Senate Committee Passes Pro-Property Bill
by Carol Geltemeyer, February 1999
Over 60 citizens from El Paso County crowded the Senate Local Government Committee hearing room on Tuesday, February 2 in support of Senate Bill 91, entitled County Land Use Regulation Resolution. The bill would allow local citizens to vote on county issues affecting their property rights. Most of the supporters came up to Denver in a bus rented by Citizens for Property Rights (CPR), a group dedicated to preserving our ever-dwindling property rights.
(Photo: Shown on the steps of the State Capitol from left to right are Daniel Raygor, Larry Carlson, Terry Holt, Greg Tyner, and Craig Raygor. Tyner, shown holding a folded American flag, walked from Colorado Springs to Denver in demonstration against the zoning threat. He presented the flag to the Senate Committee on Local Government February 2.)
Many folks served as witnesses in support of the bill and gave eloquent, sometimes heart-wrenching testimonies of how they tried to resolve issues at the county level, but failed at each step of the process because of intransigent (some say corrupt) county commissioners.
The committee consists of four Republicans and three Democrats, so at first many people figured the bill would pass on party lines. But when the roll call was issued on the vote, and the first Republican voted "no" (Senator Norma Anderson of Lakewood), a minor panic set in among the audience. But in the end, a Democrat, Senator Frank Wettig of Aurora, voted for the bill, contributing to a 4-3 victory. Interestingly, Wettig asked the most questions, and many supporters of the bill felt he was surely going to vote against it. Perhaps he changed his mind when El Paso County Commissioner Duncan Bremer suggested the pro-zoning commissioners may have their own agenda on the zoning issue. Bremer also expressed concern over the rapid pace the Commission has been pushing for new zoning rules. According to Bremer, SB 91 can provide a needed safety net or safety valve when other government processes don't work.
Senate Bill 91 is now on its way to the Senate Floor for discussion and a vote.
Please call your State Senators and ask for their support on this important protection of property rights. You might mention the "safety vale" analogy, with which people seem to connect. The Senate's toll-free number is (888) 473-8136. Or, you can click to the Denver Post's listing of Senators.