November 28, 2017
Folks have been asking if they can still provide comment to the Judge who conducted the Independence Service Plans hearing on Oct 5, 2017. I contacted the court clerk today who confirmed that the hearing is still open. The Judge said on Oct 5 that he would hold the hearing open until the formal complaint that was filed ran its course.
So, yes, the clerk said additional comments could be submitted and would be included in the case files. You must mail your comments or drop them off with the clerk at the court in Kiowa. They will not accept the documents via email of fax. You must reference the court case number: 202017CV30061-66, inclusive.
Mail to: Combined Courts of Elbert County
751 Ute Avenue, PO Box 232
Kiowa, CO 80117
ATTN: The Honorable Judge Michael Spear
Drop it off at 751 Ute Avenue (this is the court attached to the Sheriff’s Office in Kiowa). Keep in mind the comments should pertain to the Independence Special Districts Service Plans and the county’s handling of those applications. That was the topic of the hearing.
That didn’t take long.
I received a reply from a Elbert County Commissioner of an email I sent concurrently with writing Part I, “Who’s Kidding Who Here“. My email touched upon the same points in my post. In his rebuttal the Commissioner states that the Independence “SIA governs OFFSITE improvements” and that the language denying Craft and his cronies is in “The Service Plan for the Water and Sanitation District contain the language restricting water export..”
So I went and found one of the Service Plans approved on September 7th, 2017. It had all I needed to see – I don’t need to see any of the other 5 Special Districts – I already know what they say. All I needed to see was in the finalized Independence Overlay Special District Service Plan. I compared it to the original same Service Plan filed in June, 2017 – well before the public hearing.
Finalized (pdf) Independence Overlay District Service Plan.
And this was my exact reply to the notion that the Independence SIA governs offsite improvements:
Absolutely laughable that as important as water is to this community, you believe placing a single line on the bottom of a Service Plan is going to stop water from leaving this county? And more specifically leaving the Independence “project”?
“The District shall not export water outside of Elbert County, with the exception for provisions of any emergency services.”
Are you kidding me?
You approved six districts that are allowed to merge, regroup, consolidate, transfer, etc. and you approved this service plan language:
“The District will be authorized to provide for the acquisition, construction, installation, operation and maintenance of the Improvements (as defined in §32-1-1006(1)(c), C.R.S., as amended, and for the ongoing maintenance of the Improvements, within and without the boundaries of the District, as described in Exhibit F. The District may accept appropriate, purchase, lease or otherwise acquire any water or water rights, either potable or non-potable, for use within or without the Development area.”
Because of your language, all a waterburgler has to do is paper transfer water to another one of their Districts, and/or a District with no boundaries, and/or a District without restrictions, and that District can sell anywhere it wishes. A brilliant idea since everybody is looking to buy Elbert County water! And you know it.
After with what this county went through with the same water attorney and other special districts prior, the document preventing the transfer/sale/export of our water should have been 20 pages deep to prevent just a theft.
And that SIA is specific to the Independence project. It is not some kind of OFFSITE document as you call it. It is EXACTLY as the headline name says it is: “SUBDIVISION IMPROVEMENT AGREEMENT AND RESTRICTION ON CONVEYANCE RELATED TO THE SUBDIVISION AND DEVELOPMENT OF INDEPENDENCE“.
It is the exact place the export language (all 20 pages of it, not one half-assed line) should be placed, as well as within the special district documents. Even the districts and their functions are specifically spelled out in it (page 3, number 3).
That Independence “project” (and it’s SIA) is a transferable document SEPARATE of Special Districts. It can be sold to a buyer (such as Walton), assigned to another developer, or annexed by others. I am sure the developer/investors plead their case so that language would not be included in it. You stated it would be in the SIA (where it should be), and you let us down, again.
I cannot see how you are protecting the citizens of Elbert County with actions like these.
And so it it goes. A fight to maintain our western way of life. A fight to protect our Elbert County water. A fight against corruption. A fight to protect our home values, and a fight to establish everything that is rightfully ours.
Elbert County citizens deserve better than this. Way better.
If you wish to help in this fight, let your voice be heard. Get involved! If you can’t get involved, consider supporting the Stop Over Development Elbert County (SOD) educational cause with a donation. The SOD has an active judicial review filing against the county that we need financial assistance with – attorneys are not cheap.
