What appears to be apple pie in name, "Citizen Management of Growth" would negatively impact Colorado's true apple pie--agriculture.
The proposed growth initiative would do more to stop agricultural development than it would urban sprawl, in many areas. The ultimate impact appears to be opposite of what supporters of the ballot initiative want to happen, according to officials from the Colorado Livestock Association (CLA).
"We, in agriculture, are certainly concerned about the hap-hazard growth in Colorado. However, this measure will effectively regulate agricultural development, expansion and economics to the point of impeding industry management, success and longevity," said Roger Tuell, president of the Colorado Livestock Association. "We cannot quietly stand by and watch this initiative go unchallenged. This initiative is a state-mandated assault on private property rights."
This proposed initiative states all cities and counties with populations exceeding 10,000 will develop "Growth area maps." These maps will outline where growth and development may occur and will be placed on the ballot for approval by voters in the respective regions. These plans would be mandatory for counties with populations greater than 25,000 and optional for those with populations between 10,000 and 25,000. Counties with less than 10,000 are exempt from this measure. Those individuals owning land within the boundary will see their land values increase as the demand for land to develop increases. Individuals residing outside the line will see their land values plummet.
"Do we really want a Constitutional amendment limiting private property rights?" asks Tuell. "Local planning is important. A once a year election is not smart planning. Local communities should be able to determine what works best for them and implement it year-round. By putting this measure in the Constitution, we eliminate the option to fix bad policy."
This ballot initiative would put in the Colorado's Constitution the number of houses a family can have on their property. Employee housing is crucial to agriculture operations, because many farms and ranches are located great distances from the nearest town. The ballot initiative clearly states housing construction outside the growth areas shall be limited to no more than three lots of two acres to accommodate immediate family members of an agricultural property owner. This is not realistic to doing business in agriculture and does not belong in the Constitution.
"Yes, the sound of the title is apple pie, but it is really a rotten apple. Agriculture is a more than $10 billion industry to this state. Farms and ranches provide a great deal of Colorado's open space and nobody better understands the value of land, respects open space more or is saddened more by the continued loss of land to development than those in agriculture. However, a one size fits all growth management plan is not the answer," said Tuell. "Our Constitution is for protecting Colorado citizens' private property rights, not mandating local growth plans to limit them."