Land Use Review Program
A primary goal of the CGS is to help local governments plan for new development while reducing the impact of geologic hazards on the lives and property of residents of the state.
When is CGS land use review required?
CGS review is required for all proposed subdivisions that will create lots of less than 35 acres in unincorporated areas. (Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.) 30-28-136 )
Public School Sites
School districts must submit geologic suitability reports to the CGS for land purchases, new schools, and improvements to existing schools involving a change in building footprint. C.R.S. 22-32-124.
Municipal Major Activity
Municipalities must send notice to the CGS of any activity which covers five acres or more, before approving any zoning change, subdivision, or building permit application. C.R.S. 31-23-225.
The CGS can also assist local governments in reviewing/creating
- Any land use application
- Comprehensive plans
- Mineral resource extraction plans
- Subdivision regulations
- Natural hazard mitigation plans
- Zoning codes
Land Use Applications and Guidelines
The request for CGS review must come from the county or municipal planner, school district (or school district’s representative), or other official entity. [Download review form]
CGS Land Use Review Fee Schedule
Reviews for Counties:
- Very small residential subdivision (1-3 lots and <100 acres): $600
- Small subdivision (<100 acres): $950
- Large subdivision (≥100 acres and <500 acres): $1550
- Very large subdivision (≥500 acres): $2,500
Reviews for municipalities: At hourly rate of reviewer
Special reviews: At hourly rate of reviewer
School site reviews: $855
Please contact Karen Berry (303-384-2640) or Jill Carlson (303-384-2643) to discuss details of review or other project needs. In some cases, a fixed cost may be practical. In others, it will be more practical to use hourly fees plus other direct costs attributable to the work.
Geology, Geologic Hazard, Engineering Geology, and Soil Suitability Reports – Engineering Geology Report Guidelines
Counties are required to send subdivision applications to the CGS for review. Applications must include reports about soil suitability and geologic conditions. Cities and counties can adopt more stringent requirements. Please contact your city or county for more information on local rules. (C.R.S. 30-28-136)
All reports must be prepared by a Professional Geologist as defined by Colorado statute. Geologists must have special education and experience. (C.R.S. 23-41-208)
Soil Suitability Reports
Engineers preparing soil suitability reports must have specialized knowledge and experience in mitigation of natural hazards and must consult with geologists, planners, and other professionals.
Subsurface Testing Frequency
Subsurface testing is often conducted during a soil suitability study. Testing and sampling must be done at a frequency that provides a clear indication of soil and bedrock properties. Some cities and counties have specific standards that must be followed. A good example of subsurface testing standards is found in the Jefferson County Land Development Regulations.
Number of Reports Required
Land-use applications should contain both a geology/geologic hazards report and a soil suitability/geotechnical report. They can be combined or submitted as two separate reports. Geology reports or sections of a report must be prepared by a professional geologist.
What is a Geologic Hazard?
Colorado statute defines geologic hazards as a “geologic phenomenon which is so adverse to past, current, or foreseeable construction or land use as to constitute a significant hazard to public health and safety or to property.” (C.R.S. 24-65.1-103) Geologic and natural hazards include: avalanches, landslides, rockfalls, mudflows & debris fans, unstable slopes, potentially unstable slopes, seismic effects, radioactivity, ground subsidence, expansive soil and rock, corrosive soil, floodplains, wildland fire, siltation, and dry wash channels.
In many counties, Colorado law requires CGS to review subdivision plans for potential land use conflicts with extraction of commercial mineral deposits. (C.R.S. 34-1-305)
Plans for mitigation involving engineered structures shall be prepared and signed by a professional engineer, registered in the State of Colorado, and qualified in the field of natural hazard mitigation. Plans should assure that soil and geologic factors affecting the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of structures are recognized, adequately interpreted, and presented for use in engineering practice.
Engineering Geology Report Guidelines
The guidelines that follow are a general outline of what should be included in an engineering geology or soil suitability report. Each report should be site-specific, and should identify all known and potential geologic hazards and soil conditions that may affect the property, proposed land uses, and public safety.
