Irrigation company sues Weld County commissioners over concrete and asphalt plant approval | MyWindsorNow.com

Irrigation company sues Weld County commissioners over concrete and asphalt plant approval

Tyler Silvy
tsilvy@mywindsornow.com

An irrigation company that supplies water for thousands of acres of Weld County farmland has filed a lawsuit against the Board of Weld County Commissioners, saying commissioners' approval of an asphalt and concrete plant near the company's canal is in error and stands to harm the company and its water users.

The Water Supply and Storage Co.'s lawsuit, filed Monday in Weld District Court, centers on its Larimer County Canal, which runs alongside Colo. 14.

The canal runs mere feet from an approved permanent concrete and asphalt plant near Colo. 14 and Colo. 257, and company officials expressed concern about runoff from the plant infiltrating the canal and harming the Poudre River-based water supply used to irrigate about 40,000 acres of farmland.

At issue is a Simon Contractors concrete and asphalt plant proposal via a use by special review process that spanned five public meetings spanning five months. Commissioners officially approved the project Feb. 5 despite objections from nearby residents and The Water Supply and Storage Co.

In its lawsuit, the Fort Collins-based mutual ditch company contends commissioners presented no competent evidence related to the company's objections and denied the company due process in allowing Simon Contractors to create a new water runoff plan after the public comment period for the land use case ended. In practical terms, this means commissioners no longer were reviewing materials submitted by the public or The Water Supply and Storage Co., meaning commissioners didn't consider the company's objections to the new plan, which calls for the use of syphons to carry drainage from the site under the canal.

It's a plan The Water Supply and Storage Co. says is destined to fail.

Recommended Stories For You

"None of the conditions imposed by the board of county commissioners address the harm to The Water Supply and Storage Co. and the canal resulting from the likely failure of syphons carrying the proposed use site drainage through The Water Supply and Storage Co.'s property," according to the lawsuit.

Weld County attorney Bruce Barker couldn't immediately be reached for comment, and it's unclear whether the county has seen the lawsuit yet.

The Water Supply and Storage Co. is represented by the Fort Collins-based law firm Fischer, Brown, Bartlett & Gunn P.C.

The company is asking a Weld District Court judge to review the commissioners' decision and find the commissioners abused their discretion and failed to comply with due process.

The Board of Weld County Commissioners, along with each individual commissioner, is named in the lawsuit. The board voted 4-1 to approve the plant, with commissioner Sean Conway voting "no."

After the Feb. 5 meeting at which commissioners approved the asphalt and concrete plant, Conway told The Tribune he was concerned the case would open the county to more court action and liability.

Weld still is embroiled in a lawsuit centered on commissioners' approval of a Martin Marietta Materials concrete and asphalt plant near Johnstown. A Colorado Court of Appeals panel ruled against the county shortly before Thanksgiving this past year, and the county is seeking a re-hearing in the appeals court.

— Tyler Silvy covers government and politics for The Greeley Tribune. Reach him at tsilvy@greeleytribune.com. Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.