Case heads to Denver
By Mark Reaman
The owners of two properties in Crested Butte who sued the town over the imposition of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) regulations lost the final part of the case in Gunnison District Court on January 19 and have now appealed the ruling to the Colorado Court of Appeals.
Law of the Rockies attorneys Jacob With and Marcus Lock are representing two plaintiffs: Sopris 715 LLC, a Texas limited liability company owned by John Kiltz with a house and ADU located at 715 Sopris Avenue; and Christopher Mize, who owns property at 225 Butte Ave., in their case against the town.
In the appeal document filed last month the owners are asking the appeals court to determine if District Court judge Steven Patrick “erred in concluding that the Deed Restrictions incorporated future amendments to the Crested Butte Municipal Code, including the most recent 2015 amendment of the definition of ‘rental, long-term’”; whether the District Court “erred in concluding that enforcement of the 2015 ordinance against Appellants’ properties does not impair a vested right and thus does not constitute unconstitutional retroactive legislation, does not constitute inverse condemnation, and does not violate substantive due process;” and whether the court “erred in concluding that the application of the 2015 ordinance to Appellants’ properties, including the new definition of ‘rental, long-term’, did not violate C.R.S. § 38-12-301 regarding rent control.”
Basically, according to Lock, the property owners are arguing that the town of Crested Butte cannot unilaterally impose new regulations on their ADUs by subsequently amending the town code after the parties agreed to the terms of the deed restrictions.
Town manager Dara MacDonald said the appeal was expected “and we are prepared to continue to defend our position that accessory dwellings in town must be used as a long-term rental as defined in the code. We do anticipate that the Court of Appeals will uphold the decisions of Judge Patrick, all of which were favorable to the Town.”
If the court of appeals rules against the town, the ruling could have a major impact on many long-term rentals in town. “If the Court of Appeals does not find in our favor, certainly we will evaluate their findings before deciding how to proceed,” said MacDonald. “However, to this point the Town Council has been very firm in their decision to uphold the covenants on accessory dwelling units in town as they are an important component in making sure long-term rentals are available for local working folks. If that means pushing through to the Colorado Supreme Court, at this time the Town Council is likely prepared to take that step.”
Lock said the resolution of the appeal is expected to take “many months.”