Legal Wrangling

Sherry’s mother has been planning to build a modest home on a piece of property she owns north of the city of Ouray, but her building permit to do so was recently rejected by the county planner. Since I’m in town, she asked me to help with preparing her appeal to the Board of County Commissioners, which happens on Tuesday. Why me? Because apparently I can argue anything to anybody.

Well, I don’t know about that, but I decided to go ahead and spend a couple of hours doing some legal research on the matter. It’s been educational, to say the least, and I’m feeling pretty good about my arguments.

The planner rejected her permit based on regulations contained in the County Land Use Code, which I’ve found out (despite some efforts to keep it secret) was established in 1997. I’ve been able to determine, however, that the conditions of the property that were cited as cause for rejection were established in 1926; the 1997 code is therefore irrelevant (a point made explicitly in the 1997 code, actually). If the BOCC nevertheless tries to enforce 1997 regulations on a grandfathered property, I’m rather confident they’ll be using the 1997 code to violate the Constitution of the State of Colorado — which I daresay would not be a good idea on their part. They also will have broken several laws regarding the taxation of the property over a period of almost 30 years, which will open them up to a great number of lawsuits.

At least that’s how it looks to me. We’ll find out on Tuesday.

On a somewhat related note, this afternoon we were talking about how annoying this illuminated sign is that sits near the front yard of her current home. So a few minutes ago I accessed the city laws and ordinances and found no fewer than five municipal regulations with which she can probably get rid of the annoying thing. God bless the internet.

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