This is a general list of information commonly required in geologic and soil investigations for a land use application. Report authors and applicants should be thoroughly familiar with all federal, state, and local land-use codes, policies, and regulations, especially those pertaining to geologic hazards and soil suitability. These vary widely across Colorado and it is the responsibility of each geologist, engineer, and applicant to become familiar with all applicable codes, policies, and regulations.
- Describe existing and proposed land use and improvements such as structure(s), roads, and utilities.
- Indicate size and relationship of the project to the surrounding area.
- Specify the project location in terms of section, township and range, county, and address if available.
- Depict the project location on an index map of appropriate scale, e..g. USGS 7.5-minute quadrangle map.
- Clearly state the uses for which the report was prepared.
- Indicate the commissioning person or organization.
- State the objective(s) and level of investigation for the study.
- Cite previous published or unpublished geologic and geotechnical reports within the subject area and indicate the author(s), firm, and dates of each report.
- List all the methods of investigation as well as professional firm(s) and individuals who participated.
- Describe the general physiographic setting of the project and its relationship to local
- Describe the general geologic setting of the project and indicate any lithologic, seismotectonic,
geomorphic, or soils problems specific to the area.
- Include the size, frequency, duration and location of historic earthquakes.
- Describe the general surface and groundwater conditions and their relationship to the project area.
- Describe the mineral resources, mining activity (historic, past and current), and mining-related features such as pits and shafts in the general and project area.
- State the extent and method of surface and subsurface geologic studies.
- Indicate the type and accuracy of topographic maps; include the date of the topographic survey and who conducted the survey.
- Prepare geologic map(s) on the project topographic map to show important details commensurate with the purpose of the investigation.
- Show the abundance and distribution of earth materials and structural elements exposed or inferred in the subject area.
- Observed and inferred features or relationships should be so designated on the geologic map.
- Depict significant three-dimensional relationships on appropriately positioned cross sections. Portray all geologic information at the same scale as the project plans.
- Indicate the geologic base map used, date, and significant additions and modifications to previous work.
Remote Sensing / Imagery
- Describe type(s) of photographs or images including instrumentation, processing techniques, and final product.
- Describe the source, date and scale of photographs or imagery used in the investigation. Indicate general relationships observed on the images.
- State type, techniques and objectives of any geophysical investigation(s), quality of the data, and limitations of the geophysical techniques.
- Describe the information used to correlate the geophysical data and known geologic conditions.
- Display the geophysical data on the topographic/geologic maps and cross sections and show cultural features which affect the data.
- State the specific investigative methods, tests conducted, drilling equipment, and date(s) of investigation.
- Show the location of all borings on the topographic and geologic map.
- Show boring logs, geophysical logs, and profiles obtained in the investigation.
- On boring logs, show depths, standard penetration test N-values (blow counts), type of samples, soil descriptions according to the unified soil classification system, lithologic descriptions using standard geologic terminology, critical soil or geologic contacts; and groundwater levels.
- Indicate date(s) of all water level observations.
Test Pits and Trenches
- Describe the location and general dimensions of all pits and trenches, and date of investigation.
- Indicate the location of all excavations on topographic and geologic maps.
- Show soil descriptions according to the unified soil classification system, lithologic descriptions using standard geologic terminology, critical soil or geologic contacts; and groundwater levels.
- Indicate date(s) of all water level observations.
- Provide a large scale descriptive log with sufficient detail commensurate with the features observed.
- Show sample locations and depths if laboratory tests were conducted.
Field and Laboratory Tests
- Describe the type and objectives of any tests conducted in the field or laboratory.
- Describe the sample method and test procedures.
- Show the test results on boring logs, data worksheets and in summary tables.
- Describe the type, objectives, and location of all monitoring programs in the subject area.
- State the monitoring period and frequency, and who is responsible for monitoring and collection of data.
- Describe and map rock types/units and bedding orientation.
- Describe age of and correlation with recognized formations.
- Describe and map dimensional characteristics such as thickness and extent.
