“[A] municipality certainly need not wait for more accidents to happen before addressing a perceived danger.” Opinion. Condominium owners in Dillon were parking on a road that is a public right-of-way. Dillon passed ordinances to improve a bike lane, drainage and traffic safety and gave the police chief the power to designate no-parking zones on any of Dillon’s right-of-way streets. Citing safety concerns, Chief did so on the road where the owners were parking . The owners successfully sued, claiming the ordinances were an unconstitutional abuse of Dillon’s police power by reducing property values despite less burdensome alternatives. The Court reversed, holding that the proper test for constitutional due process challenges to ordinances is whether an ordinance has a reasonable relation to public health, safety, morals, or welfare. The burden of compliance is not a factor.
Tag Archives: Municipal
Town of Dillon v. Yacht Club Condominiums Home Owners Association, Steve Delaney, and Robert R. Duncan, 2014CO37 (May 27, 2014)
Alex J. Martinez, as Manager of Safety for the City and County of Denver, v. Denver Firefighters Local No. 858, IAFF, AFL-CIO, 2014CO15 (March 3, 2014)
“[D]iscipline exists outside the ambit of collective bargaining.” Opinion. Firefighters Union sued Denver, claiming new disciplinary rules violated its 1971 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) by altering the terms and conditions of employment. Denver argued the City Charter vested the city with the unilateral right to draft disciplinary rules. The trial court issued injunction, preventing enforcement of the new rules, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, finding the rules to be a term and condition of employment, subject to the agreement. Deciding an issue of first impression, the Colorado Supreme Court held the plain language of the City Charter expressly granted Denver the unilateral right to draft and implement disciplinary rules, and that the rules were not included in the CBA as a term or condition of employment, subject to collective bargaining.
In Re: Maurice C. Jones, and and Citizen Center, v. Christian R. Samora, Treasurer; Town of Center; Herman Dickey Sisneros; Edward W. Garcia; and Geraldine Martinez, 2014CO4 (Jan. 27, 2014, as modified Feb. 24, 2014)
“[B]y 1896, the vast majority of states had adopted the Australian [secret] ballot system.” – Opinion. The Town of Center held an election recalling its mayor and trustees. A recalled trustee sued to have the election declared void, arguing that leaving absentee ballot stubs attached during the counting process violated the secrecy guarantee of the CO Constitution, Art. VII, Sec. 8. The trial court, relying on precedent set in Taylor v. Pile voided the election, even though the election’s fundamental integrity remained uncompromised. After reviewing the history of ballot secrecy and changes to Colorado election law, the Court reversed. The Court held 1) Sec. 8 applies only to marking ballots, not to detachable stubs, and 2) an election must be set aside only when an entire election is not secret. The statutory violations of CRS 31-10-607 and 1007 were not sufficient.
Daryl Miller and Denver Police Protective Association v. City and County of Denver, 2013COA78 (May 23, 2013)
Police officers have a dangerous job. So, Denver’s City Charter and the City’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Denver Police Protective Association provide benefits for injured officers. In this case, the court of appeals analyzed those documents and held that an injured Denver Police Officer (DPO) is entitled to a maximum of one year disability leave at full salary, without regard to the temporary or permanent nature of his or her disability. But, a DPO’s one year of full-salary disability leave does not have to be used within a particular 365-day period but may be spread over multiple years. Although full-salary benefits last only one year, an injured DPO is also eligible for other benefits lasting longer than one year. The trial court upheld the city’s deduction of an officer’s benefits in excess of the one-year limit; a decision affirmed by the court of appeals.
Count the negatives: “noncompliance with nonclaim statutes deprives a court of subject matter jurisdiction” (Opinion), and CRS 38-26-106 is not a nonclaim statute. That statute requires public-works-project contractors to post a bond. Here, Tarco did not post a bond when constructing an overpass and infrastructure around a shopping center for the Conifer Metro District (CMD). It did not get paid by CMD and sued. The District, after a two-year delay, claimed that Tarco couldn’t sue because of its noncompliance with the statute. The trial court dismissed Tarco’s claims. The court of appeals reversed in part, holding: 1) CMD’s pleadings didn’t prejudice Tarco, 2) the contracts were for “public works” under the statute, 3) the statute is not a nonclaim statute, 4) the CMD lacked the power to waive the bond requirement, and 5) fact issues saved Tarco’s equitable estoppel argument.
