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Proposed Penley Ranch reservoir causes concern in Douglas County

8:17 AM, Nov 6, 2010   |    comments
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Developers are looking to build a water reservoir on the 1,179-acre Penley Ranch in Douglas County near Sedalia along Colorado State Highway 67.

The property is located near Jarre Canyon, and has long been a favorite view for nearby homeowners and those who have hunted and walked the land.

Some neighbors in the nearby Indian Creek Ranch subdivision say the proposed reservoir and two dams would decrease property values and add costs for flood insurance.

"We would actually lose dollar value, probably resale value of homes," Douglas County resident Nancy Soo, who lives in the Indian Creek Ranch subdivision, said.

Developers say recent home sale prices near the Rueter-Hess Reservoir near Parker have not been affected since the project won approval in 2004.

"This shows that the desirability of the area has not diminished because of the reservoir and in fact, property values continue to rise," developers stated in a written response to Douglas County planners regarding residents concerns.

"We don't believe the concern over decreasing values is born out by the facts," developer Chris Fellows, who manages the land, said.

The reservoir on the land would hold anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 acre-feet of water, depending on which one of the two options are chosen by Douglas County planners.

"Option A," as it is called, would hold more water at a total cost of $150 million, whereas "Option B" would hold less at a cost of roughly $56 million.

The reservoir and dams would require final approval from federal and state authorities before construction begins.

Fellows says it is too early to say what city, county, or water district may eventually control the water, and could not guarantee Douglas County would receive any water.

Nearby residents have also voiced concerns about whether the reservoir would displace wildlife on the property like bears, mountain lions, and elk, as well as the Preble's meadow jumping mouse.

"We don't think that putting a body of water there will destroy the environment," Fellows said.

Residents have also started to take notice of signs advertising public hearings about the property, and say they are not pleased with the 175 vehicle trips per day estimated by traffic engineers to help develop the reservoir.

"The construction of such dams and the reservoir would require a new roadway be cut out to Highway 67 and last for years, adding thousands of trips for construction trucks in our area," wrote Michael and Veronica New in a letter to fellow homeowners in Indian Creek Ranch.

The News also said property values would take a hit.

"...Prospective buyers are unlikely to feel comfortable buying property in the shadow of a dam," the News said in the letter.

The reservoir would have no public use and would have a security fence to keep people out of the property, according to developers.

The developers say they have followed all of the requirements for public process in Douglas County.

They also say they are extremely attuned to the concerns of the neighbors.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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