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Town of Telluride v. Lot Thirty-Four V

Supreme Court of Colorado
Jun 26, 2000
3 P.3d 30 (Colo. 2000)

Summary

finding that a local ordinance restricting the operation of the free market with respect to housing in one area may well have a ripple effect and cause housing investment and population to migrate to other communities already facing their own growth problems

Summary of this case from City of Northglenn v. Ibarra

Opinion

No. 98SC547.

June 5, 2000. As Modified on Denial of Rehearing June 26, 2000

Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals

JUDGMENT AFFIRMED AND CASE REMANDED.

Alperstein Covell, P.C., Edward M. Caswell, Denver, Colorado, Attorney for Petitioner.

Rudnick Wolfe, Thomas F. Geselbracht, Morton M. Steinberg, Rachel M. Vorbeck, Chicago, Illinois, Herbert S. Klein Associates, P.C., Herbert S. Klein, Aspen, Colorado, Attorneys for Respondent.

Geoffrey T. Wilson, Denver, Colorado, Attorney for Amicus Curiae, Colorado Municipal League, Austin, Peirce Smith, P.C., Thomas Fenton Smith, Aspen, Colorado, Attorney for Amicus Curiae, Aspen/Pitkin County Housing, Authority John Ely, County Attorney, Aspen, Colorado, Attorney for Amicus Curiae, Pitkin County, John P. Worcester, City Attorney, Aspen, Colorado, Attorney for Amicus Curiae, City of Aspen, Andrew C. Hamrick Associates, P.C., Andrew C. Hamrick, Englewood, Colorado, Attorney for Amicus Curiae, Colorado Apartment Associates.

EN BANC CHIEF JUSTICE MULLARKEY dissents, and JUSTICE HOBBS joins in the dissent.



This case concerns the scope of the state prohibition on rent control contained in § 38-12-301, 10 C.R.S. (1999). Specifically, we must determine whether a local affordable housing measure constitutes rent control prohibited by the statute, and whether a home rule municipality may exercise its authority over matters of local concern to regulate rents despite the state rent control statute.

The Town of Telluride (Town) enacted Ordinance 1011, which imposes an "affordable housing" requirement on the majority of new developments in the Town. The ordinance requires property owners to create affordable housing for forty percent of the employees generated by new development. Owners can satisfy the requirement by constructing new housing units with fixed rental rates, by imposing deed restrictions on free market units in order to fix rental rates, by paying fees in lieu of housing, or by conveying land to the Town for affordable housing. Lot Thirty-Four Venture, L.L.C. (Thirty-Four Venture), challenged the ordinance, claiming that it constitutes rent control in contravention of § 38-12-301.

Today, we hold that Ordinance 1011 does fall within the commonly understood meaning of rent control. Because the Town's ordinance contemplates rent control within the plain meaning of that term, it conflicts with the state's broadly worded prohibition on local measures controlling rents.

We further hold that the state statute supercedes the authority of a home rule municipality to regulate rents. The issue of rent control implicates both state and local interests, and therefore, we find that it is properly characterized as a "mixed" concern. Because it is a mixed concern, and because Ordinance 1011 and the statute conflict, the local ordinance must yield to the state statute. We, therefore, affirm the court of appeals. See Lot Thirty-Four Venture, L.L.C. v. Town of Telluride, 976 P.2d 303 (Colo.App. 1998). We find Ordinance 1011 to be invalid, and uphold the constitutionality of the state statute.

I. A.

In June 1994, respondent, Thirty-Four Venture, acquired title to Lots 34 and 34B in the Accommodations Two (AC-2) zoning district within the Town of Telluride. The AC-2 district permits visitor-oriented accommodations and recreation facilities to serve visitors and residents in limited commercial uses.

In September 1994, the Town Council of the Town of Telluride (Town Council) adopted Ordinance 1011, which amends the Telluride Land Use Code to add "affordable housing" mitigation requirements. The Town Council enacted the ordinance to address concerns generated by the pressures of new development in the area. The ordinance requires owners engaging in new development to mitigate the effects of that development by generating affordable housing units for forty percent of the new employees created by the development. See Ordinance 1011, § 3-740. A developer must provide 350 square feet of housing space for forty percent of the number of employees a proposed development generates. See id. §§ 3-740.A.1. The mitigation requirement is imposed uniformly in the majority of zoning district classifications within the Town, including the AC-2 district. See id. § 3-720.

