Owens vetoes housing bill
Western Garfield County Staff
RIFLE ” City officials were shocked but happy to learn Friday that a bill that would have pre-empted local control over manufactured housing zoning was vetoed by Gov. Bill Owens.
“I was not expecting it,” said Mayor Keith Lambert.
“I’m really quite pleasantly surprised. Obviously, the governor looked at it the same way we did and came to the same conclusion.”
Both Rifle and Silt opposed HB 05-1304, which sought to prohibit discrimination by municipalities regarding the placement of manufactured homes in Colorado communities.
Owens vetoed the bill Thursday, saying the bill took away local authority.
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“HB 1304 is a pre-emption of county and municipal land use authority relative to manufactured homes,” Owens wrote in a statement. “Although manufactured housing is an important tool for local communities attempting to address affordable housing needs, I cannot support legislation that overrides local decision-making regarding land use and zoning.”
Owens’ decision is being applauded not only by local communities, but by the Colorado Municipal League, which lobbied heavily against the bill.
“We were delighted (about the veto) to say the least,” said Lee Leavenworth, Colorado Municipal League president, and the city attorney for Rifle. “We were pleased he listened to the concerns of local government and pleased so many cities and towns sent him letters. We think the veto was appropriate.”
Owens also said that there were only a small number of communities in Colorado which have strict ordinances that limit where manufactured homes can be built.
“The proponents of this bill have not proven why a statewide response is needed to address their concerns,” Owens said.
HB 05-1304 was sponsored by Rep. Mary Hodge, D-Adams County, and Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Adams County, and backed by the manufactured housing industry.
According to Rifle planning director Matt Sturgeon, the city does not discriminate against manufactured housing.
“Rifle allows manufactured housing, and we have 115 lots that exist as a use-by-right in the Pioneer Mesa subdivision and several other areas,” Sturgeon said.
Besides the placement of manufactured homes, the other issue surrounding the bill was whether state government should be allowed to infringe on the powers of home-rule municipalities.
“I’m really glad that the governor recognized the sanctity of local control and in our case, home-rule authority,” Lambert said. “It speaks highly for him as looking out for municipalities across the state. We’ve never discriminated (against manufactured housing). It’s always been something that’s been part of our community. This was the industry trying to enact legislation that went beyond what was necessary.”
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