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Glossary

Adverse Possession __ Adverse possession is a principle of real estate law whereby somebody who possesses the land of another for an extended period of time may be able to claim legal title to that land. The exact elements of an adverse possession claim may be different in each state.

Big Box __ Big box stores have a large amount of space making it easier for owners to bring in bigger quantities of industrial goods. Definitions of the size of a "big box" retail store will vary from community to community. Commonly, anything above 50,000 square feet is classified as "big box."

Blight __ A run-down area of the city. Some parts of the city become out-dated as buildings age and as variations occur in the type of demand. Certain activities, such as small-scale industry and warehousing, have an adverse effect on the urban environment and, as neighbourhoods decline, they become prone to vandalism. Erstwhile town houses are changed to multi-occupancy. Blighted urban areas of the inner city have now become a political concern and urban renewal schemes have become fashionable.

Brownfields __ Brownfield sites are abandoned or underused industrial and commercial facilities available for re-use. Expansion or redevelopment of such a facility may be complicated by real or perceived environmental contaminations.

Business Improvement District __ A business improvement district (BID) is a public-private partnership in which businesses in a defined area pay an additional tax or fee in order to fund improvements within the district's boundaries. BIDs may go by other names, such as business improvement area, business revitalization zone, community improvement district, special services area, or special improvement district. BIDs provide services, such as cleaning streets, providing security, making capital improvements, and marketing the area. The services provided by BIDs are supplemental to those already provided by the municipality. .

Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) __ The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is responsible for a 9,134 mile highway system, including 3,406 bridges. Each year, this system handles over 48 billion vehicle miles of travel. Although the Interstate system accounts for only about 10 percent (913 miles) of the total mileage on the state system, 40 percent of all travel takes place on our Interstate highways. CDOT's highway construction program attracts private contractors and the low bidder is awarded the project and in turn is responsible for construction of that project. This partnership between government and business works well as we improve and expand our transportation system. CDOT maintenance forces take care of the highway system, plowing snow and repairing pavement. Last winter, these men and women plowed 7.2 million miles of highway. They also repaired road damage and potholes, using more than 248,000 tons of asphalt and 178,800 gallons of liquid asphalt in preservation activities. CDOT is more than roads and bridges. The Division of Aeronautics supports aviation interests statewide, including grants to help improve local airports. CDOT's Transit Unit provides assistance to numerous transit systems in the state. And the Office of Transportation Safety helps local law enforcement agencies with special funds to apprehend drunk drivers and increase use of safety belts.

Community Improvement Districts (CID) __ A community improvement district (CID) is a public-private partnership in which businesses in a defined area pay an additional tax or fee in order to fund improvements within the district's boundaries. CIDs may go by other names, such as business improvement area, business revitalization zone, business improvement district, special services area, or special improvement district. CIDs provide services, such as cleaning streets, providing security, making capital improvements, and marketing the area. The services provided by CIDs are supplemental to those already provided by the municipality.

Comprehensive Development Agreement (CDA) __ A comprehensive development agreement (CDA) is a used to enable private development by sharing the risks and responsibilities of design and construction. In some cases, financing and private investment in the transportation system can be included in the process. It provides a competitive selection process for developing regional projects or much larger undertakings. In addition, this contracting tool can streamline the time needed to deliver the project because multiple tasks can be under way simultaneously

Condemnation __ in property law, condemnation is the process by which a public entity exercises its powers of eminent domain or the revocation of an occupancy permit, or an order for demolition of a building.

Condemnee__ The person or business whose property is taken.

Condemnor __ The government body or private party who files the eminent domain lawsuit seeking to acquire private property for “public use.” Condemnors are usually government agencies. In most states, private utility companies can also be condemnors. In a handful of states, private developers or development corporations have been given the government’s power to condemn private property for private economic development.

Corridor Improvement Authority __Corridor Improvement Authorities are intended to provide communities with an economic development tool that can provide for the correction and prevention of deterioration in business districts, the promotion of economic growth in the Corridor Improvement Authority area, the encouragement of historic preservation, and the authorization of the creation and implementation of development areas and development plans. There are several detailed steps that a community needs to take in establishing a Corridor Improvement Authority, an Authority development plan, and Authority financing plan.

