In order to complete and maintain a project mitigating stormwater damage, Public Works Director Travis Easton said the city of Colorado Springs needs to spend six figures to buy an acre off Popes Valley Drive.
Last year, the city buried piping in a vacant lot at 535 Popes Valley Drive to redirect stormwater drainage from a townhome development off Golden Hills Road, uphill from the lot, Easton said. Drainage from the development ate away at the hillside, leaving a 100-feet-deep crevasse in its wake.
Easton asked the City Council on Monday to consider buying the vacant lot for $114,000 to maintain city access to the underground piping. The resolution, outlining the city's purchase of the land from VLTAVA Land Co., will come before the council in July, he said.
Popes Valley resident Mike Chiaramonte told the city in 2014 that drainage from the townhomes put his property in danger, Easton said. The townhomes, built in the 1980s, used one 18-inch diameter pipe as an outlet for stormwater. The small pipe concentrated the drainage, which eroded land downhill.
The flooding and erosion caused about $25,000 in damage to Chiaramonte's property, Easton said.
The city since has filled the crevasse and attached piping to the townhome development's drainage outlet, leading water under the vacant lot and north to Popes Valley Drive, where it can flow directly into the street's stormwater system, Easton said. But now, the city needs to buy the land to make sure it has constant access to the piping and to prevent any development in the area.
Because of the plot's steep grade, even a small home built near the piping would severely limit maintenance access, Easton said.
"This lot's pretty useless now," he said.
Steve and Ruby Loveless, who live off Germaine Court, several houses west of the Popes Valley Drive property, say they've seen issues with stormwater drainage since they moved in 25 years ago. Hard rains would flood the area as many as four times a year, though it's become less of a problem since the new piping was installed, they said.
The couple said they favor the city's land purchase if it keeps the water draining properly.
Councilman Bill Murray said he will support the purchase but would like to see the city hold the original developers accountable for the damage caused by the drainage system.