Colorado's Notification to Mineral Rights Owners
Posted on Nov. 26, 2012

In today’s current climate of booming oil and gas production, there is an ever growing need to coordinate surface development and subsurface rights.  Colorado has taken the proactive step of requiring notification to mineral rights owners of applications for surface development.

The intent of the act (Article 65.5 Notification of Surface Development) is to “provide a streamlined procedure for providing notice to owners of mineral interests conerning impending surface development and to facilitate the negotiation of a surface use agreement providing for the joint use of the surface and a mechanism for resolution if an agreement is not reached.” C.R.S. § 24-65.5-101.

An applicant submitting an initial application for surface development, such as a sketch or preliminary plat for subdivision or planned unit development, or application for general development plans, special use permits, or zoning for a planned unit development, must first determine whether there are any owners of severed mineral interests:

1.  Who are identified as a mineral estate owner in the county tax assessor’s records for the property (if those records are searchable by parcel number or by section, township and range numbers or similar description); or

2.  Who have filed a “request for notification” in the form specified by statute, with the office of the county clerk and recorder.  C.R.S. § 24-65.5-103.

The applicant must then send written notice to such mineral rights owners, no less than 30 days before the date scheduled for the initial public hearing, of the time and place of the hearing, the nature of the hearing, the location of the property that is the subject of the hearing, and the name of the applicant.  The applicant must also send notice to the local government indicating the name and address of each mineral rights owner to whom notice was given and certify that notice was delivered.

As a condition of approval, the applicant will be required to certify that notice was given and that no mineral rights owner has filed an objection within thirty days after the public heraing or that the application for development provides for access to existing mineral operations and equipment, an oil and gas operations area and a deposit for incremental drilling costs all as spelled out in the statute.  C.R.S. § 24-65.5-103.3.  Compliance with the requirements of the statute will protect the surface rights owner from later challenges from a mineral rights owner. C.R.S. § 24-65.5-104.

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jimAttorney James W. Peters

Jim has handled retail, distribution center, warehouse, storage facility and fuel center transactions from the eastern seaboard to the Pacific Coast and beyond.

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