Thank you so much for voting Yes on 300.
Ballot Question 300 passed giving you a say to approve urban renewal plans to guide development in Littleton.
Here are the election results from the City.
Ballot Question 300 – (require registered elector approval for urban renewal)
Ballot Question 2A – (prohibit eminent domain except at request of property owner)
Please note the City’s description above for Ballot Question 300 says approval for urban renewal when the ballot measure says approval of urban renewal PLANS.
The people have spoken once more. It is time for the council to understand that the majority Littleton citizens would like a say in what this town looks like. Thanks to all the wonderful people of Littleton who don’t want this town to be anything BUT little!!!
As you probably already know we operating on a shoe string and we could use a few more bucks to help defray the cost of this campaign. Please consider making a contribution to Your Littleton Your Vote and mailing it to 2000 W Arapahoe Road, 80120. A contribution of 19.99 can be reported as a misc contribution; anything over 19.99 I will need to have your employer and occupation.
The Denver Post
Littleton voters pass measure restricting city’s urban renewal powers
Littleton will need to go to the voters before employing commonly used urban renewal tactics, like tax increment financing or eminent domain, according to special election results released late Tuesday.
The city in Denver’s southern suburbs became the first Colorado community to place such constraints on a local government’s ability to use the state-sanctioned economic development tools.
Opponents of the measure warned that Littleton would stunt its economic growth potential by making projects in hard-to-revamp areas impossible to complete.
The final tally in favor of Question 300 was 5,755 yes votes to 3,811 no votes, or 60 percent to 40 percent.
Voters passed by an even wider margin a competing ballot measure, Question 2A, which only limits Littleton’s eminent domain powers.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Paul Bingham with Your Littleton Your Vote, said “like most elections, this one was a large difference of opinion, This one about what is best for Littleton.”
“Thank you to the citizens of Littleton for understanding our message and voting for our charter amendment,” he said.
Tuesday’s victory for Your Littleton Your Vote came despite being heavily outgunned by those challenging the measure, who operated under the name Littleton Strong. Opponents raised nearly $91,000 in campaign donations while backers raised nearly $3,000.
The vast majority of Littleton Strong’s donations came from heavy-hitting builders and real estate industry groups while Your Littleton Your Vote’s contributions came from local residents.Mayor Phil Cernanec, who along with city council, had opposed Question 300, released a statement late Tuesday.
“Regardless of the voters’ decision, the city council and I will continue engaging with citizens and encouraging healthy dialogue on the very important issues we face,” he said. “It is, and always has been, our goal to look for ways to keep Littleton moving forward.”
The movement to restrict the powers of the urban renewal authority in Littleton, known as Littleton Invests For Tomorrow, began last year when Your Littleton Your Vote collected signatures to get the measure on the ballot.
A special election was scheduled for Tuesday and more than 30,000 mail-in ballot were sent out last month.
Question 300 amends Littleton’s charter to require voter approval before the city lures developers with deals that share the cost of infrastructure improvements, often through the issuance of bonds, in a public-private arrangement.
Urban renewal has been widely used in Colorado, including in the developments of the Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall, the Streets at SouthGlenn in Centennial and Lakewood’s Belmar.
Ballot backers argued that the city doesn’t need to make deals using taxpayer money to bring projects to town and shouldn’t do so without voter consent. They also objected to the city’s decision last year to map out four zones — deemed blighted — where urban renewal dollars could be used.
Urban renewal proponents, led by the group Littleton Strong, lashed back by placing their own measure on the ballot that only prevents the seizure of property for urban renewal projects, unless the property owner agrees to eminent domain, but keeps intact other development tools.
By having every urban renewal decision go before voters, they argued, developers will eventually just skip over Littleton and go elsewhere with their projects so as not to get entangled in expensive elections.
Don’t Miss the Page with Doug Clark, former mayor, talking about Urban Renewal in Littleton
(see the link in the third line in the black menu bar above)
1 Election – $34,000 or 25 years of urban renewal diverting over tens of millions of tax dollars from the city, schools, parks and county? $34,000 – a small price to pay for our right to vote. Not such a radical idea after all.
