Colette Carey
EJ Reilly & Associates
(720) 815-6800

DENVER, CO (June 7, 2021) The YES for Parks and Open Space ballot committee today submitted a letter to Denver’s Clerk and Recorder, Paul Lopez, officially challenging the proposed initiated ordinance presented by Westside Investment Partners, at a June 4 “Review and Comment” hearing with City officials.

On Wednesday, June 2, YES for Parks and Open space submitted more than 13,000 signatures to the Denver Election Division for its proposed initiated ordinance designed to preserve Denver’s parks and open space. The YES for Parks and Open Space ballot language is simple and easy to understand:

“Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt a measure prohibiting the following without the approval of voters in a regularly scheduled municipal or special election:

  • any commercial or residential development on land designated as a city park and land protected by a City-owned conservation easement except where consistent with park purposes, conservation easement purposes, or for cultural facilities, and
  • any partial or complete cancellation of a City-owned conservation easement unless for the purpose of creating a new park?”

The petitions submitted by YES for Parks and Open Space contain enough signatures to ensure that the proposed initiated ordinance will make the November 2 ballot.

In what appears to be a desperate move, Westside Investment Partners is submitting its own initiated ordinance proposal (referenced above). While nearly identical in language to the YES for Parks and Open Space proposed ordinance, the difference between the two proposed ordinances is that the one initiated by Westside Investment Partners redefines a “conservation easement” to conveniently exclude a conservation easement – such as the easement on the Park Hill Golf Course land – that the City purchased with taxpayer monies, clearly to further their own interests.

If their initiative gets on the ballot and passes, it has the potential to set a dangerous precedent for taxpayer-funded conservation easements to be eliminated at the will of developers.

Representatives for the grassroots community organization, YES for Parks and Open Space said that Westside’s use of identical language to the YES for Parks and Open Space proposed initiated ordinance, save one element, reflects the intent of the developer to do one thing and one thing only – confuse voters.

YES for Parks and Open Space representative Penfield Tate explains that “we are writing out of profound concern that there will be a strong likelihood of voter confusion regarding the two proposals.” 

Tate goes on to say, “The potential confusion caused by Westside’s proposed ordinance is that, on one hand, it would appear to voters that the ordinance protects from development without voter approval, identical to that provided by the YES for Parks and Open Space proposed ordinance. However, Westside’s proposed amendment to the definition of “conservation easement” would significantly limit the voter approval protections provided by our YES for Parks and Open Space proposed ordinance.”

A link to the full letter can be found, here:

About YES for Parks and Open SpaceYES for Parks and Open Space is an initiative launched by a group of concerned citizens who want to ensure that the voters in the City and County of Denver have a voice in how the land in our designated parks and open spaces – protected by conservation easements – can be used.

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