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Melinda M. Beck

Shareholder
Phone
303.575.7529
Email
mbeck@ottenjohnson.com
Assistant

Karen Dunahay, 303.575.7586

Overview

Melinda Beck is a real estate and land use attorney who has more than two decades of experience, both in house and as a government attorney. Melinda partners with clients on commercial and residential developments, land use matters, real estate purchase and sale transactions, easements, office, warehouse and retail leasing, conservation easement transactions, and oil and gas transactions related to real estate. She also assists ranch owners with farm and ranch real estate transactions, including purchase and sale, grazing leases, surface use agreements, easements, and grazing and recreational permits on state land.

Melinda has developed a national reputation for her conservation law expertise, which includes the donation, purchase and sale of conservation easements to land trusts and local governments by private landowners throughout Colorado and nationally. She has worked on purchases funded by Great Outdoors Colorado, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Natural Resource Conservation Service.  She represents land trusts and private landowners regarding all issues related to conservation easement transactions and stewardship, including obtaining discretionary approvals and amendments to conservation easements.  Melinda regularly assists the conservation community with policy issues, including the review of amicus briefs and legislation.

In the land use context, Melinda's experience involves assisting landowners and developers seeking approvals from local governments, including annexation, zoning, subdivision, special use permits, transferable development rights and conservation developments.

Melinda is currently serving on the firm’s Marketing & Business Development Committee, as well as the Recruiting Committee.

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Practice Areas

Experience

Representative experience includes:

  • Phased conservation easements on 16,000+ acres of a ranch in Routt County, Colorado with funding provided by Great Outdoors Colorado, Routt County, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • Conservation easement on 21,000+ acres of a ranch in Douglas County, Colorado with funding provided by Great Outdoors Colorado and Douglas County
  • Phased conservation easements on 3,000+ acres of a ranch in Routt County, Colorado with funding provided by Great Outdoors Colorado, Routt County and a transferrable development purchase
  • Conservation easement on a consolidation of more than 60 mining claims on a 500+ acre ranch in Mineral County, Colorado
  • Real estate local counsel for multi-million dollar merger of beverage companies
  • Real estate counsel for the purchase of a gas-gathering system in Colorado
  • Consolidation and purchase of 6300+ acre ranch in Huerfano County, Colorado

Publications

  • Commercial Uses in Conservation Easements, Land Trust Alliance Rally, 2019
  • Mineral Development and Land Conservation, A Handbook for Conservation Professionals, Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, 2009 and 2nd Edition 2011
  • New West Conservation Easements and Oil and Gas Development, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Conference on Surface Use for Mineral Development in New West, 2008
  • Consider Open Space Easements, Colorado Real Estate Journal, August 2005
  • Conservation Easements, Facts and Findings, The Journal for Legal Assistants, November 2002 & February 2003

