By Darrell Arnold
LA VETA- Each area that might want to be annexed presents its own set of problems. In Huajatolla Valley Estates there are water adjudication issues because return flows from that subdivision go into Huajatolla Creek.
La Veta Mayor Mickey Schmidt says, "If you divert water out of the Cucharas to get water to them, then you end up with return flow issues there, too."
In addition, there are other aspects of that particular subdivision that are problematic for La Veta. Schmidt says, "They have problems with their utilities infrastructure. Their water and sewage systems may not be up to the standards required by the town. You’ve also got several miles of roads serving not very many people. The town would be looking at more miles of road to maintain. You’d really have to sit down and put a pencil to it to see if it would be in the town’s best interest, financially."
Getting the most attention, recently, have been the relentless attempts by Grandote Golf Course to become completely annexed.
Schmidt says, "For the part of the golf course that is not in the town, their main issues would be water, and since they propose relatively high density development a couple hundred units on approximately 200 acres that are not in the town, then you are looking at pretty hefty sewage treatment upgrades to plan for build-out.
"You may be looking down the road 50 years if it goes no faster than it’s gone up to this point, but still, you have to plan for it. That kind of potential use would make the town have to plan for mechanical sewage treatment, at least within the next 20 years, and that is really a high-dollar issue. Plus the fact that the filtration part of our water treatment plant would have to be upgraded.
"Right now," he explains, "in low rainfall years, that plant struggles to keep up during the summer. It’s getting some age on it, so putting an extra demand on it that amounts to a third more than what it’s already handling is going to require it to be upgraded. The town would have to require a lot of up-front money or some way to secure the upgrade to all of those facilities over time.
"Otherwise, Grandote doesn’t have quite as many demerits as Huajatolla Valley Estates because it’s more compact. There wouldn’t be that many miles of road. Theoretically, they would want to pave that road; the town could require them to pave those roads before they were annexed. But then you’ve got the downside that the town would have to maintain paved roads. That’s an expensive proposition."
Schmidt feels that the greatest responsibility of the La Veta Town Board has to be what is in the best long-term interest of the town.
"We really do need to be vigilant about development and not get ourselves overextended. The growth that we’ve had up until now has been manageable. At some point all the lots in town will be built out. The town government needs to be very careful that we don’t outgrow our resources.
"There is no going back from a thing like that. One unwise decision like annexing 200 units without the natural resources to support them could seriously impact the quality of life for everyone here. We might never recover."