Defendant __ The person who gets sued. In condemnation cases, the defendant is usually the owner of the property being condemned. However, if an owner brings his own lawsuit to prevent a condemnation, the government can be the defendant

Denver Regional Council Of Government (DRCOG) __ The Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG, pronounced Doctor Cog) is a nonprofit, membership organization of local governments in the Denver region of the State of Colorado. DRCOG is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the Transportation Planning Region (TPR) for the region, as well as the regional water quality planning agency and the Area Agency on Aging (AAA). DRCOG covers a region that includes Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin and Jefferson counties and the southwest portion of Weld County.

Development Corporation __ Private corporations that engage in property development. (Occasionally, a government agency will call itself a “development corporation.”) In a handful of states, private development corporations are authorized to condemn property. In other states, the government may transfer land to a development corporation after condemnation or just work with the development corporation in creating a development plan.

Easement __ A property interest that allows the use of the land by someone who does not have title to it.

Economic development __ Some states allow condemnation and transfer to private parties only to eradicate slum or blight. Other states have statutes that allow local governments to condemn for “economic development.” That means that the result of the new project will benefit the local economy. In this situation, the government doesn’t need to even claim there is anything wrong with the property or area to condemn it.

District Improvement Financing __ “DIF” stands for “District Improvement Financing”. A program similar to the DIF exists in nearly every state. These programs essentially allow communities to capture a portion of new tax revenue in a certain area and use that money to pay for capital improvements. No new taxes are levied, and there is no reduction or redirection of existing tax revenue.

Eminent Domain __ Eminent domain is the power to take land for “public use” and with “just compensation” and the process for taking it.

Energy Corridor __ The National Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires the United States Department of Energy (DOE), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS), in cooperation with the Departments of Commerce and Defense, to designate new right-of-way corridors on federal lands for electricity transmission and distribution facilities, and oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines

Fair Market Value__ The amount that a willing buyer would pay a willing seller for a piece of property. In eminent domain situations, because there is no willing seller, appraisers make estimates of how much the property is worth. Fair market value does not include any increased value that will occur as a result of the development project.

FasTracks __ The RTD FasTracks Program is a multi-billion dollar comprehensive transit expansion plan to build 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit, 21,000 new parking spaces at light rail and bus stations, and enhance bus service for easy, convenient bus/rail connections across the eight-county district.

Fugitive Dust __ Fugitive dust is particulate matter which becomes airborne and has the potential to adversely affect human health or the environment. The most common forms of particulate matter are known as PM10 (particulate matter with a diameter of 10 microns or less) and PM2.5 (particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less). High levels of dust particles often originate from activities such as agricultural, mining, construction, and manufacturing. The Department of Environmental Quality protects air quality by regulating fugitive dust emissions. The Activity Permit Program ensures that individuals are aware of fugitive dust emissions regulations and requires them to provide information regarding the location and types of activities so the department can monitor compliance.

Good Faith Offer and Good Faith Negotiations __ Many states require that before a piece of property is condemned, the government must make a “good faith offer” to purchase the property. That usually means thatthe government must get a reasonable appraisal of the value of the property and offer to purchase it for that amount before condemning. Certain states require “good faith negotiations,” which means that the government should try to negotiate with the owner about price before condemning.

Goodwill __ Businesses usually have a base of customers who know them and people who identify them with a particular location. For example, a restaurant that has been in the same spot for 25 years has business goodwill in the form of regular customers and identification with that location. If the restaurant is forced out by eminent domain, it will probably lose business. The government does not compensate for that loss.

Highest And Best Use __ This term has two different uses in the context of eminent domain. When property is condemned and the parties are arguing about just compensation, the rule is almost always that the property must be valued at its highest and best use. So, if a piece of land is vacant but zoned industrial, it is valued as potential industrial land rather than potential residential land. The other way that governments sometimes use the term is that they will argue that property is not being used at its “highest and best use” and that it should therefore be condemned and redeveloped according to its full potential.

Initiative __ A law that originates with citizens, as opposed to the legislature.

