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Development’s water sources questioned

The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved a request for rezoning; however, the decision prompted an adjacent property owner’s warning of the scarcity of water in the area.

On Jan. 11, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a rezoning request by PT Overlook LLC for 350 acres from A-35 (agricultural) RR-5 (rural residential), which would allow for 5-acre residential lots. The property is near Homestead Ranch Park and located a half-mile north of the intersection of Elbert and Sweetwater roads and a half-mile south of the intersection of Elbert and Hopper roads. On Dec. 14, the El Paso County Planning Commission had recommended approval by a vote of 8-1.

William Pickle said he has been on his property for 50 years; his family had homesteaded the property and sold the land for Homestead Ranch Park to the county.

Pickle was not opposed to the proposed development. “Good development is good for the county,” he said. “I think it will be good for property values for people who live out there.

“The real problem is the water issue. There is insufficient water there.” He said that within a week after the county began filling the pond at the park, two of his ponds went dry and his windmill well went dry.

“It’s just a very difficult place to have water,” he said. Pickle said he and his neighbors have drilled wells to depths of 600 to 1,200 to try to find water. He suggested that the developer have an alternate water source other than wells.

Andrea Barlow of N.E.S., a land planning company involved with the development, responded by saying that water sufficiency was not required for a rezoning and that her organization is working on water sufficiency. Barlow said, “It will be on site wells. We have the water rights.”

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