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Old 05-15-2009, 01:41 PM
 
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Default looking for land near Glendo reservoir area

We are looking to buy some acreage around Glendo area- mostly for shooting, and I'm really interested in western history. We don't need jobs in the area. We got some information from a broker about some nice parcels, but they are subject to an association with some (to our minds) weird covenants. Could anybody recommend a local realtor? We want to do a 30 year lease or buy something we could put a well on. Any thoughts?
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:21 PM
 
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Shooting? as in what? shotgun, rifle, pistol, cowboy action, SASS? long range? hunting?

The reason I ask is because this all affects how much land you'd need ... and you didn't mention the size of the parcels you've looked at.

Is there a reason you want to be near Glendo?

Perhaps acreage in the area would be better suited for your needs than a subdivision with a HOA.

"30 year lease" sounds more like a hunting lease ... is that what you're looking for?

A well permit for domestic use would require a minimum 40 acre parcel. You'd be looking at obtaining a permit from the state engineer's office, and you'll be looking at zoning requirements for a residence and septic system. The implication of having a domestic well is that you'll be creating gray and black water on the site ... and you cannot simply dump these out on the ground to pollute the area. You cannot use the domestic well for irrigation except for a minimal amount of landscaping around a house and other small outside the house uses.

I've had two less than pleasurable encounters with real estate agents in the Glendo area. Sorry, I cannot recommend any up that way. Perhaps somebody else on the forum has had better luck than I.
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:34 PM
 
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Is that min 40 acres for a well permit a county regulation? In my area of Wyoming well permits are given on much smaller lots. My friend just had a well put on his less than 2 acres. The company I work for has had 10 wells drilled ( all domestic use) all on lots less than 5 acres in the last 3 years.
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by paintersspouse View Post
Is that min 40 acres for a well permit a county regulation? In my area of Wyoming well permits are given on much smaller lots. My friend just had a well put on his less than 2 acres. The company I work for has had 10 wells drilled ( all domestic use) all on lots less than 5 acres in the last 3 years.
No, it's the Wyoming State Engineer's groundwater requirement.

All water in Wyoming is "owned" by the state, and the permits for domestic wells are issued by the State Engineer's office.

The guidelines for domestic well permits have been changing over the past few years, and in the drought areas with more population influx, have been under serious review recently. You'll find smaller properties that have domestic wells with permits that were applied for and approved prior to the current regulations. Some of those permits may have been applied for when a plat was approved by the county zoning, and a savvy developer would have applied for the well permits at that time.

Here in Laramie county, I can find all kinds of residential properties that are smaller, such as "corners" from a field that now has a pivot sprinkler on it, with a domestic well. But those properties would not qualify today for a new domestic well permit.

The State Engineer may find that the water table in an area can support more domestic wells (limited to a maximum of 25 GPM) and approve a smaller site. In the Western areas with more water supply into the groundwater, that may be the case. But the information I have from a senior groundwater engineer in the department is that the State Engineer is seeking to standardize the rules throughout the state at this time, which have been a 40 acre minimum in the Eastern areas ... and even then, I've seen them recently approve wells on 38 and 39 acre sites. This may seem like quibbling, but it's on the order of setting a standard to enforce ... much like a speed limit (it's posted 65 mph, at what point does the patrol or sheriff issue a ticket? 1 mph over? 3? 5? 8?).

There's a lot of issues here regarding Wyoming's legal committments to deliver water to adjacent states from our headwaters, and that includes water that would be delivered through groundwater acquifers to be pumped out in those states. With the recent success of several adjacent states in the Federal courts in their suits against Wyoming to deliver "their" water per the interstate compacts, the State Engineer is under a lot of legal pressure to show good faith efforts ... and enforcement ... of the water delivery.

We're literally under the gun right now for a number of Wyoming ag well owners to pay damages for the "excess" of acre feet of water that they've used from their legal wells for the past 40-50 years. That's working it's way through the courts right now, and, in light of the other decisions ... isn't looking too good for the Wyoming well owners. The fines, however nominal per acre foot of water, added up over many years and many acre feet of water ... will put a number of folks into bankruptcy. The water shortage in the state is serious ... and we're under further assault right now with Mr. Million's plan to pump water out of SW Wyoming with a new pipeline. He's pushing his claims to the water in federal courts right now, and it's not written in stone that Wyoming will be able to deny him that water.

