Parkway proposal is slap at Slab: Rocky Mountain News (Denver CO), 5/5/05

Plains residents target developer

By Kevin Flynn

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, or in this case the developer.

Two plains residents whose homes are in the Super Slab toll road corridor have filed papers for a toll road of their own.

No surprise, their Castle Rock Alternative Parkway, or CRAP, plows right through Super Slab developer Ray Wells' living room off the third fairway of the Plum Creek Golf and Country Club.

"My car-pool buddy and I came up with it on the ride in to work," said David Reed, of Elizabeth.

He figures the name of his road will allow him to post signs near Wells' house saying, "Watch out for CRAP coming!"

Folks along the 210-mile corridor between Pueblo and Fort Collins that Wells has staked out for his high-speed toll road and railway corridor have been hopping mad over the private plans that could result in condemning their properties.

Under Colorado law, a private company that plans to build a toll road can have the power to condemn after laying claim to a corridor. Wells did that 20 years ago and has been working on his plans since then.

"It's such a joke, this law," Reed said. "It cost me only $50 to get condemnation power."

Wells' need for legislation this year to aid his project led to an explosion of awareness among plains communities that had never heard of Super Slab.

"Ray Wells has created a lot of informed citizens in eastern Colorado," Reed said. "We don't want to be caught by surprise anymore."

Reed, a software programmer in the Denver Tech Center, runs a Web site called NoSuperSlab.org opposing Wells' plan.

He and car-pool buddy John Lamprech, of Kiowa, filed a corporation with the Colorado secretary of state last month staking their claim to a 600-foot-wide pathway from Interstate 25's mile marker 180 southeast to Colorado 83's mile marker 34.

Wells' house, his neighbors and a good portion of the fairways of the Plum Creek golf course fall within it.

"I'm ready to sell," an unflappable Wells said when told his house was in the path of CRAP. "All I need is an offer."

On Wednesday, state Sen. Tom Wiens and another Super Slab opponent, Marsha Looper, filed a proposed amendment with the legislative council that would eliminate private toll road companies' power of condemnation.

Wiens has a bill pending in the Senate to do that, but Gov. Bill Owens said he would consider vetoing it if it passes.

Rocky Mountain News: www.rockymountainnews.com