Loveland's Independent News Source
Loveland To Target Certain Landowners
Using Controversial New Code
Loveland, April 15, 2018

Loveland city planning staff have made no secret there are certain privately owned
buildings in town they want torn down.  The current city council has agreed, in principle,
to provide staff a powerful legal tool that will make this possible without having to acquire
the building through eminent domain or compensating the owner.

During the April 10, 2018 city council meeting, Loveland's Director of Development
Services Bret Limbaugh briefed Loveland's City Council as to why current city code is
"obsolete" and ineffective in addressing dangerous properties within the city.  Limbaugh
pitched council adopting a controversial
California code created in 1997 called the "1997
Abatement of Dangerous Buildings" code.  No action was taken at that meeting but staff
was given direction to prepare the ordinance for council adoption at a future meeting.

Simply stated, the new code will give Loveland's City Manager the authority to tear down
any structure in the city that code enforcement determines is unsafe providing the
property owner with likely a few weeks notice; and force the property owners to pay for
the city tearing down their privately owned building.  Largely predicated on health and
safety issues using the city's police powers, no health department determination will be
required just Loveland's code enforcement staff determinations.

City's Target Deck - 1. Lovelander Hotel 2. Russ Morgan properties 3. Odd Fellows

While heading the DDA (Downtown Development Authority) board, local restaurateur
Clay Caldwell was vocal about the need to take down the aging Lovelander Hotel due to
numerous health code violations.  This is ironic as Larimer County's Health Department
was forced to intervene when Caldwell opened Mo' Betta Gumbo in a building that had a
leaking sewage pipe from second story apartments over his restaurant.  At the time,
Caldwell complained the county's health department was "riding me like a cripple pony"
for insisting the kitchen have some type of drop ceiling over food prep areas.

Later, the city's downtown director Jacque Wedding Scott alluded to the safety issue
associated with the hotel not having emergency sprinklers or proper egress.  Both have
also talked about an unofficial city policy that the targeted buildings be allowed to burn
down if on fire so long as the occupants are removed.  A kind of DNR (Do Not Resuscitate)
understanding with Loveland's Fire Authority.

Unlike Larimer County, the City of Loveland does not have a health department but relies
on the code enforcement staff instead.  This creates a legal problem as the current code,
as written, refers to Loveland's "health department" making certain building safety

1997 Dangerous Building Abatement Code and Police Powers for "Life-Safety"

Limbaugh used two examples of obsolete language in Loveland's current code as reasons
for introducing a completely new code which will occupy "Section 20."  As is often the
case, staff and council spoke around the issues motivating the change instead of
addressing it directly likely for fear of public backlash.  On the column to the right of this
story are the charts presented by Limbaugh over what sections are outdated and need to
be changed; essentially a Red Herring.

Current city code requires a determination of the city's health department, which doesn't
exist, and also covers areas to include 1 mile outside the perimeter of city limits.  On the
first, Loveland has simply used the code enforcement personnel acting in coordination
with county health officials successfully in the past.  On the second, it extends beyond the
council's authority so unless they were to attempt an enforcement action outside city
limits, it has no bearing either way on the effectiveness of the current code for properties
inside Loveland.

The proposed new code provides Loveland's City Manager the authority to order the
demolition of a privately owned building without council approval or direction.  To add
insult to injury, the new code will enable the city to place what is the equivalent of a tax
lien upon the property equal to the cost of the unwanted demolition.  In other words, if
the owners fails to reimburse the city its costs in demolishing the building, the city's
demand for payment becomes a tax lien which can be used to transfer title of the property
to the city if unpaid.

The Lovelander Hotel located at 111
East 4th Street tops the city's list of
buildings that can be demolished by a
determination of city staff if Dangerous
Building Ordinance is passed.