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Castle Pines North residents are headed back to the drawing board to sort out water issues after the Parker Water District officially pulled out of an inclusion partnership on Feb. 10.

Just under a year ago, the residents of the Castle Pines North Metro District approved the inclusion plan through a special election.

The inclusion, which had originally been scheduled to be completed on Jan. 3, was delayed in December to provide time to address unresolved issues necessary for Parker Water to accept a fully functional water and wastewater system and for the metro district to obtain funds to pay for the inclusion.   

During the Feb. 10 meeting, the Parker Water Board of Directors concluded that recent activities demonstrated the relationship between the water district and the metro district was not conducive to resolving the outstanding inclusion issues.

After discussion, board officially voted to terminate the inclusion project.

Following the vote, Parker Water District Manager Ron Redd said, “We still believe there is an opportunity for an inclusion with Castle Pines North Metropolitan District.  Even if we’re not able to complete it at this time, we still believe that it could benefit both communities. These are complicated agreements, and sometimes it doesn’t happen the first time around. We remain open to revisiting this opportunity in the future.” 

The decision directly impacts 12,000 Castle Pines residents in the Castle Pines North Metro District living west of Interstate 25. In total, it equates to about 3,500 customer accounts that Parker Water would have obtained through the inclusion plan.

In December, Redd brought his concerns before the water board, stressing that his first priority has been to protect current water customers in Parker and making sure outstanding issues are resolved before Castle Pines residents can be connected to the system.

Among Redd’s concerns outlined in December was the pending lawsuit filed by the City of Brighton against the Castle Pines North Metro District. Filed in November, the lawsuit challenges the metro district’s sale of water rights to Aurora. Brighton is challenging the sealed bid process the metro district used, highlighting the ”improper” way Aurora offered an additional $1 million if it won the ability to buy all four water right options being sold.

Redd said the sale of the water rights was key to the inclusion process because at the original Jan. 3 deadline, the metro district had to pay an up-front cost of $35 million.

Besides the lawsuit, Redd said other issues that came up over the last year included:

• Water and wastewater violations

• Groundwater rights issues

• Conveyance of easements and property rights

• Operational issues

• A need for additional funds

After being notified of Parker Water’s decision to abandon the agreement, Castle Pines North Metro District officials told residents in an email they were surprised.

“Though every water and wastewater system experiences challenges from time to time, to be clear, CPNMD’s water and wastewater utility systems are fully functional and provide clean, safe, on-demand service to the people of our community,” the Feb. 11 email to residents said.

For now, the metro district said they will continue providing water and wastewater services to the residents impacted by the Parker Water decision.

To discuss the issues publicly, the metro district will be hosting a public meeting on Monday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. For those wanting to attend the meeting in person, it will be held at 7404 Yorkshire Dr.

The meeting will also be available through Zoom at nmd.org/cpnmd-zoom-meeting-sign-up.

For more information about the recent changes, visit the metro district website at www.cpnmd.org.