The "Findings" of Ordinance 1011 state:

Recognizing that new development generates additional employment needs, and consistent with the desire to have new development mitigate impacts attributable to such development, the Town finds it necessary to require new development to provide affordable housing. Maintaining permanent and long-term housing in proximity to the source of employment generation serves to maintain the community, reduce regional traffic congestion, and minimize impacts on adjacent communities. Housing must be affordable to the local labor force in order for the local economy to remain stable.

Ordinance 1011, § 3-710.A.

Only the construction of a single family or a duplex residence on a single lot is exempt from the affordable housing requirement. See § 3-730.C.

Ordinance 1011 provides developers with four general options, or a combination thereof, to satisfy the affordable housing requirement. They may (1) construct new units and deed-restrict them as affordable housing, see id. §§ 3-750.B.2.a to 3-750.B.2.c, 3-750.B.3.a to 3-750.B.3.c; (2) deed restrict "existing free market units" as affordable housing, see id. §§ 3-750.B.2.d, 3-750.B.3.d; (3) pay fees in lieu of deed restricted housing, see id. §§ 3-750.B.2.e, 3-750.B.3.e; or (4) convey land to the Town of Telluride with a fair market value equivalent to the fee paid under option three, see id. §§ 3-750.B.2.g, 3-750.B.3.g.

Under either of the deed restriction options, the property remains privately owned. However, the developer must name the Town as an interested party in the deed restriction and afford the Town certain rights, such as an option to purchase the property.See Telluride Affordable Housing Guidelines, § 10.

Larger developments may contribute a maximum of 15% of the affordable housing requirement through the fee in lieu option, and must satisfy the remaining 85% through one of the other alternatives. See Ordinance 1011, §§ 3-750.B.1, 3-750.B.2.e. Smaller developments may satisfy the full affordable housing requirement through the fee option. See id. §§ 3-750.B.1, 3-750.B.3.e.

Approximately two weeks after adopting the ordinance, the Town Council also adopted the Telluride Affordable Housing Guidelines (Guidelines). The Guidelines, working in conjunction with Ordinance 1011, establish the price guidelines and regulations for rental units, and the conditions for tenant eligibility. If the developer chooses either of the deed restriction options, then the Guidelines set maximum rental rates per square foot for the property. See Telluride, Colo., Telluride Affordable Housing Guidelines § 6 (1994). A unit's maximum rent is determined by multiplying a constant monetary amount, such as $1.42 for a single bedroom apartment, with the square footage of the unit.See id. § 6 tbl.2. The Guidelines cap rental rate increases for units designated as affordable housing at no more than 2.5% per annum, unless the Telluride Housing Authority allows a higher increase. See id. § 6.7. The sale of deed restricted properties is similarly limited. Properties may be sold only to qualified residents, or to a qualified owner who will rent to qualified residents, for a maximum sale price per square foot with the annual growth of the sale price capped. See id. § 7.

The Guidelines also set a base price for the payment-in-lieu of construction option. See id. § 8. The Town will use the payments for the production of additional affordable housing. See id.

B.

Thirty-Four Venture challenged the affordable housing provisions of Ordinance 1011 in San Miguel County District Court. Thirty-Four Venture sought to enjoin the Town from enforcing the ordinance, arguing that it constitutes rent control, and therefore, violates § 38-12-301, 10 C.R.S. (1999), which precludes municipalities from "enact[ing] any ordinance . . . which would control rents on private residential property."

On June 21, 1994, the Town Council had adopted Ordinance 1007, amending the Telluride Land Use Code by reducing, among other things, the maximum percentage of development coverage permitted on sites within the AC-2 zoning district. One month later, Thirty-Four Venture filed a complaint against the Town, challenging the revised zoning regulations on a number of legal bases. Thirty-Four Venture later amended its initial complaint to include its challenge to Ordinance 1011. None of the claims regarding Ordinance 1007 are at issue in this appeal.

