A long-standing legal dispute between the town of Dillon and the Yacht Club Condominiums homeowners association is set for oral arguments before the highest court in the state.
On Thursday lawyers representing the town and the Yacht Club will present arguments before the Colorado Supreme Court over the Constitutionality of two ordinances passed in 2009 by the Dillon Town Council.
Town of Dillon manager Joe Wray said Tuesday the issue stems from a right-of-way dispute between the town and the Yacht Club homeowners association when the Dillon Town Council passed in 2009 two ordinances for the reconstruction of Tenderfoot Street and Lower Gold Run Circle, as well as a recreation path, all of which are located adjacent to Yacht Club Condominium property.
The homeowners association and local residents opposed the construction in 2009 saying it would limit parking spaces at the already parking strapped condo complex, damage property values and make living there a hardship. In 2009, there were 43 parking spaces at the 50-unit complex.
Although the homeowners association was granted a temporary injunction in 2009 that delayed construction at the site, a Summit County District Court judge later ruled that the town’s right-of-way was clearly defined and officials had the authority to move ahead with the project.
Despite having the injunction lifted, the Yacht Club HOA filed a lawsuit in January 2010 against the town, citing, among other things, the potential for reduced property values as a result of the recreation path project, which also raised the question of who had the authority to enforce parking regulations in the vicinity of the Yacht Club.
Because the Yacht Club was constructed in the 1960s, long before Dillon passed its two ordinances, a Summit County District Court judge ruled in August 2010 in favor of the homeowners association, allowing residents to continue to park along the town’s right-of-way on Tenderfoot Street and Lower Gold Run Circle. The Colorado Court of Appeals later upheld that decision in December 2011, saying the town of Dillon did not have the authority to ticket cars parked along the right-of-way.
The town of Dillon is challenging the lower courts opinions because local officials believe they trample on their legislative authority as a home rule municipality to enact and enforce local laws and regulations, Wray said. Therefore, the question before the court is who has legislative authority over local issues, the courts or town officials who are elected with the express purpose of governing their municipalities?
“One of the concerns is, as a home rule municipality, we should have the ability to enact and enforce our own rules and laws,” Wray said. “We moved ahead with this segment of trail in the interest of public safety to get bikers, joggers and walkers out of the street and onto a designated recreation path. Because we were granted the right-of-way, we believe we should also be able to enforce town laws there.”
The hearing begins at 10:30 a.m. Thursday and is scheduled for one hour. The Colorado Supreme Court is located at 2 E. 14th Avenue in Denver.
The town of Dillon is represented by Jay Andrew Nathan and Ellis Jay Mayer of Nathan, Bremer, Dumm & Myers P.C. in Denver. The Yacht Club Condominiums Homeowners Association is represented by Andrew Low and Richard Holme of Davis, Graham & Stubbs LLP in Denver and Loveland attorney Edward Gassman.