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Does the Park Hill Golf Course Easement really say that it has to stay a golf course?

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

The propaganda currently being spread by Westside Development is that the Park Hill Golf Course Easement requires the area to ONLY be a golf course, and cannot be a park. This is simply untrue. The perpetual Park Hill Golf Course Conservation Easement limits the use of the property to open space in general and a golf course in particular. Legal experts and the city agree that the easement allows for the open space to become a park, it does not have to remain a golf course, it just cannot be developed into housing or retail.

View the Park Hill Golf Course Easement here or see the document screenshots at the bottom of this post to read for yourself. This means, it can be open space or a golf course. And, since the vast majority of voters voted for the easement to stay in effect, open space or a golf course are the only option for Westside and the city without a vote from the public to change this.

The lies that they are spreading saying that it can ONLY be a golf course is simply NOT TRUE.

Don't believe these lies perpetuated by greed. Westside purchased the land with the intent to remove the easement that was voted in by the people and paid for by our taxes, and then rezone the area in order to profit by developing the majority of the land into overpriced retail and residential units. This isn't about affordable housing, or helping the people – it's about Westside and our city helping themselves to pure greed and profit. Of course new housing replacing open space provides additional tax revenue for our greedy city officials, so this is why they are going against their constituents and are paving the way for this, the last large open space area in our city, to be paved over for profit.

Don't fall for this brainwash, according to the Easement, this area is NOT REQUIRED TO BE ONLY A GOLF COURSE, as open space is also within the easement - so instead it could become a great park for the residents. The precious open space and trees do not need cut down and paved over to become additional unaffordable housing and retail space. We NEED more open space, trees, native plants and habitat for all life and our people to enjoy. This is why it is important to Vote NO on 2-O. If the easement is lifted, this open space will be gone forever.

Watch this video below with Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca's full comments & no vote on 22-1430, the Small Area Plan for the Park Hill Golf Course. Thank you Candi for representing the people you represent!

Other supporters of a park in the space include Denver Audubon, here's a snippet of what they suggest:

Denver Audubon’s vision for Park Hill Golf Course advocates for retaining at least 90% of the Park Hill Golf Course as open space, using native plants for any necessary revegetation. First, Northeast Park Hill is known to the City to be an underserved community in High Need of walkable access to a park. Increasing the 91 acres now available to the surrounding communities by the entire 130 acres available here would still only bring these communities up to just over one-third of the acreage available to the communities of Berkeley, Gateway-Green Valley Ranch and Washington Park. Denver formerly had one of the highest ratios of open space per resident – we were a leader in that field! Now, however, Denver ranks 12th out of 15 of the nation’s largest cities with only 170 sq. ft. per person, compared to 1,023 sq. ft./person in #1, Atlanta.

Second, the Denver region is a part of a principal route of the Central Migration Flyway used by millions of migrating birds in spring and fall. A multi-agency study discovered that North America has lost over 25% of its birds, some 3 billion, over the past 50 years. The widespread loss and degradation of habitat is the biggest driver of bird population declines. Audubon considers 113 species using this Flyway to be highly vulnerable to changes from human activity and climate changes here. Preserving large intact areas of habitat is crucial to the survival of North American bird species. Our failure will bring on Silent Spring, merely by a different means. Read their full statement: Here is the area in question, one of the LAST pieces of open space in Denver:

For a history of the easement put in place, check out: 1989 — In an effort to save the Park Hill Golf Course from development once the market improved, then Denver City Councilperson Cathy Reynolds includes a line item in the City’s $300 million Bond Referendum that earmarked “$2 million towards the purchase of the Park Hill Golf Course.” Councilperson Reynolds was an avid golfer who played regularly at the Park Hill Golf Course. The $300 million Bond Referendum passes.

1994 — Mayor Wellington Webb’s director of special projects, Andrew Wallach, approaches Clayton about the $2 million earmarked for the course. He asks whether Clayton would grant the City a perpetual Conservation Easement on the course in exchange for the $2 million. The Conservation Easement would allow Clayton to continue to operate the property as a golf course or open space, but would preclude development of the property.

To determine if the $2 million was sufficient compensation for the potential development rights it would be giving up, Clayton goes through an appraisal process and the appraiser concludes that the value of the property as a golf course is $6 million and the value under a highest and best use scenario is $8 million. Essentially, the appraiser concludes that the value of the potential development rights at that time was $2 million.

