Amendment 71 claims first known victim; bar raised too high for growth limits measure

Surrounded by supporters of what would become Amendment 71, a proposal that would make it harder to amend the Colorado constitution dubbed "Raise the Bar," Gov. John Hickenlooper kicks off the petition drive to put the measure on the state ballot on June 1 at the Aurora Municipal Center. (Photo by Joe Megyesy for The Colorado Statesman)

Surrounded by supporters of what would become Amendment 71, a proposal that would make it harder to amend the Colorado constitution dubbed “Raise the Bar,” Gov. John Hickenlooper kicks off the petition drive to put the measure on the state ballot on June 1, 2016, at the Aurora Municipal Center. (Photo by Joe Megyesy for The Colorado Statesman)

The backer of a proposed new home construction limitation amendment to the Colorado constitution plans to resubmit the measure as a proposition for the 2018 general election ballot instead of an amendment.

Daniel Hayes of Golden, who authored the City of Golden‘s growth limitation measure 21 years ago, said he decided to make the change after an attorney told him “to forget” suing the state over Amendment 71, the constitutional amendment approved by state voters last month that changed the petition signature requirements to place proposed amendments on future ballots and required at last 55 percent of voters to approve future amendments.

“Basically, I was told there’s not a guaranteed right to the initiative process, so I should just forget a lawsuit,” Hayes told The Colorado Statesman. “So I’ll have to do this as a proposition, even though the Legislature could hack away at it” if voters approve the measure in 2018.

Hayes said he did not think the measure would meet Amendment 71’s 55 percent approval threshold for passage as an amendment, compared to a proposition’s 50 percent “plus one” requirement. Amendment 71 also requires 5 percent of a proposed amendment’s petition signatures to be gathered from the 35 state senate districts in Colorado.

“I think the people just voted away their rights to vote on amendments,” Hayes said. “They were misled by guys like (Gov. John) Hickenlooper and (former Denver Mayor Wellington) Webb.” Both campaigned for passage of Amendment 71.

Hayes’ decision to pursue the growth limitation measure as a proposition comes after he submitted revised language to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for the proposed amendment that removed all affordable housing language.

On Dec. 7, the Initiative Title Setting Review Board rejected the measure after finding it violated the single subject rule for ballot measures. Specifically, the board objected to a paragraph that would have required 30 percent of housing built between 2019 and 2020 — when new housing in Front Range counties would be limited to one percent per year — to be affordable housing.

The backer of a proposed amendment to Colorado's constitution that would limit new home construction in Front Range counties said Amendment 71's 55 percent approval requirement is too ough and he plans to refile his proposed 2018 ballot measure as a proposition. (Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity Metro Denver)The backer of a proposed amendment to Colorado’s constitution that would limit new home construction in Front Range counties said Amendment 71’s 55 percent approval requirement is too tough and he plans to refile his proposed 2018 ballot measure as a proposition. (Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity Metro Denver)

Hayes told the board he included the affordable housing wording so a growth limit did not lead to the construction of “mansions” and excluded other types of housing.

The amended proposed measure does not include wording related to affordable housing. It is scheduled to be considered by the board on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Assuming the board approves it, Hayes said he would then refile the measure as a proposition on Monday, Dec. 26, and expected a hearing on that proposal in early January.

The measure would allow growth limitations to be amended or repealed by initiative or referendum beginning in 2021. The proposal would also allow residents of any municipality or county in Colorado to petition to put growth limitation measures on their local ballots.

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