“Plaintiffs … a same-sex couple, primarily contend the County treated them differently from heterosexual couples when interpreting and enforcing [septic] regulations.” (Opinion). Plaintiffs sued. The trial court dismissed some claims and granted a partial directed verdict by removing certain “actions” from a single claim under 42 USC 1983 (1983). The court of appeals reversed in part, holding that under CRCP 50, a trial court can’t parse evidence supporting a single claim against a single defendant. But it affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of 1) an inverse condemnation claim (taking property through regulation) because the regulations did not rise to the level of a taking, 2) a discrimination claim not brought to the Civil Rights Commission as required, and 3) a direct constitutional challenge because 1983, CRCP 106, and CRS 24-10-118 provide alternate remedies.
Tag Archives: County
Jason L. Rodgers and James R. Hazel v. Board of County Commissioners of Summit County, 2013COA61 (April 25, 2013)
Northglenn Urban Renewal Authority v. Gil Reyes as Adams County Assessor and Board of County Commissioners of Adams County, 2013COA24 (February 28, 2013).
The technical task of taxing property under tax increment financing (TIF) plans is, well, technical. A TIF is used to fund the sale of municipal bonds for urban renewal. Under CRS 31-25-101 to 115, a TIF property is valued before it is included in the urban renewal plan (base value); subsequent increases in value, and the increased taxes therefrom, then finance the urban renewal authority (URA). Here, property was included in a TIF but later removed. The statute does not address how to calculate a TIF in this situation. The Assessor included the property in the base value, but not in the newly assessed value. This method, the court of appeals held, was erroneous because it created an imbalance in the URA’s TIF funding. But, the Assessor correctly measured the TIF’s 25-year termination date from the date the TIF was adopted, not after property was added. A new TIF calculation was ordered.
Bachelor Gulch Operating Company, LLC v. Board of County Commissioners of Eagle County, and Board of Assessment Appeals, 2013COA46 (March 28, 2013)
“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice…” Adam Smith. In 2007, after Assessor valued the Ritz-Carlton’s property in Beaver Creek (Ritz), but before the next assessment, the Ritz turned 50 rooms into condos. The assessor then apportioned the taxes between the Ritz and the condos based on the 2007 value. The Ritz objected, arguing Assessor should have determined its actual value, treating the condos as omitted properties under CRS 39-5-125. Finding the condos were not “omitted,” and because no other statute applied, the court of appeals upheld the apportionment procedure as consistent with the Assessor’s Reference Library (ARL). Last, Constitutional property valuation provisions only apply at the time of assessment, not here, between assessments.
CTS Investments, LLC v. Garfield County Board of Equalization and Board of Assessment Appeals, 2013COA30 (March 14, 2013)
“Society doesn’t have values. People have values.” Milton Friedman. And property values are decided by people – specifically, assessors. One property (P1) could be valued less if the sale of another (P2) was considered. Assessor excluded the sale of P2, valuing P1 higher, concluding P2 was sold at a discount because the seller was compelled by economic duress, as reported in the news, and the sale was not “arms-length.” P1’s owner objected to the use of the reports and the conclusion that the P2 sale was not “arms-length.” The court of appeals held the reports, though hearsay, were admissible because a prudent person could rely on them. Sales under duress are typically excluded in valuations. The court, relying on the ALR, determined that “duress” means a seller not typically motivated, as was the circumstance with P2. Thus, the P2 sale was not arms-length and P1 was properly valued.
TCF Equipment Finance, Inc. v. Public Trustee for the City and County of Denver, 2013COA8 (January 17, 2013)
Garnishment defined: He owes me money, you owe him money; where’s my money? Here, a Public Trustee held excess funds following a foreclosure sale and redemption. Creditor did not obtain judgment until after the foreclosure, and the redemption period expired. Creditor sought to garnish the excess from the Public Trustee, who claimed the excess funds cannot be garnished. CRS 38-38-111 dictates distribution of excess funds following a foreclosure, and states that after the redemption period for junior lien holders ends, excess funds are paid to the owner. CRCP 103 permits garnishing funds of a judgment debtor held in escrow by a public entity. The court of appeals held the statute did not bar garnishment because Creditor was not a junior lienor, but a judgment creditor. Thus, the funds were subject to garnishment once the Public Trustee determined the excess funds were due to Debtor.
People in the Interest of A.V. and J.V., Children, and Concerning M.V., 2012COA210 (November 21, 2012)
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” This statement is a sad reality when attempting to rehabilitate parents before terminating their parental rights. In this case, a child enrolled in the Cherokee Nation was adjudicated dependent and neglected and removed from the mother’s care. The trial court entered a treatment plan for Father, who was addicted to drugs. Father was provided with substance abuse services and treatment, parenting education, supervised visits, and other help—all to no avail. Three years later, Father’s parental rights were terminated. On appeal, Father argued that “active efforts” were not made to rehabilitate him as required by the Indian Child Welfare Act. The court of appeals upheld the termination, and noted the Act does not require expert testimony to support a finding that active efforts were made and were later unsuccessful.
People In the Interest of A.R. a Child, and Concerning F.N., and F.S. and A.S., Intervenors, 2012COA195 (November 8, 2012)
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was enacted to address a history of “wholesale removal of Indian children from their homes.” It places minimum federal standards on state proceedings involving an Indian child. In this case, Colorado sought to terminate the parental rights of an Indian mother whose child had significant special needs. During the proceedings, the Department of Human Services changed course from seeking termination, to seeking placement with extended family. The trial court terminated parental rights, granted the Department guardianship, but precluded placement with extended family. The court of appeals affirmed termination, finding the Department used “active efforts” to rehabilitate mother, which failed. But, the trial court erroneously deviated from the ICWA’s placement preferences, thus, Department could place the child with extended family.
James and Betsy Fifield v. Pitkin County Board of Commissioners and Board of Assessment Appeals, 2012COA197 (November 8, 2012)
Property taxes—a dry topic, but important to those who pay them. In this case, property owners subdivided one parcel of property into two. Only one parcel had a house. The second parcel, which was vacant except for a road that provided access to the house, was classified as vacant land. The property owners challenged that classification and claimed it was “Residential Land” under Colorado statutes. The court of appeals agreed with the property owners. “Residential Land” includes two commonly owned parcels, contiguous with one another, where one parcel has a residential dwelling, and the other parcel is used in conjunction with the residential dwelling. The court remanded the case for a determination of how much of both parcels were used as a unit in conjunction with a residential improvement.
Marc Giuliani, Footprints Health and Wellness, Inc., et. al., v. Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners, 2012COA190 (November 1, 2012)
A medical marijuana dispensary/center is not a medical office or clinic, retail sales or services establishment, drug store, medical supply distributor or seller of medical equipment and services. Here, the court upheld a zoning violation notice to a dispensary located in a retail shopping center zoned for only the above purposes. Specifically, the court found that: 1) neither Amendment 20 nor the regulatory statutes barred the zoning restriction, 2) Jefferson County was immune to equitable estoppel claims, and 3) the record supported the zoning violation citation. It also found that a ban on all medical marijuana centers in unincorporated areas, issued after the center opened, mooted certain claims because zoning compliance would be impossible. The remaining constitutional challenges were not preserved for appeal and the dispensary’s challenge was dismissed in full.