Judge issues orders in Baca Grande township petition case

Photo by Patrick Shea Driving south through the Baca Grande Chalets reveals Columbia Point next to Kit Carson Peak.

BACA GRANDE SUBDIVISIONS — District Court Judge Crista L. Newmyer-Olsen issued on Nov. 9 an order for the Baca Grande Property Owners Association and two orders for the volunteer group that petitioned to create the Town of Baca Grande.

District Court involvement dates back to Aug. 8 when the township group filed their original petition. On Sept. 30, the Baca Grande POA filed two motions, one for the court to intervene in the matter and another to dismiss the case. On Oct. 4, the court intervened but did not dismiss the township petition effort. The ruling on Nov. 9 held the motion to dismiss in abeyance while considering an amended petition.

The petitioners submitted an amended petition on Oct. 21. Working without an attorney, the volunteer group is “pro se,” which they claim would hold them to a less stringent standard than a licensed attorney would be expected to meet.

But under a section in the Nov. 9 order entitled “Even Pro Se Parties Must Abide by the Applicable Law,” Judge Newmyer-Olsen noted a detail within the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.

“As mentioned above,” the ruling states, “one of the procedural rules permits a party to file an amended pleading once as a matter of course prior to the opposing party’s filing of a responsive pleading. By filing the Amended Petition, the Petitioners have exhausted their opportunity to amend their pleading as a matter of course.”

However, Judge Newmyer-Olsen’s order also granted permission to amend the petition. The group’s amendment addressed a number of issues raised since the township process began. After holding weekly meetings and updating information for the petition amendment, the group is taking a holiday break. The judge’s second order specified that, “the Petitioners must designate one to three representatives for the signing of pleadings/motions and for conferring with the Association’s counsel prior to filing motions.”

Judge Newmyer-Olsen held the POA’s Motion to Dismiss in abeyance until the amended petition can be fully reviewed, but POA attorneys have until Nov. 16 to notify the court if they will follow the original motion filed on Sept. 30 or will file a new Motion to Dismiss. If they choose to file a new motion, they have until Nov. 23.

On Monday, Nov. 14, the Baca Grande POA board sent an email to members with directions to a folder on the POA website entitled: "Civil Action 2022CV5 - Petition to Form a Town." The 26 documents are publicly available, with the exception of the POA board statement. In addition to orders from the judge, the documents include petition amendment exhibits and motions filed.

The Baca Grande Property Owners Association board of directors will hold its November meeting at 10 a.m. on Nov. 17. Members can attend in person at the Baca Grande POA meeting hall or via Zoom.

According to the township petitioners’ website, “The BG Committee is taking a much-needed break from Zoom meetings ahead of the upcoming holiday. Stay tuned to the website — www.townofbacagrande.info — for a planned community debate, election updates, and our soon-to-be-unveiled Town of Baca Grande Facebook page, Instagram page and YouTube channel! Happy Thanksgiving.”

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