SAVE OPEN SPACE DENVER FILES LAWSUIT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Colette Carey

EJ Reilly & Associates

(720) 815-6800

ccarey@ejreillyandassoc.com

SAVE OPEN SPACE DENVER FILES LAWSUIT OVER THE PARK HILL GOLF COURSE LAND CONSERVATION EASEMENT

A coalition of concerned citizens from every City Council District galvanize in the

fight to save Denver’s precious and ever-shrinking green space

DENVER (June 23, 2021) In a new and critical development regarding the Park Hill Golf Course land, Save Open Space Denver (SOS), along with plaintiffs from each City Council District – today filed a Complaint in Denver District Court seeking a court order regarding the City-owned 2019 conservation easement that preserves the Park Hill Golf Course land for open space and recreational conservation purposes – preventing development on that land. The Complaint claims are based on the Colorado conservation easement statute that prevents termination, release, extinguishment, or abandonment of a conservation easement without a court order that (based on changes on or surrounding protected land) it has become impossible to continue fulfilling an easement’s conservation purposes.  

SOS and the other citizen plaintiffs seek a court order stating that the City is violating the Colorado conservation easement statute by expending significant taxpayer-funded, government resources to engage in an expensive planning and development process without first securing a statutorily mandated court order allowing termination, release, extinguishment or abandonment the 2019 conservation easement. The plaintiffs also seek a court order requiring the City to cease and desist from further actions and expenditures inconsistent with the open space and recreational conservation purposes of the 2019 conservation easement until the City might secure such a court order regarding that easement.

“What this boils down to is the simple fight over green space versus concrete, and we have citizens from all walks of life who put their names on this lawsuit, ” said Penfield Tate, one of the plaintiffs named in the complaint, “The City is wastefully spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a major planning and development process for land that cannot be developed without a court order under Colorado law. Since the City refuses to address the Colorado conservation easement statute mandate, we’re seeking a court order that it must do so, now.”

The complaint also alleges that the City’s planning and development process “is effectively a real estate development joint venture project between the City and Westside Investment Partners.” To support this, the plaintiffs cite an internal December 2019 email from the Executive Director of the Planning and Development Department, Laura Aldrete, in which she refers to the developer (Westside) as the City’s “client.”  Another allegation cites an admission by Ms. Aldrete at a January 2021 City Council Budget and Policy Committee meeting that her department’s planning and development process for the Park Hill Golf Course land is “market driven by a developer.”  

A full copy of the filed complaint can be found at the following link:

https://bit.ly/3xIESTe

The plaintiffs are as follows, listed by Denver City Council District:

District OneRafael Espinoza
District TwoXochitl Gaytan
District ThreeJason Paul McGlaughlin
District FourAnthony W. Pigford
District FiveLaurie B. Bogue
District SixJoan Fitz-Gerald
District SevenAnne McGihon
District EightPhebe Lassiter, Nancy Young, Penfield Tate
District NineJeff “Brother Jeff” Fard, Yadira Sanchez, Wellington Webb
District TenRegina Jackson
District ElevenGabriel Lindsay

About SOS Denver

Save Open Space Denver (“SOS Denver”) is a grassroots community group focused on the future of the Park Hill Golf Course land. We are dedicated both to the preservation of the beautiful 155-acre open space and to the eventual acquisition of the land by the City to create a fabulous park for all.

www.sosdenver.net

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YES FOR PARKS AND OPEN SPACE RECEIVES CONFIRMATION ON BALLOT INITIATIVE

Denver citizens overwhelmingly support additional protections for parks and open space

DENVER, CO (June 22, 2021) The YES for Parks and Open Space ballot committee received notice of sufficiency today from the Clerk and Recorders office, confirming that their initiative has secured a spot on the November 2nd ballot.

SEE HERE

“This is great news for us and great news for Denver,” said Penfield Tate, leader of the YES for Parks and Open Space initiative. “Ensuring protection for park land and open space in this city is something that every citizen should have a voice in – and our “Green” initiative gives them that voice. There is a very clear choice for Denver voters, green space versus concrete and asphalt. Now, onto a victory in November!” 

The YES initiative language is simple:

“Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt a measure prohibiting the following without the approval of voters in a regularly scheduled municipal or special election:

  • any commercial or residential development on land designated as a city park and land protected by a City-owned conservation easement except where consistent with park purposes, conservation easement purposes, or for cultural facilities, and
  • any partial or complete cancellation of a City-owned conservation easement unless for the purpose of creating a new park?”

YES for Parks and Open Space submitted well over 14,000 petition signatures, well beyond the 8,265 needed to make the November ballot.

About YES for Parks and Open Space

YES for Parks and Open Space is an initiative launched by a group of concerned citizens who want to ensure that the voters in the City and County of Denver have a voice in how the land in our designated parks and open spaces – protected by city-owned conservation easements – can be used. ###

Denver launches planning process for 155-acre Park Hill land protected from development

Open space battle intensifies with opponents urging city to buy back land

 

Denver leaders this week are launching a planning process for the 155-acre former Park Hill Golf Club site that has been protected as golf-related open space under a legal restriction that blocks development.

City officials on Monday told The Denver Post their “visioning” process is necessary to explore how this conservation easement could be changed.

But a coalition of residents ramped up their opposition, saying city officials are wasting time and money planning for development that cannot be done.

At a forum Monday, opponents urged city leaders to use $5 million in open space tax funds to buy back the land developer Westside Investment Partners purchased for $24 million in 2019. They said this is a last relatively inexpensive chance to preserve open space near the city center, casting it as a battle for justice and the soul of the city.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

SOS Denver Press Conference Feb 8 2021

DENVER, CO (February 8, 2021) Save Open Space Denver (“SOS Denver”), the grassroots community organization that has been working for over four years on issues related to the future of the Park Hill Golf Course land, will hold a virtual press conference on Monday morning February 8th, from 10:30​ to 11:00 a.m. The Zoom meeting will expose some of the very important concerns facing the future of the Park Hill Golf Course land and its conservation easement. The meeting will also address issues with the way in which the City is proceeding regarding the land by launching this “visioning” and planning effort. SOS Denver has presented these concerns in writing to Mayor Hancock and his administration today, with copies to Denver City Council members. A copy of this letter will be released to press via email Monday morning. The main concerns include: • Why is the City proceeding with a “visioning” and planning process for development on land that is legally protected from development by a conservation easement? • If the City has plans to lift the easement to allow development, how do they plan to do this in compliance with the Colorado conservation easement statute? • If this planning process goes forward, what, if anything, can be done to neutralize the inherent bias of a developer-driven process, orchestrated to produce a pro-development outcome for the real estate developer landowner? Tony Pigford and Woody Garnsey from SOS Denver will be on hand to present the latest on this fight to protect this critical open space and will be available to take questions.