Vacant Land Classification
In February of 2020, the Colorado Supreme Court issued rulings in several property assessment appeal cases, and therein resolved several ambiguities and clarified the definition of “residential land” for tax purposes. To reflect these court rulings, Colorado Revised Statutes were updated for 2022. C.R.S. 39-1-102(14.4) (a) states that for undeveloped land to qualify as “contiguous” residential land, the parcel seeking contiguous residential status must:
1. Have identical ownership with the Residentially improved parcel.
2. Be contiguous to the Residentially improved parcel.
3. Contain a related improvement that is essential to the use of the Residentially improved parcel.
Per Colorado Revised Statutes, section 39-1-102(14.4) (a)(I), residential land is defined as “a parcel of land upon which residential improvements are located.” The term also includes “a parcel of land without a residential improvement located thereon, if the parcel is contiguous to a parcel of residential land that has identical ownership based on the record title and contains a related improvement that is essential to the use of the residential improvement located on the identically owned residential land.”
Garfield County Clerk and Recorder records are used to determine whether parcels are identically owned. For example, if a family has multiple trusts, each with different names, and each trust owns parcels that are contiguous with the other trust’s residential land, the contiguous undeveloped parcel will not be classified as residential land unless the owner/trust names are common in the real estate records of the Clerk and Recorder. This is true even when the trustee, benefactor, etc. are the exact same for both trusts.
Further, parcels will no longer qualify for residential land classification if the vacant parcels do not contain a “related improvement” that is essential to the residentially improved parcel as of January 1, 2022. A related improvement is defined in statute as:
“a driveway, parking space or improvement other than a building, or that portion of a building designed for use predominantly as a place of residence by a person, a family or families.”
If you have questions please contact the Assessor’s Office at (970)945-9134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.