Government Affairs: Greeley

April 10, 2019

Historic Preservation Revisions Approved

On April 2 the Greeley City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that creates a new chapter in the Development Code covering historic preservation regulations. Greeley Area REALTOR® Association Chair Liberty Gerold spoke during the public hearing, asking the Council to require a super-majority to approve non-owner designations.

Non-owner historic designations can be requested by the Planning Commission, Greeley Urban Renewal Authority, Downtown Development Authority or any “legally recognized preservation organization” and are made over the objection of a property owner. GARA’s position is that any historic designation without the approval of the property owner should be held to a higher standard of approval even if this scenario is extremely rare in Greeley.

While GARA was not successful in convincing the Council to adopt this change, some important changes were made to the ordinance by staff at GARA’s request prior to consideration by the City Council. Vague definitions were clarified, and the language was changed to make it easier for homeowners to understand. Furthermore, by discussing the ordinance with the City Council, GARA provided education on legislation that had originally been passed years before any of the current Council members took office. This ensured they understood the implications of the law they were considering, which had originally been described as a simple reorganization of existing code.

There was little discussion by the City Council before it voted on the issue. Mayor Pro Tem Robb Casseday noted that he loves this ordinance and considers it a good blend of historic preservation and property rights protection. Councilman Michael Fitzsimmons attempted to request more information from GARA representatives at the meeting prior to the vote, but the public hearing had been closed. The City Attorney advised the mayor that further conversation with audience members was not proper.

Galindo Facing Recall Effort

As has been reported by state and local media outlets, Representative Rochelle Galindo (HD-50) is targeted for recall by several different newly created groups. Although supporters offer other reasons, Galindo’s support for the oil and gas bill, SB-181, is an obvious reason for the recall effort. In a well-attended town hall on the topic, Galindo had little to say according to observers who were there. Instead, she let House Speaker KC Becker (Boulder) field the questions. Although she says she’s following the desires of her constituents, one has to wonder to whom she listens in a town where the industry has strong support.

For REALTORS®, Galindo’s stance on real estate-related bills has been troubling. For example, she sponsored HB-1118 “Time Period to Cure Lease Violation,” and SB-225 “Authorize Local Governments to Stabilize Rent,” bills that CAR strongly opposes.

That being said, questions have arisen as to how the legislative recall process works in Colorado since this hasn’t happened recently in Northern Colorado. According to the Secretary of State, any local or state official can be recalled although members of Congress cannot. Recall proponents are required to gather signatures equal to 25 percent of all the votes cast for the office in the previous general election. The signatures must be verified by the designated election official, who would most likely be the Weld County Clerk.

The ballot language also requires approval. Interestingly, the Secretary of State’s election policy manual indicates the ballot would also contain the names of individuals who have qualified as candidates to succeed the incumbent if the recall is successful. Candidates gain ballot access through petitions in the same manner as in other elections. At that point, the election official would set a date for the election “no sooner than 30 days and no later than 60 days from the date the ballot is approved. The bottom line is that it is very difficult to mount a successful recall effort.

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