Municipal Resources, 0721 COBJ, Vol. 50, No. 7 Pg. 18

PositionVol. 50, 7 [Page 18]

50 Colo.Law. 18

Municipal Resources

Vol. 50, No. 7 [Page 18]

Colorado Lawyer

July, 2021



With all due respect to the legal education institutions where we matriculated and earned our juris doctors, most lawyers would agree that upon graduation we had learned to "think like lawyers" but not necessarily about the inner workings of the legal system. We learned a great deal about constructing arguments from case law and how to research annotations on state statutes. How many of us, though, have been caught unawares when trying to navigate the byzantine structure of local government? For many of our clients, municipal law is probably one of their biggest day-to-day concerns. Areas it impacts include:

■ property—building codes, zoning, land use plans, and property records;

■ taxes—sales and property;

■ criminal—municipalities set their own ordinances, such as traffic laws;

■ education—school districts are often arms of the local government; and

■ trials—municipal courts exist to adjudicate violations of local ordinances.

This list is far from exhaustive. Municipal law touches on so many areas that it's not possible to provide a crash course on it here. Instead, this article highlights some of the more useful resources for learning about your local jurisdiction's codes and operations.

Sources of Authority

Article XTV of the C olorado Constitution governs counties, and Article XX of the Colorado Constitution governs home rule cities and towns. For example, Colo. Const, art. XX provides that the City and County of Denver operates as a combined county-city government with a municipal structure. More specific restrictions a nd grants of authority are codifiedin Tides 29 dirough 32 of die Colorado Revised Statutes.

A list of current local governments, organized alphabetically and by type, is available from die Colorado Department of Local Affairs.' You can also use diis resource to discover how many of each government type exists in-state, as well as die specific constitutional and statutory audiority for each type. D If you're unsure about die boundaries of a particular special district, die State Demography Office puts out a map of all die special districts in the state,2 though you'll need to use its drop-down menu to select die type of district you're searching for. El

Municipal Ordinances

Municode3has one of the largest online repositories of municipal codes. At top left is a screen shot of die Denver Revised Municipal Code...

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