February 20, 2019
Commissioners Reject Thornton Pipeline Request
On February 11, the Larimer County Board of Commissioners denied the City of Thorton’s 1041 application for a pipeline to move 30,000 acre-feet of water owned by Thorton from a reservoir north of Fort Collins to the Denver suburb. 1041 powers, approved by the Colorado legislature in 1974, allow local governments to “identify, designate, and regulate areas and activities of state interest through a local permitting process. The general intention of these powers is to allow for local governments to maintain their control over particular development projects even where the development project has statewide impacts.”
Larimer County planning staff had recommended approval of the application, saying the proposed route along County Road 56 would cause no significant impacts to the natural or man-made environment, is a reasonable alternative with a “balance between the costs” and the applicant (Thorton) would mitigate “adverse effects.” Nevertheless, the Commissioners unanimously voted against the application. Commissioner Steve Johnson said a number of citizens sat through hours of public meetings, which convinced him that there is a “significant adverse impact on people.”
In addition to opposition from 20 property owners, Save the Poudre, an environmental group which also opposes NISP, and a self-described grassroots organization called No Pipe Dream, which claims to have 600-plus supporters, also called for the Commissioners to deny the application.
The City of Thorton has two alternatives. It can return with another with a new plan to transport its water, or it can challenge the Commissioners’ decision in court.