Tag Archives: Denver City Council

Judge rules in favor of Denver over park neighbors in DPS land swap case

By Joe Vaccarelli
YourHub Reporter for The Denver Post

A cyclist crosses a bridge over Cherry Creek along a bike path in Hentzell Park near Hampden Ave in Denver on June 01, 2013. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)

A Denver District Court judge has ruled in favor of the City and County of Denver in a lawsuit filed by the Friends of Denver Parks over land that the city traded with Denver Public Schools in southeast Denver.

The lawsuit stems from a land swap where the city exchanged 11.5 acres at Hampden Heights Open Space near the intersection of Havana Street and Girard Avenue with Denver Public Schools, which gave the city a building at 1330 Fox St. Denver also gave DPS approximately $705,000 in the deal. The city plans to convert the building into a service center for domestic violence, while construction on the future Hampden Heights Elementary School began in January. Denver City Council approved the deal on April 1, 2013.

Read more of the article by going to http://www.denverpost.com/denver/ci_25709749/judge-rules-favor-denver-over-park-neighbors-dps

Friends of Denver Parks maintains a library of past articles, both written and audio at NEWSLINKS AND ARTICLES

Judge Stern enters judgment for Defendants

Dear Friends,

On Friday May 2 Judge Stern granted judgment for the Defendants City and County of Denver and Denver Public Schools.  A copy of Judge Stern’s Order is attached. 

There will be no jury trial on May 19.  All witnesses are released from their subpoenas. DPS will continue to build the new school in what used to be Hampden Heights North Park.

First, I want to thank everyone who supported the effort to save this beautiful open space park.  Hundreds of people contributed their time, talent, and treasure, and there is not space to personally thank everyone.  I want to specially acknowledge the plaintiffs Steve Waldstein, Zelda Hawkins, and the board members of Friends of Denver Parks, Inc., Renee Lewis, David Hill, Shawn Smith, and Judy Case, who never gave up; Maggie Price, who created and manages the Friends Website; KC Keefer, who donated the film “Hampden Heist;” witnesses Wellington Webb, Susan Barnes-Gelt, John Bennett, Neil Sperandeo, Susan Baird, Jim Kellner, Amy Laugesen, Dave Longbrake, Dawn Mayo, Dave Norden, Joan Biggs, Sandy Dennehy, Charlie Gallagher, Willis Carpenter, and Tom Noel,; my law partners and faithful staff at Benson & Case; Bob and Nancy Stocker, Kathleen Wells, Dave Felice, Brad Cameron, Joe Halpern, Mary Ewing, and all the volunteers who gathered signatures for the referendum petitions that the city refused to count; Larry Ambrose and the dedicated members of INC who supported and honored our efforts; Wendy Warner and Ed Hall, chairpersons of the Denver Republican and Democratic parties, who passed resolutions condemning the city’s actions; Chuck Bonniwell, who provided expert testimony about Denver’s acquisition of land for recreation along Cherry Creek in the 1930’s, and gave our effort media coverage in the Cherry Creek Chronicle; Jennifer Doran and Pam Quigley, who researched and copied newspaper articles about the flood of 1933 and the city’s acquisition of parcels of land along Cherry Creek at the Denver Public Library and Colorado History Museum; Joe Marisco, who spent six days at the clerk and recorder and assessor’s offices in Arapahoe county, copying deeds to parcels of land along Cherry Creek that the city acquired in the 1930’s; Richard Hentzell, Bill Stanfill, Dick Laugesen, Laura and Linda Gravina, and all of the financial donors who so generously provided funds for petitions and court costs.

Second, I am pleased to announce that Friends of Denver Parks will appeal Judge Stern’s decision, because we believe it is an injustice that the people of Denver were not allowed to vote before their park land was taken.  We will post news of the appeal on the website.

Third, in the near future Friends of Denver Parks will launch a ballot initiative to protect all remaining Denver parks from sale. We want to make sure that what happened here does not happen again.

Thanks again to all of you for your generous help and support.

John Case


Court Document can be found here


Resolution Passed By Denver County Republican Executive Council

On February 4, 2014 a resolution for the right of Denver Citizens to determine the use of Denver Parks by a vote of the people was passed unanimously by the Denver County Republican executive Council

WHEREAS, Denver is known for its abundant and beautiful park system and Denver citizens are justifiably proud of Mayor Speer’s legacy of preservation of land for park space for the enjoyment and leisure of the citizens of Denver, and
WHEREAS, Denver citizens have invested in homes and businesses adjacent to parks with an understanding of the contribution of such parks to their property value, and
WHEREAS, Denver City Charter, Section 2.4.5 requires a vote of the people before parkland can be sold, transferred, or otherwise converted to non-park use, and
WHEREAS, Denver currently has over twenty parks that are only partially protected from future sale or development and over forty parks that are not formally designated by ordinance as parks and therefore not protected at all from future sale or development, these differences in designation status not being commonly known by the citizens, and
WHEREAS The Mayor of Denver and the Denver City Council have pronounced that conversion of these unprotected parks is not subject to a vote of the people as defined in City Charter Section 2.4.5 and,
WHEREAS, the current Administration “de-designated” Hampden Heights North Park as a natural area and park and traded part of the park to Denver Public Schools, an entity immune to zoning rules, in exchange for a building at 1330 Fox Street, and
Whereas this “swap” constitutes a new precedent that endangers all Denver park lands, natural areas and open space, reduces the property values of citizens and businesses who have invested near parks, and denies citizens their right to vote or to petition for a vote,
The Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Denver decries the actions of the Denver Mayor, City Council and members of the Denver School Board in selling, trading, and developing city park land which belongs to the people of Denver and is owned by the city in trust for its citizens, and
The Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Denver resolves that any City action to sell, trade, or develop any city land currently used or maintained as a city park must be approved by vote of the people, as required by City Charter Section 2.4.5, regardless of whether such land is formally designated as a City park, and
The Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Denver calls on the Mayor, City Council and Denver School Board to reverse their recent action and return Hampden Heights North Park to protected park status.

The pdf document can be found here.