Further, there's environmental issues with domestic well supplied properties ... the implication that they will need a septic system and leachfield for their gray and black water. This falls under county review, and the zoning department is accountable for the potential contamination from a concentration of leachfields in an area. The State Engineer, the legislature, and the Feds are pushing for more use of municipal water and waste water treatment plants ... and denying new domestic well permits if a property can be reasonably served by a municipal utility provider. An extreme case happens here in Cheyenne (with a host of politically driven expansion plans for the city), where the "basin" that Cheyenne sits in will not accept new septic systems, or repairs to existing ones. So, if your leach field fails, or your septic tank fails, you will not get a permit to repair it ... you must hook up to the municipal system. That is tied into the municipal water system service, so you effectively must also get the city water service, too. These rulings apply to a far greater area than the city limits, and extend out into the county around Cheyenne. Worse still for homeowners, as Cheyenne approves certain "flagpole" annexations, the property owners along the pathway where the municipal services are being installed must now hook up to those services ... at their own expense, which is substantial. We've already seen "hardship" cases in the local area, and the legislature has been involved with trying to resolve these impacts upon otherwise law-abiding county residents.

These problems, while currently having a greater impact locally in Cheyenne, are being addressed on a state-wide level by the legislature and the engineer's office. Under pressure from the Fed's, EPA, and other interested federal agencies ... the solutions will be statewide regulations of a "one size fits all" nature. So, while we've got the leading edge of these problems and enforcement here in the SE corner of Wyoming, be aware that you'll be seeing them throughout the state in the near term.

Sorry that this is likely way more information than you'd want to know about this series of problems ... but your question doesn't have a simple answer in the current regulatory and interstate legal climate. There's a whole host of agencies that are all working right now to justify their existence, and Wyoming hasn't been very responsive to their concerns over the past few decades. Low population density and limited funds have allowed this situation to progress to a point where it can no longer be ignored with more serious demands upon Wyoming's in-state use of water and the pressure from out-of-state users with their population growth and water demand.

In my view, there's a significant double standard going on in the courts which has been slanted against Wyoming. What has happened is that the water interstate compacts have allocated water to adjacent states based upon historical water flows. So, for example, Nebraska gets an specific award of "x" number of acre-feet per year. In a drought year when natural water (and snowmelt) doesn't put much water into the streams, Wyoming is still required to deliver "x" acre feet to Nebraska. It doesn't matter if that water doesn't exist, Wyoming is required to deliver it. So, in our recent drought years, Wyoming hasn't been able to deliver water and the courts have ruled that Wyoming is at fault for not delivering it. And so we've been sued by Montana, Nebraska, and other downstream states in the water compact. IMO, a fairer way to allocate water would have been by percentages of the available water, not specific acre-foot allocations. If water's there in the stream, everybody gets their allocated share ... if it's not, then everybody gets to deal with the shortage of the resource. But right now, Wyoming gets the brunt of the penalty. It's not like we're hoarding the water for Wyoming residents and denying it to others ... Wyoming simply doesn't have it to deliver. Even some of our own municipal water systems have run out of water in the drought.

From the standpoint of somebody looking to buy a property smaller than 40 acres now in Wyoming, I'd be checking with the state engineer's office to be sure that they'll look favorably upon a new domestic well permit to be issued for the place if it doesn't already have a well.

Last edited by sunsprit; 05-15-2009 at 11:19 PM..
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:48 AM
 
267 posts, read 441,725 times
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That is a long and detailed answer.

The research I have done says otherwise.

The following is directly from the Wyoming State engineers office. They are responsible for permitting all new wells.

"How many acres must I own to drill a well?

There are no statewide requirements, but the setback distances outlined in the Water Well Minimum Construction Standards must be adhered to. To view Click Here; local ordinances may require a minimum acreage amount for the construction of a well. Please contact your local government prior to commencing construction of the well."

Ground Water: Frequently Asked Questions

Last edited by paintersspouse; 05-16-2009 at 05:13 AM..
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:22 AM
 
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Default thankyou for the info, have you ever heard of this?

we found some 35 acre parcels but when we read the covenant, the developer has 10 votes per parcel and the landowner has one. And the association is free to enter into third party contracts. The devleoper told my husband that the association was for road maintenance only. That looked to us like if sells all the parcels, he's looking to the landowners to pay for all the road maintenance and whatever legal actions he might incur as a result of putting roads in there. As far as wanting to be near Glendo, we like the area, the resevoir, the history. We fish and hunt. We are just very leery of something which has covenant like this.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:22 AM
 
7,903 posts, read 19,854,697 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paintersspouse View Post
That is a long and detailed answer.

The research I have done says otherwise.

In what way? I clearly stated that all the grouundwater in the state is owned by the state and that the permits for domestic wells are issued by the State Engineer.

The following is directly from the Wyoming State engineers office. They are responsible for permitting all new wells.

Absolutely, no question here. That's exactly what I said. It's not within the county government responsibility to issue well permits.

