As the city of Castle Pines and the Castle Pines North Metro District approached the Sept. 30 closing date for a stormwater intergovernmental agreement, or IGA, an additional idea entered the conversation and altered the stormwater transfer timeline.
In a Sept. 26 board meeting, the metro district unanimously voted to authorize President Chuck Lowen to add an amendment to the stormwater IGA that would extend the document’s deadlines by 90 days.
The goal of this extension was to provide time to draft an IGA for the transfer of parks, trails and open spaces to the city before the stormwater agreement closes, Castle Pines City Manager Michael Penny said in a Sept. 21 meeting.
Penny said the decision to pursue a parks IGA before the stormwater IGA could simplify the process of granting easements. Easement dedications grant the right to cross or use someone else’s land, often for utility purposes.
The original stormwater IGA stated the metro district would grant easements to the city, giving city staff the right to use the district’s property for the provision of stormwater services. Penny said this easement dedication process would cost both the city and the district legal fees and require time from their staffs.
But since a significant amount of metro district’s stormwater infrastructure is located on parks, trails and open spaces property, Penny said it would be more efficient to deed these properties to the city before spending unnecessary time and money on granting easements.
Then, the city would grant necessary easements back to the metro district or its partners for a future water and sewer inclusion, he said.
“The purpose of the extension would be to allow the conversation to happen really around: Do we collectively want to go ahead and dedicate the easements under the stormwater IGA for the stormwater IGA maintenance? Or do we want to deed the properties in the parks IGA, and then identify where the water and sewer easements need to be?” Penny said.
According to Penny, deeding the properties first would prevent both bodies from wasting taxpayer’s dollars on granting easements that would be short-lived, assuming the board eventually intends to transfer parks, trails and open space property to the city anyways.
Interim District Manager Nathan Travis said transferring parks, trails and open spaces to Castle Pines would also give the district a large advantage in their water and wastewater inclusion process.
“It’s becoming more and more clear that we’re going to have a pretty decent lag in time before we’re able to really move forward with an inclusion, and there are a lot of things… related to the parks and open space that are hurdles that need to be cleared anyway,” he said. “So, the more we can clean that stuff up, the more we can define those easements, the smoother it’s going to be for us moving into a potential inclusion with another district.”
The district’s attorney, Kim Seter, said he envisions the district transferring stormwater responsibility and funds to the city during the extension period, with easement details and decisions to be determined based on the parks IGA.
Seter said he will work with the city’s attorney to create a final parks IGA draft and hopes to bring it to vote on during the Oct. 24 CPNMD board meeting.