- Describe and show on logs distribution and extent of weathered zones.
- Describe physical and chemical characteristics.
- Describe response of bedrock materials to natural processes and proposed land uses.
- Describe and map mineral occurrences.
- Describe and map the distribution, occurrence, and age of fluvial, colluvial, glacial, eolian, mass wasting, and man-made deposits.
- Identify, describe and map material types and sources.
- Describe and map dimensional characteristics such as thickness and extent.
- Describe surface expression and relationships with present topography.
- Describe physical and chemical characteristics.
- Describe and map altered zones.
- Describe response of surficial materials to natural processes and proposed land uses.
- Describe and map mineral occurrences.
- Describe and map landslides, earthflows, debris flows, mudflows, rockfalls, rockfall source areas, debris avalanches, fault scarps, soil creep, erosion scarps, avalanche paths, and subsidence phenomena.
- Describe location, distribution, and dimensional characteristics.
- Describe and map age of feature(s) and history of activity.
- Describe recurrence interval for geomorphic process(es).
- Describe physical characteristics including depth, flow velocities, and impact pressures.
- Describe and map joints, faults, shear zones, folds, schistocity, and foliation.
- Describe occurrence, distribution, and proximity to site.
- Describe dimensional and displacement characteristics of faults.
- Describe orientation and changes in orientation of all structural features.
- Describe and map physical characteristics such as brecciation, slickensides, gouge zones, sand boils, sag ponds, spring alignment, disrupted drainages, and groundwater barriers.
- Describe and map nature of offset(s) and timing of movement(s).
- Describe absolute or relative age of most recent movement.
- Describe and map location of seismic events, including size, frequency, duration and their association with faults or fault systems.
- Describe and map rivers, streams, ditches, dams, ponds, canals, creeks, wetlands, and draws.
- Describe relation to topography (drainage patterns).
- Describe relation to geologic features.
- Describe source, permanence, and variation in amount of surface water.
- Describe and map earlier occurrence of water at localities now dry.
- Estimate peak flows and physiographic flood plain of drainages.
- Describe and map probable maximum or 100-year flood limits, including flash and debris floods Describe water use and quality.
- Describe and map hydraulic gradients, and aquifer characteristics for confined and unconfined aquifers.
- Describe and map saturated zones, depth to ground water, and seasonal fluctuations.
- Describe relation to geomorphology, geologic features, recharge and discharge areas.
- Describe and map potential for perched groundwater and where the chemical content of water poses engineering concerns.
- Describe how on-site sewage disposal impacts water quality and quantity, and geologic hazards.
- Describe and map mineral resources, especially commercial mineral deposits.
- Describe past and current mineral production, mineral rights and agreements.
- Describe how past and current mineral extraction impacts existing and proposed land uses and geologic hazards.
Geologic Hazards and Constraints
- Describe and map landslides, avalanches, rockfall, rockfall source areas, mudflows, debris flows, radioactivity, expansive soil or rock, unstable slopes, potentially unstable slopes, soil creep, hydrocompaction, undermining, subsidence features and mine openings, shallow bedrock, shallow groundwater, erosion and siltation.
- Describe and map earthquake hazards, including the potential for surface rupture (sense and amount of displacement); estimated ground motion, duration, and response variability; potential subsidence or uplift from regional tectonic deformation.
- Describe and map potential secondary hazards associated with earthquake or wildland fire-induced landslides, liquefaction, rockfall, flooding, mudflows, or debris flows.
- Describe and map soil, geologic, geomorphic, structural and man-induced hazards within and near the project area.
- Describe and map age and activity of hazards and correlation with formations and land uses.
- Describe how natural and man-induced features and processes affect hazards.
- Describe potential impact and risk of hazards to project area, existing and proposed land use, and public safety.
- Describe amenability of adverse conditions and hazards for adequate mitigation.
- Describe long-term lateral and vertical stability of earth and man-made materials.
Conclusions and Recommendations
- State whether the proposed land uses are compatible with existing and potential geologic hazards and if mitigation measures are needed.
