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