Today, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued an opinion addressing the statutory declaration amendment process set forth in C.R.S. 38-33.3-217(7). This process allows community associations that have sought to amend their declaration, and received fewer approvals than required to amend the declaration outright, to obtain a court order that approves the amendment notwithstanding the vote result.
The statutory process is pretty black-and-white; if the Association complies with the statute’s requirements and fewer than 33% of those entitled to vote file written objections, the court "shall" approve the amendment. "Shall" is mandatory, but some courts have declined to approve petitions notwithstanding this language.
In Centennial Ranch and Aspen Mountain Ranch Association v. Fuller et al., 14CA1326, the Court of Appeals held that when a court determines that a community association has met the requirements of Section 217(7), it errs if it denies the petition to amend. The Court of Appeals further determined that another community association case analyzing the substantive impact of an amendment did not expand the statutory criteria for the court’s analysis of a petition to amend.
We have always considered the process in Section 217(7) be fairly straightforward, and are pleased to have a Court of Appeals decision that supports our analysis. It’s more important today than ever to make sure your amendment process complies with the Section 217(7) requirements, and to make sure that you comply before you end up with insufficient voter turnout.