In July, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the rezone and preliminary plan for a new development – The Reserve at Corral Bluffs – south of Blaney Road and about 7 miles south of Falcon.
The development consists of 186.38 acres that will be subdivided into 31 5-acre lots with individual wells and septic systems; 19.6 acres have a slope greater than 30 degrees set aside as open space.
In June, as reported in the August issue of The New Falcon Herald, the county planning commission recommended approval of the rezone and preliminary plan because the developer, Corral Ranch Development Co., met all the county’s requirements for a preliminary plan. The recommendation was made without a finding of water quantity, quality and dependability, which is not required at the preliminary plan stage.
The planning commission’s recommendation of approval was made despite concerns of nearby residents that the development would add high-speed commuter traffic to dirt roads, which are long overdue for paving, and the development’s roadside ditches would not adequately handle stormwater runoff when micro-storms stall over the Corral Bluffs area.
After the planning commission’s vote, member Timothy Trowbridge encouraged the neighbors to take their concerns to the BOCC hearing.
But the residents did not heed his advice, and the development was heard without opposition.
Commissioner Sallie Clark said she was concerned with a letter the state engineer had written stating the engineer’s office did not have sufficient information to issue a favorable opinion that the proposed water supply is adequate and could be provided without causing injury to existing water rights.
“We don’t want to end up with a Rancho Colorado issue, where they are carting (water) in by truck,” Clark said.
David Jones, a land planner representing Corral Ranch Development Co., said he “kind of panicked” when he read the state engineer’s letter.
Jones said he checked with assistant county attorney, Cole Emmons, who said the state engineer would be satisfied if seven of the 31 lots were restricted to the lower of the two aquifers (Arapaho and Denver) underlying the development.
“It’s just a matter of us coming up with a plat note on our final plat and reflecting that in the water deeds that are transferred and in the covenants and restrictions that those seven lots are restricted to the lower of the two aquifers,” Jones said.
Rich Harvey, an engineer with the county’s development services department, said previous water court decrees allocated 31-acre feet annually from the Denver aquifer and 55-acre feet annually from the Arapaho aquifer.
“The property will use an average of 15.5-acre feet annually, so there’s quite a bit of room ... for our county attorney to make a finding of sufficiency during the final plat stage,” Harvey said.
With that problem solved, the BOCC approved the preliminary plan with two waivers:
The property is located within the Falcon Fire Protection District.
- The development, which would have been required to provide paved roads, will have gravel roads; and the developer will not be required to pave to the nearest paved road because the nearest paved road is too far away.
- The length of a road ending in a cul-de-sac is about 200 feet longer than county code allows, but the commissioners confirmed the cul-de-sac is big enough for a fire truck to turn around.