"How many acres must I own to drill a well?


There are no statewide requirements, but the setback distances outlined in the Water Well Minimum Construction Standards must be adhered to. To view Click Here; local ordinances may require a minimum acreage amount for the construction of a well. Please contact your local government prior to commencing construction of the well."

Ground Water: Frequently Asked Questions
You've done a great job of referring to the State Engineer's manual which incorporates the oversight and regulatory rules placed in effect in 1974. Perhaps even you might recognize that water availability and demand, both within the borders of Wyoming and without, have changed significantly since that time period.

This is a general document which describes the permitting process, contamination concerns, set-backs, construction requirements, and the rules under which the State Engineer functions to permit wells. However, it allows a great deal of scope as to what the State Engineer can/cannot and will or will not do in many standard and "special" situations.

Right now, as I went to great pains to identify, Wyoming is under Federal and local states attack for it's water. The management of that water, as you have identified (and we agree is the controlling authority), is under the auspices of the State Engineer. They are under serious legal and political attack, as well as serious drought conditions in much of the state to meet Wyoming's domestic needs as well as fulfill the obligations of Wyoming to deliver water to other states.

So, in my contacts with the State Engineer's office in the Herschler Building at the Groundwater Division, I have come to know several of the senior engineers. Those conversations have revealed that the Engineer is currently working on new regulations which shall state that the minimum size parcel for a domestic well permit shall be 40 acres.

A lot of this determination comes from the State Engineer recognizing that certain areas of Wyoming are substantially over adjudicated for the available water. In fact, this condition describes most of Wyoming. They've been drilling test wells and monitoring the water tables on many acquifers, and the water levels are showing a steady trend of dropping.

Much of this water stress stems functionally from new subdivisions coming into the areas that were previously dryland agricultural fields or dryland pastures that did not have wells on them. At 40 acre parcels, that's the potential ... which has been realized in several subdivisions ... of issuing permits for 16 new 25 GPM wells per section. We've seen many ranching sections around Laramie county subdivided ... Over by the Hereford Ranch, on the West Side of I-25, up the Hwy 85 corridor, and along the I-80 corridor. This is in addition to the stress on the water supply caused by the successful lawsuits against Wyoming by adjacent states seeking to have their water delivered per the 1954 Water Compact for the region ... which I attempted to explain in my first post.

Again, as I mentioned in my other post ... the State Engineer is now stuck with the problem of keeping water managed for the use of the State's residents and complying with out of the state water delivery. The only way they see to legally accomplish this is to issue new guidelines which will be of the nature of "one size fits all" statewide regulations. As they're now heading towards justifying a 40 acre minimum parcel for much of the state due to conditions, it's their intent to specify that as the minimum. In actual practice in Laramie county today, that's the minimum acreage requirement that the State Engineer is imposing under their authority of the general guidelines manual of 1974.

As you've brought up, and I mentioned already ... it's a good idea to check with all the authorities, State and County ... that have an interest in your placing a well and environmental zoning concerns before buying any piece of property. In my experience, this is even more important on parcels smaller than 40 acres with the current direction of the State Engineer's office. They are under no obligation to issue new sub-40 acre domestic well permits even though others have received permits in the past.

You have to look at this water problem in a much larger view than the "local" situation in a given valley that has lots of water. The acquifers cover large areas under Wyoming and adjacent states. So, you may see a locally good supply of water, but each well drilled in Wyoming is also taking water out that could ... and by Federal Water Compact, must ... be delivered to other states that are not headwaters states as Wyoming. There's much larger political, economic, legal, and social issues at work here than simply looking at domestic water for Wyoming's residents. FWIW, Colorado, as another headwaters state ... although with an entirely different water permitting mechanism/laws ... is undergoing the same water supply and out of state delivery problems.

What makes Wyoming somewhat unique is that water rights are adjudicated and assigned to a specific piece of property, and they are not a separate item from the land they are assigned to. We've gone over this aspect of Wyoming water law many times .... but the bottom line is that you, as a property owner, cannot "sell" or give away your water from your water right to any other use or property; the water can only be used for the beneficial purpose on the property for which the permit was issued. You either take delivery or leave the water in the system for others to use as permitted by the State; and, if you don't use the water for 7 years, you can lose the right to it by abandonment.

Now, painterspouse ... if there's anything here I've stated which is not correct, I'd sure like to hear about it as it's vital to a number of my properties and planned land purchases in Wyoming. And I don't mean a general assertion that "your research is different". I mean tell us specifically what is wrong with what I've said here.

