White Jankowski Lawyers

Douglas County District Court ruling on water supply requirements for new subdivisions

November 1, 2012

In what appears to be the first significant interpretation of a statutory scheme conditioning residential development on demonstration of adequate water supplies, the district court reversed the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners’ approval of Sterling Ranch, LLC’s planned unit development because C.R.S. § 29-20-301 to 306 requires an applicant to demonstrate adequate water supplies before issuance of a development permit.  Based on statutory language, the district court found that the Board had discretion to evaluate whether a water supply was adequate, but that its discretion did not extend to determining when in the process of permitting to make that determination.  Thus, Sterling Ranch’s proposal, accepted by the Board, to demonstrate water supply adequacy at the subdivision stage was in excess of its discretion and the Board’s approval of the PUD was improper.  Sterling Ranch moved for reconsideration and the case is still before the Douglas County District Court.