Pitco pays $20,000 to fight ‘Droste bill’
Pitkin County has budgeted $20,000 to hire lobbyists in an attempt to defeat state legislation that could limit the county’s ability to control growth.
The county has hired two independent lobbyists to attempt to stop Senate Bill 215, a bill that would limit county restrictions on development of wildlife-sensitive areas, avalanche and wildfire danger zones, and flood plains.
Pitkin County’s lobbyists will join Colorado Counties Inc. and Colorado Municipal League, lobby groups representing local government, in denouncing the bill as special-interest legislation.
The measure has been nicknamed the “Droste bill” by county officials after Peter Droste, a Pitkin County resident who has unsuccessfully sued the county repeatedly in attempting to develop his land above Brush Creek. The land has been deemed a severe winter elk range and is protected under county code and state law.
The bill, if it passes, would allow Droste to proceed with development.
The county commissioners are hoping their state Senate representative, Lewis Entz, will be receptive to the unified dissent of multiple county governments. Entz was one of the bill’s sponsors.
“I don’t know of a single county that supports this bill,” Commissioner Jack Hatfield said.
“Entz might be responsive,” Commissioner Dorothea Farris added. “It’s too bad he’s sponsored something he didn’t understand.”
Commissioners are also sending out requests for money from other counties to bolster lobbying efforts.
The county’s lobbyists have strict instructions to do all they can to stop the bill from passing. If it looks like that effort will fail, commissioners have instructed the lobbyists to push for an amendment that would ensure the bill did not enforce retroactively.
Only a retroactive bill would allow Droste to proceed with his development.
Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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