- Discuss critical planning and construction aspects including waste disposal, the stability of earth materials, grading plans, avoidance of hazards, static and dynamic parameters for the design of structures, the extraction of mineral resources, allowable and excluded land uses.
- Clearly state the basis for all recommendations and conclusions.
- Discuss mitigation measures and procedures needed to mitigate or abate geologic hazards, adverse conditions, or mineral resource conflicts.
- Each hazard, adverse condition, and mineral resource conflict must be addressed.
- Provide detailed construction and maintenance plans for each mitigation measure.
- Include recommendations for any additional hazard studies or mitigation plans.
- All recommendations, mitigation measures, and plans must ensure the long-term stability and adequate performance of the project, protect public safety, and be compatible with existing and proposed land use.
Geologic Hazards, Land-Use Laws, and Professional Standards of Practice in Colorado
by David C. Noe, P.G., Senior Geologist (retired), March 1999, revised January 2020 by Jill M. Carlson, C.E.G., Senior Engineering Geologist
Following is an overview of natural and geologic hazards, as legally defined in Colorado, and a description of the role of the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS) in conducting land-use reviews and assisting local governments in making land-use decisions.
The overview describes developer and/or consultant reporting responsibilities and the CGS review process in relationship with pertinent state statutes and local regulations. Included is a resource list concerning geologic hazards and land-use considerations. It also discusses issues surrounding professional standards of practice for geologists and engineers in Colorado.
Natural Hazards and Geologic Hazards
Natural hazards and geologic hazards are legally defined in C.R.S. 24-65.1-103 . The natural hazards named and defined in this statute consist of wildfire hazards, flood hazards, and geological hazards. A geological hazard is defined as “…a geologic phenomenon which is so adverse to past, current, or foreseeable construction or land use as to constitute a significant hazard to public health and safety or to property.” The term includes, but is not limited to avalanches; landslides; rock falls; mudflows; unstable or potentially unstable slopes; seismic effects; radioactivity; and ground subsidence. There are several geologic phenomena that qualify as geologic hazards that are not named in the statute. These include debris flows; expansive soil; heaving bedrock; corrosive soil; erodible soil and rock; and coal-bed methane seeps.
The Colorado Geological Survey
The CGS, created in 1967, was an agency within the Department of Natural Resources, but is now within the Colorado School of Mines. C.R.S. 23-41-205  sets forth the following general purposes for the CGS with regard to land-use activities: (1) assist, consult with, and advise existing state and local governmental agencies on geologic problems; (2) evaluate the physical features of Colorado with reference to present and potential use, and (3) determine areas of natural geologic hazards that could affect the safety of or (cause) economic loss to the citizens of Colorado. In addition, the CGS is charged with conducting studies, collecting geologic information, and publishing maps, reports, and bulletins when necessary to achieve these purposes.
Geologic Land-Use Report Submittals
Several state statutes and/or regulations specify requirements for the submission of geologic suitability reports in conjunction with land-use applications. Other statutes address the manner in which geologic hazards are to be addressed and disclosure of hazards and/or soil conditions to new homebuyers. These are summarized as follows:
C.R.S. 30-28-133  requires subdividers to submit reports, data, surveys, analyses, studies, plans, and designs concerning “geologic characteristics of the area significantly affecting the land use and determining the impact of such characteristics on the proposed subdivision,” potential radiation hazards, soil suitability, and any soil or topographic conditions that present hazards or require special precautions. The subdivider must identify areas of a proposed subdivision where such relevant site characteristics exist, and the proposed uses of those areas should be shown to be compatible with such conditions. C.R.S. 30-28-136 directs county planning agencies to refer a copy of the preliminary plan submittal to the CGS for review.
C.R.S. 24-65.1-202 requires that all developments in areas designated by counties as geological hazard areas shall be engineered and administered in a manner that minimizes significant hazards to public health and safety or to property. Local governments are instructed to administer such areas in a manner that is consistent with model guidelines for land use in each type of natural hazard area. Model guidelines for geologic-hazard areas are available in the CGS publication SP-06 Guidelines and Criteria For Identification and Land-Use Controls of Geologic Hazard and Mineral Resource Areas.
