The open space of the Park Hill Golf Course (PHGC) land is threatened.
In short summary, the legal status of the 155-acre PHGC land is as follows:
- The 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.
- The relevant open space legal documents are the Conservation Easement between the City and the George W. Clayton Trust (Clayton) dated November 4, 1997 and the Agency Agreement between the same parties dated October 13, 2000.
- Clayton holds title “as agent of the City, to hold for the benefit of the citizens of the City and the general public.”
- Clayton leases the land for golf operations to Arcis, a large Texas-based golf operator and commercial development company. The current term of the lease is through 2023 with an option to extend the lease through 2028. The lease contains a right of first refusal for Arcis to purchase the land.
The current threat to preservation of this open space is caused by a confluence of the following factors:
- Clayton wants to sell the land.
- Arcis wants to purchase the land.
- The current City administration and many City Council members have recently demonstrated both a desire to have the land developed for mixed residential and commercial use and a willingness to tear up the perpetual open space conservation easement.
- Arcis is suing Clayton claiming Clayton breached Arcis’ right of first refusal in connection with Clayton’s negotiations with the City in late 2017 regarding a possible purchase of the land by the City. Trial is scheduled to begin on October 21, 2109.
- At the beginning of January 2019, the City began installing its stormwater detention project in the northeast corner of the land, and the golf course temporarily closed.
- On March 25, 2019, Arcis sued the City alleging that since January 2, 2019 the City has illegally deprived Arcis of its leasehold rights to possession without compensation.
- Clayton, the City, and Arcis must deal with compensation issues involved with the City’s stormwater detention project and the golf course closure.
For more information, see (1) the website: https://sosdenver.net and (2) Facebook: Save Open Space Denver
[March 28, 2019]