Looking East

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City mulls annexation of aqua hot facility, adjoining property

By Gene Sears

Preparing to lock in what may be their furthest eastern annexation yet, the city is looking toward a pair of companies located in unincorporated Weld County as Fort Lupton’s newest acquisitions.
    The hitch? Without the annexation, the deal between two of those companies could be in jeopardy.

    Vehicle Systems Inc., better known and operating as Aqua Hot, has a deal in the works to sell a portion of their property to Concord Rig Services LLC. That deal is contingent on the ability to annex with the city, where the permitting process is streamlined, enabling Concord to establish a footprint quicker than through the county. 
    “Really what we are trying to do is close a land sale deal to an oil services company,” Aqua Hot President and CEO Paul Harter explained. “We want to sell part of our property to them, and they are trying to move quickly with all the boom that is going on here. Annexation is the best way for them to do this. The city allows them to get their facility up and going much faster.”
    It’s the key that opens a lock on Aqua Hot’s sale of some unused land behind their current facility on Highway 52.
    “If the annexation doesn’t go through, we won’t get the sale, and if the sale doesn’t go through, we won’t pursue the annexation,” Harter said. “Both pieces have to work.”
    The annexation comes before council again Dec. 10, the next step in a complex process between the three parties.
    “But we are still in negotiations that have to wrap up by Dec. 5 to make that date,” Harter said.
    If all goes well, it will be another cog in Fort Lupton’s expanding machine, something mayor Tommy Holton sees as expediting the city’s growth and employment base.
    “There is a lot of this stuff that we have been annexing, and it’s just basically to get them into the water district and get them annexed so that when somebody does come in and wants to move there, they can do it quickly,” Holton said. “Then as services become available, then we will hook them up.”
    The annexation would also have a positive impact on the city’s bottom line, in the form of tax revenue and footprint.
    “Taxes, and expanding the boundaries,” Holton said. “I think that is especially important. I think that in southern Weld County, we have to set the boundaries of what it will look like here in 20 years. We are the natural progression of the metro area. I think it is going to start heading this way. It’s going to hit Frederick, Firestone, Lupton, Hudson, Lochbuie, even out to Keenesburg is starting to see some of that expansion.”
    “It’s easier to set the boundaries now and do it in a friendly manner with the rest of the towns than having a big fist fight like Loveland and Johnstown and some of those are doing,” Holton added.
    Expansion plans are increasingly important as energy firms continue to relocate into the south county, something Holton thinks may lead to infrastructure development as well.
    “Somebody is walking through the door every day,” Holton said. “If we did happen to get another big company come in, we could do much the same thing we did with Halliburton and just do a reimbursement agreement, which would make those facilities out there available pretty quickly.”

Contact Staff Writer Gene Sears at