Water dispute mires Spring Valley project | AspenTimes.com

Water dispute mires Spring Valley project

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A dispute over access to a spring in Spring Valley is holding up a large residential-golf project planned for the picturesque area near Colorado Mountain College.

The developers of the 577-home project, a partnership out of San Francisco, had hoped to get approval from Garfield County for a final plat for Phase I, as well as “vested rights” covering the next 15 years.

But the appearance of two neighbors, Lou and Donnalyne LaGiglia, dashed that hope for the time being.

The LaGiglias complained to the county commissioners that the developers of Spring Valley Ranch PUD had not lived up to an agreement to provide water to the LaGiglia home.

According to the LaGiglias, a spring-fed water system that they and five other families in the neighborhood had relied on for years quit some time in the mid-1990s, when the 6,000-acre property was under a previous ownership.

The Hopkins Spring, according to documents on file with the county planning office, is inside the boundaries of the Spring Valley Ranch planned unit development.

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The LaGiglias said the developers built a home on top of the water line leading from the spring box, which interrupted the flow, and led to negotiations between the developers and the neighbors to come up with a new source of domestic water.

Mike Gamba, an engineer representing Spring Valley Holdings LLC, the owner of the project, said his client had not used any of the water from the spring. Instead, he said, the developers opted to dig a well rather than try to repair or replace the deteriorated equipment associated with the spring, and to offer the LaGiglias some of the water from the well.

He told the commissioners that the well water is just as good as the water from the spring. But Lou’s wife, Donnalyne, disagreed and asked why the project was before the commissioners for approvals when the water issue had not been resolved.

“Every time it passes to [new owners],” said Lou LaGiglia about the project, “this issue is still there.”

And, added his wife, “It is not affordable for us, as one family to reinstall that line” and get the water flowing again, as Gamba had suggested at one point.

Gamba’s associate, Doreen Herriott, said the developers had spent between $90,000 and $95,000 to get the well dug and ready to go, and that it is “fairly close to the LaGiglia property. It’s sitting there ready to be hooked up.”

Donna LaGiglia responded that, back in the 1990s, repairing the spring facilities “would have cost much less than $95,000” and added, “It befuddles me to understand where they put their values. We all had water … it all worked … before that line was destroyed.”

The commissioners voted to continue the public hearing on the matter to Sept. 7, to give the two sides time to try to work out a compromise solution to the water problem.

jcolson@postindependent.com