C.R.S. 22-32-124  requires school districts to submit reports regarding geologic suitability for raw land purchases, new school plans, and improvements to existing schools to the CGS for review.
C.R.S. 6-6.5-101  requires the developer or builder of a new residence to provide the purchaser with a summary of soil and hazard analyses and the site recommendations. This should be done at least fourteen days prior to closing the sale. On those sites where significant potential for expansive soils is found, the builder must supply the buyer with a publication that addresses the following items: (a) problems that are associated with swelling soils; (b) building methods to address these problems; and (c) suggested care and maintenance. The CGS published SP-43 A Guide to Swelling Soils for Colorado Homebuyers and Homeowners that addresses these items.
Applicants for new or replacement water treatment facilities having 2,000 gpd or greater capacity are required to submit geologic suitability reports to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Water Quality Control Division (WQCD). Such reports were previously referred to the CGS; however, CGS geologic reviews are no longer mandatory as a result of 1998 rule changes by WQCD. Water and sanitation districts and/or local government agencies may, for certain cases and at their option, request a CGS special-use review of water treatment facilities.
Qualifications for Geologic-Suitability Reports
C.R.S. 23-41-208 identifies requirements for geologic-report preparers, and defines a “professional geologist” as follows:
“Professional geologist” is a person who is a graduate of an institution of higher education which is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency, with a minimum of thirty semester (forty-five quarter) hours of undergraduate or graduate work in a field of geology and whose post baccalaureate training has been in the field of geology with a specific record of an additional five years of geological experience to include no more than two years of graduate work.
Geologic Land-Use Report Reviews by the CGS
The CGS is charged, under C.R.S. 23-41-205 and C.R.S. 30-28-136, with evaluating geologic factors that would have significant impact on the proposed use of the land for subdivision purposes by reviewing preliminary plat applications. The agency conducts a variety of special-use reviews and provides technical assistance to county and city governments (C.R.S. 31-23-225 , C.R.S. 24-65.1-302), school districts (C.R.S. 22-32-124), and water and sanitation districts and quasi-government agencies upon request. Subdivision reviews account for a majority of CGS review activities. The CGS is authorized, under C.R.S. 23-41-207, to establish and collect fees to recover direct costs of providing review services.
For most cases, the CGS receives and reviews geologic-suitability reports (under various titles such as “geologic,” “geologic hazard,” and “geotechnical” reports), drainage reports, and plat maps submitted for proposed C.R.S. 30-28-133 subdivisions. A CGS engineering geologist conducts a site visit if necessary to check the submitted information. The reviewer then responds to the local-government planning agency from which the submittal packet was sent. A review period of twenty-one days is specified under C.R.S. 30-28-136. There are four basic levels of response: (1) no geologic concerns, (2) geologic hazards and/or geotechnical constraints have been satisfactorily characterized and appropriate mitigation recommendations have been provided, (3) additional investigation, characterization, analysis and recommendations are needed, or (4) hazards are present which cannot be reasonably avoided or mitigated, and which preclude the proposed development.
CGS reviews are advisory in nature, and are therefore non-binding. The local-government planning agency may choose to disregard the CGS review, although this is seldom the case. The extent of the review is determined primarily by the stage of planning, complexity of the project, and/or the severity of geologic constraints. Each site will have unique geologic conditions, and must therefore be investigated and reported accordingly. For preliminary plat-level reports, the geologic investigation should go beyond a simple reconnaissance; it should be a solid, preliminary level investigation that addresses subsurface as well as surface conditions.
Suggestions for Writers of Geologic-Suitability Reports
Model engineering geology report guidelines are found under the Report Guidelines tab and in the CGS publication SP-12 Nature’s Building Codes: Geology and Construction in Colorado. Reports should describe all geologic conditions at the project site, identify and interpret correctly the impact of those conditions on the development as proposed, and make complete and reasonable recommendations regarding the mitigation of any adverse conditions and/or mineral-resource conflicts. In general, the geologic data and interpretations should be used to formulate a development plan that considers and incorporates all potentially impactive geologic conditions. The data and interpretations should not be used solely as a justification for the proposed development.
