Eminent Domain – Restrictive Covenants – Compensability of Equitable Servitudes

During appellee sanitation district’s negotiations for the purchase of a tract of land owned by one Peterson, the eighteen appellants and thirty-seven other owners of land in the vicinity of Peterson’s tract executed with Peterson and each other reciprocal covenants whereby each party agreed that his land should be restricted to certain uses, the use contemplated by appellee for Peterson’s land being specifically excluded. When appellee and Peterson failed to reach an agreement in their negotiations and appellee filed a petition for condemnation of the land, appellants presented a cross-petition to the trial court, requesting that they be allowed to intervene in the action as parties respondent and demanding that they be awarded damages because appellee’s proposed use of the condemned land would violate their restrictive agreements with Peterson. On appeal from a judgment denying the cross-petition, held, affirmed. Agreements between private parties could not restrict the exercise of the power of eminent domain by an agency of the state. Such agreements could only create contract rights, not property rights compensable in a condemnation proceeding. Also, to require compensation for the taking of such rights would contravene public policy in placing a large and restrictive burden upon the condemning authority. Smith v. Clifton Sanitation District, (Colo. 1956) 300 P. (2d) 548.