238 Mature Trees Bulldozed By Developers At Loretto Heights

Did I Read Correctly That The Developer Of Loretto Heights……

Instead of preserving 238 mature trees at Loretto Heights, Westside just chopped them down, and the city was helpless to stop them. In response to a citizen’s letter noting that it will take 30 to 40 years for any replacement trees to provide the equivalent amount of cooling and clean air: ” In the case of Loretto Heights, this is a private development on private property where our office did not have jurisdiction. The Forestry review team provided direction to the developer in regards to trees that should have at least been considered for retention based on a number of criteria, but unfortunately the developer chose a different route. The development proposal called out to preserve some of the trees surrounding the Administration building/quad area and also proposed new street trees within and an adjacent to the development, but you are correct, it will take decades to replace what has been lost. Unfortunately this is a great loss of trees and canopy cover, wildlife corridors, and natural ecological systems, but it has awoken the City to holes in our sustainability and resiliency efforts showing that we need to do better to protect these assets. Hopefully we can address these needs in upcoming policy, rule and ordinance changes, such as the Denver Green Code. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or concerns and if I cannot address them I will forward them on to someone who can.”

https://denverite.com/2021/06/14/tree-cutting-at-loretto-heights-campus-in-harvey-park-prompts-yells-and-yawns/

From: Myer, Jim P. – DPR CJ1917 Field Superintendent <James.Myer@denvergov.org>
To: dgallag954
Cc: Wilson, Richard A. – DPR Ops Supv <Richard.Wilson@denvergov.org>
Sent: Mon, Jun 14, 2021 8:12 am
Subject: RE: Did I read correctly that the developer of Loretto Heights

Dennis,   Thank you for your inquiry.  Please let me clarify, I supervise the Office of the City Forester’s Plan Review Team that is responsible for the review of development plans that impact the public right-of-way and in certain residential zoned neighborhoods the front setback trees, not a separate inspections/public development office.  In the case of Loretto Heights, this is a private development on private property where our office did not have jurisdiction.  The Forestry review team provided direction to the developer in regards to trees that should have at least been considered for retention based on a number of criteria, but unfortunately the developer chose a different route.  The development proposal called out to preserve some of the trees surrounding the Administration building/quad area and also proposed new street trees within and an adjacent to the development, but you are correct, it will take decades to replace what has been lost.   Unfortunately this is a great loss of trees and canopy cover, wildlife corridors, and natural ecological systems, but it has awoken the City to holes in our sustainability and resiliency efforts showing that we need to do better to protect these assets.  Hopefully we can address these needs in upcoming policy, rule and ordinance changes, such as the Denver Green Code.  Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or concerns and if I cannot address them I will forward them on to someone who can.   Thank you.     

DPR_Color_RGBJim Myer | Forestry Operations Superintendent
james.myer@denvergov.org  p: 720-913-0681 Office of the City Forester|City and County of Denver 

From: Wilson, Richard A. – DPR Ops Supv <Richard.Wilson@denvergov.org>
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2021 6:53 AM
To:dgallag954
Cc: Myer, Jim P. – DPR CJ1917 Field Superintendent <James.Myer@denvergov.org>
Subject: RE: [EXTERNAL] Did I read correctly that the developer of Loretto Heights  

Hello,   I work with the forestry Dept in Parks and Recreation and have no clue what the inspections/ public development office is or isn’t approving. You will need to contact Jim Myer, He is the supervisor of that dept. He is CC’d in on this email for you.  

Thanks,   Rich Wilson |

Forestry Operations Supervisor Board Certified Master Arborist | Tree Risk Qualified | Municipal Specialist RM-0600 Office of the City Forester | Denver Parks and Recreation | City and County of Denver p: (720) 865-0404 Richard.Wilson@Denvergov.org

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

 

Westside names outreach-focused partner in Park Hill Golf Club redevelopment effort

Business Den Thomas Gounley October 22, 2020 0

The company that purchased the Park Hill Golf Club property in the summer of 2019 has named a partner as it pursues redevelopment.

Glendale-based Westside Investment Partners, which paid $24 million for the shuttered 150-acre course along Colorado Boulevard, said Thursday that The Holleran Group has joined the redevelopment ownership team.

Denver-based Holleran will focus on community outreach and engagement.

“We’ve consistently said that we want to have the voice of the community involved here, and we think that this partnership increases our capacity for that,” Westside Principal Kenneth Ho said during a press call.

The city is preparing to lead a small-area planning process for the property, which will involve collecting community feedback, Ho said.

Holleran was formed in 2017 by Norman Harris and Ty Hubbard, two Black Denver natives, according to its website. The firm is involved in the acquisition, development and management of real estate.

Harris said development of the former course — which can’t happen without several key approvals from the city — needs to benefit the neighborhoods that surround it.

“We discovered Holleran and Westside’s values align around a socially equitable approach to development that not only assures that our neighborhood has the loudest voice in the process but that the neighborhood shares in the economic benefit,” Harris said.

He added, “Our ultimate outcome needs to be the empowerment of the northeast Denver community.”

Hubbard said neighborhood financial benefits could come in the form of “homeownership, job creation, investment opportunities and other initiatives.”

Redevelopment of the course, which closed to golfers at the end of 2018, faces hurdles.

The property currently has a conservation easement on it, which essentially restricts use to an 18-hole golf course. That could be amended by the Denver City Council, which would also need to approve a rezoning of the property.

In August, Denver City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca asked her colleagues to place a measure on the city’s November ballot that would have allowed voters to determine whether the course could be redeveloped. But the council voted 10 to 3 to instead demote CdeBaca’s bill to committee for further discussion.

Redevelopment of the course is expected to include numerous uses. Ho has said that Westside will set aside at least 60 of the acres as a park.

FULL ARTICLE HERE

City shells out $6 million to owners of Park Hill golf course

The legal battles are over, but the future for the 155-acre Denver property is as murky as ever.

The Denver skyline stands tall behind the Park Hill Golf Club. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

By

From the Denverite

The City of Denver reached a settlement with the owners of a golf course in Park Hill this week, forking over $6 million to put an end to a complex series of legal battles.

The settlement ends all of pending litigation over the property but does not add any sort of clarity to the future of the 155 acres of land, which has embroiled the city, open space advocates and the various owners and operators of the golf course for years.

The agreement between the city and the property’s owner, Westside Investment Partners, will maintain a long-standing conservation easement on the land, which prohibits development on the property. The agreement gives Westside at least three years to finalize their plans for the property and start a public engagement process to vet other possible uses for the land. To develop the property, Westside would need to get City Council approval to remove the conservation easement and rezone the property.

According to city officials, the settlement was designed to allow the city to disentangle itself from the legal mess surrounding the golf course, while still giving Denverites some say in what happens on the private property.

“My priorities for the property and for the neighborhood have always been preserving open space and extensive community input. This agreement ensures we will have both,” Mayor Michael Hancock said via a press release Tuesday. “The easement will be preserved while the neighbors who are most impacted by this property will be able to guide its future use.”

STORY CONTINUES HERE