What You Need to Know About Amendment 74

“The proposed change to the Colorado Constitution would require private property owners to be compensated when a law or regulation reduces the market value of their property. If passed, it would make Colorado’s property law the most extreme in the nation.

It’s only 11 words, but a proposed change to the Colorado Constitution could make the Centennial State’s property law the most extreme in the nation.

Amendment 74, which will be on the November ballot, would require state and local governments to compensate private property owners when laws or regulations reduce the “fair market value” of their private property. Despite the minuteness of the verbiage, the change is far from small, according to Georgetown University property law professor J. Peter Byrne. In fact, Byrne says that kind of compensation would represent an extreme departure from conventional private property law in the United States.

“There’s no provision in the country like it, in the sense that it requires payment for all reductions in market value, which is really crazy because it doesn’t even have an exception for nuisances,” Byrne says, adding that strong property rights states do have such an exception. “If somebody is using their property for, you know, some purposes that are dangerous for the people near them and the government requires them to stop, they [would under Amendment 74] have to get paid to stop…the government [would have] to buy from owners their inclination to use their property for purposes that injure their neighbors.”

The opposition to Amendment 74 is widespread. On September 26, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock joined more than 100 elected officials who’ve denounced the bill. The Denver City Council openly voiced its disapproval last week by unanimously passing a proclamation urging voters to reject the measure. Colorado Municipal League, an association of more than 200 local governments in Colorado; Boulder County Commission, Broomfield City Council, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Sierra Club of Colorado, Conservation Colorado, and Club 20, an association of business and government leaders from Colorado’s Western Slope, have also openly criticized the amendment.”
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Gray, Haley. 5280 Magazine 27 September 2018.