This water case involving neighboring property owners in Saguache County presented an issue of first impression for the Supreme Court: may the land owner whose property is burdened by an easement across his or her property for a water ditch obtain a junior conditional water right at the headgate of that ditch for non-consumptive hydropower use of water that the neighbor is diverting from the stream under a senior water right for irrigation use through that headgate? Applying the no material injury, water availability, and maximum beneficial use principles of Colorado water law, in conjunction the decision in "Roaring Fork Club, L.P. v. St. Jude’s Co.," (36P.3d 1229 (2001)), the District Court for Water Division No. 3 issued a declaratory judgment and a conditional water right decree in the amount of 0.41 cubic feet per second ("cfs") with a 2010 priority for hydropower use to Charles and Barbara Tidd for diversion from Garner Creek at the headgate of Garner Creek Ditch No. 1. The Plaintiffs–Appellants, David L. Frees, George A. Frees, Delmer E. Frees, and Shirley A. Frees, asserted that the water court lacked authority to decree this water right over their objection. After review, the Supreme Court deferred to the water court's findings of fact and upheld its conclusions of law. Under the circumstances of this case, the Court held that the water court did not err in issuing a conditional decree for a non-consumptive hydropower use water right with a 2010 priority for 0.41 cfs diverted from Garner Creek through the headgate of Garner Creek Ditch No. 1.
This case stemmed from Walton Emmick's application to the County for a coastal development permit (CDP) to make improvements to his property. After Emmick died, the SDS Family Trust succeeded to the property. The County subsequently approved the CDP, which was conditioned upon SDS's offer to dedicate a lateral easement for public access along the shorefront portion of the property (CDP-1). SDS did not appeal. Nine months later, SDS applied for another CDP (CDP-2) and the application was approved. The Sierra Club, the Surfrider Foundation, and two coastal commissioners appealed the County's approval of the CDP-2 to the Commission. The Commission determined that the easement condition contained in CDP-1 is permanent and binding on the landowner, and removal of the easement condition would violate the policy favoring public access to coastal resources. The Commission conditioned its permit on the implementation of the easement condition contained in CDP-1. The court reversed the judgment denying SDS's petition for a writ of administrative mandate to eliminate a public access condition from the permit where it could be inequitable to apply collateral estoppel to require a party to dedicate a coastal easement as a condition of obtaining a coastal development permit.