Colorado Landowners Seeking Compensation for Value Lost to State Regulations

Commentary & Community

Colorado Landowners Seeking Compensation for Value Lost to State Regulations


States and local governments routinely pass laws and enact regulations that reduce property values. Under a proposed initiative for this year’s Colorado ballot, they may have to compensate landowners when they do so.


The “Colorado Compensation to Owners for Decreased Property Value Due to State Regulation Amendment” would mandate that whenever the state enacts regulations that diminish property values, the state must provide just compensation. This would be an addition to the state constitution’s requirement that the state provides compensation when it takes or damages private property.


A group of ranchers and farmers is backing this amendment. They are primarily concerned about another proposed constitutional amendment that would severely limit landowners’ ability to explore for natural gas and oil on their land. They contend that it is only fair that if the state is going to enact a law that restricts their ability to use their land to make money, then the state should compensate them.


Opponents of this amendment say that it would make it almost impossible for the state and local governments to function. They argue that routine zoning laws could trigger lawsuits. These opponents contend that many laws meant to protect the public reduce the property value of individuals, so it would be a huge financial burden if governments must compensate these owners.


The secretary of state is reviewing this amendment to determine if it has enough signatures to be placed on November’s ballot.

Do you think that the government should compensate landowners if government regulations reduce the value of that land?


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