Otherwise, I'd call BS on your response to my post. It's almost looking like a case of citing a 1974 operating manual with having any comprehension of how it actually affects and operates .....

and yes, I do know of folks who bought small parcel land in Wyoming assuming they'd get a domestic well permit and it was denied under those 1974 operating rules. I also know of folks who've bought properties with a permitted water source that totalled less than 2 GPM delivery for a planned subdivision of 22 homes on an old ranch ... all perfectly legally authorized by the State Engineer under those 1974 rules, but not functionally adequate ... of course, the developer was able to claim that he'd gotten the water for a shared water source for all the homesites. Few asked how much water before plunking down their money for the beautiful views.


Last edited by sunsprit; 05-16-2009 at 10:54 AM..
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:32 AM
 
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So, if I read this right, the regulation( in the State of Wyoming) as it stands at this moment in time allows wells on any size of lot as long as you can meet the setbacks and the county has no regulations that prohibits it. This would mean that your following statement is incorrect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
A well permit for domestic use would require a minimum 40 acre parcel.
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:26 AM
 
7,903 posts, read 19,854,697 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paintersspouse View Post
So, if I read this right, the regulation( in the State of Wyoming) as it stands at this moment in time allows wells on any size of lot as long as you can meet the setbacks and the county has no regulations that prohibits it. This would mean that your following statement is incorrect.
In actual practice, for most of the state, it's correct as of this time that it will take a 40 acre parcel to qualify for a new domestic well.

The state engineer is allowing permits under the current regulations where the water supply isn't so locally stressed on smaller parcels ... but that is rapidly coming to a close as the state engineer addresses the larger water supply problems I've tried to explain to you.

The regulations are being written at this time. The problem the state engineer is facing is the political ramifications of telling a number of communities that easy access to water will no longer be the case because of the state's committment to other states. They've already shut off new ag wells and expansion of existing ag wells. We actually saw a rush of ag well permit applications in the SE and East central portions of Wyoming recently because people wanted priority dates for their applications ... just in case water did become available. But no permits have been issued for years in the area.

Make no mistake about this, it is a political and legal problem for the state engineer at the legislature level. It's going to be a tough political sell for certain counties in Wyoming that aren't having local problems at this time. But the federal aspects of non-compliance are already here ... Wyoming has lost several major lawsuits against it and is now trying to figure out how to pay the fines and supply the water into the future.

Quibble all you want about the state engineer still issuing smaller parcel domestic wells in the Star Valley area ... it's going to be coming to an end very soon as Wyoming searches for water to deliver to the other states.
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:32 AM
 
267 posts, read 441,725 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
Shooting? as in what? shotgun, rifle, pistol, cowboy action, SASS? long range? hunting?

The reason I ask is because this all affects how much land you'd need ... and you didn't mention the size of the parcels you've looked at.

Is there a reason you want to be near Glendo?

Perhaps acreage in the area would be better suited for your needs than a subdivision with a HOA.

"30 year lease" sounds more like a hunting lease ... is that what you're looking for?

A well permit for domestic use would require a minimum 40 acre parcel. You'd be looking at obtaining a permit from the state engineer's office, and you'll be looking at zoning requirements for a residence and septic system. The implication of having a domestic well is that you'll be creating gray and black water on the site ... and you cannot simply dump these out on the ground to pollute the area. You cannot use the domestic well for irrigation except for a minimal amount of landscaping around a house and other small outside the house uses.

I've had two less than pleasurable encounters with real estate agents in the Glendo area. Sorry, I cannot recommend any up that way. Perhaps somebody else on the forum has had better luck than I.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
In actual practice, for most of the state, it's correct as of this time that it will take a 40 acre parcel to qualify for a new domestic well.

The state engineer is allowing permits under the current regulations where the water supply isn't so locally stressed ... but that is rapidly coming to a close as the state engineer addresses the larger water supply problems I've tried to explain to you.

The regulations are being written at this time. The problem the state engineer is facing is the political ramifications of telling a number of communities that easy access to water will no longer be the case because of the state's committment to other states.

Make no mistake about this, it is a political and legal problem for the state engineer at the legislature level. It's going to be a tough political sell for certain counties in Wyoming that aren't having local problems at this time. But the federal aspects of non-compliance are already here ... Wyoming has lost several major lawsuits against it and is now trying to figure out how to pay the fines and supply the water into the future.

Quibble all you want about the state engineer still issuing smaller parcel domestic wells in the Star Valley area ... it's going to be coming to an end very soon as Wyoming searches for water to deliver to the other states.

I am not quibbling about anything. You have been posting this same information for several years. It was incorrect then and is now.

It may well be benificial to have people be aware of what may happen but it does them a disservice to post it as fact now.
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