UPDATE: Colorado Springs, El Paso County face another lawsuit over stormwater


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This image of the Mountain Valley Preserve, outlined in black, comes from a Sept. 17, 2015, city Planning Commission agenda. The property ultimately was annexed by the city in early 2016. - CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • This image of the Mountain Valley Preserve, outlined in black, comes from a Sept. 17, 2015, city Planning Commission agenda. The property ultimately was annexed by the city in early 2016.

Late yesterday, we received this explanation via email from Richard Mulledy, the city's stormwater division manager:
The City anticipates that construction of a full spectrum detention pond in accordance with the Professional Engineer's design plans will be in place in February. This permanent detention on the Mountain Valley Preserve subdivision will appropriately manage the runoff from the new development and accommodate for significant flood events.

Throughout construction of the subdivision temporary stormwater controls have been in place. The City of Colorado Springs will continue to work with Mountain Valley Preserve throughout construction and will inspect all drainage aspects of the project as they are completed.

————ORIGINAL POST 12:21 P.M. THURSDAY, JAN. 5, 2017—————
"Our subdivision is not to be used for the city's stormwater sewer."

Thus ends a four-page claim filed by dozens of homeowners in Toy Ranches Estates subdivision against the city of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Tim McConnell, an engineer with Drexel, Barrell & Co., the city director of public works Travis Easton, Mayor John Suthers, the county's planning director Craig Dossey, FEMA, and Newport Center, LLC, the developer of the subdivision that's allegedly causing flood damage to Toy Ranches, or threatens to.

Newport Center's registered agent is long-time developer Leroy Landhuis, and the development in question is called Mountain Valley Preserve. The 44.71-acre subdivision has 41 single-family residential lots, landscape tracts, detention areas and public roads, and is located east of Marksheffel Road and south of Dublin Boulevard, according to city records. See the City Council action here:

See related PDF Legislation_Details__With_Text___11_.pdf
Council annexed the property and approved zoning about a year ago.

(Landhuis tangled with Colorado Springs Utilities last year over value of land required for the Southern Delivery System. He sought $39 million in damages, and won $378,000.)

Toy Ranches, a square-mile subdivision in the county, is located adjacent to Mountain Valley Preserve.

The city, already facing a federal lawsuit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act due to neglect of its stormwater system, doesn't need more evidence that it's dropping the ball in controlling flood waters.

But the Toy Ranches letter, dated Dec. 11 and titled "Notice to Cease and Desist," alleges the Landhuis development's detention ponds don't work and threaten life and property in Toy Ranches from flooding.

The letter accuses the city of "flawed interpretation of its own drainage criteria manuals," and claims the outfalls from the Mountain Valley Preserve detention ponds are faulty, leading to "significant erosion" to neighboring properties.

Worse, if the erosion affects natural gas and petroleum product pipelines in the vicinity, the letter says, "There could be a major catastrophic failure which could result in not only extensive property damage but also human physical harm or even loss of life."

Toy Ranches residents also allege a constitutional violation, because the flooding could constitute "an uncompensated taking" of their properties.

We've asked both the city and county for a comment on this, as well as the developer, and are awaiting word. We'll update if an when we hear back.

We also reached out to the resident who mailed the letter and will update if and when we hear from him.

Meantime, we asked City Councilor Andy Pico, who represents that area, for his thoughts, and he says via email, "First I've heard of it." A few hours later, he reported he'd consult an engineer on some of the technical aspects of the allegations.

Read the entire letter here:
See related PDF Toy_Ranchs_NOC.pdf


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