Injunction __ An order from a court requiring a person or entity to do or not do something. In eminent domain cases, owners often seek injunctions to prevent the government from taking their property or tearing down their buildings before a final court decision.

Just compensation __ The U.S. Constitution and all state constitutions require that when the government takes property by eminent domain, it must pay “just compensation.” Although the features of compensation vary from state to state, generally it includes the value of land and buildings, but not business goodwill or money to buy a comparable property. Most states and the federal government also provide some compensation for relocation costs.

Homeowners Association (HOA) __ A homeowners' association (abbrev. HOA) is an organization created by a real estate developer for the purpose of developing, managing and selling a development of homes. It allows the developer to exit financial and legal responsibility of the community, typically by transferring ownership of the association to the homeowners after selling off a predetermined number of lots. It allows the municipality to increase its tax base, but reduce the amount of services it would ordinarily have to provide to non-homeowner association developments.

Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) __ One of the most common methods for neighboring jurisdictions to cooperate is for them to enter into interlocal agreements with one another. These agreements may take a variety of forms. The most common form involves a formal contract for services between two jurisdictions under which one government agrees to provide a service to another government for an agreed price. For example, a city may contract with another city for law enforcement services. Intergovernmental agreements may also take the form of a joint service agreement where two or more jurisdictions join forces to plan, finance and deliver a service within the boundaries of all participating jurisdictions. Finally, governments may also enter into various types of service exchange arrangements under which participating jurisdictions agree to lend services to one another, generally without any payment being required. Examples of this type of arrangement are mutual aid agreements for emergency services which exist between many jurisdictions in this state.

Just Compensation __ The U.S. Constitution and all state constitutions require that when the government takes property by eminent domain, it must pay “just compensation.” Although the features of compensation vary from state to state, generally it includes the value of land and buildings, but not business goodwill or money to buy a comparable property. Most states and the federal government also provide some compensation for relocation costs.

Land Bank __ Land banking is the practice of purchasing raw land with the intent to hold on to it until such a time as it is profitable to sell it on to others for more than was initially paid. Land is popular as an investment as it is a tangible asset as opposed to shares or bonds. The intended increase in value may come from inflation, conversion for use as housing, or potential for extraction of raw materials. Typically parcels of land desirable for land banking are those that lie directly in the growth path of rapidly developing cities. The initial goal is to buy undeveloped land that will increase in value because it lies in the path of urban growth. The investment objective is to identify these parcels well in advance of the developers and wait for the value to be realised.

Light Rail __ Light rail or light rail transit (LRT) is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems. The term is typically used to refer to rail systems with rapid transit-style features that usually use electric rail cars operating mostly in private rights of way separated from other traffic but sometimes, if necessary, mixed with other traffic in city streets. If this is the case, then under the law of many countries such systems are then legally tramways, although the vehicles which run on them are sometimes designated "supertrams". Modern light rail technology is flexible and adaptable, and whether any given system is considered a true rapid transit system or not depends on its characteristics.

Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) __ A high-speed rail technology by which a train can travel free of friction at speeds of 480 kilometers (300 miles) per hour or more. The train is suspended on a magnetic cushion about half an inch above an elevated magnetic track, whose moving magnetic field alternately attracts and repels magnets mounted on the train, which is pushed and pulled along by this process.

Metropolitan Redevelopment Area __ Metropolitan Redevelopment Areas are opportunities to invest where there is a desire to add infrastructure, retail and commercial development. Often times, development tools are available in these special zones.

Ports To Plains __ The Ports-To-Plains Corridor is an existing highway corridor between the United States Mexico border at Laredo, Texas and Denver, Colorado. The reason for proposed improvements to this corridor is to expedite the transportation of goods and services from Mexico in the United States and vice versa. The Ports-To-Plains Corridor starts in South Texas and traverses through Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and ends in Colorado.

Private Finance Initiative __ The private finance initiative (PFI) is a way of creating public-private partnerships (PPPs) by funding public infrastructure projects with private capital.

