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News Archive

June 23, 2023

MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT: Thursday, June 29 – Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund Phase I Distribution | 3 p.m.

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Gross Dam construction as of June 15, 2023

Photo taken from the North Shore of Gross Reservoir on June 15, 2023

MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT:

Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund Phase I
Distribution

Thursday, June 29
at 3 p.m.

Members of the public are invited to attend in person or virtually via Zoom


The Boulder County Commissioners will hold a public meeting on Thursday, June 29, to receive a staff presentation and review recommendations developed by the Gross Reservoir Mitigation Impact Fund Community Advisory Working Group to determine the amount of funding for Phase 1* distributions from the Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund,

Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting in person (in Boulder) or observe the meeting remotely via Zoom.

  • What: Boulder County Commissioners' Meeting to determine funding for Phase 1 from the Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund
  • Who would be most interested?: Boulder County residents who live in the vicinity of Gross Reservoir
  • When: Thursday, June 29 at 3 p.m.
  • Where: The meeting will be held in a hybrid format where attendees can join through Zoom or in person at the Boulder County Courthouse:
    • In-person: Commissioners' Hearing Room, 3rd Floor, 1325 Pearl Street, Boulder (map and directions) (We can provide parking passes to cover any fees in the City of Boulder parking garages (locations). Unfortunately, we do not have a way to reimburse parking at street meters.)
    • Virtually: Zoom Attendee Link: https://boco.org/BOCC-GrossReservoir or Call-in information: 1-833-568-8864, Webinar ID: 161 585 4

For those unable to attend the meeting, a recording of the meeting will be posted on the Boulder County Open Meeting Portal.

Background

The Denver Water v. Boulder County Settlement Agreement, signed in November 2021, established a $5 million Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund. The Fund is designed to provide direct payments to eligible property owners who are--or are expected to be--adversely impacted by Denver Water’s Gross Reservoir Expansion Project.

From April to June 2023, Boulder County convened a community working group to weigh different scenarios, interests, and collective impacts from both a scientific and subjective standpoint in order to make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners about a fair distribution process for distributing money from the Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund.

The Working Group met five times to consider and discuss the impacts on Gross Reservoir area residents from Denver Water’s project. Members of the public were invited to observe and provide written comments during all working group meetings and on an ongoing basis through grossreservoir@bouldercounty.org.

The Working Groups recommendations are summarized in the Boulder County Gross Reservoir Community Advisory Working Group Report.

On June 29, the Board of County Commissioners will hear a staff presentation, consider the Working Group’s recommendations, and determine how (and how much) to distribute for the first round of payments from the $5 million "Reduce Impacts to Residents" section of the Settlement Agreement.

* Because Denver Water's operational plan for tree removal around Gross Reservoir will not be available until 2024, the Boulder County Commissioners decided that tree removal impacts will not be considered in the first phase 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.).

As a result, there will be two phases of funding. Phase 1 will distribute funding based on ongoing impacts from the full 7-year Gross Dam Expansion Project. Phase 2 will distribute funding based on impacts from the 2-year tree removal operations, specifically. The Working Group focused on developing recommendations on the methodology to distribute Phase 1 funding. They also developed recommendations on how much funding to retain for Phase 2 of funding distributions.

Message from the Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund Coordinator

Collage of three photos showing the county commissioners in a community meeting with residents

For more than a year, the Boulder County Commissioners and staff have been spending time getting to know Gross Reservoir residents and working on plans for how to fairly and equitably divide up the $5 million "Reduce Impacts to Residents" proceeds from the Denver Water Settlement Agreement. **

Since last June, the commissioners have hosted several community meetings and asked for ongoing input from area residents on all aspects of the Gross Dam Expansion project (the Project”). Through one-on-one conversations, informal group settings, open house events, site and home visits, and hundreds of email exchanges and survey responses, community residents have provided Boulder County with a full, accurate account of what it’s like to live with the noise, lighting, dust, view destruction, wildlife impacts, truck traffic, safety concerns, and other unwelcome outcomes of Denver Water's Project.

