Court of Appeals to Hear Oral Arguments on the Grove Lawsuit

January 24th 2018 the Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments from both sides – the citizens vs the city in the claim that the process to appeal to the Board of Adjustments on the zoning for The Grove denied the citizens their due process.

For those that don’t know or have listened and believed certain council members (Bill Hopping and Patrick Driscoll most recently) the courts have not decided the matter on whether or not the zoning was correctly applied for The Grove.  The Court never considered that question because the citizens were never able to take the question to the Court.

In order for the citizens to take the “use by right” question to the District Court they had to go to the Board of Adjustment first.  When the appeal was made to the Board of Adjustment Jocelyn Mills intervened and denied the appeal.  It was not her decision to make – the Board of Adjustment should have made considered the matter.  If they had done so then the path to the District Court would have been easy to navigate.  But, because she denied the appeal the citizens could not pursue the matter in District Court.  (A reminder, Ms. Mills is the staff member that signed the building permit for The Grove and denied the appeal to the Board of Adjustment challenging her approval.  This is the crux of the matter in Court – was due process carried out or denied?)

People has asked why continue with the claim.  Speaking for myself, I believe it is important for citizens to have a way to challenge an administrative decision (the approval of The Grove was done administratively and not through a public process).  We need to have a process in place and if the current process is not viable we will need to challenge our city council to provide a mechanism for citizen challenges in the future.  Currently, citizens can challenge any council approved Ordinance by Referendum and we can pass our own Ordinance through an Initiative process.  If we can overturn a council decision shouldn’t we be able to do the same for a decision made by staff?

One Response

  1. Similar issues occurred in relation to the 5591 South Nevada Street Section 8-priority Downtown property which was illegally rezoned by City Staff and around which concerned Littleton citizens were denied any administrative remedy to later correct but when the City openly admitted its errors. The current Code contains processes which create inherent conflicts of interest, including as noted by Carol in that the party, Jocelyn Mills, which is making decisions to approve zoning uses is also the same person allowed to review and reject appeals of her decisions rather than referring those appeals to an independent review group and when such a group, the Board of Appeals, has been separately established. Recall the Board of Appeals itself appeared before City Council earlier this year or late last year imploring Coty Council to intervene and correct inappropriate, perhaps unethical, processes being allowed to occur within City Staff ranks, including conduct concerning not only the Nevada Street “Littleton Crossing” 55-year low-income housing project but, in particular to the Board of Appeals’ role and comcerns, conduct resulting in the Board of Appeals not having received a single case for review in one to two years, if my recollection is accurate, the implication being that City Staff, namely Jocelyn Mills, is both approving new zoning and project issues and also subsequently denying all citizen appeals related to them, preventing any appeals from going to the Board for objective review… Such is highly inappropriate in this author’s opinion, and clearly denies due process for Littleton citizens. When I personally brought forward m concerns about such City Staff conduct, however, I received a phone call from the City Manager, Mark Relph, threatening to sue me if I did not refrain from openly stating my concerns at City Council Meetings about this and other similar-type City Staff conduct issues (e.g., City Staff promoting numerous developers’ applications for Subdivision Exemptions over the years as a tool, apparently wrongfully applied and knowingly allowed, to avoid being required to hold Public Hearings to allow a voice for Littleton citizens). I commend the Grove litigant(s) opposing the City and support their efforts to try to correct operations in a City administrative system which has been intentionally structured to prevent and disallow oversight of itself.

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