Engineering geologists in Colorado have, through time, strayed from including statements of credit and qualification as part of a geologic-suitability report (i.e., who supervised the geologic investigation, who did the field work, and the qualifications of those workers as professional geologists as defined in C.R.S. 23-41-208). The CGS suggests that geologists should return to this practice to ensure the credibility of the engineering geology profession. In addition, a statement should be made that the report is in compliance with the appropriate state statute(s) and local-government regulations, and those statutes and/or regulations should be specifically cited.
Resources for Land-Use Practitioners
A variety of resources are available to the professional geologist and other practitioners who wish to learn more about geologic hazards and associated land-use planning in Colorado. The reader is referred to CGS IS-47 Geologic Hazards Avoidance or Mitigation: A Comprehensive Guide to State Statutes, Land Use Issues and Professional Practice in Colorado for more information. The following paragraphs outline some of these resources:
State statutes and local regulations — Developers, geologists, and engineers should be familiar with the statutes and local land-use regulations that are applicable within the jurisdiction in which their projects are located. The statutes are found in the Colorado Revised Statutes. The local land-use regulations are available through county or city planning departments. Many of these resources are available on the internet.
HB 1041 Maps — House Bill 1041 directed counties to create their own geologic-hazard maps to establish areas of state interest (natural hazard areas) and to serve as planning tools. The counties used the CGS and/or private-sector consulting geologists to produce the maps, which are basically reconnaissance-level studies. These maps should be regarded as being a starting point for any site-specific geologic-suitability investigation. A particular county’s HB 1041 maps should be available for inspection at the county planning department, as well as through the CGS.
CGS publications — The CGS has published numerous books, reports, and maps that may be used in conjunction with land-use planning. The information in these publications ranges from general to site-specific in scope, and may address a particular or a number of relevant topics.
CGS Mine Subsidence Library — On behalf of several federal and state mining agencies, the CGS maintains a library of coal-mine and associated ground-subsidence hazard reports and maps for use by geologic and engineering consultants. Copies of these materials are available to researchers upon request, at a minimal cost. Information requests by the general public are researched at no cost to the requestor.
Professional Standards of Practice
In Colorado, there are presently two related issues of interest to geologists and engineers. One issue concerns the boundaries and overlap between the two practices. The limits of professional practice for geology and engineering are of interest because engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers often perform overlapping functions. Some practitioners qualify as both, but most are either a geologist or an engineer by training. There is concern that reports containing geologic information are not being prepared or approved by a qualified geologist, as is required by C.R.S. 23-41-208.
The second issue concerns the need for registration of geologists. Geology is not a registered practice in Colorado at this time; the profession is defined and geologists are qualified under C.R.S. 23-41-208. At least three attempts for professional registration have been defeated over the past decades, largely because of objections from minerals and mineral-fuels geologists. In general, the engineering geologists in Colorado rely on the definition and typical scope-of-work of a professional engineering geologist that is provided by the Association of Engineering Geologists, a national organization.
Geologic hazards are an important consideration for land-use and development activities in Colorado. This text outlines many of the State’s pertinent statutes for geologic suitability assessment, and the role of the Colorado Geological Survey in providing technical assistance to local government agencies and technical information to the private sector and the general public.
1. C.R.S. 24-65.1-101, et seq., Areas and Activities of State Interest.
2. C.R.S. 23-41-201, et seq., Geological Survey.
3. C.R.S. 30-28-101, et seq., County Planning.
4. C.R.S. 22-32-101, et seq., School District Boards – Powers and Duties.
5. C.R.S. 6-6.5-101, Soil and Hazard Analyses of Residential Construction.
6. C.R.S. 31-23-225, Major Activity Notice.
Mineral Resource Preservation
C.R.S. TITLE 34 Mineral Resources:
34-1-305. Preservation of commercial mineral deposits for extraction
(1) After July 1, 1973, no board of county commissioners, governing body of any city and county, city, or town, or other governmental authority which has control over zoning shall, by zoning, rezoning, granting a variance, or other official action or inaction, permit the use of any area known to contain a commercial mineral deposit in a manner which would interfere with the present or future extraction of such deposit by an extractor.