Your choice! Your Vote! Yes on 300 and preserve our tax dollars thus our city
Government and developers oppose 300. Developers have been pouring thousands into the defeat of 300 – If 300 is bad for them it is good for us – the tax payers!
There will be two questions on the ballot for the March 3rd special election. One put forth by 3,926 citizens and another brought forth by 5 city council members.
Ballot Question 300
The Citizen Initiative seeks to amend the City Charter to include the following:
“Any council action approving or modifying an urban renewal plan pursuant to Part 1 of the Colorado Urban Renewal Law must be ratified by the registered electors of the City of Littleton if the approval or modification of the urban renewal plan proposes the use of or change to eminent domain, condemnation, tax increment financing, revenue sharing or cost sharing.”
In simple terms, the approval of this language would require voter approval, not for projects but for urban renewal plans that include the use of eminent domain – the taking of private property. It would also require voter approval if any of our public tax dollars are going to be diverted from their intended use to urban renewal to give to developers to offset some of the costs of their private development. (Taxes would be diverted from Littleton Public Schools, Arapahoe County, South Suburban Parks & Rec, Urban Drainage and the City of Littleton.)
To use today’s situation, we have 4 urban renewal plans that have been approved. All plans provide all the powers of eminent domain to the unelected urban renewal (LIFT) board. If the property owner is threatened by eminent domain he will have to go to court, at his own expense, to try to keep his property. What usually happens is the property owner cannot afford the legal battle so he ends up settling with the authority. If voter approval was required the property owner would have the registered electors of the city behind him – he would not be alone in fighting LIFT and urban renewal. We believe the property owner has a greater chance of keeping his property if the voters of Littleton were allowed to weigh in on the decision. There may be rare instances when the voters of Littleton would agree that the taking of the private property is essential for the good of the entire community; but it would be a rare occasion indeed.
The funding mechanism for urban renewal is called tax increment financing. For a more detailed explanation please see the page with the explanation. For purposes here let it suffice to say that urban renewal cannot raise taxes on their own. They have to take taxes from other taxing entities in order to create a revenue source. We believe voters should have a right to weigh in on whether or not we believe diverting our tax dollars is the right thing to do; or not. The other taxing entities that stand to lose tax dollars to urban renewal have a voice but the citizens of Littleton do not. A yes vote on 300 would give us that right to vote.
This question was approved by 5 council members.
Shall the Littleton City Charter be amended so that the city council cannot authorize the use of eminent domain and condemnation in an urban renewal plans except at the request of a property owner?
There are some interesting points to be made about the question.
1. The question is meaningless! What the question says they cannot do they have already done. The approval or disapproval of the question will not change one urban renewal plan. The council has already approved 4 urban renewal plans that have unlimited use of eminent domain by the authority in spite of their Resolution (passed long before the ballot question was approved) saying they wouldn’t approve an urban renewal plan that did not limit the use of eminent domain.
2. This language does not contradict the language in 300 – they both can be approved and function side by side in the Charter. So if you are in doubt – vote yes on both!
3. 300 has a similar problem with 2A – the council has already approved the full use of eminent domain and they are rushing through the use of property and sales tax for tax increment financing (Feb. 17th). But, if there are any modifications to an urban renewal plan, the plan will have to be approved by the voters. Furthermore, 300 offers oversight on the redirection of our tax dollars from the schools, parks, county, urban drainage and the city itself. 2A does not address the diversion of tax dollars for 25 plus years; in fact, the backers of 2A do not have a problem with our tax dollars being given to private developers.
4. The Charter is an enabling document – it speaks to what the council may and shall do. This will be the first statement in the Charter that says they cannot do something. (Just peculiar.)
5. We doubt that 2A will hold up in court if challenged. The urban renewal authority is not bound by the charter. If a property owner does not request to be condemned and urban renewal wants to take part of their private property for a path, right of way, or other use the Charter will not offer the property owner any protection. The state law will supersede the Charter.