Property Rights __ Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of persons. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property has the right to consume, sell, rent, mortgage, transfer, exchange or destroy their property, and/or to exclude others from doing these things

Public Private Partnership __ Public-private partnership (PPP) describes a government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies. These schemes are sometimes referred to as PPP, P3 or P3. PPP involves a contract between a public sector authority and a private party, in which the private party provides a public service or project and assumes substantial financial, technical and operational risk in the project

Revenue Allocation District (RAD) __ A Revenue Allocation District (RAD) is a designated area of a community where the powers of redevelopment and tax increment finance can be brought to bear.

Rocky Mountain Rail Authority __ The Rocky Mountain Rail Authority (RMRA), a multi-jurisdictional government body comprised of 52 Colorado cities, towns, counties and transit authorities.

Redevelopment __ Changing an area that has already been developed by removing the existing homes, businesses, and other buildings and replacing them with something else.

Redevelopment Area __ Usually the same as a “blighted area.” Redevelopment plan __ After a city has designated a blighted or redevelopment area, it then comes up with (or asks a private consultant to come up with) a plan for redeveloping the area. These large documents are then supposed to guide the course of future redevelopment.

Regeneration Funding __ The common feature of these funding sources is their overriding concern to reinvigorate communities, economies and the physical fabric of deprived urban and rural areas.

Regional Transportaion District (RTD) __ The Regional Transportation District, or RTD, was organized in 1969 and is the regional authority operating public transit services in eight of the twelve counties in the Denver-Aurora-Boulder combined statistical area in Colorado. RTD is governed by a 15-member, publicly elected Board of Directors.

Rezoning __ Action to change the designation of a subject parcel or group of parcels on the zoning map. The effect of a rezoning is to change the permitted uses for the affected parcels.

Self-Financing Bonds __ A rose is still a rose, and tax-increment financing is still tax-increment financing. (See Tax Incremental Financing)

Smart Growth __ Smart growth is an urban planning and transportation theory that concentrates growth in the center of a city to avoid urban sprawl. and advocates compact, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use, including neighborhood schools, complete streets, and mixed-use development with a range of housing choices. Smart growth values long-range, regional considerations of sustainability over a short-term focus. Its goals are to achieve a unique sense of community and place; expand the range of transportation, employment, and housing choices; equitably distribute the costs and benefits of development; preserve and enhance natural and cultural resources; and promote public health.

Statute __ A law that was passed by the federal or state legislature and that is on the books.

Tax Allocation District (TAD) __ A tax-allocation district (TAD), also known as tax incremental financing, is a defined area where real estate property tax monies gathered above a certain threshold for a certain period of time (typically 25 years) to be used a specified improvement. The funds raised from a TAD are placed in a tax-free bond (finance) where the money can continue to grow. These improvements are typically for revitalization and especially to complete redevelopment efforts.

Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) __ (TIF) Tax Incremental Financing; a financing tool available to cities, villages and towns to encourage economic development that would not occur without some public assistance.

Toll Roads __ A toll road (or tollway, turnpike, pike, toll highway or an express toll route) is a privately or publicly built road for which a driver pays a toll (a fee) for use.

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) __ A transit-oriented development (TOD) is a mixed-use/residential or commercial area designed to maximize access to public transport, and often incorporates features to encourage transit ridership. A TOD neighborhood typically has a center with a train station, metro station, train stop, or bus stop, surrounded by relatively high-density development with progressively lower-density development spreading outwards from the center. TODs generally are located within a radius of one-quarter to one-half mile (400 to 800 m) from a transit stop, as this is considered to be an appropriate scale for pedestrians.

Transport Hub __ A transport hub (also transport interchange) is a place where passengers and cargo are exchanged between vehicles or between transport modes. Public transport hubs include train stations, rapid transit stations, bus stops, tram stops, airports and ferry slips.

Travel Demand Management (TDM) __ Travel demand management (TDM) is a key tool to reduce single occupancy vehicle (SOV) travel as well as facilitate mobility options for area residents. It increases the efficiency of the transportation system through the promotion and facilitation of alternative modes of travel such as ridesharing, vanpooling, transit, bicycling, and walking.

Urban Renewal __ Urban renewal (similar to urban regeneration in British English) is a program of land redevelopment in areas of moderate to high density urban land use. (See Redevelopment)

Urban Revitalization __ See Redevelopment and Urban Renewal.


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