I had been waiting to write under the hopes of being able to include information concerning the HB22-1137 clean-up bill.  However, as of today, the bill has not yet been introduced.  While this concerns me in what it may contain, we can no longer ignore the two bills that continue to work their way through the legislative session.

SB 23-178, originally introduced on March 3, passed out of the Senate and was introduced in the House of Representatives on April 5, 2023. SB 23-178 concerns Removing Barriers to Water-Wise Landscaping in Common Interest Communities.  This bill amends part of the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act at Section 106.5, which declares it against public policy to prevent certain water wise landscaping concepts. 

SB23-178 only applies to single family detached homes; it does not apply to any other form of common interest community.  So, with respect to single family detached homes only, the bill provides that an association’s design guidelines or rules must:

  • Allow an owner to install in the front, back, or side yards raised gardens with vegetables, leafy greens or pollinating flowers;
  • Allow an owner an option that consists of at least 80% drought-tolerant plantings;
  • Not unreasonably require the use of hardscape on more than 20% of the landscaping area of the owner’s property.

In addition, an association must adopt at least three pre-approved water-wise landscaping designs for installation in the front yards, using the Colorado State University Extension plant list.

SB23-178 is making its way through the legislative process, which continues to show the priorities of the Colorado legislative bodies for environmental issues.

The other new bill, SB 23-213, simply entitled LAND USE, is a 105-page monstrosity of a bill that mandates most governments in the state adopt land use plans allowing higher density to allow for townhome units and auxiliary dwelling units to be more easily constructed.  While the bill goes into great detail in relation to dwelling units, model codes, water issues and parking (or lack of a requirement for parking), the only part of the bill relating to associations is on page 102 which, like SB23-178 above, amends portions of CRS 38-33.3-106.5. The bill provides:

Notwithstanding any provisions in the Declaration, bylaws, or rules and regulations of the association to the contrary, an association shall not prohibit accessory dwelling units, middle housing, housing in transit-oriented areas, and housing in key corridors.  Any such prohibition on the permitting of accessory dwelling units or middle housing is void as a matter of public policy in any way that is prohibited by Article 33 of Title 29. 

Basically, an association’s right to regulate or prohibit secondary housing on a Lot is removed and void. This treat of a bill is schedule for public hearing on April 6, 2023.

Stay tuned on our Legislative Tracker for more information on association-related bills making their way through the Colorado legislative session. Or, contact any of the Altitude attorneys at 303-432-9999 or  [email protected] with any questions.

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