Transportation  May 6, 2024

BNSF picks Lochbuie; annexation battle rages on

LOCHBUIE — BNSF Railway Co. has requested annexation of 2,367 acres to the town of Lochbuie, land slated for the railroad’s massive intermodal facility and logistics park, and Hudson is not happy about it.

Lochbuie’s town council will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday to consider three separate annexation requests, known as Burlington Northern Santa Fe Annexation Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

The land is located east of the BNSF tracks along Interstate 76. BNSF plans an intermodal facility that would allow for transfer of freight between trucks and railroad cars, as well as an adjacent logistics park that could accommodate 20 million square feet of development.


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In a statement emailed to BizWest, a BNSF spokesperson stated, “On May 4, BNSF Railway filed Petitions for Annexation with the Town of Lochbuie to support BNSF’s plan of operating an Intermodal Facility and Logistics Park in Weld County. Lochbuie is well positioned to meet the project’s infrastructure demands and help the railroad keep pace with future customer growth.BNSF has existing operations in Hudson at its established Logistics Center and continues to invest in northern Colorado, bringing world class freight logistics that benefit the Rocky Mountain region’s economy. We look forward to a continued partnership with both Lochbuie and Hudson.”

The annexation request comes even as Lochbuie and Hudson are battling in Weld County District Court over competing annexations of rights-of-way around the BNSF project. Both towns have initiated annexations for the same portions of Weld County Roads 4, 41 and 45, Hudson as part of the planned MSLCAT annexation and Lochbuie as part of South Weld Annexations 2 and 3.

Conflicting annexations require a vote of eligible electors, including property owners and residents. But Hudson and Lochbuie are even disputing who can vote, with Lochbuie asserting that only Weld County, as owner of the rights of way, can vote, and Hudson arguing that adjacent property owners should be able to vote.

District Court Judge Kimberly Schutt on April 30 extended time to complete mediation between the two communities until May 29.

Both Hudson and Lochbuie have coveted the planned BNSF project, and until now, BNSF has given no public indication of which community it would favor. The railroad has an existing relationship with Hudson over the separate Logistics Center Hudson, a 430-acre development on Hudson’s north side.

Hudson town manager Bryce Lange told BizWest Monday that Lochbuie’s ability to annex the BNSF property is questionable, given that the court has placed South Weld Annexations 2 and 3 in abeyance, along with the MSLCAT annexation.

A map shows BNSF’s planned annexation of 2,367 acres into Lochbuie. Source: Town of Lochbuie

“From a legal sense, we’re kind of wondering how this might even be possible,” Lange said, noting the ongoing court case. “ … So that’s something that we’ll have to kind of figure out what the courts … if they’re in violation of the court-ordered abeyance.”

A.J. Euckert, town administrator for Lochbuie, said, “The maps are pretty straight-forward and show where we have contiguity.”

Documents prepared for the Lochbuie Town Council by town staff state their opinion that the proposed BNSF annexations comply with state law in terms of contiguity, community of interest, a three-mile annual limitation, use of rights of way and other requirements.

But the memo from Community Development Director Chris Kennedy and Town Attorney Keith Martin also notes another area of conflict with Hudson, which has been processing annexation of the Ranchos East area.

“Acceptance of Petitions 2 and 3 sets up separate conflicting annexations with Hudson’s proposed Ranchos East Annexation, triggering a statutory process for conflicting annexation elections that will be initiated by the Town with a district court filing in accordance with state law,” the memo states.

The Ranchos East Annexation No. 1 encompasses 80 acres, not counting rights of way. The properties are owned by Shawn and Susan Wiant, and Rancho De Los Tiempos Buenos Partnership LLC. The parties applied to Hudson for annexation on March 29.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include comments from A.J. Euckert and BNSF.

BNSF Railway Co. has requested annexation of 2,367 acres to the town of Lochbuie, land slated for the railroad’s massive intermodal facility and logistics park, and Hudson is not happy about it.

Christopher Wood
Christopher Wood is editor and publisher of BizWest, a regional business journal covering Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties. Wood co-founded the Northern Colorado Business Report in 1995 and served as publisher of the Boulder County Business Report until the two publications were merged to form BizWest in 2014. From 1990 to 1995, Wood served as reporter and managing editor of the Denver Business Journal. He is a Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder. He has won numerous awards from the Colorado Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists and the Alliance of Area Business Publishers.
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