Central City moves to protect land-use planning

Negotiated Under 1999 Agreement with Black Hawk

PRESS RELEASE – On March 24, 2020, the City Council of Central authorized the initiation of litigation against the City of Black Hawk in an effort to preserve land-use plans outlined in a binding intergovernmental agreement (“IGA”) that was established in 1999 and remains in effect.  Central’s move followed notice from Black Hawk’s City Manager of plans to annex, zone, and approve development of commercial and industrial land uses in an area limited to residential and golf course uses as per the IGA.

The project behind Black Hawk’s violation of the IGA is known as the Lake Gulch Whiskey Resort, a distillery and lodging destination. Central requested that Black Hawk delay approval of the development in order to bring the proposed project into compliance with the IGA and to ensure that impacts to the Central City Casino Parkway were sufficiently mitigated.

After repeated unsuccessful attempts to have such concerns addressed, Central City filed suit in Gilpin County District Court.

Central City recognizes that protecting the region’s economic vitality transcends municipal boundaries and that both municipalities have a direct influence on the economic health of the broader Gilpin County. Black Hawk’s actions, however, constitute a clear violation of the IGA. Further, Black Hawk insisted on moving forward with Lake Gulch Whiskey Resort approvals on an expedited basis, and without the necessary discussions between the two cities needed to resolve differences. The IGA violations, the unnecessarily rushed approvals, exasperated by the Covid-19 crisis, and the lack of willingness to negotiate left Central with the difficult decision to initiate litigation in order to assert and protect its rights, and that of its citizens.

“Central City is not averse to development,” said Central City Mayor Jeremy Fey. “We simply need to make sure development follows the applicable laws and governing agreements.”

Central, through its officials and staff, remains ready and willing to re-engage with Black Hawk to resolve any differences in a way that is both beneficial to the citizens of Gilpin County and respectful of the rights of all parties who entered into the IGA.

About Intergovernmental Agreements    

State law endorses intergovernmental agreements as a means to achieve mutually agreed-to and beneficial regional planning among neighboring jurisdictions. The existing IGA governing land-use on the proposed Lake Gulch Whiskey Resort site reflects the result of negotiations primarily between Central, Black Hawk, and Gilpin County.

Specifically, the IGA’s stated purpose is to “establish growth areas for their respective cities . . . for the purpose of planning for and regulating the use of the land within these described growth areas, so as to provide planned and orderly use of the land.”

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