Ultra Resources of Houston was ordered Wednesday to surrender possession of 86 acres on the Banning Lewis Ranch to Colorado Springs Utilities for a water line project.
Springs Utilities sued Ultra in January over land the utility says it needs for a pump station, for a 100-foot-wide swath for the pipeline, and for temporary construction easements. The hearing on a motion for immediate possession was held Tuesday and Wednesday.
The construction is part of the Southern Delivery System pipeline that will bring water to Colorado Springs from Pueblo Reservoir.
Utilities spokeswoman Janet Rummel says Judge Deborah Grohs ruled in the city's favor and ordered the city be given immediate possession of the property, with the price tag to be worked out later.
Utilities contends the property is worth $73,400, but Ultra is entitled to its own appraisal at the expense of the SDS project, Rummel says. The lawsuit followed months of negotiations with Ultra, which reached an impasse.
Ultra purchased 18,500 acres of the Banning Lewis Ranch on the city's east side in 2011 and planned to drill for oil. However, exploration yielded unpromising results, so it doesn't look like Ultra will proceed as planned.
More on this issue can be found in this week's edition.