Thank-you for your time and consideration.
Wayne Ordakowski, a concerned Elbert County Citizen
We all heard it. Several times.
At public hearings over three evenings before their approval vote (3-0) on September 7th, 2017 – we heard our Elbert County Commissioners promise that several “negotiated” changes would be made to the 920 home “Independence” application. Over two hundred concerned citizens heard our BOCC say the county attorney and developer would work on the language for changes that needed to be made to the Independence subdivision improvement agreement (SIA) over the coming hours and days. Our Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved the application that night with the understanding the “discussed” details would be worked out in the SIA. Elbert County Citizens were left trusting our commissioners, county attorney, a developer in new cowboy boots and a special district “water” attorney to get this done satisfactorily and all “above board”. Exactly why and how an application was approved before it was completed is beyond me, but I guess in our county government we shall trust.
And it turns out most of what they said would be haggled out in the SIA is in the final SIA. Most. From my notes they mentioned curbs and roadwork along the new Delbert Road Extension. That’s in there. They mentioned that same road would have to be completed before the 371th home permit would be issued. That’s in there. Chip seal of CR 158 to CR 13 at the builders expense, check, it’s in there. Many of the so-called “negotiated” commissioner demands are in the document. Language clear, concise, and issues addressed.
It’s pretty much all there EXCEPT the biggest and most important item of all. After a short break on the second night of public hearings, we all heard Tim P. Craft and Dianne Miller agree to NOT export any water outside the borders of Independence without a public hearing and BOCC approval. This was by far the most important issue facing all of Elbert County. We’ve seen attempted water theft around here before, and it was clear they both reluctantly agreed that NO water would leave the borders of Independence without a public hearing AND BOCC approval.
“You have to understand the psychology of our community,” Thayer said to Miller and Craft. “There is great fear that we’ll be merged with another metro district or export water.
“If you want to step outside the metro district, if you want to do it without coming to us first, I’m afraid — I’m not afraid — I’m pretty sure you’ll have trouble,” Thayer said as the room erupted with applause.
After consulting with his legal team during a recess at the second meeting, Craft made the concession to meet the request of the commissioners.
“By placing borders around the metro districts, they can’t do anything with any of their metro districts’ infrastructure outside of their borders without a notice to public hearing and approval by the BOCC,” Thayer later said.
But there’s NOT A SINGLE MENTION of that agreement in all of the final SIA. None. The Independence Special Districts are all mentioned by name. The other issues are addressed. But there’s not a single word about what we feared most. Zip, Zero, Nada.
And to top it all off, if our leaders eventually do tell us that this agreement indeed somehow, somewhere does exist, if there’s some kind of agreement in place in some special district document, some initialed map overlay, some other paperwork they can wave around and say, “here it is right here”, well, that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter one bit because here’s why:
Page 11, section 30. It is very clear. Crystal clear. And this line will hold up in court every day, all day (click to enlarge):
So basically, if it’s not in the SIA, it doesn’t exist. It’s not “herein”, capisce?
This is like that chick Lucy that pulls the ball away from Charlie Brown right when he goes to kick it.
And we fall for it every time.
Crooked is, as crooked does.
Wayne Ordakowski, a concerned Elbert County citizen.
UPDATED: Read Part II of “Who’s Kidding Who Here”, rebuttal from a County Commissioner
This just keeps getting deeper and deeper. Like unwinding a crime before it happens. And that’s what it is – a crime. Take our water. Take our land. Take our way of life. For profit.
Walton Group bought a couple parcels of land less than two years ago right here in Colorado. Lochbuie in Weld County as a matter of fact. But what they did there was/is backwards to what they usually do – and it effects us. They usually buy AG land, use their strength to bully small town and county boards to flip the property zoning, then sell it off to developers for profit. In these acquisitions, they bought out the developers and their special districts in the middle of the developers developing their developments (say that 3 times fast). Here’s a few articles:
It appears they bought both of the developments AFTER other developers went through zoning, planning, and county commissioners. After OTHER developers flipped the county regulators. Even bought it AFTER ground was broke and homes were being built.