Each side moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted the Town's summary judgment motion, and dismissed the complaint, including the allegation that Ordinance 1011 violates § 38-12-301. The trial court noted that § 38-12-301 applies to the Town as a home rule city and that the statute does not unconstitutionally violate a home rule city's self-governance authority pursuant to article XX of the Colorado Constitution. However, the court went on to dismiss the complaint because it held that "the provisions of Ordinance 1011 do not constitute `rent controls' as contemplated in § 38-12-301." The trial court premised this conclusion on the "significant discretion" that the ordinance vested in the developer to choose the manner of satisfying the affordable housing mitigation requirements.

The court of appeals reversed the judgment of the trial court. The court disagreed with the trial court's characterization of the Ordinance as outside the scope of "rent control" contemplated by the General Assembly. See Lot Thirty-Four Venture, L.L.C. v. Town of Telluride, 976 P.2d 303, 307 (Colo.App. 1998). Instead, the court held that Ordinance 1011 constitutes "rent control" within the meaning of § 38-12-301 "because the restrictions set out [in the Ordinance] operate to reduce the number of options available to plaintiff in the use of its property from what it had agreed to under the previous agreements" with the Town. Id. Further, the court of appeals refused to hold § 38-12-301 unconstitutional as an improper intrusion into the self-governance authority of home rule cities. See id.

The "previous agreements" referred to by the court of appeals consist of agreements between the Town and the previous owner of Lots 34 and 34B. The agreements covered a number of areas associated with the initial development of the land, including dedications, improvements of infrastructure, and employee housing.

Telluride now appeals. We granted certiorari to consider whether Ordinance 1011 is a form of "rent control" within the purview of § 38-12-301, and if so, whether § 38-12-301, enacted by the General Assembly in 1981, constitutionally supercedes Ordinance 1011.

This court granted certiorari on the following issues:

Whether the court of appeals erred in finding that Ordinance 1011 constitutes a form of "rent control" prohibited by § 38-12-301, 10 C.R.S. (1998).

Whether the court of appeals erred in affirming the trial court's opinion that Ordinance 1011 is superceded by § 38-12-301.

II.

The first issue on appeal requires us to determine whether Telluride's affordable housing scheme falls within § 38-12-301's prohibition of "rent control." The statute is titled "Local Control of Rents Prohibited" and states,

The general assembly finds and declares that the imposition of rent control on private residential housing units is a matter of statewide concern; therefore, no county or municipality may enact any ordinance or resolution which would control rents on private residential property. This section is not intended to impair the right of any state agency, county, or municipality to manage and control any property in which it has an interest through a housing authority or similar agency.

§ 38-12-301.

A.

The General Assembly did not define "rent control." Further, no published opinion of a Colorado court, with the exception of the court of appeals' decision in this case, has addressed this statute, much less addressed the scope of its proscription against rent control. Thus, we first must interpret the meaning of the phrase "rent control."

§ 38-12-301 uses both the terms "rent control" and "control rents." We find no grounds to differentiate between a municipality's imposition of "rent control" and an act of the municipality to "control rents."

When construing the meaning of a statute, reviewing courts should first consider the statutory language and give the words their plain and ordinary meaning. See Snyder Oil Co. v. Embree, 862 P.2d 259, 262 (Colo. 1993). In assessing the plain language, the court should not read a statute to create an exception that the plain language does not suggest, warrant, or mandate. See Common Sense Alliance v. Davidson, 995 P.2d 748, 753 (Colo. 2000). As long as the meaning is unambiguous, courts need not resort to interpretive rules of statutory construction, such as the legislative intent or the external circumstances at the time the statute was enacted. See East Lakewood Sanitation Dist. v. District Court, 842 P.2d 233, 235 (Colo. 1992).

