Real Estate Development

This post was authored by Alexandra Haggarty.  Alex is a summer clerk at Otten Johnson, and a rising 3L at the University of Colorado Law School.

This post is an update on three earlier posts about a citizen initiative to limit residential growth in Lakewood, Colorado.

With a near 53 percent majority, voters in the City of Lakewood approved Ballot Question 200, capping growth of residential unit construction by one percent annually and requiring city council approval of projects with forty or more units.  The city joins Boulder and neighboring Golden in responding to Colorado’s population growth by capping development.

Proponents of the initiative argue that it will preserve Lakewood’s culture and environment.  Specifically, the initiative was pitched as a way to preserve open space, protect single-family development, ensure that infrastructure and services are not overburdened, and curb alleged problems of unmanaged growth, such as crime and urban decay.
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Rose Mary Knick in front of the Supreme Court. Source: Philadelphia Inquirer.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Knick v. Township of Scott, in which the Court ruled that a plaintiff in a takings claim need not first exhaust state-court remedies before bringing the claim before a federal court.  The decision, addressing a largely procedural matter, is expected to lead to an increase in federal court litigation involving takings issues, and likely increases the chances that local governments may be required to compensate landowners where regulation devalues private property.
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This post follows up two earlier posts about a citizen initiative to limit residential growth in Lakewood, Colorado.  Details about the proposal can be found here.

On Monday night, the Lakewood City Council voted 10‑0 to call a special municipal election for July 2 to allow voters to decide whether to impose a

Denver released a public draft of a new Blueprint Denver on August 6. This marks the first wholesale revision to the citywide land use and transportation plan since the city adopted the first Blueprint Denver in 2002. The new Blueprint contains a serious (and for some, a welcome) departure from the first version of the plan, which has shaped the development of the city through tremendous growth over the last sixteen years.

A bit of background and context. Cities adopt long‑term plans that are supposed to guide subsequent decisions about land use policy and individual development applications. For example, a plan may say that the community values its open space. When the city receives an application to develop open space, the decision makers, be they the planning department, zoning commission, or city council, are supposed to consider the plan’s statement about open space in evaluating the development application.
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