Tag Archives: Colorado Supreme court

Friends of Denver Parks file petition for certiorari in the Colorado Supreme Court on October 28, 2015

day.in.courtFriends of Denver Parks, Steve Waldstein and Zelda Hawkins filed their petition for certiorari in the Colorado Supreme Court on October 28, 2015. The basis for the petition is that the Colorado Court of Appeals failed to follow Colorado Supreme Court precedent when it affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of our case without allowing witnesses to testify in a public trial.

2015-1028 Petition for Writ of Certiorari.FINAL

2015-1028 Appendices to Cert Petition pt 1

2015-1028 Appendices to Cert Petition pt 2

2015-1028 Appendices to Cert Petition pt 3

The witnesses, which include not only private citizens, but also former city officials and employees, would have testified that Hampden Heights North Parks was designated with other parks by the Charter amendment in 1956, and was confirmed as a park with the 1996 Charter amendment.

Even though DPS has built a school in what used to be a park and natural area, petitioners are pressing the case forward so that, when the school is flooded by Cherry Creek or outlives its useful life after 40 years, the land can be returned to its rightful status as a public park, held in perpetuity for the citizens of Denver.

Thanks to all our friends for their continuing support.

John Case

EVANS CASE, LLP

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Our battle to preserve Hampden Heights North Park takes place in the Colorado Court of Appeals next Tuesday September 1, 2015

Mayor_9_7_13_001

Dear Friends of Denver Parks,

Oral argument in our battle to preserve Hampden Heights North Park takes place in the Colorado Court of Appeals next Tuesday September 1, 2015 between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The hearing is at 2 West 14th Ave. in Denver (Lincoln and E. 14th Ave.)

Many of you have asked why we keep fighting.  DPS has constructed an elementary school on the 11 acres that will open within days.

We are fighting because if we win, ultimately we can return the land to the ownership of the citizens of Denver.  After the school has outlived its useful life in 20-40 years, DPS and the City can restore the 11 acres to natural area park land as part of Paul A. Hentzell Park for the use of future generations.

Each side is allowed fifteen minutes to present its argument.  Our proceeding will last ½ hour.

There is another case on the 1:30 docket with us, we won’t know until 1:30 p.m. which case will be heard first.

For those of you who wish to attend in person, oral argument will take place in the beautiful new courtroom on the First Floor of the Court of Appeals.

It is helpful to be in the Courtroom by 1:25 p.m., so that your entrance does not distract the three appellate judges who will hear the arguments and decide our case.

The three judge panel will consist of Senior Judge Sandra I. Rothenberg, Judge Steve Bernard, and Judge Stephanie Dunn.

The First Floor Courtroom has excellent acoustics.  There are comfortable benches with close-up visibility for 60 observers.

There is meter parking on Lincoln northbound between 13th Ave and 14th Ave.  There is meter parking on Broadway southbound between 14th and 13th Ave.  There is a paid parking lot at 13th and Broadway. Please allow 15 minutes to get into the First Floor Courtroom after parking your car.

Usually, the Court of Appeals issues a written decision within 4 weeks of oral argument.

If you cannot attend in person, you can watch oral argument on-line by following the instructions below.

  1.  Go to this page at the appointed date and time (9/1 at 1:30 p.m.)
  2.   Click on the link that says “Court of Appeals First Floor.” The link won’t be active until the court is actually in session. These things start late sometimes, so people should keep trying if the link isn’t active right at 1:30.
  3. Watch the argument.

There is another case scheduled at the same time as ours, so the Friends case may not be argued until 2:00 p.m. or so.

Thanks to all of you who have supported Friends of Denver Parks.

John Case
EVANS CASE, LLPDPS Notice

Ditmer: Don’t mess with Denver parks

From Denver Post By Joanne Ditmer 02/22/2015

http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_27566397/ditmer-its-not-all-about-development

Burns Park in Denver is located in a triangle between South Colorado Boulevard, East Alameda Avenue and Leetsdale Drive.

Burns Park in Denver is located in a triangle between South Colorado Boulevard, East Alameda Avenue and Leetsdale Drive. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

One of the surest ways to earn eternal mistrust in Denver is to mess with our parks. Mayor Michael Hancock found that out in 2012 when he took 10 acres of the Hentzell Park Natural Area in Southeast Denver and gave it to Denver Public Schools to build an elementary school — on a flood plain. The parks advisory board had voted 11-6 against the giveaway. Two mayoral appointees on the board who were among those voting “nay” were replaced by the next meeting. In short order, the city found a way to transfer the land.

Parks got nothing in return, only a lawsuit filed by citizens. But from then on, the department and mayor have been viewed with suspicion, and subjected to complaints about lack of transparency. What else is in the works that we’re not being told?

Our urban parks are essential grace notes to the Queen City of the Plains. Early settlers in 1859 planned parks from the beginning, and we have 240 parks of almost 6,000 acres enriching our neighborhoods. Another 18 mountain parks offer 14,000 acres.

Denver is rated seventh in the nation for the quality of its park system by the Trust for Public Land, a respected national non-profit advocate that helps plan and support parks. But as our land mass and population grows, we must make sure that our park properties do, too. Denver has 6 percent of its land mass in parks; Colorado Springs has 14 percent.

The explosion of massive buildings in Cherry Creek, downtown, and all over the city, and the waves of newcomers make us wary of politicians who see parks as real estate, not as irreplaceable legacies.

Wellington Webb, Denver’s mayor from 1991 to 2003, knew parks were significant city assets, and added 2,350 acres on 15 sites during his tenure. It seems appropriate for a choice park parcel someday to be named in Webb’s honor.

A recent Denver Post article suggested that Burns Park, a 13-acre triangle of open land at Colorado Boulevard and Alameda Avenue, wasn’t earning its keep. It has a half dozen contemporary sculptures, circa 1960s, dozens of geese, an abundance of sunshine, and few human visitors. Some say it should be redesigned to attract people or be sold for development. But with an average of 38,636 vehicles passing by daily, motorists deserve the visual solace of the park. Burns is an oasis of natural open space in a commercial jungle.

Some say the “empty” space behind the Denver Center for the Performing Arts should get a building as well. That’s ignoring that the sweep of lawn is a rare visual grace note for occupants of the 59,738 vehicles passing daily.

The Hentzell parcel was taken supposedly because it was not an “officially” designated park, and thus not protected by Denver’s city charter, which stipulates that no land acquired by the city after Dec. 31, 1955, shall be deemed a “park” unless specifically designated by city ordinance. Perhaps more importantly, the charter says city parks may not be sold or given away without a vote of the people. Since 1936, the city had watered, planned and cared for Hentzell — with tax dollars — but it wasn’t a park?

Only 68 percent of Denver parks were “officially designated” in 2012. The department has raised the count to 83 percent, and plans to have all eligible parks officially designated this year. Very quietly, the Parks Department has begun holding some meetings with park neighbors and neighborhood organizations. Working together on important decisions is much more productive than going into battle.

And, after all, mayors come and go.