Eminent domain has again raised it’s ugly head here in Colorado. The idea of private property rights seems too have gone the way of the passenger Pigeon here. Jon Caldara, and The Independence Institute are, as usual, right on top of things.
Surprisingly, the most notorious abuser, The Denver Water Board, has not been heard from for a while. That is alright though, the RTD, The Arvada City Council, and now Telluride are making up for that lapse.
Property owners of beautiful land both in and around Telluride received quite the rude awakening yesterday as the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Telluride could take land inside AND outside its boundaries for open space purposes.
Property Rights Project director Jessica Corry reports, “With this decision, the Court held that a 2004 state statute, known as the “Telluride Amendment,” is unconstitutional. The result: Local governments can take property OUTSIDE their own boundaries through condemnation. This process, called extraterritorial condemnation, is a tool increasingly sought after by municipal planners. See our issue paper, “Tower Tussle: The Colorado Battle Over Extraterritorial Condemnation” for more information. The expansion of government power here has dangerous implications for future land use planning.”
It seems we have reached the point where property rights cannot even trump some bureaucrat’s subjective valuation of what they deem beautiful. It’s bad enough to see RTD snatching up private property for light rail use, but it’s even worse to see Telluride condemn land to preserve “historic character.” No land is safe when municipalities can reach for property outside their jurisdiction and for reasons as frail as someone’s whims and fancies.