Feature Articles

Falcon Highlands recall going forward

By Marylou Bride

At the April 8 Falcon Highlands Metro District Board of Directors meeting, Wayne Williams, the designated election official for the board members’ recall petition, informed the board that the number of petition signatures from eligible electors has been approved for a mail-in ballot vote, and is tentatively scheduled for July 16.

The board members being recalled are Timothy Dickey, secretary; Erin Ganaway, treasurer/assistant secretary; and Leo Schuhmacher, director. At the meeting, Williams asked the above board members if they would like to resign as a way to save the district money. None of those members desired to leave their board director position to avoid the recall.

During the meeting, the underdrain system that caused flooding in residents’ homes and overflows of groundwater on surfaces in the area was also addressed. Falcon Highlands has been cleaning out the underdrain systems in three phases. In addition, the state has mandated that a new replacement system be installed to avoid any future issues.

“The waste of water is enormous,” said Dave Doran, president of the Upper Black Squirrel Creek Ground Management District. He said the groundwater overflowing is a violation of protections for the groundwater. The district underdrain systems are impervious, bringing high water to ground surfaces. “The detention ponds are broken,” Doran said.

Meanwhile, Challenger Communities has been approved by the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners for a rezone to allow further development in Falcon Highlands: 378 single-family residential lots as opposed to the original plan of 138 single-family residential lots. The 125.56-acre property is located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Highway 24 and Meridian Road.

However, until the replacement system is in place, Doran and others do not think it’s wise for Challenger to move forward with any further development. Cristina Welch, who has led residents in the efforts to address the water issues with the board and the recall effort, said, “If our county commissioners want to prioritize increased tax revenue over the well-being of the citizens that they already serve, by all means, go ahead — keep approving irresponsible new development and compounding problems for us.”

At the April 8 meeting, one resident discussed a lawsuit he is pursuing against the Falcon Highlands district because of damages to his home caused by the problems with the underdrain system. “As far as I know, there are no other lawsuits, but for sure people are angry,” Welch said. “Given the history of negligence and the damage the negligence has caused to private property, if our authorities really want to do the right thing, they should compensate the affected homeowners for the damage incurred, and it shouldn’t take additional lawsuits for them to do it.”  

A call to Josh Miller, Falcon Highlands district manager, had not been returned as of the NFH deadline.

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