Land developers in Colorado can form a metropolitan district, which has the power to condemn private property for a “public use.” That unique maneuver is now under Colorado Supreme Court scrutiny.
The Supreme Court heard oral argument Wednesday in Carousel Farms Metropolitan District v. Woodcrest Homes, Inc., an eminent domain case that is closely watched by developers and land use attorneys. A landowner, Woodcrest Homes, is arguing that a developer, Century Communities, formed a metropolitan district just to seize Woodcrest’s property for its own benefit. Woodcrest claimed the condemnation wasn’t for a public use but rather as a workaround to help Century Communities satisfy a development agreement it had with the Town of Parker.
Siding with Woodcrest, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that a municipal district can’t condemn a property for the purpose of helping a private developer meet its contractual requirement with a government. The decision cast doubt on developers’ ability to form metropolitan districts to develop land — an otherwise common practice in Colorado.