Cinnimon Courtyard Homes is in many ways your typical Front Range common interest community. Residential units are attached and the Association consists of multiple buildings. There is an attractive and well-maintained common area for residents to enjoy. Homeowners are interested in keeping up property values and rely on their management company for enforcement and maintenance oversight thereto. Unlike so many other HOAs, however, Cinnimon Courtyard finds itself in a bit of a geographic “no man’s land.”
The mailing address on envelopes headed to Cinnimon Courtyard says they are destined for Denver. But sales of units in the HOA are tracked by the Arapahoe County Assessor. Still, that Assessor says the properties are in Denver. If that is the case, then why do they bother with property located in another county? Where is Cinnimon Courtyard located – really? What is the meaning of this geographic limbo?
The HOA is located on the southwest corner of E. Mississippi Avenue and S. Dayton Street. As far as official political boundaries are concerned, the City and County of Denver is north of the Association, with the actual boundary being the centerline of E. Mississippi Avenue. If it’s not in Denver, the HOA is must be in Aurora then, right? That is the next city over. No, it’s not in Aurora either. The official boundary of Aurora in this area is the centerline of S. Dayton Street. So it’s not in Aurora…not in Denver…so it must be in a smaller town then, yes? There are plenty of very small towns scattered around the Denver Metro Area, such as Mountain View and Sheridan. So this is plausible…but it isn’t the case here.
Cinnimon Courtyard Homes and nearby properties are located in unincorporated Arapahoe County. This means that the location is not contained within any actual city or town, but rather a part of a county which is overseen by county-level government (one cannot be in the state of Colorado and not be within a county). This situation is more likely to be seen in rural areas or where there is much open space. Examples include, respectively, “village” style settlements such as Grant, in Park County along US-285, and Crown Hill Open Space. The latter is located fully between the cities of Wheat Ridge and Lakewood, but is not within either, and is maintained by Jefferson County because neither city wishes to foot the bill for maintenance. Cinnimon Courtyard is situated between two cities as well, but is not open space, and is actually in a very thickly settled area where the development pattern is not unlike what is seen in nearby Denver and Aurora.
We dug in a little deeper to find out exactly what is going on here. According to Arapahoe County, the land where the HOA sits simply has not been incorporated into Denver or Aurora. They also said that of the two, Aurora would be the most likely annex the property. We gave a City Planner in Aurora a call and he said that the County is correct, but there have been no requests by residents to be welcomed into the municipal boundary. Why? TAXES!!! Cinnimon Courtyard homeowners do not have to pay any municipal taxes since they are not in a city. That leaves them with just county taxes, which allows them to keep more of their income. Already with the services they need, why would they want to pay those extra taxes? It’s not like they are without water on the urban fringe, so why bother? In addition, the City of Aurora would actually be losing money if they took them in, even with the tax dollars, due to provision of fire, police and many other services – so they aren’t eager to annex the property.
So there you have it. It all comes down to taxes.