"Rent control statutes come in all types, shapes and sizes." Richard A. Epstein, Rent Control and the Theory of Efficient Regulation, 54 Brook. L. Rev. 741, 742 (1988). Generally, however, rent control statutes peg allowable rent to the historic rent in an area at some fixed point in time, and permit increases in rent payments only on the basis of the consumer price index or some other neutral yardstick. See id. at 743. Rent control statutes do not isolate particular units for special treatment, but usually apply to a broad class of rental properties. See id. at 745. "Every rent control statute has only one raison d'etre(to insure that the landlord's rent is kept below the fair market rental of the property." Id. at 746. The result is that such statutes effectively compel a landlord to convey a portion of his property interest to the tenant for the tenant's benefit. See id. at 744.

We find the term "rent control" to be clear on its face. Rent control is commonly understood to mean allowable rent capped at a fixed rate with only limited increases. See Epstein, supra, at 742. Because Ordinance 1011 sets a base rental rate per square foot and then strictly limits the growth of the rental rate, the ordinance constitutes rent control. The scheme as a whole operates to suppress rental values below their market values. Therefore, the court of appeals correctly concluded that the ordinance restricts the property owner's ability to develop his land as he sees fit.

Although the ordinance has the laudable purpose of increasing affordable housing within the communities where lower income employees work, the ordinance nevertheless violates the plain language of the state prohibition on rent control. The prohibition in § 38-12-301 on rent control is unambiguous and complete, encompassing "any ordinance or resolution which would control rents." (Emphasis added.) The term "rent control" is not used as a term of art, and the broad language of the statute plainly encompasses any mandate that would operate to control rents.

Were we to hold that Ordinance 1011 does not constitute rent control, we effectively would create an exception to the statute that the General Assembly has not debated or adopted. Of course, our holding today that Ordinance 1011 constitutes rent control does not prevent the General Assembly from amending the rent control statute to permit local ordinances such as Ordinance 1011. In short, we hold that the Town's remedy must be with the legislature.

Because we have determined that the statute is clear on its face, we need not consider the legislative history, including the historic conditions that triggered the General Assembly's decision to ban rent controls. We note that the General Assembly enacted the provision in 1981 in response to a citizen initiative in Boulder that would have imposed rent controls within that city. However, the broad language of the statute does not suggest an intent to limit the ban on rent control to the types of local measures proposed at the time of enactment. Moreover, we note that statutes remain in force, even as the circumstances that led to the creation of a statute change. See ATT Communications of Mountain States, Inc. v. State, 778 P.2d 677, 682 (Colo. 1989) (concluding that a statute was "not frozen in time" as of its enactment date). The General Assembly is not required to reenact a statute "whenever new technology or changed conditions . . . might affect the scope of the statute's coverage." Id. Therefore, we assess the rent control statute on its face, as it applies to current conditions.

B.

Ordinance 1011 cannot be saved on the grounds that it applies only to new construction while existing housing units are not subject to the controls. The salient fact is that the ordinance caps rental rates for a class of housing at a price below what the market can bear. The effect of the ordinance is the same, regardless of whether new or existing units are exempt: namely, a section of the housing market is removed from the competitive marketplace. In addition, the statutory ban on rent control makes no distinction between existing units and those subsequently developed. See § 38-12-301. The absence of a distinction in the statute between existing and new units is evidence of the broad nature of the statute.

The fact that the ordinance offers developers several options for satisfying the "affordable housing requirement" does not change the character of, or redeem, the rent control provisions. Either the provisions constitute rent control and cannot be enforced, or they do not. What we examine here is whether the options for constructing new housing or deed restricting existing housing constitute rent control. See Ordinance 1011, §§ 3-750.B.2.a to 3-750.B.2.d, 3-750.B.3.a to 3-750.B.3.d. Whether the balance of the ordinance is severable and remains enforceable is not an issue that was before the court of appeals or before us. Therefore, we do not address it.

Once owners decide to develop their property, they must engage in a program that effectively redistributes the value of the rental property from landlord to tenant(a hallmark of rent control. Because Ordinance 1011 imposes a base price for rental values, and thereafter limits the rate growth, we conclude that the ordinance constitutes rent control within the plain meaning of § 38-12-301.

III.

