More News on Walmart and Sam’s Club on Santa Fe and Mineral

LIFT, our urban renewal authority, met Dec. 10, 2015 and mention was made that the developers, Endeavor, from Dallas are waiting the outcome of the lawsuit between the County Assessor and the City of Littleton/LIFT on the inclusion of agricultural land in the Santa Fe Urban Renewal Area.  This is important.  If the City wins the suit the Ensor property at the corner of Mineral and Santa Fe will be legally included in the urban renewal area and tax increment financing will be available to help fund the Walmart and Sam’s Club that Endeavor wants to build on that location.  Michael Penny has said it will take $17 million to $20 million to cover the infrastructure costs for that property.  If Endeavor can convince LIFT that they need the money to develop the land, bonds will be issued and tax dollars meant for the schools, parks, city and county will be “divided” and deposited in the authority’s “special fund” to pay for the bonds that will be used to help pay for the Walmart and Sam’s Club being proposed for that property!  And the taxes will be diverted for 25 years – that’s sales tax and property tax.

If the County wins the suit the Ensor property will be excluded from the Santa Fe urban renewal plan and our tax dollars will not be used to help build the Walmart and Sam’s Club.

For those that don’t know – here’s the argument.  The urban renewal law was amended in 2010 to make it virtually impossible to include agricultural land in an urban renewal area.  This was done after acres and acres of agricultural land was “blighted” along I-25 up north in the Ft. Collin’s area.  It was a travesty.  The City’s position, as I have been told by the City Manager, is the land is not zoned agricultural but zoned business and commercial.  However, the land is zoned agricultural by the county for assessment purposes and the ARL (Assessor’s Research Library – the bible for implementing TIF and other County Assessor functions) supports this designation for urban renewal purposes.  There may be other arguments but this is the one explained to me by the city manager.

The court date is Jan. 22, 2016 at  8:30 am at the Arapahoe County Courthouse, 1790 W. Littleton Boulevard, Littleton, Colorado.  This will be the first time this portion of the urban renewal law has been challenged.


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