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Judge denies motion to dismiss South Metro Fire's lawsuit against Parker's urban renewal authority


A district court judge in Douglas County has denied a motion filed by Parker's urban renewal authority to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by South Metro Fire Rescue.

South Metro filed the suit June 5, alleging the Parker Authority for Reinvestment distributed funds inappropriately, thus depriving SMFR of revenue needed to provide fire and emergency services to its constituents. South Metro alleges it was shorted more than $300,000 in lost revenue in 2016, with approximately $16 million of potential lost revenue at stake over the 25-year life of PAR.

In a written decision dated Oct. 23, Judge Paul King determined South Metro's suit met two requirements under Colorado's Urban Renewal Law to proceed, including that "the plaintiff has, then, adequately alleged an injury in fact," and that South Metro "has a legally protected interest under the Urban Renewal Law, and thus meets both prongs of the test for standing."

PAR had filed the motion to dismiss June 30, alleging that South Metro lacked the standing to assert its claims.

The lawsuit alleges that "PAR is receiving Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue assessed by the Douglas County Assessor and paid by the Douglas County Treasurer without complying with the requirements of the Colorado Urban Renewal Law."

"South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) is pleased that Douglas County District Court denied the motion to dismiss our lawsuit against the Parker Authority for Reinvestment  (PAR) and our case will continue to the fact-finding and discovery phase," South Metro Chief Bob Baker said in a news release. "As we have said from the beginning, the Town of Parker's urban renewal authority is illegally siphoning funds dedicated to the Fire District and giving it to developers.

"The lawsuit asks the court to stop Douglas County from assessing for public safety and giving them to the PAR unless and until the PAR complies with Colorado law."

The judge's decision states that "Colorado Revised Statute 31-25-108(9) clearly outlines the arrangement by which SMF should continue to receive tax revenue, PAR should use tax revenue surplus to fund its urban development and rehabilitation programs, and SMF should receive any unused surplus."

PAR director Jason Rogers responded to the decision in an emailed statement on Oct. 31.

"The Parker Authority for Reinvestment is acting in accordance with Colorado urban renewal law," he wrote. "The South Metro Fire Rescue Authority's allegations are not rooted in fact, and they damage the trust that we've worked hard to develop.

"Out of respect for our residents and our community partners, we will refrain from making inflammatory public comments. Instead, we'll continue to work through the legal system to prevail against this frivolous lawsuit."

South Metro Fire serves Parker, Lone Tree, Castle Pines, Greenwood Village, much of Centennial and some unincorporated areas of Douglas and Arapahoe counties.


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