Two Colorado cities are squabbling over land like neighbors feuding over landscaping and this time one occasion has gone too far.
It’d be one factor for Lafayette metropolis officers to oppose the City of Erie’s aggressive determination to buy and subsequently annex and rezone land adjoining to Lafayette borders. And Lafayette officers would even be justified in questioning Erie’s plans to supply builders vital tax incentives to construct on the land.
However Lafayette has crossed a line. The town is attempting to grab the land utilizing eminent area, a restricted software that permits the federal government to pressure an proprietor to promote a property at its honest market worth if the land is required for a public good, like a highway or bus depot.
Lafayette officers need the land for open house.
We’ve been down this highway earlier than, and we predict it’s not solely a questionable use of eminent area to take land for open house, however an unimaginable overreach to take land that isn’t even inside metropolis limits.
Contemplate for a second if it had been a non-public citizen eager to develop the virtually 30 acres positioned southeast of U.S. 287 and Arapahoe Highway. The idea close by metropolis would attempt to declare that land within the identify of public good — not for wanted storm drainage that would go no place else, however for open house — is a violation of the property rights that helped discovered this nation.
That’s why this board disagreed with a 2008 ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court docket that opened the floodgates for precisely that sort of dangerous conduct. In that case, Telluride was permitted to sentence 572 acres outdoors its metropolis limits for open house. The landowner, with plans to develop the land, understandably fought the hassle.
We wrote then that former Supreme Court docket Justice Allison Eid bought it proper in her dissenting opinion. She wrote that the state structure provides condemnation powers for particular functions, equivalent to water works and lightweight and energy crops. Traditionally, Eid wrote, the courtroom has been fairly cautious about condemnations outdoors municipal borders.
Now the Colorado Court docket of Appeals will contemplate whether or not Lafayette must be granted the facility of eminent area on this case. We hope wiser heads prevail and Colorado judges start exercising a restrained strategy, nonetheless, we additionally perceive the binding nature of precedent set by the Supreme Court docket of this state.
Which brings residence the purpose: Maybe this is a matter the place Colorado’s structure must be amended to convey readability to the matter and sanity to this dispute between Erie and Lafayette.
Within the meantime, each cities ought to cease performing like slighted neighbors escalating a turf warfare and give you an inexpensive compromise. There have to be a method to buffer properties in Lafayette from proposed industrial improvement in Erie with out compromising the flexibility of a landowner to pursue the best and greatest use of a parcel.