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Falcon Highlands addresses water problems

On Dec. 12, the Falcon Highlands Metropolitan District held its annual meeting at the Falcon Fire Protection District Administration Building. 

There were about 25 attendees in the small meeting room. As people overflowed into the hallway, it was standing-room-only. Residents of Falcon Highlands were at the meeting to once again discuss the underground drainage system issues that caused water seepage for residents in Falcon Highlands Filing 1. The seepage led to flooded basements and excess ground water flowing throughout neighborhood streets. Residents were awaiting an answer to what the FHMD had been doing to address the issues.

Josh Miller, FHMD district manager, conducted the meeting. Also present were Barbara Vander Wall, the district’s attorney, Tonia Joyner (president of the FH board of directors), Tim Dickey (secretary of the board) and Erin Ganaway (board member from Challenger Homes). Leo Schumacher, assistant secretary of the board, was not present.

Miller provided the residents with some long-awaited hope. “It was a very good meeting,” said Cristina Welch, a resident of filing 1 who has been instrumental in bringing the residents together to address the problems. “They finally admitted that they are going to start addressing the underdrain, starting at the outlet in filing1,” she said.

Miller discussed the following with the attendees:

  • The state of Colorado has put the district on notice to file a replacement plan to replace the water that has been lost.
  • Excavation would soon begin to find the blockage in the underdrain system.
  • According to the county, Miller said it will cost $7 million to repair the blockage.
  • The district’s insurance company will follow up with an investigation once the blockage is found. He said the investigation will determine what caused the blockage, such as “roadwork, heavy truck traffic and construction debris in drains.”
  • Grants are available from the state of Colorado to help with water issues like this, but Miller said property values are too high in Falcon to qualify.
  • The entity responsible for long-term underdrain system maintenance is still unclear, Miller said.

When Miller opened the floor for public input, Tim Dickey, secretary of the board, became angry at a suggestion that he quit posting about the water issues, etc., on Facebook because it could be viewed as a conflict of interest. Dickey disagreed, showing his frustration with yelling out a few swear words.

One resident asked about the overflowing water freezing on the roads, making it hazardous for drivers. Miller said he would address the issue with the county.

Active recall election

At the meeting, Miller also said the county had issued a Notice of Recall for the FH metro district board of directors. One reason for the recall is that the FHMD board has not appointed a new board member after Treasurer Kevin Hass resigned on Sept. 11, 2023. Five Falcon Highlands residents had submitted applications before the next FHMD meeting on Nov. 13. At that November meeting, the board stated they would hold a “working session” to interview the candidates, and they would fill the position on Jan. 8. However, according to Colorado statute, C.R.S 32-1905(2)(a), the vacancy has to be filled within 60 days. In January, the vacancy will be 120 days past the resignation date. According to the statute, “If, within sixty days of the occurrence of any vacancy, the board fails, neglects,

or refuses to appoint a director from the pool of any duly qualified, willing candidates, the board of county commissioners of the county which approved the organizational petition may appoint a director to fill such vacancy.”

Welch said she contacted Carrie Geitner about the statute, and Geitner said the county was seeking legal advice on the issue.

“Basically, they are not holding interviews in 2023, and won’t commit to appointing anyone at the Jan. 8 meeting,” Welch said. “I know the district is trying to figure out what to do … and I appreciate that, but excluding willing applicants/homeowners from that decisionmaking process when they have a legal right to be there is inappropriate. They shouldn’t be problem-solving and making final decisions that impact us as taxpayers, without us, if we are entitled to a seat at that table.”

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