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February 25, 2023

Boulder County Gross Reservoir Community Newsletter – February 2023 edition

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Photo of the dam at Gross Reservoir

Boulder County
Gross Reservoir Community Newsletter

February 2023

Welcome to Boulder County's Gross Reservoir Community newsletter. This communication is intended to share information with residents of Boulder County impacted by the
Denver Water Gross Reservoir Expansion Project.

Greetings Gross Reservoir Community,

The focus of this month's newsletter is to update you on actions taken since January and to ask for your assistance in completing a new "lighting impacts" survey (see details below) to help us better determine how and where nighttime construction activities are having the most visual/lighting effects on Gross Reservoir neighbors.

Please reach out to me at grossreservoir@bouldercounty.org with any feedback or questions.

-Barb Halpin, Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund Coordinator

Look for a letter in your mailbox

About 500 households in the Gross Reservoir community will receive a letter from the Board of County Commissioners in March.

The letters are intended to make sure that anyone who owns a property near the dam expansion construction site (including those who may be eligible for a payout from the $5M Denver Water Gross Reservoir community impact fund) is made aware of the settlement fund and the process for determining the best/most fair way to distribute the settlement funds directly to Gross Reservoir residents.

Receipt of the letter does not mean that an individual property owner will receive a payout from the Settlement Agreement. The formula for distribution of the money will be determined by summer and all updates and announcements regarding the distribution process will be sent via email through the county's Gross Reservoir distribution list and posted at boco.org/GrossReservoir.

The owner's mailing address of record in the Boulder County Assessor's Office will be used for the mailing. If you live at an address other than the physical residence near Gross Reservoir, please make sure that your mailing address is up-to-date and mail any corrections to assessor@bouldercounty.org. Current recorded property information can be found at https://maps.boco.solutions/propertysearch/.

Introducing Samuel Wallace, Facilitator

Boulder County has contracted with Peak Facilitation Group of Broomfield to solicit input from the soon-to-be-formed community advisory group on how funds from the Denver Water settlement account might be distributed.

Many county residents are familiar with Peak Facilitation Group's president, Heather Bergman--and her associates--all of whom have vast experience with similar public/stakeholder input projects.

Peak Facilitation Group logo

Samuel Wallace will be the lead facilitator for Boulder County's project. Samuel has worked on complex and controversial community engagement projects related to water quality management, forestry and wildfire risk mitigation, and wildlife challenges.

headshot of Samuel Wallace (he/him) facilitator

His work has involved facilitating community and stakeholder groups with diverse interests through contentious discussions, strategic planning efforts, and governance design.

We are so pleased that Samuel is available for our work this spring!

Forming the community advisory group

In the fall of 2022, the county began working on the idea of an advisory group that will represent the community’s collective interests. Numerous community members have expressed interest in serving in this role. Boulder County and Peak Facilitation Group will be reaching out to those individuals in early March to officially form the advisory group and set dates and goals for the group.

Boulder County is also planning to hold a full community meeting, most likely on a Saturday in April, to listen to input and ideas from the broader community. The Boulder County Commissioners will attend and take public comments at the meeting. Details and a date will be announced soon.

construction site lighting at night

Input sought on lighting impacts from the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project

As part of the community survey that residents completed in 2022, we asked for input on a variety of project impacts to individual households.

Now, we'd like to dig a little deeper into the lighting impacts from Denver Water's construction site and access route activities.

Please complete the brief Gross Reservoir - Lighting Impacts Survey at your earliest convenience (preferably by March 1). The results will help inform the community advisory group and Boulder County about specific locations and geographic areas that are experiencing direct lighting impacts from nighttime construction, truck, and roadway activities.* The survey will close at noon on March 12.

* Note: Completing the lighting survey will serve as an additional tool to help evaluate areas and locations affected by nighttime lighting sources. Completing the survey will not give a direct advantage to individual households seeking a payout from the $5M Denver Water Gross Reservoir settlement fund. The data will be assessed in aggregate form and used to determine where lighting has/had the most impact on properties and locations around the construction sites. Participation in the survey is voluntary and not a requirement for compensation.

First Round of Funding

Reminder: Because Denver Water has not yet finalized its tree removal plan, the Boulder County Commissioners have decided that tree removal impacts will not be considered in the first round of funding (i.e., money from the full $5 million mitigation fund will be held back for a future round of funding once the tree removal impacts are better known.)

At this time, the division of money and the number of funding rounds for the full $5 million have not been decided by the county commissioners. The amount of funding for the first round of payouts (in 2023) will be determined after input and feedback from the community advisory group have been considered.

heavy equipment digging in dirt and sand

Pinyon logo

Environmental Analysis

The results from the Pinyon Environmental, Inc. analysis will be presented to the advisory group at a virtual meeting in March or early April (date TBD) and the public is invited to attend the presentation and observe the advisory group's discussion.

The analysis will include scientific modeling data that ranks noise, visual, and air quality impacts by individual properties. The results will also take into account community-provided survey responses on visual/lighting, noise, and dust.

At this time, we anticipate releasing the results of the study in advance of the presentation to the community advisory board. This will give the full community time to review the results prior to an official presentation. However, we encourage members of the public to view the virtual presentation by Pinyon Environmental, Inc. (either live or the recorded version) to fully understand the analysis and findings, as just the data alone will not tell the whole story.