Ms. Hasbrook is an associate in the Denver office where her practice focuses on oil and gas title matters.  Prior to joining WSMT, Mallory worked as Associate General Counsel and an Escrow Officer for a Colorado title company.  She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Oklahoma in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in geology. &nb...sp;In 2016, she graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.  Shortly thereafter, she relocated from Oklahoma to Colorado. More

Community Land Trusts and the Effort to Implement Affordable Housing

Community land trusts (“CLTs”) are gaining popularity across the country as many communities and city leaders search for ways to develop and maintain affordable housing. Although CLTs are not a new tool, they are becoming more widespread with over 200 now in operation and more likely to follow as people flock to city centers.1 CLTs developed as a mechanism to combat complex social issues - the first CLT was established in Georgia as part of the civil rights movement - and they are certainly not without their critics. It is undeniable, however, that the demand for affordable housing only continues to rise and CLTs may be one answer to this growing problem.

A CLT is defined by the Institute for Community Economics as “an organization created to hold land for the benefit of a community and of individuals within the community.”2 Although typically a nonprofit organization, there are numerous CLT models that can be tailored to fit the community in which they operate. CLTs are typically governed by a board of trustees or directors and acquire land either through purchase or donation. The acquired land can be vacant, agricultural, or residential in nature, but the goal is to determine the best use of this land in the community and develop it accordingly.

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A New Order Under the New Administration: The DOI Seeks to Streamline the Federal Leasing Process

On July 6, 2017, Department of the Interior (“DOI”) Secretary Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order No. 3354, “Supporting and Improving the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program and Federal Solid Mineral Leasing Program.” In an accompanying press release, Secretary Zinke touted the Order as a promise the DOI would “be a better neighbor in the new Trump Administration,” and noted that the Order is in “support [of] the President’s goal of American energy dominance.”

The Secretary also highlighted the importance of compliance with the Mineral Leasing Act (“MLA”), the existing federal law governing lease sales, which states “[l]ease sales shall be held for each State where eligible lands are available at least quarterly and more frequently if the Secretary of the Interior determines such sales are necessary [emphasis added].”1 Once a parcel is leased, an Application for Permit to Drill (“APD”) is filed and there is a statutory thirty-day window to either issue the permit, or notify the applicant of a deferred decision and list the reasons for deferral.2 As Secretary Zinke stated in an interview, the current average wait for APD approval is approximately 257 days, and exceeds 500 days at certain Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) offices.3 Although the Secretary did not mention any pending litigation as grounds for his Order, it is notable that on August 11, 2016, prior to the issuance of the Order, the Western Energy Alliance filed a lawsuit against the Secretary and the BLM centered on the agency’s lack of compliance with the MLA timing mandates discussed above.4

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