Because we hold that Ordinance 1011 is a form of rent control, we must address the second question presented for review: whether Telluride may nonetheless impose rent control because it is a home rule municipality. The trial court ruled that the rent control statute preempts the Town's authority, thereby rejecting the Town's argument that the statute was unconstitutional. The court of appeals likewise determined that regulation of rent control is a matter of statewide concern, and therefore, the state statute trumps Ordinance 1011. See Lot Thirty-Four Venture, 976 P.2d at 307. We affirm the result reached by the court of appeals, but adopt a different rationale.

The statute prohibiting rent control applies to all counties and municipalities. See § 38-12-301. The statute defines municipality to include "any city, town, or city and county which has chosen to adopt a home rule charter." § 38-12-302, 10 C.R.S. (1999).

The Town of Telluride is a home rule municipality. Home rule cities are granted plenary authority by the constitution to regulate issues of local concern. See Colo. Const. art. XX, § 6. If a home rule city takes action on a matter of local concern, and that ordinance conflicts with a state statute, the home rule provision takes precedence over the state statute. See id.; see also City County of Denver v. State, 788 P.2d 764, 767 (Colo. 1990) (finding a state statute unconstitutional because it conflicted with a local initiative on a matter of local concern). If the matter is one of statewide concern, however, home rule cities may legislate in that area only if the constitution or a statute authorizes the legislation. See City County of Denver, 788 P.2d at 767. Otherwise, state statutes take precedence over home rule actions. See id. If the matter is one of mixed local and statewide concern, a home rule provision and a state statute may coexist, as long as the measures can be harmonized. If the home rule action conflicts with the state legislature's action, however, the state statute supercedes the home rule authority.See id.

Whether Telluride is authorized to impose rent controls, therefore, turns on the question of whether rent control should be characterized as a local, statewide, or mixed issue. Further, whether a matter is one of state or local concern is a legal issue. See id. at 767. We, therefore, must conduct a de novo review.

"There is no litmus-like indicator for resolving whether a matter is of local, statewide, or mixed concern." National Adver. Co. v. Department of Highways, 751 P.2d 632, 635 (Colo. 1988). Courts should take the totality of the circumstances into account in reaching this legal conclusion. See City County of Denver, 788 P.2d at 767. As part of the totality of the circumstances, this court has considered a number of issues, all directed toward weighing the respective state and local interests implicated by the law. We have looked at whether the General Assembly declared that the matter is one of statewide or local concern. See National Adver. Co., 751 P.2d at 635 (holding that a declaration of statewide policy should be afforded "great weight"). Although such a declaration is not conclusive, see City County of Denver, 788 P.2d at 768, n. 6 (noting that the General Assembly's declaration is not binding), it will be afforded deference in recognition of the legislature's authority to declare the public policy of the state in matters of statewide concern, see National Adver. Co., 751 P.2d at 635.

Even if a home rule city has considerable local interests at stake, a particular issue may be characterized as "mixed" if sufficient state interests also are implicated. See Denver Rio Grande W. R.R. Co. v. City County of Denver, 673 P.2d 354, 358 (Colo. 1983). In determining whether the state interest is sufficient to justify preemption of home rule authority, this Court has articulated various factors that drive the analysis. These include: (1) the need for statewide uniformity of regulation; (2) the impact of the measure on individuals living outside the municipality; (3) historical considerations concerning whether the subject matter is one traditionally governed by state or local government; and (4) whether the Colorado Constitution specifically commits the particular matter to state or local regulation. See Winslow Constr. Co. v. City County of Denver, 960 P.2d 685, 693 (Colo. 1998); Fraternal Order of Police v. City County of Denver, 926 P.2d 582, 589 (Colo. 1996); Voss v. Lundvall Bros., Inc., 830 P.2d 1061, 1067 (Colo. 1992); City County of Denver, 788 P.2d at 768. All of these factors are intended to assist the court in measuring the importance of the state interests against the importance of the local interests in order to make the ad hoc decision as to which law should prevail.

Having concluded that Telluride's ordinance is, in fact, rent control under the terms of the statute, we must now apply these factors to the analysis of whether the state statute prohibiting rent control impacts Telluride's ordinance.

We begin with two general propositions. First, courts must avoid making decisions that are intrinsically legislative. It is not up to the court to make policy or to weigh policy. See Colorado Soc'y of Community Inst'l Psychologists, Inc. v. Lamm, 741 P.2d 707, 712 (Colo. 1987). If we determine that the issue is legitimately one over which the General Assembly has authority, then our inquiry must end.

