drennan Road and immediately east of Milne Road for the new plant, according to the website. The compliance schedule allows the current plant to operate while the new facility is being built. The website also states it is Cherokee's position that Meridian Ranch should be required to pay 45.8 percent of the cost of the new plant since Meridian Ranch owns that percentage of the capacity of the plant. However, it is Meridian Ranch's position, per the website, that the noncompliance is caused by design and construction defects that Cherokee caused or allowed to occur; and Meridian Ranch should not have to pay. Meridian Ranch is in the beginning phase of arbitration with Cherokee.
   
   Several attempts by The New Falcon Herald to reach Cherokee officials by telephone and email for further comment were unsuccessful.
   
   According to general manger Jerry Jacobson of Woodmen Hills, his wastewater treatment plant serves, in addition to Woodmen Hills, Paint Brush Hills and Falcon Highlands, and also treats a small portion of Meridian Ranch's wastewater. The Woodmen Hills plant serves about 4,000 customers. Jacobson said the current capacity of the plant is 1.3 MGD. That capacity could be expanded. The plant is currently operated at 65 percent of capacity, and Jacobson said the plant could handle an additional 2,000 customers.
   
   Woodmen Hills' wastewater treatment rates are based on the projected cost of operating the treatment plant. Each metropolitan district that uses the treatment plant pays the same amount for wastewater treatment. However, the cost of conveying wastewater to the treatment plant is different from district to district and that difference is reflected in each district's rates. Woodmen Hills' cost about $1.5 million to build and was financed with bonds.
  
The wastewater treatment plant operated by Woodman Hills Metropolitan District is located at the intersection of Meridian Ranch Boulevard and Stapleton Road. Photo by Pete Gawda
 
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   McLaughlin/Old Meridian Road Roundabout project
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a service agreement and purchase order to Alfred Benesch & Company for construction management services for the McLaughlin/Old Meridian Road roundabout. The services will include management, coordination, inspection, observation, testing, public relations and documentation of the work.
   
   New Meridian Road Improvements/Falcon Park N Ride project
   Construction management services for the New Meridian Road/Falcon Park N Ride project were included in the service agreement and purchase order with Alfred Benesch & Company for the roundabout project. The services will include management, coordination, inspection, observation, testing, public relations and documentation of the work. The total combined amount for both projects is not to exceed $727,241.
   
   El Paso County Colorado School District 49
   The commissioners unanimously approved a request from El Paso County Colorado School District 49 for a deed conveying a school site in the Claremont Ranch Filing No. 4. The district has identified a need for the site.
   
   Eastonville Regional Trail
   The BOCC unanimously approved a construction contract and purchase order to RMC Consultants Inc. for construction of a new 8-foot-wide soft surface trail with shoulders, installation of drainage culverts and construction of associated trail drainage structures within Falcon Regional Park. The contract is for $238,970 and includes all labor, materials and equipment necessary for construction of the trail.
   
   Pineries Open Space Forest Thinning project
   The commissioners unanimously approved a contract and purchase order to Tree Beavers LLC for the Pineries Open Space Forest Thinning project for $127,600. The project is located within the 1,067-acre Pineries Open Space in the Black Forest, northeast of the intersection of Vollmer Road and Shoup Road. The work primarily includes project coordination, project management, development of site-specific documents of planned treatments, understory lop and scatter/thinning from below and understory seeding in two locations totaling 42 acres.
   
   Davis Ranch
   The BOCC unanimously approved two requests by Lena Gail Case, in care of Randy Case II and Marksheffel-Woodmen Investments LLC, for a two-year extension on the time frame to record the Davis Ranch Filing No. 3 and Davis Ranch Filing No. 4 final plats.
   
   Additionally, the commissioners approved a request by Marksheffel-Woodmen Investments LLC for a two-year extension on the time frame to record the Davis Ranch Filing No. 5 final plat.
   
   Grazing Yak Solar project
   According to the Colorado Springs Utilities website, the Grazing Yak Solar project became operational in November 2019 and features more than 119,000 panels on 278 acres near Calhan. The project, which is owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources, will provide 35 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 13,000 homes annually, the website states.
   
   Mountain View Electric Association litigation vs. El Paso County
   Sarah Schaefer, communications supervisor and public information officer with Mountain View Electric Association, said the EPC district court ruled in favor of MVEA regarding a lawsuit the association brought against the county in March 2019. The lawsuit claimed the BOCC and the EPC Planning and Community Development Department encroached on private property rights based on an interpretation of the EPC land development code.
   
   “The court entered an order in our favor but the county has until Jan. 8 to appeal,” she said.
   
   According to the final judgement documents, the court declares that the BOCC’s regulations “violate Colorado law to the extent the Board seeks to apply those Regulations to Mountain View’s distribution lines and facilities that are used or capable of being used in serving ultimate customers.”
   
