Byers Peak requests water and wastewater from Fraser
January 28, 2014
FRASER — Fraser Mayor Peggy Smith has instructed the town's staff to begin developing both a service agreement and an ordinance to enable the town to provide water and sewer services to Byers Peak Ranch.
The process to begin working on an agreement for the town to provide water and sewer services to the development comes after the proposed annexation of the property into the town was voted down by Fraser voters during last year's November election.
After the annexation was voted down, the developer of the property applied to build the development through the county and had the sketch plan for the property approved by the county planning commission.
Previously the developer of the property, Clark Lipscomb, indicated he would attempt to build a stand-alone water and sewer system to serve the 295-acre parcel of land and accompanying development.
The proposed agreement to supply Byers Peak Ranch with Fraser water and sewer would provide the town with a number of benefits, according to a presentation by the developer's representatives.
"Why don't we extend Fraser water and sewer systems into Byers Peak and, of course, all at the developers cost and under the standards of the town," said Jack Bestall, a representative of Byers Peak Properties LLC. "The idea would be that this would do several things."
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Bestall outlined that if the town were to provide water and wastewater services to the development, it not only would keep the Fraser Valley from having another stand-alone system similar to Winter Park Ranch's, but it would also enable the developer to annex the property into the town at a later date.
According to Bestall, the developer is not interested in entertaining the idea of annexing the property into the town at this time after spending six years and a substantial amount of money on the annexation process with the town, only to have the agreement voted down during the most recent election.
The developer also believes the town could see a substantial amount of revenue by providing water and wastewater services to the development through both plant investment fees for both services as well as monthly service fees from each tap that is created through the project.
The extra revenue generated by providing water and wastewater services to the development could potentially reduce or eliminate the Fraser Firming Fee that was imposed by the town on Blue Zone water users, Bestall said.
The Fraser Firming Fee was imposed to enable the town to investigate and eventually build a water storage system to protect the town's ability to provide water to its residents in case of a call for water from senior water rights holders downstream of the town. Additionally, the developer proposed leasing some of its existing stored water to the town to provide immediate protection for the town's water users.
The developer has requested that the town charge him the fees that are currently imposed for new in-town water and wastewater taps. The town currently does not have any regulations on the books concerning out-of-town water and wastewater service and would therefore need to pass an ordinance on the subject before agreeing to provide service to the development.
According the presentation, if the developer was charged the current fees for in-town water and wastewater taps, the town could see close to $19 million in plant investment fees for providing water taps to the 1,233 units that have been approved through the sketch plan submitted to the county.
The town's trustees agreed that providing water and wastewater services to the development could hold some potential advantages for the town.
"I think this is an opportunity for the town," said Trustee Steve Sumrall. "I think we can work out an agreement that is advantageous to the town for a long time into the future and get some more customers for the town."
"I think we can go that direction as long as the agreement comes down to a way that Fraser benefits and the people of Fraser benefit as well as the developer," said Trustee Cheri Sanders. "But it is going to take some negotiations because there are some things I have some reservations about."
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334