Government & Politics  June 10, 2024

Hudson fires back after right-of-way battle over BNSF project

Lochbuie to proceed with South Weld annexation on emergency basis

HUDSON — One month after its annexation of land south of the planned BNSF Railway Co. intermodal facility was stymied by the vacation of a portion of Weld County Road 41, the town of Hudson will try again on Monday evening.

The Hudson Town Council will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. to consider the latest request for annexation by property owner Don Sack for 120 acres at the southwest corner of Weld County Roads 4 and 45.

Sack earlier had requested annexation of the same property to Hudson, which was using the right of way of Weld County Road 41 as a flagpole annexation to reach the parcel, known then as the Mountain States Line Constructors Apprenticeship & Training, or MSLCAT, annexation.

But the Weld County Commissioners on May 7 approved a request from BNSF Railway Co. to vacate a portion of the right of way, effectively preventing the MSLCAT annexation from proceeding.

Now, Hudson is using Weld County Road 45 to reach the Sack property. If the Town Council accepts the petition for annexation, the annexation would go to a public hearing on July 17.

Hudson and Lochbuie have been battling over which community will reap the benefits of a massive BNSF intermodal facility and logistics park. Analysts have estimated that the project could generate billions of dollars in economic activity. BNSF envisions a massive development along BNSF tracks on the east side of Interstate 76, on land located in unincorporated Weld County.

Lochbuie meets on South Weld, BNSF annexations

Lochbuie in February filed suit against Hudson in Weld County District Court, seeking to force an annexation election over MSLCAT and its own South Weld Annexations 2 and 3, which overlapped in certain rights of way.

But vacation of a portion of the Weld County Road 41 right of way obviated the need for an annexation election, and the case was closed May 24 after both sides stipulated to dismissal.

But Hudson’s revived attempt at annexing the property — using a different flagpole annexation — means the battle is not over.

Lochbuie on Tuesday will hold a public hearing and consider South Weld Annexation No. 2 on an emergency basis, along with BNSF Annexation No. 1.

Hudson town manager Bryce Lange and Lochbuie town administrator A.J. Eukert could not be reached for comment on the latest actions.

BNSF in May requested annexation of 2,367 acres to Lochbuie, to be accomplished in three annexations.

Lochbuie filed two additional petitions for annexation elections in Weld County District Court, May 7, arguing that Hudson’s Ranchos East Annexation No. 1 conflicts with two of the BNSF annexations.

In May 28 responses to the filings, Hudson questioned the validity of the BNSF annexations, arguing that Lochbuie did not provide required notice to Hudson of BNSF Annexation No. 1, thereby rendering BNSF Annexations 2 and 3 invalid.

“Portions of BNSF No. 1, specifically all those portions north of Weld County Road 8, are within the Hudson and Weld County coordinated planning area and within the identified Hudson Urban Growth Area,” the response stated. “Yet, Lochbuie failed to provide Hudson notice of its planned encroachment within the Hudson — Weld County coordinated planning area boundary.”

Hudson, in filings by attorneys Hilary Graham and Nicholas Hartman of the Denver law firm Hoffman, Parker, Wilson & Carberry PC, said mediation is required.

“Lochbuie must mediate with Hudson to resolve the matter of BNSF No. 1’s encroachment into the Hudson-Weld County CPA (Coordinated Planning Agreement) area and the identified Hudson Urban Growth Area before any annexation, or, in fact, any election for a conflicting annexation.”

Lochbuie has not yet responded to Hudson’s answer.

The cases are: Town of Lochbuie v. Town of Hudson, 2024CV030092, Weld County District Court. (Dismissed); Town of Lochbuie v. Town of Hudson, 2024CV030406, Weld County District Court; and Town of Lochbuie v. Town of Hudson, 2024CV030404, Weld County District Court.

One month after its annexation of land south of the planned BNSF Railway Co. intermodal facility was stymied by the vacation of a portion of Weld County Road 41, the town of Hudson will try again on Monday evening.

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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