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Property owner wins appeal in blight designation

The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed a lower court ruling that a property in Glendale was blighted. The six-acre parcel in suburban Denver was initially seized to be part of efforts to create an entertainment district. The initial ruling by the city was issued at May of 2013 hearing.

According to Business Den, the owner, MAK Investment Group LLC, has four buildings on the land, one of which housed a rug store owned by some of MAK’s partners. In October of 2015, MAK fought back by suing the City of Glendale and Glendale Urban Renewal Authority.

Company misled by city officials

The company was initially attempting to work with the city to privately redevelop the property. Then it received a notice of the blight determination. At the time, a city official told the company it was nothing to worry about. Thus, the company did not need to show up for the May 2013 city council hearing. However, under Colorado law, a property owner must take action within 30 days of the blight notice.

The owners then found out that the blight determination in November or 2013 when it hired a law firm and pursued private redevelopment plans. Glendale then attempted to exercise its right to eminent domain to acquire the property in May of 2015. MAK and its attorneys fought this move, but U.S. District Court ruled in favor of Glendale in November of 2016, which MAK and its attorneys appealed.

The appeals court ruling

The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit overturned the district court ruling because MAK was told to ignore the initial notice of the original hearing and the subsequent ruling. The court pointed out that the company had been misled and therefore didn’t realize what the blight determination meant to the property and their ability to rent it or develop it.

Real estate laws are often complicated everywhere and they may not even be completely understood by those enforcing them. An attorney with knowledge of real estate law here in Austin can be a real help in protecting the property rights of businesses and individuals against rulings of local governments.

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William T. Peckham
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