|City of Thornton Recalibrates Water Supply Strategy
While the City of Thornton and the Larimer County Board of County Commissioners continue their legal battles over a 1041 permit to construct a pipeline to funnel water from the Poudre River down to the city, the municipality is concurrently assessing conditions impacting their long-term water supply strategy. Inflation, construction costs, new PFAS health advisory limits and future water treatment capacity have all impacted how Thornton plans to address its near- and long-term water needs. Given these outstanding issues, one thing for certain is that water-connection fees will be increasing next year by a sizable amount. At the HBA Thornton Joint Taskforce Meeting last Thursday, we learned that the city is considering increasing connection fees next year from $30,235 to $46,188 to help cover these costs, along with the ongoing expenses required to complete the pipeline. The pipeline project could be completed as early as 2026 if and when litigation with Larimer County has finally been resolved. At our Taskforce Meeting last week, the HBA requested some additional stakeholder meetings on these connection-fee increases to see if there is any possibility of getting them reduced or implemented in a manner that moderates their impact. If you are interested in participating in these stakeholder meetings, please reach out to me directly and let me know.Castle Rock Town Council to Consider New Water Conservation Ordinance
This evening, the Town of Castle Rock will begin deliberations on a new water-conservation measure with an expected implementation date of early 2023 as the preferred timeline. The proposal is expected to be similar to what was recently passed in Aurora, with a prohibition of turf in front yards and a 500-square-foot limitation in backyards. The HBA has had several meetings with staff at Castle Rock Water throughout the year to discuss the new ordinance and share our concerns. Ensuring a significant resource-fee reduction is included to offset the increased costs for landscaping, that existing applications are exempted from the new requirements and providing additional flexibility on where turf can be located for alley-loaded homes continue to be the biggest concerns our builders have identified. We look forward to continuing the conversation and articulating our priorities as this new ordinance heads to the Town Council.
Commerce City Council to Consider Impact Fee Increases
On August 22, the Commerce City Council heard a presentation regarding potential impact-fee increases on new residential development to support police, public works and recreational services in the city. The recent study provided a range of fee-increase scenarios the Council could potentially approve that could max out at an additional $8,627 per single-family unit.
At the same time, it is expected that City Council will also consider additional fee increases to support stormwater and transportation infrastructure. The city is justifying these increases based on a $633 million shortfall for arterial roadways and the fact that they have not increased in more than 20 years. The city has highlighted similar shortfalls for badly needed stormwater improvements. The proposed increases would apply to all new homes, retail establishments and shopping centers, and a number of different options were presented on where and how they could be implemented. The current transportation fee for single-family detached homes is $1,181 and would increase anywhere from $2,670 to $6,957, depending on where the development is located. On the stormwater side, the current fee for single-family detached homes is between $1,700 and $3,053 per developable acre, depending on where the development is located, and would increase anywhere from $36,067 to $54,648 per impervious acre. This would amount to between $3,481 to $5,269 per single-family lot. Developers that make road improvements in the city would be eligible for credit to help offset these costs.
While we still don't know the final amounts City Council will ultimately approve, all of these fees will have a direct impact on building costs and home prices in Commerce City. The HBA will be working with city staff to arrange a stakeholder process for our members. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to participate.