Invasive land use bill facing fierce opposition from mountain communities

Article subtitle: 
Eagle County municipalities respond to ‘invasive’ bill introduced by governor and Democratic state leaders
Article author: 
Ali Longwell
Article publisher: 
Vail Daily
Article date: 
4 April 2023
Article category: 
Colorado News
Article Body: 

Colorado municipalities are scrambling to react to a sweeping land use bill introduced Wednesday, March 22, by Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic state lawmakers.

In Eagle County, local municipalities are expressing concerns that while the bill has the stated goal to address the state’s housing crisis, it will have the adverse effect, undermining the creative efforts and control of local towns and cities to address this crisis themselves.

“It’s really important for this community and all affected rural resort communities to understand: this is not going to help housing,” said Avon’s Town Manager Eric Heil at Avon’s Tuesday, March 28 Town Council meeting. “This is not going to generate any new housing or force any new housing to be built. There are such glaring errors.”

While the 106-page land use bill has the “goal to create more affordable housing, which is I’m sure a goal we can all agree to, it’s the specifics that are generating concerns from municipalities in the state of Colorado,” said Vail’s Town Manager Russ Forrest at a special Vail Town Council meeting on Thursday, March 30, to discuss the bill...

The Colorado Municipal League — of which Avon, Vail, Eagle, Gypsum, Minturn and Red Cliff are all members municipalities — is opposing the bill in its entirety, calling it “the most sweeping attempt in recent Colorado history to remove local control and home rule authority from elected leaders, professional planning staff, and the people of Colorado.”...

Losing local control

However, the letter and communities are opposing one key component of the bill: “All land use regulation mandates proposed in the bill.”...

Vail, Avon, Eagle and Gypsum are all home-rule municipalities....

“Something like this coming from the legislature would be novel in Colorado as it relates to land use,” said Richard Peterson-Cremer, speaking as the Avon town attorney on Tuesday. “We’re analyzing some of these novel new legal issues that could arise from this bill and how they would interface with that existing history and tradition of local control and whether there could be some type of legal challenge to the proposed legislation.”...

“The bill would alter over 100 years of municipal authority over land use and zoning in Colorado and place state agencies in charge of regulating and enforcing decisions currently made at the local level,” he said. “It’s a vote of no confidence in local government and in citizens in having a say in how they would like their own neighborhoods and communities to develop.”...


Suburbs are predominantly conservative and Republican. One way the Democrat party can change this voting pattern is to prohibit land use restrictions and override zoning restrictions in suburban cities, thus allowing for densification. In other words, change the demographics by increasing housing density, building subsidized housing in urban areas, and bringing in a democrat-voting demographic.

The first step in this direction is to curtail the ability of cities to establish their own land-use policies.

Do you want a park in your neighborhood? Sorry, it will be turned into low-rent multiple unit dwellings. You won't have a say.


This legislation could wreck your neighborhood - SB-213 would strip cities of ability to make key zoning choices, by Krista Kafer, 7 April 2023.

Colorado governor, Democrats: limit construction of accessory-dwelling units, duplexes and triplexes, by Jesse Paul and Elliott Wenzler, Colorado Sun, 23 March 2023.

Push for High-Density Housing Rooted in Racial and Environmental Agendas, by Beth Brelje and Matt McGregor, Epoch Times, 19 June 2022.

California sues Huntington Beach over failure to follow housing laws in warning to other cities, by Marisa Kendall, Mercury News, 6 April 2023.