Owner: Deannex my land

Steamboat, Scott take property issue to court

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Owners of a 180-acre parcel next to the Steamboat Springs Airport asked the District Court to deannex the land from the city because the city has not provided water and sewer services to the land as promised.

A city attorney said in court that the owners have not properly asked the city to extend water and sewer services, and so cannot make a case for disconnecting the land from the city.

The Patricia Ann Scott Family Limited Partnership is asking that the land be deannexed. The matter is being heard in a two-day court hearing that began Wednesday afternoon.

On Wednesday, Walter Scott, who is part of the partnership, testified that it was his understanding that when the property was annexed into the city in 1991, water and sewer service would be provided to its lot lines.

Scott said that the partnership has reiterated its request for a water and sewer extension multiple times throughout the years, with little response from the city. The work to get such an extension has cost more than $100,000, he said.

He also said the city has suggested conditions for getting water that would be "legally, physically and economically impossible" to fulfill. One of those conditions is that the water service be "looped" to provide two sources of water in case one is shut down.

Another major concern is that a workable sewer service would have to cross private property, Scott said.

Scott also said he has seen the city give exceptions to others facing similar issues, but has not given such exceptions to him. On cross-examination, he named three such exceptions, but said he did not know any details.

If the partnership's land is deannexed, it could be sold in 35-acre lots, the minimum size allowed under the rural agriculture zoning district. Scott would not have to install water and sewer infrastructure or follow more stringent city guidelines.

However, he could not have as much development density on the land as he could if the land stayed a part of the city. As part of the city, he had proposed 110 lots; if the land is deannexed, he could have only five 35-acre lots.

Keeping the land part of the city is to the partnership's financial benefit, but deannexing is the only option that Scott said he thinks is left.

Daniel Foote, a city attorney working on the case, pointed out to Scott that the original annexation agreement said that additional costs and burden on existing residents would not result from the annexation.

He also asked Scott why he didn't follow through with applying for such sewer and water service, to which Scott answered that it would have been a waste if it didn't seem feasible.

Jim Weber, city director of public works, said looping would be important on the partnership's parcels to provide proper water pressure and back-up services.

The court trial continues at 8:30 a.m. today.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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