On occasion, cities and counties receive large or complex applications, such as large-scale annexations, requests for trans-mountain water diversion, or construction of an energy facility. 


By their very nature, these requests are not “business as usual” for local government staff. The most effective review and response to these applications often requires a combination of legal, technical, financial, communications and negotiation skills.  The process of review, deliberation and action by local elected officials will typically be under heightened scrutiny.   Local government staff might not have the right mix of technical expertise to manage these applications or simply be fully occupied with other governmental business. 


Even though land use regulations often allow government review costs to be reimbursed by the applicant, it is a complex and time-consuming effort to determine what specialists are needed, manage the selection process, oversee the outside technical consulting team, and insure full legal compliance. 


Coley/Forrest is a member of a practice group that functions as an extension of local government staff to manage these complex and unusual development proposals.  We work side-by-side with our local government clients, blending our skills and expertise with theirs, while the local government maintains control of the process and outcome.  Our practice group regularly works with teams of experts best-suited to the requirements of the particular development application.   Our experience consistently shows that the results are better, faster and more cost-effective than traditional approaches.




We have directly relevant and successful experience that provides us with the ability to better assess our client’s needs for expertise and spot critical issues at the front end of the development review process.  In essence, we know where to look for the “alligators.”


         Our collaboration allows us to hand-pick the very best experts to respond to the unique set of circumstances that each development proposal requires.   This is better than assigning the task to an over-committed local government staff person and better than retaining a single, large firm that might not have the relevant mix of skills and experience or responsiveness. 


         Through our experience, we have crafted state-of-the art remedies and mitigation solutions that can allow a project to go forward, as appropriate, while protecting the community.


These complex development proposals require legally binding and enforceable decisions by elected officials. To minimize risks of legal action from any side, it is critical that the decision making process satisfies applicable ordinances, regulations and statutes.  We are able to the legal expertise applicable to each proposal. The documentation that we provide as part of the review process assists in developing a solid record in case there are legal challenges.




         Our practice group has a proven track record of working expeditiously.  This has significant value to our public sector clients and to the applicant for whom time is always money. 


          The allocation of work among staff members and our team ensures that we can reduce turn-around time for application completeness determinations and staff reports.


          Our long-standing relationships allow us to select and manage outside experts quickly and effectively so that their review time of application materials is minimized.


         We have developed a suite of tools that assist planning commissions and elected decision makers to stream-line the public hearing process


Cost Effective.


         We can know quickly the types of analyses that are necessary as compared to the types of analysis that are unnecessary but costly.  Because we meet with the staff and the applicant in a pre-application or scoping meeting, we assist in identifying the nature and extent of development application reports and studies that will be most useful to the decision-makers and responsive to your regulations. This can save both our client and the applicant needless money and time that often is spent revising deficient reports or preparing and reviewing materials that may not particularly relevant to the issues at hand.


         Typically, the government’s review costs are (or should be) paid by the applicant.  If the applicants know that the review team is technically sound and will move quickly, they are often enthusiastic proponents of this approach.  




The most rewarding feature of our Practice Group is the experience we have had working with county and municipal staff and officials to forge creative solutions to daunting problems.  Our work has yielded lasting professional relationships and personal friendships across the state of Colorado.  Our prior clients have included Boulder County, Chaffee County, Costilla County, Eagle County, Elbert County, Grand County, Gunnison County, Lake County, the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, Park County, Pueblo (City) and Pueblo County, State of Colorado, Summit County and the Summit Water Quality Committee. 


Practice Group Partners.


Coley/Forrest is joined in its Complex Applications Practice Group by two other managers:  Barbara Green and Lane Wyatt.  Other technical specialists are invited to join on a project-specific basis. 


Barbara Green, a founding partner of the law firm of Sullivan Green Seavy LLC, is admitted to practice law in The State of Colorado, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.   She serves as special land use counsel to county and municipal governments and private sector clients, specializing in environmental regulations, intergovernmental agreements, water law, annexation and natural resource extraction matters.    In addition to her legal background, Ms. Green is trained in alternative dispute resolution, group dynamics, public participation and facilitation.  She frequently serves as a mediator on land use disputes arising between developers, local governments and neighborhood organizations.  Ms. Green has managed numerous complex and mixed-disciplined “1041 Regulation” assignments for cities and counties throughout the State of Colorado. 


Lane Wyatt is an engineer and biologist with an extensive background in environmental, water and natural resource management and mitigation. For more than 20 years, Mr. Wyatt has administered one of the nation’s first water shed based organizations that is actively involved in pollution trading.  He advises numerous cities and counties on the complex intricacies of water quantity and water quality issues and related regulatory solutions.  His practice has included detailed technical and policy advice to a number of Colorado counties who are engaged in implementing “1041 Regulations.”

For more information about our Practice Group, contact Jean Townsend.