(2) After adoption of a master plan for extraction for an area under its jurisdiction, no board of county commissioners, governing body of any city and county, city, or town, or other governmental authority which has control over zoning shall, by zoning, rezoning, granting a variance, or other official action or inaction, permit the use of any area containing a commercial mineral deposit in a manner which would interfere with the present or future extraction of such deposit by an extractor.
(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a board of county commissioners, a governing body of any city and county, city, or town, or any other governmental authority which has control over zoning from zoning or rezoning land to permit a certain use, if said use does not permit erection of permanent structures upon, or otherwise permanently preclude the extraction of commercial mineral deposits by an extractor from, land subject to said use.
(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a board of county commissioners, a governing body of any city and county, city, or town, or other governmental authority which has control over zoning from zoning for agricultural use, only, land not otherwise zoned on July 1, 1973.
(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a use of zoned land permissible under the zoning governing such land on July 1, 1973.
(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a board of county commissioners, a governing body of any city and county, city, or town, or any other governmental authority from acquiring property known to contain a commercial mineral deposit and using said property for a public purpose; except that such use shall not permit erection of permanent structures which would preclude permanently the extraction of commercial mineral deposits.
Source: L. 73: p. 1048, Section 1. C.R.S. 1963: Section 92-36-5. L. 75: (6) added, p. 1336, Section 2, effective June 29.
Law reviews. For article, “Severed Minerals as a Deterrent to Land Development”, see 51 Den. L. J. 1 (1974).
This section does not deprive landowners of reasonable use of their property, and thus does not constitute a governmental taking. Cottonwood Farms v. Bd. of County Comm’rs, 725 P.2d 57 (Colo. App. 1986), aff’d, 763 P.2d 551 (Colo. 1988).
Local governments can permit uses compatible with mining. By zoning, rezoning, granting a variance, or other action or inaction, local governments can permit any use of land known to contain a commercial mineral deposit so long as the permitted use is not incompatible with mining, such as erecting permanent structures on this land; the preservation act does not require local governments to allow mining in any area where it is commercially practicable, but only to preserve access to the mineral deposits. C M Sand Gravel v. Bd. of County Comm’rs, 673 P.2d 1013 (Colo. App. 1983).
Licensure of Geologists in Colorado
Currently, Colorado does not require licensure or registration of geologists. Colorado Revised Statutes requires that geologic reports be prepared or authorized by a professional geologist. Professional Geologist is a term defined in Colorado statute:
23-41-208. Reports concerning geologic information – definitions
- (1) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
- (a) “Geology” means the science which treats of the earth in general; the earth’s processes and its history; investigation of the earth’s crust and the rocks and other materials which compose it; and the applied science of utilizing knowledge of the earth’s history, processes, constituent rocks, minerals, liquids, gasses, and other materials for the use of mankind; and
- (b) “Professional geologist” is a person engaged in the practice of geology who is a graduate of an institution of higher education which is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency, with a minimum of thirty semester (forty-five quarter) hours of undergraduate or graduate work in a field of geology and whose post-baccalaureate training has been in the field of geology with a specific record of an additional five years of geological experience to include no more than two years of graduate work.
- (2) Any report required by law or by rule and prepared as a result of or based on a geologic study or on geologic data, or which contains information relating to geology and which is to be presented to or is prepared for any state agency, political subdivision of the state, or recognized state or local board or commission, shall be prepared or approved by a professional geologist.
Source: L. 2012: Entire part added, (HB 12-1355), ch. 247, p. 1194, Section 1, effective June 4.
[Ed: This section is similar to Sections 34-1-201 and 34-1-202 as they existed in 2012.]
For more information refer to the National Association of State Boards of Geology.