To ensure the public has adequate time and opportunity to comment on the Terry Ranch Aquifer Storage and Recovery project, City Council extended the public comment portion of the March 2 regular City Council meeting. This historic project is an important topic in the Greeley community. This large water resource could fulfill the city’s water needs for generations. Greeley City Council remains committed to full transparency with the Terry Ranch project.
At this meeting, council will consider a resolution to finalize the Terry Ranch Master Purchase Agreement. While the City of Greeley charter does not require council to approve closing the Terry Ranch agreement or hold a public hearing (public comment), council is committed to creating time and opportunity for the public to comment on this crucial topic. As such, council plans for an hour of public comment on the Terry Ranch project at the March 2 meeting.
At the meeting, council also will consider an ordinance changing the raw water dedication requirements in the city. The three revisions proposed within the ordinance include:
- allowing the raw water credits created in association with the Terry Ranch Master Purchase Agreement;
- codifying (formalize in the city’s municipal code) graduated raw water for landscaping; and
- clarifying raw water dedication for large parcel single-family developments.
The meeting will take place virtually through YouTube; go to the city of Greeley’s You Tube channel to watch. Those who wish to comment should join the meeting via the Zoom platform, at this link: https://greeleygov.zoom.us/j/98241485414.
Officials encourage those wanting to speak to sign up before the meeting. Please use this link (https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090D4BACAD2AAB9-march) anytime up through 5 p.m. March 2 to sign up to speak.
Residents who wish to comment on the project will be allowed three minutes; if there seems to be more comments than what could fit in an hour-long public comment period, Mayor John Gates will limit public comment time to two minutes to allow council to hear as many comments as possible.
Residents also may submit their comments prior to the meeting to email@example.com or mail them to City Clerk’s Office, 1000 10th St., Greeley, CO 80631. Comments must be received by 5 p.m., March 2 the day of the meeting. Comments received by Friday, Feb. 26 will be included in the meeting packet with other meeting materials. Any comments received after that time will be placed in the public record and provided as an addendum to the agenda to all council members.
Council encourages the public to read through the city’s website at greeleygov.com/terryranch to learn more. Residents can navigate through several pages of explanation, testing reports, and read the answers to many community questions that have come up in the past few months.
The state demographer projected that the city of Greeley will double in size by the year 2060. The city is charged with planning for that expected growth, which will include the need for adequate water resources. Today, the city uses 25,000 acre feet of water per year on average.
The city at present has enough water for its population. But as growth occurs, there will be increasing competition for any available water in the coming years. The Terry Ranch project and its 1.2 million acre-feet of water would allow the city to breathe a little easier in drought years, as it would be used fill the gaps in our existing water portfolio during those dry years. During wet years, the city could store excess water for the future. The water would be safe from surface contaminants and evaporation. The water does have low levels of naturally occurring uranium, which the city has proven it can remove from the water below detectable limits.
The city of Greeley Water Department has spent $3 million testing, retesting, and gaining peer reviews to look at this project from every angle. Those reviews and all testing shows there are no fatal flaws in the project, and that the city could feasibly treat and use this water for its future citizens.
The Greeley Water and Sewer Board on Feb. 16 unanimously approved the contract to buy Terry Ranch water and its assets, in exchange for a $125 million payment from the seller. In return, the seller, Wingfoot Water Resources, will be given water credits from the city. Wingfoot can sell those credits to developers in Greeley only to obtain a water tap with the city. The deal is seen as a way for the city to begin the project and build it in phases through time rather than pay for it all at once, which would raise the city’s water rates drastically.