Berthoud: Trustees Clarify Water Policy

On July 28 the Board of Trustees discussed a few clarifications to the Town’s 2014 Water Master Plan and conflicting language in the Town’s development code. Developers needed clarification on raw water requirements for different types of common areas, including open spaces and parks. For example, “natural areas” and “native vegetation” have different water requirements. The Board approved language to clarify these various types of landscaping and their water requirements and remove contradictory language in the development Code.

Questions arose concerning the staff’s ability to approve developments without irrigation for open spaces or parks. The Board approved an ordinance that requires 8/10 of an acre of raw water for common areas with drought tolerant/native landscaping. Town Administrator Mike Hart will have the discretion to modify this requirement on a case-by-case basis.

The Development Code currently requires seven percent of open space for each development; however, most projects in the pipeline already include more open space than that. Will the raw water requirement for common areas prompt developers to reduce the amount of open space in future projects? That is a question that remains to be answered.

Berthoud’s water policy requires a water dedication of .20 of an acre-foot for each single-family home, or a cash in lieu equivalent (CIL) of $12,500. Berthoud has the most senior water right for Colorado-Big Thompson units, ensuring the Town’s ability to secure more CBT. In addition, the Town is buying into the Chimney Hollow reservoir, which is part of the Windy Gap firming project. This means that Berthoud has plenty of water for future development – if the Town wants to grow. Note: The average CIL across Northern Colorado is approximately $20,000 well above Berthoud’s price.

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