El Paso County commissioners approved a new special district that would nearly double the tax rate on about 150 homes built inside a new subdivision near Monument to fund it.
The commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to form the new Cloverleaf Metropolitan District that proposes issuing $8 million in debt over 30 years to build a new neighborhood of 144 single-family homes and about 6 acres of open space on land near the intersection of Higby Road and Jackson Creek Parkway that was once intended to be a golf course.
Beginning in 2022, developers expect to build about 48 homes per year in the subdivision through 2025, capturing 8% of the market in the county, according to planning documents.
Developers plan to charge 65 mills per residence to finance the needed $8 million in metro district debt and expect the homes to sell for about $650,000 on average, County Planner Kari Parsons told commissioners. Owners of a newly built $650,000 home in the subdivision could owe about $6,300 annually — a 91% increase from the current annual tax rate of about $3,300, she said.
Commissioners said the tax burden on residents in the new development is “significant,” but expected the homes to sell because of the dire need for housing across the county, they said.
The Cloverleaf Metropolitan District must be formed because there is no other public entity that can take on the needed debt to construct and maintain required water and wastewater infrastructure, Parsons said.
The area included in the new district is within the boundaries of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District, which serves the developed areas adjacent to the new subdivision, County Planner Kari Parsons told commissioners. But the water district cannot construct the infrastructure needed to service the new development because it does not have the money to do so, she added.
Planning documents say the water district has enough water to supply the new development and the Cloverleaf Metropolitan District anticipates expanding existing water infrastructure so the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District can adequately serve the new neighborhood. A finding of water sufficiency won’t come until approval of the subdivision’s final plat, however, because county commissioners last month granted the developer’s request for the delay.
The subdivision will be built on about 38 acres behind Lewis-Palmer High School, but the new metro district will only include about 37 acres of the neighborhood. Three lots approved as part of the subdivision’s approved preliminary plan won’t be included in the Cloverleaf Metropolitan District because water, wastewater, and utilities and transportation infrastructure already exists for those lots, planning documents show.
The developer could construct necessary infrastructure like roadways, sidewalks, drainage facilities, parks and open space, and create a homeowner’s association responsible for maintaining the subdivision’s open space and detention ponds without creating a new metro district.
But county planners said the developer’s desire to secure financing to construct the necessary infrastructure and generate funds for its ongoing maintenance are “traditional reasons” to form a special district.