1997 — Based upon that conclusion, Clayton grants a perpetual Conservation Easement on the golf course property to the City and County of Denver in exchange for payment from the City of $2 million. The perpetual Conservation Easement limits the use of the property to open space in general and a golf course in particular. The fact that Westside and the city are suggesting that the easement ONLY allows for a golf course is untrue. The easement was purchased and put into place to preserve open space in the city. And it should continue to be so. This is one of the largest opportunities of open space land that can be preserved in our ever growing city. The residents should be able to keep this treasure and improve upon it for everyone to use, especially those living in all of the recently-built dense housing with no outdoor space of their own. We need more trees, native plants, natural areas and open spaces in our city so that we may all thrive.

A majority of voters / residents agree that the Park Hill golf course could be turned into a large new park for all to use. This city of Denver must listen to it's constituents and preserve and protect this open space easement for the Park Hill Golf Course land.

Here are a few recent letters to the Denver Post:

Denver, stop promoting Park Hill development:

“Does anyone remember the results of the vote of the people that did not want development on the Park Hill golf course? Because the Denver Planning Department and developers are proceeding like the vote did not happen.

My guess is that their eagerness to develop is born out of greed. The best use for the land is to maintain the conservation easement in perpetuity.

Look around Denver; there are numerous unfilled apartment buildings, and more are being constructed every day. The need for affordable housing can be addressed in many other unique ways.

Large parcels of undeveloped land are a priceless commodity.

It is questionable that the need for affordable housing will even exist in that area once development starts. City Council, please pay attention to the voters and leave the land undeveloped.”

— Elaine L

Another letter to the Denver Post:

“On Oct. 19, the Denver Planning Board heard Westside Development’s rezoning application and proposed small area plan for the Park Hill Golf Course. The city staff’s repeated assertion that the conservation easement that encumbers the former golf course requires that the land be used only for a golf course and for no other purposes was disturbing, both because it is false and because it made the whole discussion that followed disingenuous.

The granting clause in the conservation easement provides that The George W. Clayton Trust conveys to Denver a “perpetual, non-exclusive conservation easement in gross over and upon the Golf Course Land to maintain the Golf Course Land’s scenic and open condition and to preserve the Golf Course Land for recreational use.” Although other provisions in the easement reference the golf course, the granting clause does not mention a golf course.

If the language in a deed or easement may be considered ambiguous (golf course vs. open space), common law rules of construction are clear that the granting clause prevails over any language in the document which may conflict, and if there is an ambiguity, the document must be construed against the grantor (here, Westside Development as successor to the Clayton Trust) and in favor of the grantee (here, Denver). There simply is no justification for the city staff’s position that only a golf course is permitted on the Park Hill Golf Course land.”

— Wendy H., Denver

Does the Park Hill Golf Course Easement really say that it has to stay a golf course? Nope, it can be a park!

To read the Park Hill Golf Course Easement, here is the document below:

Park Hill Golf Course Easement
Park Hill Golf Course Easement - page 1

Park Hill Golf Course Easement - page 2
Park Hill Golf Course Easement - page 2

Park Hill Golf Course Easement - page 4
Park Hill Golf Course Easement - page 3

Park Hill Golf Course Easement - page 4
Park Hill Golf Course Easement - page 4

Park Hill Golf Course Easement - page 5
Park Hill Golf Course Easement - page 5

Park Hill Golf Course Easement - page 6
Park Hill Golf Course Easement - page 6

For a little humor, check out this local comedian, Adam Cayton-Holland's thoughts on the deceptive signs being propped up all over the golf course:

If you're wondering why our City Council and Representatives and Mayor have been going against the wishes of their constituents, just follow the money. Though they denied it at the PBS12 mayoral debate, three of the Mayor candidates – all proponents of Westside’s project – did indeed accept $500 contributions from Westside's founder and principal Andrew Klein.

  • State Senator Chris Hansen also received a contribution of $500 from Andrew Klein.

  • Former State Senator Mike Johnston has accepted $500 from Andrew Klein.

  • City Councilmember Debbie Ortega‘s campaign has received $500 from Andrew Klein in this election cycle as well as donations from Westside.

Westside Investment Partners’ leaders and staff are also supporting 2023 City Council candidates including Amanda Sawyer, Adam Estroff, Travis Leiker, Gilmore, Daryl Watson, Tim Hoffman, Will Chan and Diana Romero Campbell.

This information above is sourced from this Denverite article, check it out to learn more about who's getting paid to sell out our open space that is protected by the easement:



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