Second, we note that the General Assembly here did announce that the preclusion of rent control is a matter of statewide concern. See § 38-12-301. As we have indicated, this pronouncement is not dispositive, but it is instructive.

We turn then to the specific factors. The first consideration is whether the state has a pervading interest in statewide uniform regulation. See City County of Denver, 788 P.2d at 768. For example, in National Advertising Co., this court found a need for statewide uniform regulation of highway advertisements in order to prevent the loss of federal funding and to achieve statewide safety, recreational, aesthetic, and fiscal goals. 751 P.2d at 636. This court also has found uniform access to markets throughout the state to be an important state concern.See Century Elec. Serv. Repair, Inc. v. Stone, 193 Colo. 181, 184, 564 P.2d 953, 955 (1977) (holding that a state statute superceded home rule authority regarding the licensing of electricians because "[t]he state has a clear concern in ensuring that Colorado electricians have free access to markets throughout the state").

Here, both the municipality and the state have significant interests in maintaining the quality and quantity of affordable housing in the state. Ordinances like Telluride's can change the dynamics of supply and demand in an important sector of the economy(the housing market. A consistent prohibition on rent control encourages investment in the rental market and the maintenance of high quality rental units. Although economic conditions may vary in housing markets across the state, the legislature has seen fit to enact a uniform ban on rent control as a matter of public policy.

In addition, the rent control statute is part of the state statutory scheme regulating landlord and tenant relations. See §§ 38-12-101, to 302, 10 C.R.S. (1999). Landlord-tenant relations are an area in which state residents have an expectation of consistency throughout the state. Uniformity in landlord-tenant relations fosters informed and realistic expectations by the parties to a lease, which in turn increases the quality and reliability of rental housing, promotes fair treatment of tenants, and could reduce litigation.

The second factor is the closely related question of whether the home rule municipality's action will have any extraterritorial impact. See City County of Denver, 788 P.2d at 769. An extraterritorial impact is one involving state residents outside the municipality. See id. at 768. In Denver Rio Grande Western Railroad Co., this court looked at the potential ripple effect from a local ordinance that directed the construction of a viaduct and apportioned the costs for the project. 673 P.2d at 358-59. The court realized that the municipality's efforts to impose costs on the railroads could impact the railroads' overall ability to serve their customers, resulting in a reduction, or even termination, of service in areas outside the municipality. See id. Because of the potential impact beyond the municipality's borders, the court concluded that the ordinance presented a matter of mixed local and statewide concern. See id. at 361.

The findings in Telluride's ordinance itself recite that the issue is one that impacts other communities: "Maintaining permanent and long-term housing in proximity to the source of employment generation serves to maintain the community, reduce regional traffic congestion, and minimize impacts on adjacent communities." See Ordinance 1011, § 3-710.A. The General Assembly recognized the potential extraterritorial impact of rent control when it passed § 38-12-301. Representative Chaplin, the sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives stated: "We're facing future disasters. Any rent control lowers the availability of housing stock. . . . This would have a disastrous effect, and a rippling effect throughout our entire state of Colorado." House Bill 1604-81: Discussion Before the Senate Comm. on Local Government, 42d Legis., 1st Reg. Sess. (Apr. 21, 1981). Managing population and development growth is among the most pressing problems currently facing communities throughout the state. Restricting the operation of the free market with respect to housing in one area may well cause housing investment and population to migrate to other communities already facing their own growth problems. Although such a ripple effect may well be minimal in Telluride because of its geographic isolation, it is absolutely true that the growth of other mountain resort communities has impacted neighboring communities greatly. The fact that the Telluride ordinance is an affirmative effort to mitigate that impact does not change the fact that the growth of the one community is tied to the growth of the next, thereby buttressing the need for a regional or even statewide approach.

