Droste v. Board of County Commissioners of Pitkin

159 P.3d 601 (2007)

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Droste v. Board of County Commissioners of Pitkin

Colorado Supreme Court
159 P.3d 601 (2007)

  • Written by Tanya Munson, JD

Facts

Peter Droste and several other members of the Droste family (the Drostes) owned 925 acres of land known as the Droste Ranch in Pitkin County (the county). The county zoned the Droste Ranch in a district that permitted single-family dwellings “by rights” on lots of 10 acres or more. In 1996 and 1999, the county purchased conservation easements that covered approximately 600 acres of the Drostes Ranch, and the Drostes agreed to preserve critical wildlife habitats on those acres. In 2000 and 2002, the Drostes applied for approval of three separate development projects, and all three applications were denied. The Board of County Commissioners for Pitkin County (the board) (defendants) adopted an ordinance that imposed a moratorium on all land-use applications, effective March 12, 2003 (the moratorium). The moratorium’s stated purpose was to allow the county time to conduct a comprehensive study of the area, including sensitive environmental areas and significant wildlife habitats. The study was necessary as part of the process of adopting a master plan by January 2004, as required of Pitkin County by the Local Government Land Use Control Enabling Act of 1974 (the Land Use Enabling Act). In May 2003, the Drostes filed suit against the board, seeking a declaratory judgment that the county lacked authority to impose the moratorium and injunctive relief. The trial court granted summary judgment for the board, finding that the board had the authority to grant the moratorium according to its general police powers and the Land Use Enabling Act. The Drostes appealed. The court of appeals affirmed, and the Drostes appealed again.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hobbs, J.)

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