Letter to the Editor: La Jara: Vote no on Amendment 74

The Board of Trustees of the Town of La Jara is equally as concerned as many of the town’s sister towns and cities regarding the ramification and consequences of Constitutional Amendment 74 if it passes. It is almost certain that passage will result in the crippling of effective town government. The Board of Trustees is strongly opposed to the passage of Amendment 74. Below is La Jara’s Resolution No. 2018-4:





WHEREAS, local government services are essential to the citizens of the Town of La

Jara; and

WHEREAS, Amendment 7 4 had been written by certain out-of-state corporate interests to change the text of the Colorado Constitution, Article II, Sections 15, which dates back to 1876 and threatens basic governmental services; and

WHEREAS, Amendment 74 declares that any state or local government law or regulation that “reduces” the “fair market value” of a private parcel is subject to “just compensation; and

WHEREAS, while Amendment 74 is shrouded in simple language, it has far reaching and complicated impacts; and

WHEREAS, under the current Colorado Constitution, a property owner already has the right to seek compensation from state or local governments; and

WHEREAS, Amendment 74 would expand this well-established concept by requiring the government- i.e., the taxpayers- to compensate private property owners for virtually any decrease whatsoever in the fair market value of their property traceable to any government law or regulation: and

WHEREAS, Amendment 7 4 would create uncertainty because it is not clear what the language actually means or how it can be applied: and

WHEREAS, Amendment 7 4 would severely limit the ability of Colorado’s state and local governments to do anything that might indirectly, unintentionally, or minimally affect the fair market value of any private property; and

WHEREAS, Amendment 74 would drastically diminish the ability of our state and local governments to adopt -let alone attempt to enforce- reasonable regulations, limitations. And restrictions upon private property; and

WHEREAS, Amendment 74 would place laws, ordinances. and regulations designed to protect public health and safety, the environment. our natural resources. public infrastructure, and other public resources in jeopardy; and

WHEREAS, Amendment 74 would directly impact zoning, density limitations, and planned development; and

WHEREAS, Amendment 74 would make inherently dangerous or environmentally damaging activities prohibitively costly to attempt to limit or regulate, even in the interest of the public; and

WHEREAS, any arguable impact upon fair market value - however reasonable or justified or minimal or incidental or temporary- resulting from state or local government action could trigger a claim for the taxpayers to pay; and

WHEREAS. governments would be vulnerable to lawsuits for almost every decision to regulate or not to regulate, making regular government function prohibitively expensive for the taxpayer; and

WHEREAS, similar efforts have been attempted and defeated in other states, such as the states of Washington and Oregon; and

WHEREAS, the fiscal impact for similar language in Washington was estimated at $2 billion for state agencies and $1.5 billion for local governments over the first six years; and

WHEREAS, individuals filed billions of dollars in claims in Oregon before the residents repealed the takings initiative thee years after its passage.

NOW, THEREFORE, Town of La Jara opposes Amendment 74 and strongly urges a vote of NO this November.

Resolved this 11th day of October, 2018

Submitted by Raymond J. Valdez,

La Jara town attorney