Denver’s Push For Planning Process On Protected Land Makes No Sense
By Woody Garnsey
For the GPHN
Mayor Hancock and his administration are again showing their true colors in support of developing the Park Hill Golf Course (PHGC) land. And, they’re doing this despite the facts that the land is zoned Open Space-Recreation and is protected from development by a perpetual open space conservation easement that can’t be terminated without a court order pursuant to the Colorado conservation easement statute.
A month after Mayor Hancock’s 2019 reelection victory, real estate speculator and developer Westside Investment Properties, a major pro-Hancock PAC donor, purchased the Park Hill Golf Course. The land, at the northwest corner of Park Hill, is protected by a conservation easement.
Re: “ ‘Our roads are a mess,’ challenger slam Hancock,” April 2 news story Mayor Michael Hancock deserves a “Pinocchio” for his answer at the April 1 Denver Post mayoral debate about the future of the Park Hill Golf Course land open space. Moderator Andrew Kenney asked what the mayor would do with the 155 acres of golf land in northeast Denver. Referencing the city’s 2017 negotiations to buy the land from the Clayton Trust, Hancock said “the reason why the city of Denver leaned in on this Park Hill Golf Course issue is because we wanted to make sure we preserved open space.” Hancock’s statement was a lie. The city preserved this land as open space in 1997 when it paid Clayton $2 million for a perpetual open space conservation easement. Despite the fact that Clayton had already relinquished it development rights, the city and Clayton in 2017 drafted a document that is totally inconsistent with Hancock’s debate statement. The document was a draft real estate development agreement between the city and Clayton which — if finalized — would have resulted in the city selling a significant portion of the land for mixed residential and commercial development with some pocket parks thrown in.