A lawsuit against a decision by Douglas County commissioners in the Sterling Ranch development prompted the county to take a closer look at its water regulations.
County planners on Oct. 4 will host a public workshop to review proposed revisions to Section 18A of the Douglas County zoning resolution.
Section 18A is the resolution that addresses the commissioners’ discretion to determine when an applicant shall satisfy the adequacy of the water supply for a proposed development. It is also the section of the county’s zoning regulations at the heart of the Sterling Ranch lawsuit.
In May 2011, commissioners approved the Sterling Ranch application to rezone 3,400 acres in a development planned for up to 12,000 homes.
At the same time, the county approved an exception to section 18A of its regulations to permit Sterling Ranch to prove its water supply at each phase of construction, rather than at the beginning of the planned development.
The board’s decision was challenged in court and, on Aug. 22, a district court judge ruled against the county.
Commissioners asked staff to revisit the county’s regulations to ensure the county remains aligned with state statute, said Commissioner Jack Hilbert.
“The judge’s ruling made us stop and look at our regulations in such a way to ask ‘did we make it clear in our intent?’ ” Hilbert said. “There is wording in his ruling that he doesn’t see it the way we do.”
Douglas County District Court Judge Paul King ruled that the county’s approval violated a state statute that requires all developers to prove their water supply at the beginning of the development.
Douglas County’s goal is to be able to plan a development, with the water supply coming in stages, as the development phases are approved, Hilbert said.
“Our viewpoint is we have discretion as a board that we can hear for adequacy at the time a plat is approved,” Hilbert said. “That’s where we’re headed.”
The public workshop to review the proposed changes to Section 18A of the Douglas County zoning resolution is from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 4, in the commissioners’ hearing room, 100 Third Street in Castle Rock.