The new falcon herald logo.
Feature Articles

Peyton fire district denies exclusion for Santa Fe Springs

The Peyton Fire Protection District received a letter this month from attorneys for the Santa Fe Springs development requesting the exclusion of 1,299 acres from the Peyton fire district. Enclosed in the letter was a check for $2,000.ìThey must think weíre pretty light-headed out here,î said Bob Joly, president of the Peyton Fire Protection District Board.According to Colorado law, the fire district board in the area of the development must approve the request for exclusion, and another fire district must be willing to accept the excluded land into its district, Joly said.Dan Kupper, president of the Falcon Fire Protection District Board, said the Falcon board has informed Ray OíSullivan, owner and developer of Santa Fe Springs, that the Falcon fire district would accept the 1,299 acres if the Peyton fire district approved the exclusion.On Feb. 6, the Peyton fire district board voted to deny Santa Fe Springís exclusion request. Joly said if Ray OíSullivan pursues the exclusion, the issue may go to a public hearing or to court. Itís not an issue that would involve the county commissioners, he said. Commissioner Douglas Bruce agreed, commenting on the exclusion request.ìThey want to cherry pick commercial property because the effective tax rate is 3.6 times higher than residential property,î Bruce said. ìAnd there are not as many fires in concrete-built shopping malls compared to houses, and thereís less danger of people being trapped. So, commercial property generates more money for relatively less work.îThe Santa Fe Springs development covers 6,420 acres and is projected for a build-out of 5,100 homes in six phases over the next 13 years. About 40 percent of the development is located in the Peyton fire district with the remainder in the Falcon fire district. The exclusion request does not cover another 1,000 acres in the Peyton fire district zoned for residential development.The land subject to the exclusion request is on the north side of Judge Orr Road, between Peyton Highway and Elbert Road and includes about 50 acres zoned for commercial development. Commercial property, as Bruce said, is valuable to fire districts because it generates more revenue than residential property.Currently, the Peyton fire district encompasses little commercial property, but the same is not true for the Falcon fire district, as the commercial area continues to expand. ìThe Falcon fire districtís part of Santa Fe Springs includes plenty of commercial parcels, so I donít know why they feel they have to have it all,î Joly said.Maps prepared by the Santa Fe Springs development show a fire station in the Peyton fire district and a fire station in the Falcon fire district. Trent Harwig, chief of the Falcon fire district, stated last fall that OíSullivan agreed to donate $1.8 million toward construction and equipment.ìIt doesnít make sense to build two fire stations,î Kupper said. Joly disagreed. ìIf there are two fire stations, they can support each other,î he said.David Stoddard, vice president of the Peyton fire district board, said it would be irresponsible to the citizens in the district to give up this land. ìIt would set a terrible precedent,î he said. Fire districts depend on property taxes for survival, but it takes time to build up the revenues for big-ticket items like tanker and pumper trucks and firefighting gear. However, a new housing development brings on an immediate need for emergency services and the necessary equipment.ìThe Falcon fire district didnít get a jump on growth within their area and has been behind ever since,î said Mike Gerrard, new fire chief for the Peyton fire district. ìIf we give up this land, we will get behind and never catch up.îìPeople in the Falcon fire district should be concerned about whatís going on,î Joly said. ìThe Falcon fire district canít take care of the people in Claremont Ranch; yet, they are trying to take over part of our district. That doesnít make any sense. Homeowners in Claremont Ranch have ISO (Insurance Services Organization) ratings of nine and 10 because they donít have a fire station. (They) are paying more for insurance; yet, right next door in Colorado Springs, homeowners have better ISO ratings and pay less for insurance. The Falcon fire district should concentrate on solving their Claremont Ranch problem, not trying to get bigger by taking part of our district.îKupper said that the Claremont Ranch developer has agreed to donate land for a fire station. ìClaremont Ranch has no bearing on the Santa Fe Springs issue,î he added.Grant money has allowed the Peyton fire district to purchase a new brush truck. Last November, voters in the district approved a mill levy increase, and the district is improving their ISO rating by responding with more firefighters. ìWe had seven firefighters out at a structure fire last week,î Joly said.In case the situation ends up in court, the Peyton fire district board is interviewing attorneys ñ their current attorney serves both fire districts.However, Joly said he hopes Ray OíSullivan will accept the Peyton fire district boardís decision to deny the exclusion request.ìI did not become a member of this board just to give the district away,î he said.(Ray OíSullivan could not be reached for comment.)

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers