City of Northglenn v. Ibarra, No. 01SC245.

Docket NºNo. 01SC245.
Citation62 P.3d 151
Case DateJanuary 13, 2003
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

62 P.3d 151

CITY OF NORTHGLENN, Petitioner/Cross-Respondent,
v.
Juliana IBARRA, Respondent/Cross-Petitioner

No. 01SC245.

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc.

January 13, 2003.


62 P.3d 152
Hayes, Phillips, Hoffmann & Carberry, P.C., Herbert C. Phillips, Corey Y. Hoffmann, Denver, Colorado, Attorneys for Petitioner

Holland & Hart LLP, Gregory A. Eurich, Jim Goh, Alison A. Montague, Kimberly A. Dempster, Denver, Colorado, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado,

62 P.3d 153
Mark Silverstein, Denver, Colorado, Attorneys for Respondent

Kelly Haglund Garnsey Kahn LLP, David R. Fine, Denver, Colorado, Amici Curiae for the Colorado Association of Family and Children's Agencies and the CPA Network.

Gorsuch Kirgis LLP, Carmen Beery, Denver, Colorado, Amicus Curiae for the City of Wheat Ridge.

Gorsuch Kirgis, LLP, Paul F. Kennebeck, Denver, Colorado, Amicus Curiae for the City of Lakewood.

Colorado Municipal League, Geoffrey T. Wilson, Denver, Colorado, Amicus Curiae for the Colorado Municipal League.

Hayes, Phillips, Hoffmann & Carberry, P.C., Herbert C. Phillips, Corey Y. Hoffmann, Denver, Colorado, Amicus Curiae for the State of Colorado.

Justice BENDER delivered the Opinion of the Court.

I. INTRODUCTION

In this case we determine the enforceability of Northglenn's Ordinance 1248, which prohibits registered sex offenders from living together in a single-family residence in Northglenn. We hold that state law preempts Ordinance 1248 as it applies to a particular subset of registered sex offenders: adjudicated delinquent children whom the state places and supervises in state-created foster care families. Neither the Colorado Constitution nor state statutes grant Northglenn the power to regulate this matter of statewide concern.

The trial court convicted and fined the respondent, Juliana Ibarra, pursuant to Ordinance 1248 because she provided a foster home for three unrelated adjudicated delinquent children who were also registered sex offenders. On appeal, the district court invalidated Ordinance 1248 and reversed Ibarra's conviction, ruling that the ordinance discriminates on the basis of familial status in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601, and violates Ibarra's right to freedom of association and the right to personal choice in matters of family life. We affirm the judgment of the district court but employ different grounds.

Although Northglenn has an interest in regulating the way that land is used in its community, Ordinance 1248 is not the typical land use ordinance because it also regulates the placement and movement of adjudicated delinquent children in state-created families. Considering the totality of the circumstances, we hold that the state's interest in fulfilling its statutory obligations to place and supervise delinquent children in state-created foster care families in a uniform manner overrides any city interest in regulating land uses. Because our holding that state law preempts Ordinance 1248 as applied to adjudicated delinquent children in foster care disposes of this case, we do not reach the questions of whether Ordinance 1248 violates the Fair Housing Act or Ibarra's right to freedom of association and the right to personal choice in matters of family life.

Thus, we affirm the decision of the district court and return this case to it with directions to remand the case to the trial court for dismissal in accordance with this opinion.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW

For the last fifteen years, Respondent Juliana Ibarra and her husband, Eusebio, have provided foster care services to children in their single family residence in the City of Northglenn. The Ibarras are certified by Lost & Found, Inc., a child placement agency licensed by the State of Colorado. Juliana Ibarra underwent almost ninety hours of specialized training to maintain her certification with Lost & Found, taking classes on various topics including some related to parenting the sexually violated child and/or perpetrator.

In January 2000, Northglenn enacted Ordinance 1248. Section 11-5-2(b)(58) of the ordinance prohibits unrelated, registered sex offenders from living together in a single family home in residential zones in the City of Northglenn.1 The ordinance also provides

62 P.3d 154
that violation of section 11-5-2(b)(58) is a crime and can result in up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000 per day

At the time that the ordinance became effective, the Ibarras shared their home with four unrelated foster children. Three of those four foster children had been the victims and perpetrators of incest and suffered various mental impairments.2 Because of adjudications resulting from that incestuous conduct, these three youths were also required to register as sex offenders pursuant to section 18-3-412.5, 6 C.R.S. (2002).3 The state removed the three children from their parents' homes and placed them with the Ibarras through Lost & Found.4 In 2000, the oldest of the three children had lived with the Ibarras for three years, the middle child had lived there for one year, and the youngest had been with the Ibarras for approximately four months.5

Because the Ibarras continued to share their home with three unrelated adjudicated delinquent children who were also registered sex offenders after the effective date of Ordinance 1248, Northglenn charged Juliana Ibarra with a violation of section 11-5-2(b)(58). Ibarra was convicted of violating Ordinance 1248 and fined $750.

Ibarra appealed to the Adams County District Court, which reversed the trial court, based on its conclusion that the ordinance discriminates on the basis of familial status in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601, and violates Ibarra's right to freedom of association and the right to personal choice in matters of family life. With respect to Ibarra's preemption argument, the district court concluded that Ordinance 1248 is a zoning ordinance that attempts to regulate the use of property, and as such, is a matter of purely local concern.

We granted certiorari to resolve questions related to whether Ordinance 1248 discriminates in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, whether Ordinance 1248 violated Ibarra's right to freedom of association and right to personal choice in matters of family life, and whether the City of Northglenn exceeded its home-rule powers by enacting Ordinance 1248.6

62 P.3d 155
We hold that Ordinance 1248, to the extent that it regulates the number of adjudicated delinquent children that may reside in a particular foster home, is a matter of statewide concern and is preempted. Because this conclusion regarding the home-rule issue is dispositive, we do not reach the other issues presented.

III. ANALYSIS

The law that applies to this case is well-established and the parties do not debate its general contours. Article XX, Section 6 of the Colorado Constitution, adopted by Colorado voters in 1912, granted "home-rule" to municipalities opting to adopt home-rule charters. Colo. Const. art. XX, § 6. The effect of this constitutional provision is that certain cities, which have satisfied size requirements and adopted a city charter, may legislate on matters of local concern that preempt any conflicting state legislation. Id.

We have recognized that regulated matters fall into one of three broad categories: (1) matters of local concern; (2) matters of statewide concern; and (3) matters of mixed state and local concern. City of Commerce City v. State, 40 P.3d 1273, 1279 (Colo.2002). The decision as to whether state or local legislation controls in a given situation often turns on whether a matter is a local, state or mixed concern.

A. To Determine Whether a Home-Rule City May Legislate a Matter, We Must Consider Whether the Matter is a Local, State, or Mixed Local and State Concern

Whether a matter is of local, state or mixed concern determines who may legislate in that area. First, in matters of local concern, both home-rule cities and the state may legislate. See, e.g., id. However, when a home-rule ordinance or charter provision and a state statute conflict with respect to a local matter, the home-rule provision supercedes the conflicting state statute. Id. Second, in matters of statewide concern, the General Assembly may adopt legislation and home-rule municipalities are without power to act unless authorized by the constitution or by state statute. Id. Third, some matters are not exclusively of local or statewide concern, but are properly of concern to both home-rule cities and the state. In these matters of "mixed" concern, local enactments and state statutes may coexist if they do not conflict. Id.

While we have found the terms "local," "state," and "mixed" useful to resolve potential conflicts between local and state legislation, they are not "mutually exclusive or factually perfect descriptions of the relevant interests of the state and local governments." City and County of Denver v. State, 788 P.2d 764, 767 (Colo.1990). Oftentimes, matters are not exclusively of local, state, or mixed concern and imperceptibly merge or overlap. Id. To determine that a matter is of local, state, or mixed concern is to draw a legal conclusion based on the facts and circumstances of each case. Id. At times, we may conclude that a matter is of statewide concern even though there exists a relatively smaller, local interest. Thus, even if the locality may have an interest in regulating a matter to the exclusion of the state under its home-rule powers, such an interest may be insufficient to characterize the matter as being of even "mixed" state and local concern. C.f., id.

B. To Determine Whether a Matter is a Local, State, or Mixed Local and State Concern Depends on the Totality of the Circumstances

We have not developed a specific test that dictates this process of analyzing whether a matter is of local, state, or mixed concern. Commerce City, 40 P.3d at 1280....

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22 practice notes
  • Bartnick v. City of Englewood, Case Number: 2009CV1942
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • June 30, 2012
    ...XX, § 6. A home rule municipality's legislation on local matters preempts any conflicting state legislation. City of Northglenn v. Ibarra, 62 P.3d 151 (Colo.2003). "[R]egulated matters fall into one of three broad categories: (1) matters of local concern; (2) matters of statewide concern; a......
  • Fross v. County of Allegheny
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • May 25, 2011
    ...Ogontz, supra, the Ordinance is not subject to preemption. Id. at 21, 27–28 (citing G.H., 951 A.2d at 226; City of Northglenn v. Ibarra, 62 P.3d 151, 156 (Colo.2003))(local ordinance preempted because “state's interest in fulfilling its statutory obligations to place and supervise delinquen......
  • RHINO v. Rocky Mountain Rhino Lining, No. 01SC447.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • January 13, 2003
    ...Conclusion For the reasons discussed, Snyder has not established a private cause of action under the CCPA. Hence, we reverse the court of 62 P.3d 151 appeals' judgment and remand this case to it with directions to return it to the trial court to vacate the judgment for damages, costs, and f......
  • Colorado Min. Ass'n v. Bd. of County Com'Rs, No. 07SC497.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • January 12, 2009
    ...to state or local regulation." Voss v. Lundvall Bros., Inc., 830 P.2d 1061, 1067 (Colo.1992); see also City of Northglenn v. Ibarra, 62 P.3d 151, 155-56 (Colo.2003). In contrast, statutory counties only enjoy "those powers that are expressly granted to them by the Colorado Constitution 199 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
21 cases
  • Bartnick v. City of Englewood, Case Number: 2009CV1942
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • June 30, 2012
    ...XX, § 6. A home rule municipality's legislation on local matters preempts any conflicting state legislation. City of Northglenn v. Ibarra, 62 P.3d 151 (Colo.2003). "[R]egulated matters fall into one of three broad categories: (1) matters of local concern; (2) matters of statewide concern; a......
  • Fross v. County of Allegheny
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • May 25, 2011
    ...Ogontz, supra, the Ordinance is not subject to preemption. Id. at 21, 27–28 (citing G.H., 951 A.2d at 226; City of Northglenn v. Ibarra, 62 P.3d 151, 156 (Colo.2003))(local ordinance preempted because “state's interest in fulfilling its statutory obligations to place and supervise delinquen......
  • RHINO v. Rocky Mountain Rhino Lining, No. 01SC447.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • January 13, 2003
    ...Conclusion For the reasons discussed, Snyder has not established a private cause of action under the CCPA. Hence, we reverse the court of 62 P.3d 151 appeals' judgment and remand this case to it with directions to return it to the trial court to vacate the judgment for damages, costs, and f......
  • Colorado Min. Ass'n v. Bd. of County Com'Rs, No. 07SC497.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • January 12, 2009
    ...to state or local regulation." Voss v. Lundvall Bros., Inc., 830 P.2d 1061, 1067 (Colo.1992); see also City of Northglenn v. Ibarra, 62 P.3d 151, 155-56 (Colo.2003). In contrast, statutory counties only enjoy "those powers that are expressly granted to them by the Colorado Constitution 199 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Tug of War Over Colorado's Energy Future: State Preemption of Local Fracking Bans
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 44-6, June 2014
    • June 1, 2014
    ...and a court may consider other relevant factors. City of Commerce v. State, 40 P.3d 1273, 1280 (Colo. 2002); City of Northglenn v. Ibarra, 62 P.3d 151, 155-56 (Colo. 2003). However, the Supreme Court has consistently employed these four factors in its analysis. Id. ; Denver , 788 P.2d at 76......

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