Your stories have made us aware of how much life has changed around Gross Reservoir and how difficult it has been to live with the daily din and disruption of Denver Water's 24/7 construction operations. We thank you for your honesty and openness about your ongoing feelings and frustrations with the Project.

Kudos to the Working Group and Facilitation Team

I also want to thank the Gross Reservoir Community Advisory Working Group for their contributions to helping Boulder County better understand the needs of the communty.

When county planning staff first conceived of the idea of forming a community working group, we had high expectations that we would learn a lot from the firsthand lived experience of year-round residents of Gross Reservoir and that their input would be invaluable to helping the Boulder County Commissioners determine how best to distribute the $5 million from the Settlement Agreement. The group of 12 neighbors selected from all around the reservoir were nothing short of amazing. The amount of time and energy they put into serving on behalf of the community went far beyond our highest expectations.

From April to June, the working group held intense, thorough, and thoughtful conversations and spent hours of their own time outside of the meetings talking with other residents, driving nearby roads and streets, and considering each home in their neighborhood.

Given the spread-out nature of the Gross Reservoir community and the different impacts to households based on their proximity to Denver Water’s varied construction operations, each of the working group members put aside their own personal circumstances to thoughtfully and thoroughly consider their neighbors’ needs. I can't thank the working group members enough for their time, energy, respectfulness to one another (and the process), and for the solid set of recommendations they’ll be presenting to the County Commissioners on June 29.

The Working Group was facilitated by Peak Facilitation Group, and specifically, Samuel Wallace and Izzy Sofio. This dynamic duo expertly kept meetings organized and on track, made sure group members were fully informed of meeting expectations and decisions, and encouraged everyone to successfully work through difficult discussions and decision points. They were exactly the professional team we hoped to find when forming the working group.

More about the June 29 Meeting

The Board's deliberations on June 29 will focus on determining the total distribution amount and funding methodology for individual households for Phase 1 of the Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund. There will not be public testimony taken during the meeting, as the purpose of this meeting is to have dedicated time to learn and ask questions about the Working Group's recommendation for the funding distribution.

Written comments can be emailed to grossreservoir@bouldercounty.org and will be shared with the County Commissioners prior to the June 29 meeting.

If you have any questions about the meeting or the continued efforts to distribute the proceeds from the Gross Reservoir Impact Mitigation Fund, please email me at grossreservoir@bouldercounty.org.

Sincerely,

Barb Halpin
Gross Reservoir Community Impact Mitigation Fund Coordinator

Over the past year, the Boulder County Commissioners have solicited questions and comments from the Gross Reservoir community to help them determine how to divide up and distribute the Gross Reservoir Impact Mitigation Fund.

In addition to several community meetings and hundreds of emails received and responded to, three separate community surveys were conducted to solicit site-specific input from households impacted by the Gross Dam Expansion project.

Information from these surveys has been included in the set of recommendations the County Commissioners will receive on June 29. Note: We are still in the process of verifying Visual Impacts from the construction project.

Please respond to the Visual/Lighting Impacts Survey** if you have an unreported visual impact to report.

  • Household Survey: The Gross Reservoir Community survey collected information about individual households and their impacts from the Denver Water Gross Reservoir Expansion project. Over 180 households responded.
  • **Visual/Lighting Impacts Survey: Because the Pinyon Environmental Analysis was unable to verify a visual ranking for every property, we've asked property owners of any property assigned a "0" for lighting in the Pinyon report to let us know if you have a direct line of sight or lighting impacts from Denver Water's construction activities (including construction-related truck/vehicle headlights shining into your home). (Tip: Click Ctl-F in the Pinyon report and type in your street number and address to find your home in the appendices.) 43 households responded. It's not too late to report visual and lighting impacts!
  • Pinyon Report Comments: We provided a Pinyon Report comment form to solicit input on the Pinyon report. More than a dozen comments were received and shared with the Working Group in addition to other comments collected as part of the group's work sessions.
  • Note: All Working Group meeting notes and documents are posted on the Boulder County Gross Reservoir website.

See boco.org/grossreservoir for Working Group meeting notes and additional information.