White Jankowski Lawyers

New amendment to affect development planning

June 25, 2013

Back in 2008, a state law was passed that required developers to prove upfront that they had enough water to supply their entire project.  See C.R.S. § 29-20-301 to -306 (2012).  This statute brought the Sterling Ranch development in Douglas County to a halt; a judge found that Sterling Ranch failed to show it had enough water to sustain the large-scale project.  The 2008 law upset developers who felt the law would force smaller developments, with fewer water-reliant amenities like recreation centers and parks.

However, during this legislative session, the General Assembly passed an amendment to section 29-20-301 (Senate Bill 13-258), which gives developers the ability to phase-in water requirements whenever a development stage of a project is up for approval by a local government entity.  Instead of developers having to show they have enough water in advance, developers now must only prove water availability each time a project enters a new stage of development.  Under section 29-20-301(d), “the stages of the development permit approval process are any of the components, or any combination of the components,” as determined by local government.  The amendment added that none of these stages are intended to constitute a separate development permit approval process under section 29-20-303.  A new term on definitions was also added to section 29-20-103.  Notably, “each application included in the definition of development permit constitutes a stage in the development permit approval process.”