The third factor inquires as to whether the matter traditionally has been regulated at the state or the local level. See City County of Denver, 788 P.2d at 768. Because our courts have not yet confronted the characterization of the state's interest in rent control, we can look only to other states to determine how they regulate rent control. A number of other state legislatures have prohibited rent control. Some of these states specifically have concluded that rent control is an issue of statewide concern. See Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1329 (2000); Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 40P, § 5 (2000); Or. Rev. Stat. § 91.225 (1999); City of New York v. State, 291 N.E.2d 583, 584 (N.Y. 1972).

Telluride argues that Ordinance 1011 is an exercise of the municipality's police power to regulate land use, an area traditionally regulated by local government. See City of Colorado Springs v. Smartt, 620 P.2d 1060, 1062 (Colo. 1980) (holding that land use regulation and zoning are local concerns). We reject this contention. Even though the measure amended the Telluride Land Use Code, the ordinance does not dictate permissible uses of real property; rather, it dictates the rate at which the property may be used for a permissible purpose. See supra, Part II. It is, therefore, properly characterized as economic legislation.

The fourth factor similarly focuses on whether the constitution commits the matter either to state or local regulation. See City County of Denver, 788 P.2d at 768. The constitution does not assign the issue of rent control, or economic regulation generally, either to state or local regulation.

Where does this analysis lead us, then, in assessing and measuring the various interests at stake? The state's interests include consistent application of statewide laws in a manner that avoids a patchwork approach to problems. Further, the state has a legitimate interest in preserving investment capital in the rental market, ensuring stable quantity and quality of housing, maintaining tax revenues generated by rental properties, and protecting the state's overall economic health. Telluride, on the other hand, has a valid interest in controlling land use, reducing regional traffic congestion and air pollution, containing sprawl, preserving a sense of community, and improving the quality of life of the Town's employees.

On the whole, we cannot conclude that this matter is so discretely local that all state interests are superceded. Given the legitimacy of both the state interests and Telluride's interests, we conclude that rent control represents an area of mixed state and local concern.

After determining that this is an issue of mixed local and state concern, the next step in the analysis is to ask whether the home rule ordinance conflicts with the state legislation. See National Adver. Co., 751 P.2d at 638. Since we find Ordinance 1011 to be a form of rent control, the ordinance clearly conflicts with the state statute. See supra, Part II. Because the two measures conflict, the local ordinance must yield to the state statute. Therefore, Ordinance 1011 is invalid. The corollary to this determination is the question of whether §§ 38-12-301 and 302 are constitutional. Because the issue of rent control is one of mixed concern, the state may regulate in the area. Therefore, the rent control statute is constitutional, and does not violate the home rule amendment.

IV.

In conclusion, we hold that Ordinance 1011 constitutes rent control because the options for constructing new employee housing or deed restricting existing housing are within the commonly understood meaning of rent control. The propriety of rent control is an issue that has both local and statewide implications and impact, and we conclude that it falls within an area of mixed state and local concern and interest. Given the broad language of the statute, we find that Ordinance 1011 clearly conflicts with the state prohibition on rent control contained in § 38-12-301. As a result, we hold that Ordinance 1011 is invalid and that § 38-12-301 does not violate the home rule amendment to the constitution.

Accordingly, we affirm the court of appeals' decision to reverse the trial court's grant of summary judgment, and remand the case for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.

CHIEF JUSTICE MULLARKEY dissents, and JUSTICE HOBBS joins in the dissent.


Summaries of

Town of Telluride v. Lot Thirty-Four V

Supreme Court of Colorado
Jun 26, 2000
3 P.3d 30 (Colo. 2000)

finding that a local ordinance restricting the operation of the free market with respect to housing in one area may well have a ripple effect and cause housing investment and population to migrate to other communities already facing their own growth problems

Summary of this case from City of Northglenn v. Ibarra

noting that we do not read statutes to create exceptions that the plain language of the statute does not suggest, warrant, or mandate

Summary of this case from Daniel v. City of Colo. Springs, Mun. Corp.
Case details for

Town of Telluride v. Lot Thirty-Four V

Case Details

Full title:Town of Telluride, Colorado, a municipal corporation, Petitioner v. Lot…

Court:Supreme Court of Colorado

Date published: Jun 26, 2000

Citations

3 P.3d 30 (Colo. 2000)

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