Town Of Telluride v. San Miguel Valley Corporation, 185 P.3d 161 (Colo. 2008)

Question:  Does the Colorado Constitution limit municipal condemnation power?

What the Constitution Says: The Colorado Constitution states that home rule municipalities “shall have the power, within or without its territorial limits, to . . . condemn . . . and . . . said city and county . . . may enforce such purchase by proceedings at law as in taking land for public use by right of eminent domain.”  Colo. Const. art XX, § 1.

The Mullarkey Justices Disagree with the General Assembly and with the Constitution: Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey, Justice Michael Bender, and Justice Alex Martinez decided that the Constitution does not limit home rule municipalities to condemn property outside of their boundaries only for public utilities like it says (p. 170).

One Justice Criticizes the Mullarkey Justices: One other Justice disputed the majority opinion that the constitution granted home rule municipalities condemnation power without limits for property outside of their boundaries (pp. 172-73).  The dissenting Justice also wrote that it was the job of the General Assembly, not the courts, to regulate condemnations outside city limits (p. 173).

What Does the Mullarkey-Bender-Martinez-Rice Decision Mean for You? When a court fails to uphold constitutional limitations on condemning private property, basic protections are denied because of policy or political decision-making.

Additional Information and References

Read the entire published opinion: Town of Telluride vs. San Miguel Valley Corp

Commentary

Colorado Supreme Court clears the way for future abuses of Eminent Domain power for property seizures in Colorado

Experts forecast future of eminent domain abuse in Colorado