The City agreed to annex our property (all duly noted in City Council meetings over those four years), and we kept moving forward with our development plans. But, then the City did something remarkable: the City agreed to grant us extra-territorial water rights.
It seemed obvious to us that the City of Walsenburg should annex our property, and we would put a development on it. We spent about four years (1996-2000) trying to convince the City Council of this notion, but they were not a progressive-thinking group at that time, and they stalled and dragged their feet.
Then, we enticed our former development partner, an architect named Rich McCabe, of Core Corporation in Boulder into taking a look at the property. He was extremely talented and knowledgeable, and we had worked well together in the past (Dakota Ridge in North Boulder, previously known as the Mann property). He drew up some amazing plans for our new property, and to this day, I wish we had been able to execute on his plans. But, he lived four hours away in Boulder, and when a personal family tragedy struck he called and said, “I’m sorry, guys, but I don’t have the energy to do this project. But I think you should connect with T.C. He was the surveyor on the Dakota Ridge project, and I think he’s got the wherewithal to do this.”
We contacted T.C. and, finally, in about 2001, we entered into a joint-venture deal with him to be the developer. We would put the land into the deal, he would put the money in, and he was supposed to be the “lead” on the project and move it forward. We turned things over to him. We thought he knew what he was doing, he was very excited about the project, and things moved forward.
Stan had written a clear, simple, joint-venture agreement and T.C. agreed to it. But, he never signed it. As the years passed, I kept bugging Stan about this. He, in turn, would bug T.C. about it. T.C. would say, “Yeah, I know – I’ll sign it this weekend and get it back to you.”
The big leap forward
We worked with T.C. for four years, from 2001 to 2005. The City agreed to annex our property (all duly noted in City Council meetings over those four years), and we kept moving forward with our development plans. But, then the City did something remarkable: the City agreed to grant us extra-territorial water rights.
This was a big leap forward! What does this mean? It meant we now had a water source (the number one biggest issue in development), but we didn’t have to annex to get the water. “Extra-territorial” means “outside their territory” -- they would extend water outside the city limits to our subdivision. Please, dear reader, understand what a huge and wonderful thing this was. We now had water from the city, but were free to develop in the county, which was the best news ever for us (as developers) and for future residents (lower taxes because they aren’t in the City). The county commissioners were much more progressive in their thinking than the City folks and they were eager to see this project move forward – and move forward fast. (Please mentally “bookmark” this milestone, as you will see how confused people were later about these very clear facts.)
We worked hard to meet the County development guidelines and the County Commissioners approved Filing 1 and Filing 2 of our plans (it was a phased development, of course, meaning you do one phase at a time and the money you earn from one phase helps pay for the infrastructure of the next).
Finally, we were making progress. In fact, things seemed to be going so well that in January of 2005, we wrote a very upbeat report to our partners about all the good things that were happening, and best of all T.C. was beginning to talk about buying us out, which, at the right price, we would have eagerly done. We would be out of the project, the partners would have their return on investment, and we’d be done. We couldn’t understand why it took nine years to get to this point – it should have been simple – but at last we were ready to launch. © Sharon Cairns Mann