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AURORA, CO-On Monday, home builders and others who oppose Aurora’s plan to cut water taps by 25% plan to take advantage of a technicality to publicly argue lifting the restrictions.

It is estimated that Aurora’s commercial and residential real estate construction business have a $1.2 billion impact on the entire metro area, so cutting it by a quarter could lead to a $300 million impact during hard economic times.

Last week, the City Council approved a rule restricting new taps starting in May, catching builders by surprise. The 25% reduction in tap permits was coupled with other water-use restrictions for residents, such as limiting watering their lawns to a total of two hours a week.

But because the water tap restrictions were an amendment, the council will vote on an ordinance at its meeting Monday. It takes an ordinance to actually implement the change.

Before an ordinance becomes law, however, there must be a public hearing before the vote. The hearing will be at the next City Council meeting on Monday.

J.J. Martinez, spokeswoman for the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Denver says that the builders will ask for other methods rather than a reduction of taps to conserve water.

She notes the water tap fees are used to pay for water utility improvements. New homes and apartments use less water than older dwelling units, she notes.

The overbuilt apartment market already is causing apartment developers to cut back on starts, so the new rule shouldn’t have that much of an impact on apartment construction in the coming year.

However, Megan Forristall, government affairs coordinator for the Apartment Association of Metropolitan Denver, says her group doesn’t favor tap reductions either. She and others fear that if too much water is used by existing residents, that could lead the city to cut its water taps by 50%.

City Councilman Ed Tauer, however, says that the city isn’t picking on builders and developers. He notes that everyone, from builders to residents, “must share the pain,” of cutting back on water use.

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