WESTMINSTER, Colo. — The population boom across Colorado has created problems with traffic but it is also creating problems with sewers.
On Tuesday, the city of Westminster’s moratorium on new development took effect, restricting development in areas that need to access the Big Dry Creek sewer system, which encompasses most of Westminster north of 92nd Avenue.
The city passed the moratorium after receiving word the sewer system had quickly become overused with the increase in population over the last several years.
“Growth has consequences,” Mayor Herb Atchison said.
“We have a system that was put in the ground 40 years ago. We have to make sure what we are handing our customers, residents and developers can handle everything we throw at it.”
Atchison pushed back on the notion Westminster is closed for business.
The mayor said others parts of Westminster not using the Big Dry Creek Sewer lines are free to be developed as well as any new project that might not require the use of new sewer lines.
“Let me re-emphasize we are still open for business,” Atchison said.
The moratorium is mostly going into effect so the city can effectively study the sewer system to see what changes are needed.
Westminster has a population of more than 110,000.
Frustration at the decision is coming, not surprisingly, from the developers in the area.
Many testified at a hearing against the move, stressing it might impact projects.
Developers testified that plans for new homes near 104th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard could be put at risk.
“The moratorium will definitely hurt the final development of the Church Ranch,” Charlie McKay, a developer of the Church Ranch area, told the council. “For most developers, money comes at the end not the beginning.”
Elizabeth Rivera remembers when she first moved to Westminster eight years ago — when Walmart was the biggest store in town.
“It’s growing a lot,” Rivera said. “It’s very convenient, we don’t have to travel as far.”
But Rivera supports whatever the city has to do to make sure sewer problems don’t effect her house.
“Do whatever you have to do,” Rivera said.