Our View: Gypsum annexation proposal makes sense at first blush
February 26, 2019
Gypsum has for years been a forward-thinking place. Town officials now have another opportunity to plan for both the future and the present.
Longtime residents Scott and Cappie Green own a 36-acre parcel on Cottonwood Pass Road. With the couple nearing the empty-nest stage of their lives, they've submitted plans to the town to annex the property into Gypsum and divide it into eight parcels of between 2 and 6 acres.
The Greens' property is adjacent to the Chatfield Corners neighborhood, so an annexation proposal could have asked for similar density. Carving the property into eight pieces will preserve at least some of the rural character there today, and that's the way the Greens want it.
Perhaps more important, though, is the plan for the senior water rights that go along with the property.
While all water in Colorado is precious, the way state law apportions that resource is based on seniority. The oldest water rights in the state are the most valuable, and the least subject to cutbacks in times of drought.
Converting water rights from agricultural to domestic use is common, but complicated. Still, this proposed deal would add a good bit of senior water to the town's portfolio.
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That's where Gypsum has been forward-thinking in the past. In the 1990s, the original buyers and developers of the former Albertson Ranch — now the Brightwater development — asked Gypsum officials to be annexed into town.
Officials then were leery of a very large development that far out of town, but there was a shining lure in the proposal: The most-senior water rights on Gypsum Creek would come into the town's control with annexation.
Since then, Brightwater has languished, but the town still has the ranch's water rights.
That's essential for a growing town, particularly since our current drought cycle has now stretched to roughly 20 years.
Better yet, with a renovated LEDE Reservoir at the top of Gypsum Creek, there's someplace to store at least some of that water.
There are plenty of details to hash out between the Greens and town — the first public hearing isn't until March 26 — but at first glance, there's a lot to like about this proposal.
The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Ad Director Holli Snyder, reporter Pam Boyd and Business Editor Scott Miller.