Transportation  May 7, 2024

Lochbuie gives initial OK to BNSF annexations

LOCHBUIE — It took just seven minutes for the Lochbuie Town Council to give initial approval to annexation of land slated for a BNSF Railway Co. facility.

The council accepted the annexations — Burlington Northern Santa Fe Annexation Nos. 1, 2 and 3 — at a special meeting Monday that was called to order at 6:30 p.m. and adjourned at 6:37 p.m. Public hearings on the annexations are scheduled for June 11.

BNSF has requested annexation of 2,367 acres to the town of Lochbuie, land slated for the railroad’s massive intermodal facility and logistics park.

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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.

Lochbuie has been embroiled in annexation battles with nearby Hudson over the project, with the two communities facing off in Weld County District Court over competing annexations of parts of Weld County Roads 4, 41 and 45.

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

A district court judge extended a deadline for mediation between the two towns to May 29, but at least one more conflicting annexation could be destined for the courts.

A memo from Lochbuie community development director Chris Kennedy and town attorney Keith Martin also notes that parts of the BNSF annexation conflict with Hudson’s 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.

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 the towns’ competing annexations in abeyance.

“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.”

It took just seven minutes for the Lochbuie Town Council to give initial approval to annexation of land slated for a BNSF Railway Co. facility.

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