Wednesday, June 1, 2016

It pays to go to court, apparently

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2016 at 7:50 PM

click to enlarge The SDS pipeline begins at Pueblo Reservoir with this outlet. - COURTESY CSU
  • Courtesy CSU
  • The SDS pipeline begins at Pueblo Reservoir with this outlet.
Colorado Springs Utilities ratepayers will pick up the tab of a court award handed down recently that ordered the city-owned utility to pay the biggest developer in the region nearly $2 million for land used for its Southern Delivery System pipeline.

The project was largely conceived for the purpose of delivering water to the 18,500-acre Banning Lewis Ranch.

Utilities had maintained the 121 acres needed for SDS on the city's eastern flank were worth $117,500.

But Banning Lewis Holdings LLC, an entity controlled by David Jenkins, chair of Nor'wood Development Group, claimed the land was worth up to $6.4 million.

The matter went to court on May 23.

Three commissioners appointed to hear the case have ruled the land is worth $1.95 million. In addition, the city, i.e., Utilities ratepayers, will pay for Jenkins' attorney fees and court expenses, as required by law. That amount isn't yet available.

The $825 million SDS project went online in late April after more than a decade of planning.

The Banning Lewis Ranch was annexed in 1988 and passed through several ownerships before Jenkins bought it in November 2014.

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