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Judge rules lawsuit challenging Aurora project can move forward

August 30, 2014
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photo - A rendering of the proposed Gaylord Rockies Hotel and Conference Center, a 1,500-room hotel and water park in Aurora.
A rendering of the proposed Gaylord Rockies Hotel and Conference Center, a 1,500-room hotel and water park in Aurora. 

A lawsuit challenging a portion of the multimillion-dollar incentive package offered to the developer of the proposed Gaylord Rockies hotel and conference center in Aurora will go forward, according to a ruling Friday by Adams County District Court Judge Ted C. Tow.

Aurora residents David Bishop and Regina Thomson filed a lawsuit in February saying a number of the incentives offered to the hotel developer violated various aspects of state law. Several of the claims were dismissed earlier in the process, but Aurora argued Monday at the courthouse in Brighton that the remaining four claims should be tossed as well.

Those claims dealt with whether Aurora's creation of an "enhanced taxing area" and the subsequent election in that area to raise two taxes for the benefit of the developer violated the state's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.

TABOR is a voter-approved constitutional amendment that, among other things, requires voter approval for tax increases and increased government spending.

The Aurora City Council 
authorized the enhanced taxing area and the election to raise taxes at a meeting in June 2011. Only one person voted in the election as the land included in the taxing area is owned by a single corporate entity.

In all, the incentive agreement put in place three years ago is worth between $300 million and $800 million, but no money will be paid out unless the development is up and operational.

Tow ruled Friday that it was not a foregone conclusion that Aurora would win the legal argument in the case and it will now move forward.

Construction of the proposed Gaylord Rockies is being held up by the pending litigation, the city reported to the state this month.

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Contact Megan Schrader:

286-0644

Twitter: @CapitolSchrader

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