   Ultimately, Schaefer said the courts declared the BOCC is not empowered to regulate MVEA’s distribution lines and facilities.
   
   EPC Master Plan
   On Dec. 12, the EPC Planning and Community Development Department and Houseal-Lavigne Associates presented the “Existing Conditions Report” from the EPC Master Plan creation process to the BOCC. Houseal-Lavigne has been hired as the consultant for developing the master plan. The report can be found at http://elpaso.hlplanning.com/pages/documents.
   
   Craig Dossey, executive director of the planning and development department, said there is an online survey for community members to voice their opinions about the master plan, and getting public input is critical. The survey can be found at http://elpaso-hlplanning.hub.arcgis.com/pages/questionnaires.
   
   EDARP update
   Bent Grass Meadows Drive and Meridian Road
   On Dec. 14, LSC Transportation Consultants Inc. submitted a letter of intent, erosion and stormwater quality control permit, construction drawings, grading and erosion control plan, stormwater management plan, traffic impact study, drainage letter and financial assurance forms for intersection improvements at Bent Grass Meadows Drive and Meridian Road.
   
   The letter of intent states that Challenger Communities LLC proposes to construct a right turn lane from Bent Grass Meadows Drive onto Meridian Road, with a southbound acceleration lane tapering along Meridian Road.
   
   Additionally, the letter proposes adding another left turn lane onto northbound Meridian Road from Bent Grass Meadows Drive, with signalization at that intersection.
   
   Falcon Marketplace
   On Dec. 4, the El Paso County Planning and Community Development department sent out letters to inform property owners adjacent to the Falcon Marketplace property that the applicant, LG HI Falcon LLC has requested approval of the final plat to create 11 commercial lots within the commercial regional zoning district. The property is located at the northwest corner of the Meridian Road and Woodmen Road intersection.
   
   Additionally, the applicant submitted a deviation request Dec. 18 that seeks approval of non-standard forebays –- artificial ponds –- for the onsite water quality facilities.
   
   The applicant also submitted roundabout reports Dec. 23, showing two planned roundabouts on the property as follows: one located to the northeast, where the future extension of Eastonville Road will extend into the property on the west side of Meridian Road; and one located to the southwest, allowing for a right-in approach from westbound Woodmen Road and access to the Woodmen frontage road.
   
   On Dec. 19, a letter of intent was submitted by King Soopers Inc. for the Falcon Marketplace property to develop Lots 2 and 3 of the site according to the final plat to include an approximate 123,000-square-foot retail building and 9-dispenser island fuel center.
   
   Hale Sand Pit Expansion project
   On Dec. 19, S&K NO1 LLC submitted a site development plan for property located at 10675 McClelland Road, south of Highway 24 and west of North Ellicott Highway, to expand the existing 9.9-acre sand mining area an additional 52.5 acres on a 150-acre tract of land. Mining on the proposed expansion will occur in 10-acre maximum blocks, which each block disturbed, mined and reclaimed before mining on the next block begins.
   
   Rolling Ridge subdivision
   On Dec. 17, Land Resources Associates submitted a letter from the Colorado Division of Water Resources regarding a proposed subdivision of a 57-acre parcel into 16 single-family residential lots, with a minimum of 2.5 acres each and three commercial lots. The letter states, “It is our opinion that the proposed water supply is adequate and can be provided without causing injury to decreed water rights.” The proposed water source for the subdivision is a bedrock aquifer in the Denver Basin, the letter states.
   
   Tanja Curtis property
   On Dec. 20, Forsgren Associates LLC submitted a letter of intent for a two-lot minor subdivision for a 37.11-acre property, zoned residential rural-5 and located northwest of the intersection of Roller Coaster Road and Baptist Road. The western lot will be 25 acres and the eastern lot will be 8.11 acres.
  
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  Did You Know?

   Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Jan. 20
   
   Martin Luther King Jr. led the protests in Birmingham that led to television images of police attacking peaceful protests. As a result of the 1963 protests, Jim Crow segregation laws in Birmingham were repealed. King became a prominent national figure, and the civil rights movement gained national attention.
   
   After Martin Luther King Jr. received his two bachelor’s degrees, he married his wife, Coretta Scott King. King continued his studies as a doctoral student in systematic theology. In 1955, King received his Ph.D. from Boston University.
   
   Martin Luther King,Jr. proved at a very young age that he was destined to become a great speaker. King won a contest for speaking during his junior year of high school. His academic prowess allowed him to skip grades nine and 12, and he started college at age15. King graduated from Morehouse College at just 19 years old with a degree in sociology. He then continued his studies at Crozer Theological Seminary; and, by 1951, when King was only 22 years old, he had earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Divinity degree.
  
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