Colorado Senate Bill 35 Regulates Subdivisions of Land Resulting in One or More Parcels Less Than 35 Acres In Size

This article is intended for educational purposes and not as legal advice. It is always advisable to seek the advice of a licensed attorney regarding the issues discussed in this article.

On May 5, 1972, C.R.S. 30-28-101, the session law that most Colorado attorneys refer to as Senate Bill 35, became effective.  SB 35 was enacted to provide some regulation over the subdivision of land in Colorado, and it required counties to pass regulations to regulate parcels of land smaller than 35 acres and preclude property owners in most circumstances from unilaterally subdividing their property without complying with SB 35.

C.R.S. 30-28-101(10)(a) defines a subdivision or subdivided land as any parcel of land in the state which is to be used for condominiums, apartments, or any other multiple-dwelling units, unless such land when previously subdivided was accompanied by a filing which complied with the provisions of this part 1 with substantially the same density, or which is divided into two or more parcels, separate interests, or interests in common. The 35 acre exemption is inapplicable when the property owner seeks to construct multiple residences on a parcel which is more than 35 acres. Wilkinson v. Bd. of County Comm’rs, 872 P.2d 1269 (Colo. App. 1993).  There are additional exemptions provided for in C.R.S. 30-28-101(10) in subsections (b), (c) and (d). There is no similar exemption from the applicable zoning regulations as SB 35 applies only to subdivision regulations.

Moreover, the sole remedy may be the forced re-combining of the land that gave rise to the illegal subdivision, and this can be a logistic nightmare when years have passed and sometimes ownership as well.

Lastly, don’t forget to refer to Chapter 4 of the Colorado Real Estate Manual regarding subdivisions that require registration with the Division of Real Estate.