Denver Starting Small-Area Planning Process for Park Hill Golf Club

Conor McCormick-Cavanagh| October 23, 2020 | 7:55am

Denver will soon initiate a small-area planning process for the 155-acre property that includes the now-closed Park Hill Golf Club, and the developer that bought the property has agreed to participate.

“I want to reaffirm our commitment to honestly listening to the people who will bring this project to life and to a transparent and equitable dialogue,” says Kenneth Ho, the project lead at Westside Investment Partners, in a statement announcing the agreement. “We recognize that there is a higher bar for community benefits on this site, and we are committed to ensuring that the end result of this project reflects the values and needs of the community.”

The announcement comes two months after Denver City Council voted against referring a measure to the ballot that would have required voter approval for the city to lift any conservation easements, which limit development possibilities for the property. For decades, the Park Hill Golf Club has been under a conservation easement that largely prevents it from being used for anything other than a golf course, according to an analysis by city attorneys.


Resolution Passed By The Democratic Party of Denver Central Committee

Resolution Supporting The Continued Protection of The Park Hill Golf Course Land Conservation Easement

The Democratic Party of Denver Central Committee Meeting, January 25, 2020

WHEREAS The Platform of The Democratic Party of Denver states in its opening paragraph that “We stand for individual freedom and the needs of the community. We believe government should serve all the people. We believe the economy should be democratically owned and controlled in order to serve the needs of the many, not
to make profits for the few”; and

WHEREAS The Platform of The Democratic Party of Denver goes on to say that “We must protect land, water and air as we manage growth and modernize our transportation and energy infrastructure. We must conserve limited water resources and expand and preserve Denver’s parks, wetlands and green and open spaces;” and

WHEREAS the Platform of The Colorado Democratic Party states in its values-centered preamble that “Colorado is beautiful. And we want to keep it that way. Our economy and health depend on it. The health of our land, air, and
water–and the health of future generations–cannot be bought and sold;” and

WHEREAS The Platform of The Colorado Democratic Party goes on, in its section on Environment, to say that

• “Our local, state, and national leaders must manage growth, pollution, and the extraction of natural resources while providing for the long term protection of our people, our communities, and our environment over and above the interests of short term needs and profits.”
• that “we oppose selling public lands outright or leasing them at minimal rates, except for the purpose of conservation or protection of ecology, habitat, and contained species;”
• that “We support public and private efforts to conserve and preserve land through open space programs; we support coordinated regional and state control of growth and open space acquisition;”
• and that “We call for expanding and strengthening local and state conservation easement programs;” and

WHEREAS the 155-acre Park Hill Golf Course (PHGC) land is zoned Open Space-Recreation (OS-B) and since 1997 it has been protected by the perpetual open space conservation easement that Denver taxpayers paid $2 million for under the Webb administration; and

WHEREAS the land was purchased in July, 2019 by Westside Investments (WI) at well over the market value for land designated as open space but well under the market value for land to be developed; and

WHEREAS WI is reportedly working to find a way to remove the conservation easement from the land; and

WHEREAS Denver voters overwhelming supported Referred Measure 2A on the ballot in 2018 to provide $45.94 million to acquire additional land for parks, trails, and open space and to improve and maintain new and existing parks, trails, and open space in Denver; and

WHEREAS the 155-acre PHGC land is the largest remaining undeveloped tract that potentially could be available to fill the park shortages in Denver; and

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that we, The Central Committee of The Democratic Party of Denver, call for Denver City Council’s continued protection of the perpetual open space conservation easement for the Park Hill Golf Course land and oppose any effort to remove the conservation easement from the land.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution shall be sent to the members of Denver’s City Council and to a comprehensive list of Denver media outlets.


SOS Denver Reply To Mayor and City Attorney

Mayor Michael Hancock posted this on his Face Book Page November 7:

“Let me set the record straight about the future of Park Hill Golf Course. The easement on the property states the property can only be a golf course – not open space – and the settlement reached with the property owner means that easement remains in place. I want the community to guide the future use of the property, and the settlement ensures this.”

“You should have the facts. Here they are.…/Park_Hill_Golf_Course_FAQ_amend…

Here is the SOS Denver response mailed to the City:
Read the entire letter here or by pressing the letter image

Save Open Space Denver Press Release

PRESS RELEASE Contact: Harry Doby (ph. 303-870-0494)

Woody Garnsey (720-273-4600)

OCTOBER 22, 2019

Open Space advocates claim new state law makes Park Hill Golf Course land off-limits to commercial, residential development.

Individual City Councilmembers look to City Attorney for confirmation.

“In 1997, when I signed the conservation easement into law, the intent was to ensure that this parcel of land would continue as a golf course or was used for recreational purposes.  I believed then as I believe now,  it is critical for the health and welfare of our community that our children, families and seniors have access to open space. We made a commitment to be good stewards of our land and to ensure we are leaving our children and our children’s children a city that values green space. Today, we see that state law agrees with us and that Park Hill Golf Course land is off limits to commercial and residential development.” Hon. Wellington E. Webb

Keep It Colorado stands behind perpetual conservation easements. A perpetual easement is a tool intentionally used to protect land forever, put in place for a purpose and with an expectation from the public that it will be honored in perpetuity. We believe the law is clear on upholding perpetual easements and that terminating an easement requires a judicial process and proof that it is impossible to uphold the conservation values of the easement.” Melissa Daruna, Executive Director of Keep It Colorado

The Colorado law known as HB 19-1264, passed and signed by the Governor this year, makes it virtually impossible for the City and the land-owner real estate developer to terminate the Conservation Easement that covers the Park Hill Golf Course land.

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