Speeches

  • Special Uses, Land Use Law How-To, 26th Annual Conference, CLE International, 2020
  • Renewable Energy and Conservation Easements: Understanding the Opportunities and Challenges, Land Trust Alliance Rally, 2020
  • Green Under Pressure: Current Practices in Land Conservation, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, 2020
  • Recent Tax Court Cases Every Conservation Professional Needs to Know, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Continuing Legal Education for Conservation Professionals, 2019
  • Conservation Easement Transactions A to Z, Lorman Education Services, 2019
  • Building Provisions in Conservation Easements, Land Trust Alliance Rally, 2018
  • New Developments in Conservation Easements, Colorado Bar Association Tax Section Luncheon, 2018
  • Conservation Easement Transactions from A to Z, Lorman Education Services, 2017
  • Building Envelopes in Conservation Easements, Land Trust Alliance Rally, 2017
  • Trends in Qualified Conservation Easements, Denver Estate Planning Council Breakfast, 2017
  • Making Sound Stewardship Decisions: Solving the Mystery of Private Benefit, Land Trust Alliance Rally, 2015
  • Impermissible Private Benefit and Private Inurement, Land Trust Alliance Next Generation Webinar, 2014
  • Qualified Appraisals of Conservation Easements, Land Trust Alliance Rally Seminar, 2014
  • After All These Years: What is a Qualified Appraisal? Land Trust Alliance Rally, 2014
  • Conservation in Court: Lessons Learned, Land Trust Alliance Fourth Symposium on Advanced Legal Topics in Land Conservation, 2014
  • Land Conservation in an Oil and Gas World, Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts Annual Conference, 2013
  • After All These Years: What is a Qualified Appraisal? Land Trust Alliance Rally, 2012
  • Conservation Easements and Fire: Ethical Considerations, 6th Annual Conference on Conservation Easements, 2012
  • Practical Guide to Conservation Easement Decisions Concerning Oil and Gas, Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts Annual Conference, 2012
  • Practical Guide to Conservation Easement Decisions Concerning Oil and Gas, Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts Annual Conference, 2012
  • What to Appraise & How to Plan, Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts Annual Conference Conservation Excellence, 2011
  • Transfer of Development Rights, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Annual Conference, 2010
  • Rights of Surface Owners Under State Oil and Gas Rules, Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts Annual Conference, 2010
  • Ethics – Issues for Land Trusts, Government Open Space Programs and Non-profit and Land Trust Management, CLE International Seminar on Conservation Easements, 2010
  • Government Conservation Easements, CLE International Seminar on Conservation Easements, 2010
  • Subdivision Plats Land Use Law: How-To, CLE International Annual Land Use Conference, 2003, 2005, 2007 & 2010
  • Conservation and Carbon, Land Trust Alliance Rally, 2009
  • Ethical Considerations for Conservation Easement Practitioners, CLE International Seminar on Conservation Easements, 2008
  • Effective Strategies for Working with Local Government, Annual Real Estate Symposium, 2008
  • Proper Conduct at a Public Hearing: What the Law Requires, Land Use Law, CLE International, 2008
  • Conservation Easements Tax Incentives, Lorman Seminar, 2007
  • Mineral Rights and Land Preservation in the Rocky Mountains, Land Trust Alliance Rally, 2007
  • A Year in the Life of a Development Deal, Lorman Seminar, 2004 & 2006
  • Title Review in Conservation Transactions, Land Trust Alliance Conference, 2006
  • Defense of Conserved Lands from Oil and Gas Drilling, Colorado Open Space Alliance Conference, 2006
  • Impacts of Mineral Exploration & Development on Conservation Values, Land Trust Alliance Rally, 2006
  • Conservation Subdivisions, Land Trust Alliance Southwest Conference, 2005
  • Conservation Subdivisions, Land Trust Alliance Rally, 2004
  • Colorado Tax Credits, Colorado Open Space Alliance Annual Conference, 2004
  • Conservation Easements, Colorado Assessor’s Association Summer Conference, 2004
  • Conservation Easements and Tax Benefits, Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts Annual Conference, 2004
  • How to Read Land Use Codes and Statutes: The Top 10 Things to Know, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Annual Land Use Conference, 2004
  • Land Use Litigation: Current Issues, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Annual Conference, 1999

Awards & Involvement

  • Best Lawyers, Real Estate Law (2017-2021)
  • Best Lawyers, Land Use and Zoning Law (2021)
  • Douglas Land Conservancy, Pro Bono Legal Counsel
  • Land Trust Alliance, Conservation Defense Advisory Council, Emeritus Member

Jurisdiction

  • State of Colorado
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Denver Bar Association

Education

  • J.D., University of Denver College of Law (1994)
  • B.A., Pomona College (1988)

Generosity

"I support our Colorado land conservation organizations, including Douglas Land Conservancy, Colorado Open Lands, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust and Keep It Colorado, because preserving open space, parks and other lands in Colorado will benefit our residents for generations."