“We urge a “no” vote on 2O. Send the city back to the negotiating table.” —The Denver Post
The Post editorial itemizes the value of everything involved and calls this a bad deal, one that gives the developers a huge profit while returning little to Denver for giving up the easement. They say defeat this one and make the city come up with a better deal to put on the November ballot.
(I thought it was Question Twenty. Not. It’s 2 and the letter O. The Post tried to clarify that with a lower-case letter in the link below.
The Denverite has an even-handed review of the issue, listing who’s for and who’s against. The article points out that Westside (the developer that owns this land) has been a big supporter of Hancock and many of the sitting city council members. The current Denver administration is apparently confident this deal will pass:
“In fact, the planning work is already wrapped. To the objections of the development’s opponents, City Council has rezoned the land, approved a Park Hill Golf Course site development plan, created Municipal Districts that will create a funding mechanism for funding infrastructure for the project, and entered into a development agreement with the city.”
Referred Question 2O: The one about ending Park Hill Golf Course’s conservation easement and building a massive development on it
Westside, Hancock et al have made some effort to get our vote. For example, Habitat for Humanity has been promised over 7 acres to build low-income housing on. Of the 155 acres, 80 are to be given back to the city as a park. As a comparison, Wash Park is around 160 acres. How binding are those promises? We’ve all seen developers renege, especially on affordable housing. Sisters of Color, currently suing Westside, certainly don’t think they are trustworthy.
Possible downside to voting no: Westside owns it and could just leave it as is, vacant. The only thing the city owns, is the easement, which is apparently worth more than we’re getting for it. Westside wants to make money, so the Post wagers they’d negotiate a new deal that would be better for us and still make a profit for them.
Debatable: whether the easement can be altered from golf course to park, and why would a developer want to create a park? Or sell it to the city so we can do it? No money in that. Our best bet may be a deal with Westside, but not this deal. I’m voting No, although that’s not where the money is. But the welfare of the community is seldom where the money is.