Urban Renewal vs Urban Legend! You Decide

Urban Renewal – Myth or Legend

The city has decided to use our tax dollars to mail out to each household a slick brochure trying to debunk what they call the “urban legend.”  City Council approved the expenditure of $25,000 for the “invitations” entitled Urban Renewal vs Urban Legend.

The city is obviously responding to our effort to get a ballot question before the voters that will protect personal property rights for all Littleton citizens and property owners. The City touts that fact that the City Council approved a resolution to ban the use of eminent domain. We applaud their effort and in light of their position they should be in support of the ballot question we are proposing to put before the voters of Littleton. But the council really did not ban the use of eminent domain. Their resolution says they will use eminent domain in friendly condemnations………..

The brochure also fails to inform the citizens that this council cannot dictate to any future council if they will or will not use eminent domain. In fact, this council could change their mind next week and pass another resolution to use eminent domain. The only way to protect all property owners against the use of eminent domain is to provide protection in Littleton’s Charter, which is what our petition effort is all about.

URBAN LEGEND – Tax Increment Financing (TIF) will reduce tax revenues available to Littleton Public Schools and South Suburban and Arapahoe County.

TRUTH – LPS just agreed to an Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) with the City. The negotiation of how much TIF the urban renewal authority would take from LPS is a welcome action. Knowing that millions of dollars were diverted from LPS for the last urban renewal project (Riverfront now Echo Star) makes the negotiation very meaningful. With the IGA, LPS is only going to lose the increment on the increase valuation of the properties in the urban renewal areas. This funding is the statutory funding the district receives from each student enrolled. If there is a shortfall in tax revenues for the per pupil funding mandated in state law, the Colorado taxpayers will foot the bill. In other words, the Colorado taxpayers will back-fill any gap in funding that urban renewal might create…..for the next 25 years. The taxpayers of Colorado are already back-filling millions of dollars state-wide for urban renewal projects. It may be legal but that doesn’t make it right!

URBAN LEGEND – The city can condemn my house and redevelop the property.

TRUTH – Actually the law does allow for this to happen. Not sure where this “legend” came from – first we have heard it. The urban renewal in Littleton is taking place in commercial areas; however, there are a few single family homes included. The consultant told the urban renewal authority that they should not remove all single family homes from the urban renewal areas because someone might want to aggregate land for a large project and a single parcel that is protected could become a problem – she called it a “donut hole” which is an undesirable condition when you are trying to aggregate properties.   The urban renewal authority has said they won’t use eminent domain to aggregate property and the council has said they won’t use eminent domain except in friendly condemnations. Each of these statements can be reversed at any meeting of either group. In fact, the last urban renewal authority stated that they did not intend to use eminent domain but they did. Every piece of property was condemned along with notice that the owners, tenants and business people had 3 years to get out.

URBAN LEGEND –The city has declared the McDonald’s (Church Ave and S. Santa Fe Drive), the new Breckenridge Brewery (under construction at 6775 S. Santa Fe Dr.), the new King Soopers (under construction at Broadway and Littleton Blvd.), RTD Light Rail Station (Mineral Ave and S. Santa Fe Dr.), and single family houses on Santa Fe are blight.

TRUTH – The survey report produced by consultant Anne Ricker contains a blight survey stating the following conditions of blight for the above-mentioned properties as follows.

McDonald’s – Total of 6 conditions of Blight

Faulty street layout

Faulty lots

Unsanitary and unsafe conditions

Danger to life, property from fire or other

Unsafe – unhealthy for live – work

High service requirements or under utilization

Designs by Sundown – Total of 7 Conditions of Blight

Faulty street layout

Faulty lots

Unsanitary and unsafe conditions

Unusual topography or inadequate public improvements

Danger to life, property from fire or other

Unsafe – unhealthy for live – work

High service Requirements or under utilization

Breckenridge Brewery – Total of 6 Conditions of Blight

Unsanitary and unsafe conditions

Unusual topography or inadequate public improvements

Danger to life, property from fire or other

Unsafe – unhealthy for live – work

High service requirements or under utilization

Environmental contamination

King Sooper’s at Broadway and Littleton Blvd –  Total of 7 conditions of Blight

Faulty street layout

Unsanitary or unsafe conditions

Unusual topography or inadequate public environment

Danger to life, property from fire or other

Unsafe – unhealthy for live-work

Environmental contamination

High service requirements or site underutilization

RTD Light Rail Station at Mineral – There are two different  parcels that belong to RTD

The commercial space  has 7 conditions of blight

Slum, deteriorated or deteriorating structures

Faulty street layout

Unsanitary or unsafe conditions

Deteriorating site/other improvements

Unusual topography or inadequate public environment

Danger to life, property from fire or other

High service requirements or site underutilization

The RTD parking lot has 7 conditions of blight

Faulty street layout

Unsanitary or unsafe conditions

Unusual topography or inadequate public environment

Defective/unusual conditions of title

Danger to life, property from fire or other

Unsafe – unhealthy for live-work

High service requirements or site underutilization

Will update with info for blight on the single family homes as time permits.

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