The Sterling Ranch development is one step closer to breaking ground as the ink dries on a deal with Aurora Water to deliver water to the development, which promises to change the way Douglas County looks at water conservation.
Sterling Ranch managing director Harold Smethills announced a deal with Aurora Water that will deliver 88 million gallons of water already owned by the development’s provider, Dominion Water. The deal paves the way for Sterling Ranch to begin the plat process with Douglas County as the development moves forward, Smethills said.
At the same time, Sterling Ranch signed a second deal with Aurora Water in a 15-year lease for 186 million gallons of water as a sub-agreement of the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency agreement, said Greg Baker, manager of Aurora Water public relations.
The WISE agreement is the long-term agreement pivotal to the South Metro Water Supply Authority co-op among 11 water providers in Douglas County, which is now under review by providers that include the Town of Castle Rock and Parker Water.
The WISE agreement is presently in the hands of the Army Corps of Engineers, as it decides whether Denver and Aurora water can meet the environmental standards for storage in Rueter-Hess reservoir.
“We came up with these agreements to bridge (Dominion) until WISE gets to them,” Baker said. “We wanted to incentivize them to remain in WISE.”
The water agreements signed by Sterling Ranch become part of its development application, which the developer files with each plat filing, said Steve Koster, Douglas County assistant director of planning services.
The county will review Sterling Ranch’s water plan during the platting process, which is a three-step process of a sketch plan, a preliminary plan and a final plat, Koster said.
Sterling Ranch aims to begin its development process before year’s end and hopes to enter the market as quickly as possible, Smethills said. He hopes to debut Sterling Ranch, a planned development approved for more than 12,000 homes over its 20-year planned build-out, with as many as 2,000 homes in its early phases.
“This gets us in the market years before we could have built our infrastructure because the demand is here now,” Smethills said.