DENVER-The presidential race has competition in Colorado for the Nov. 7 election. Voters will be casting ballots on Amendment 24, a constitutional change with far-reaching effects on the state’s development and ability to grow. If passed, the amendment will require cities and counties to create development districts where projects must again go before voters for a “yea” or “nay.”

The anti-sprawl amendment is being opposed by builders, developers, the brokerage community, real estate lawyers … and every possible facet of the development industry. The opponents claim the proposed amendment is too rigid and nearly impossible to change once the constitution is altered. They also claim it is poorly written and ultimately will lead to years of litigation. To date, opponents have raised $4.4 million to defeat the measure.

“You only have to look as far as Boulder to see what will happen,” Jim Neenan, president of the Fort Collins-based Neenan Co., tells “Boulder had discouraged growth for years.” He claims Boulder’s prosperity lies in its suburbs, where developers sought space for their projects. “But if Amendment 24 passes, there will be no place else to go. Companies looking to move to Colorado will simply go to other states where you don’t have the uncertainty,” he contends.

Respected developer Harry Frampton, a partner of East West Partners, has broken from the ranks and is supporting the amendment, a move that some leading opponents say could turn the tide for victory. East West is building more than $1 billion in developments in the state. Frampton believes Amendment 24 will do more good than harm, comparing it to the 1986 tax law changes that removed some benefits of owning a second home.

At first, industry officials thought the tax law changes would destroy the second-home market. Instead, it had been strengthened by forcing developers to build better communities because people no longer were primarily buying second homes solely for investments.

But, few others in real estate see it as Frampton does. “I respect Harry,” says John Shaw, who heads Opus Northwest’s Colorado operation. “But, I certainly don’t agree with him.”

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