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In late July, the Ohio Supreme Court issued what
may be the most important eminent domain decision
since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City
of New London (2005). Norwood v. Horney
indirectly raises an important issue that has often
been ignored in the debate over Kelo: the
condemnation of supposedly “blighted” property.
Eminent domain abuse cannot be effectively
addressed without limiting blight condemnations,
which have caused more harm than any other kind
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|500 Acres To Be Declared Blight and "Slum" Near Centerra
7 of 9 Council members likely to go along with McWhinney request given votes so far on this issue
In an audacious move to qualify an additional 500 acres of properties owned by McWhinney for new special tax rebates for 25
years, the Loveland City Council has received a study claiming five blocks of land in east Loveland are "blight" and uses terms such
as "slums" and "inadequate transportation" to describe the land. The study entitled, "Loveland Regional Improvements Blight Study"
is now available here along with other details regarding the preparations being made by Loveland staff for a major amendment to
their agreement with McWhinney. The Council is expected to officially declare the blight and abdicate their governmental authority to
McWhinney during the August 19, 2008 City Council meeting.
1. April 16, 2008 - Secret meetings held with McWhinney to brief a "land swap" to Council
2. June 2, 2008 - "Flexibility" plan announced and purpose of secret meetings disclosed
3. June 24, 2008 - "Cornucopia" Council annexes and zones parcels in preparation for "Flexibility" plan
4. July 2, 2008 - City Council tense as Councilman Kent Solt reminds Council that he can't support annexations since "entire
picture" has not yet been revealed to the public.
|Approximation of areas
A rural area of productive farm
land just east of Boyd Lake
Agricultural land along highway
34 in Loveland
A small parcel of land along
highway 34 next to 'Grand
Open land east of Centerra
The old dog racing track - the
report notes it is mostly parking
The Loveland City Council will be asked to consider what some are calling an “abdication” of their official duties in
a way that The Loveland City Council will be asked to consider what some are calling an “abdication” of their
official duties in a way that governmental authority and decision making discretion over which properties can be
used in future tax rebate schemes by removing makes Loveland vulnerable to future lawsuits. The “Flex" plan is
apparently the first attempt by a developer in Colorado to gain the City of Loveland from the approval process.
The plan will consciously include more land than the 1,000 acres council has authorized for TIF (Tax Increment
Financing) by declaring another 500 acres near Centerra and owned by McWhinney as blight and give the
developer the ability to pick and choose which land will be included and which will not be – thus the name “Flex"
Lovelandpolitics has learned that several public policy organizations outside Loveland are watching this vote
very closely as well as legal experts on the subject. Due to the many legal issues it appears to ignore, some
believe Loveland’s City Council may be guilty of “abuse of discretion” if they declare highly desirable open land as
“blight” while also voting to abdicate not only their authority but that of future councils through the “Flex” plan.
Below is a quick summary of some of the legal challenges/issues Loveland may be facing should they proceed
with the “Flex” plan.
1. Colorado Statute 31-25-170(1) states, “Boundaries should be drawn as narrowly as the governing body
determines feasible” to accomplish objectives. Intentionally declaring 500 more acres as blighted and letting the
developer pick and choose later (without council approval) which will be included in the tax subsidy appears to
be at odds with the plain language in the law which calls for the boundaries to be drawn as narrowly as is feasible.
2. The governing body (city council) is required by law to make a finding that any proposed “Urban Renewal”
plan is consistent with the city’s general plan document. By providing the McWhinney’s carte-blanch to make
their own determinations without review by the council for consistency with the general plan means ignoring this
section of the law -- according to legal experts looking into the matter.
3. State law 31-25-107 (3)(a) and (7) require public notice of substantial modifications to URAs and Council
approval of plans or modifications. As one organization informed Lovelandpolitics, “The city is claiming that
future designation of areas as TIF would NOT require council approval or public notice. This appears to fly in the
face of the law making Loveland vulnerable to future lawsuits.”