“If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” Federalist Papers #51. This seemingly modest case raises complicated questions about the separation of powers. At issue were two citizen-initiated proposed ordinances in Aspen and whether they were “legislative” or “executive.” Only legislative acts are proper subjects of voter initiatives. Administrative acts, which are executive in nature, are not permissible initiatives. Legislative acts establish generally applicable rules that weigh broad policy considerations. Executive acts are case-specific, discretionary and typically require specialized knowledge. The Court held, over two dissents, that the initiatives here were impermissible because they were specific proposals on the location, design and construction of a road, and thus, administrative.
Jamie Webb, Jeffrey Hermanson, and Michaleen Jeronimus v. City of Black Hawk, 2013CO9 (February 4, 2013)
The history of gold, bicycles and casinos meet at the confluence of Gregory Gulch and the North Fork of Clear Creek. Black Hawk banned bicycles blocking riders from passing through. If a Home Rule ordinance is not strictly a matter of local concern, and conflicts with state law, it is unconstitutional. Here, the Court held the matter was a mix of state and local concern because the ban had an extraterritorial “ripple effect” on non-residents, such as blocking access to Central City. The ban failed the conflict test because bicycling is a protected mode of transportation within Colorado, and state law limits bans unless an alternative route within 450 feet of the banned route is provided for bicyclists. There was no alternative route as required by CRS 42-4-109. Although CRS 42-4-111 permits local regulation of bicycles, Black Hawk’s ban was struck down for conflicting with state law.
Nature causes disasters; humans just fail to prevent them. Case in point: Hurricane Katrina. So, when Ouray reviewed the plans of a Developer to build in an area prone to flooding from a diverted natural waterway, it found the risk to be a “geologic condition” or a “natural hazard.” They required Developer to take significant mitigation measures to which Developer objected and then challenged in court under CRCP 106. The court of appeals rejected Developer’s challenge because Ouray had the authority and discretion to enforce a code requiring flood mitigation to preserve the public’s health, safety and welfare, even though some risk came from a structure built by Ouray. As a matter of municipal litigation practice, the court also made a specific point about not taking judicial notice of ordinances not included in the record. Ouray’s denial of Developer’s application was upheld.
Wile E. Coyote never got the Road Runner to smack into his wall painted like a road. Here, City hired Vista to construct medians in the middle of a road. The medians were completed by Vista and accepted by the City. For a while, the double yellow stripes led straight into the median, where plaintiff crashed her car. She sued Vista under both the PLA and common law negligence. After rejecting the application of the PLA because Vista was not a “landowner,” the court of appeals adopted new construction liability standards. It rejected the “completed and accepted” doctrine under which construction companies owed no duties to third parties after completing work. The court adopted a “foreseeability rule” making companies potentially liable even after work is completed, if it would be unreasonable to expect another party to mitigate a danger. The case was remanded to apply the new standard.
Sewers, water, and road maintenance – these are the things that the City of Sheridan does not directly provide to its residents. Unhappy, Radcliff wanted to leave Sheridan. In order for a business to disconnect from a municipality under C.R.S. 31-12-119, a petition to disconnect must meet the statutory requirements of C.R.S. 31-12-601. One of those requirements is that the municipality does not, upon demand, provide the parcel seeking to disconnect with the same services on the same general terms and conditions that the rest of the municipality receives. Sheridan, however, does not own its water and sewer systems, and can’t pay for road maintenance anywhere. The appeals court upheld the trial court’s finding that Radcliff does not receive services just like the rest of Sheridan does not receive services, and upheld the denial of the petition to disconnect.