Martinez Humenik Gives Urban Renewal Reform a Renovation

Denver -- Lawmakers don't always get it right the first time. Sometimes it's necessary for the General Assembly to revisit and revise flaws in existing laws that may have seemed good in theory but proved unworkable in practice.

Thus the need for Senate Bill-177, a measure sponsored by Senator Beth Martinez Humenik (R-District 24) and signed into law Wednesday by Governor John Hickenlooper, which does renovations to an urban renewal reform bill approved by lawmakers last year despite the Senator's concerns regarding potential problems.

"Financial institutions have been hesitant to take on the risk of lending money to communities and developers for urban renewal projects. A number of already-in-the-pipeline projects were scaled down or put on hold due to flaws in the 2015 law," explains Martinez Humenik. "SB-177 is necessary due to hearing from a number of communities, lenders and developers that last year's bill would not work for them and was putting urban renewal projects in jeopardy. It removed the effectiveness of this tool in their toolboxes, which needed to be fixed."

The bill, which was written in a collaborative fashion, adds more specifics about the terms of mediation when disputes between taxing entities arise, and it clarifies language regarding financial obligations for urban renewal projects.

Martinez Humenik was aware of some of these problems during the 2015 session, when her own urban renewal bill lost out to a rival measure by the Speaker of the Democrat-controlled House. That bill, HB-1348, created more problems than it solved.

"I suggested to the Governor last year that there would be unintended consequences and problems if he signed last year's bill. It was signed anyway," recalls Martinez Humenik. "The consensus group worked diligently on language to clarify the law, which will bolster local economic development by allowing stalled urban renewal projects to move forward again."

Please contact Sean Paige at 719-337-0355 with any questions.

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