ENTITLEMENTS DURING COVID-19 7:46, April 30, 2020

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By Kursten Canada, Garfield & Hecht, P.C.

Critical components of a real estate project are land use and development approvals, otherwise known as “entitlements.” Financial markets are in flux and many governmental agencies are operating a skeleton crew, at best. Public hearings and project meetings may be conducted virtually or simply cancelled.

Entitlements in Colorado are governed under C.R.S. §24-68-101 et. seq. which provides a statutory mechanism for obtaining Entitlements prior to land development. While statutory vested rights are intended to protect Entitlements, there are contractually binding deadlines associated with the agreement entered into by a municipality and the landowner. We advise property owners and developers to review the deadlines associated with existing Entitlements to assure that promises reflected therein are not impaired or made impossible due to COVID-19 restrictions and market economics. For example, many jurisdictions in Colorado provide for expiration of Entitlements after a specified period of time if no building permit has been pulled. Lapsed deadlines will require resubmittals and possible additional approval requirements which is costly and time consuming. Further, any financing associated with development of land with existing Entitlements may provide for a borrower default under the loan in the event Entitlements are permitted to lapse, regardless of cause. Loan commitments may require Entitlements to be current as a condition to funding. The good news is that landowners and developers may find jurisdictions to be more amenable to negotiation of an extension of such deadlines or requirements during this pandemic.

Generally speaking, lands with Entitlements are much more valuable than land without Entitlements. Recognizing that local governments may have more capacity to process land use matters during the COVID-19 pandemic, this may be a good time to first seek Entitlements or extensions of existing deadlines.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding existing or potential Entitlements we have attorneys who specialize in land use matters.

  • In Aspen contact Ronald Garfield, phone (970) 925-1936; email: or Chris LaCroix, phone (970) 925-1936; email:.
  • In Carbondale contact Kelcey Nichols, phone (970)425-8119; email: .
  • In Avon please contact Kursten L. Canada, phone (970) 949-1566, e-mail: , or Tracy L. Kinsella, phone (970) 949-1496, e-mail: .
  • In Glenwood Springs or Rifle please contact David M. McConaughy, phone (970) 947-1936, e-mail: , Mary-Elizabeth Geiger, phone (970) 947-1936, e-mail: , or Haley Carmer, phone (970) 947-1936, e-mail: .
  • In Crested Butte contact John Belkin, phone (970) 925-1936, e-mail: .