And here’s their (consolidated name) project now:
That’s quite a bit to take in, but it gets worse. Do any of these names ring a bell around here? Good God almighty, look at some of the Weld County Special Districts Board Members and their attorney!
More importantly, look at the dates. Those Silver Peaks & Altamira developments along with their special districts were all put together, started developing, then were sold off to the Walton Group. And now Walton can put their new federally registered patent, “A Walton Community” logo to work:
Is that what is happening here in Elbert County? It is not a reach whatsoever to speculate this is exactly what is happening here. Walk this through:
Attorney Dianne Miller puts together the Independence Special Districts with taxing and eminent domain powers, all 6 of them – check.
Developer Tim Craft brings the dead Bandera project back to life for Bluegreen Investments, and with a lot of money (who’s money?) and time, gets it approved by Elbert County Commissions. Zoning, Planning and the 3 Member County Commissioners all in his pocket – check
Walton Group raises over 9 Million dollars from their Asian partners for special warranty deeds on land they own abutting Independence. $9,000,000.00 raised and counting (that doesn’t even include any of their money) for a lousy 320 acres of AG land? – check
Walton applies for a change in zoning (out of AG) to Elbert County for their 320 acre parcel abutting Independence, a change NOBODY at the county says they know anything about (I have the emails), but yet what is this “confidential” document? Oh, let’s speculate, “Description: Received correspondence from new owner re AG. Uploaded docs and notified Bart Chambers.”
So who’s lying?
Somewhere down the line Walton annexes, buys or takes over (they’ve done all three previously) Independence and bam, we have 2,500+ homes with 7,500 or so new neighbors. And where do you get the water, the resources, to satisfy the needs of 7,500 people? The ingress/egress roads for 30,000 daily vehicle ins and outs that aren’t even in Elbert County. You think our wells here in Elbert County can supply 100% of the water required for this monstrosity? Not a chance, and they know it. I say slay it before it grows.
We got lucky here. I didn’t know about Bandera in 2009, didn’t care, didn’t live here yet.
I didn’t even know about Independence until just a few months ago, and I’ve been an Elbert County citizen and property owner for over 5 years. Seems most people ’round here (me included) mind their own business and don’t get too involved with county matters, just the way country life should be, right? Pretty much easy prey to be taken advantage of by greedy developers and crooked government officials. Hell, half the county doesn’t have reliable cell phone service. Rural.
But now I know.
And I’ll post everywhere, anywhere I can so you’ll know too. I’ll call the old posse and park a hundred Harley’s in front of the County Commissioners to get their attention. I’ll knock on your door, wake you up at 8 AM to get the facts of the matter out. I’ll write posts like these, give you the facts, quote articles, public resources, assessors info, etc. so you can determine what it is they’re doing to our “rural and western” way of life.
Is this what Elbert county residents want? Construction dust and noise for decades? Impossible access along Hilltop and Delbert Roads? Stinky sewer plants for 10,000 folks? To have developers come in here with high density cluster homes and take what’s ours?
Are we going to let this sneak by again, or are we gonna’ take a stand? Reasonable growth is Elbert County is expected, but OVERDEVELOPMENT and taking our water, our resources isn’t.
Listen, I know this is a lot to read. Maybe too much so. But sooner or later you have to make a choice. Stand or fall. Let your commissioners, planning commission members and zoning department know your thoughts. Don’t sit there on your ass and let this freight train run you over – again.
Leave that 320 acres zoned AG, AG. There’s no law that says it must change. There’s no law that says big money wins. There’s no law that says you cannot deny their request. There’s no law that says it’s OK to steal our water, clog our roads (that we don’t fix now) or get bent over a barrel by a few greedy clowns in new cowboy boots. This is rural Elbert County. Growth is coming, but there’s no law that says it can’t be smart growth. There’s no law that says our County Commissioners are not supposed to protect the citizens of Elbert County either.
Here’s your Elbert County Commissioners email addresses:
Coming soon, Part III – that sneaky little multi-million gallon drinking water storage tank that’s connected to Rueter-Hess Reservoir on Singing Hills Road that will feed the machine. Remember pipelines run both ways. Water in, water out. Stay tuned, they broke ground and today there’s excavation and backhoe equipment there. Check back when you can.
Wayne Ordakowski, a concerned RURAL Elbert County Citizen