Results as of 11:30 p.m.: Voters continued to show a strong preference for measure 301 mandating a citywide vote before developing Park Hill Golf Course. Sixty-three percent of voters, or 51,009, are in favor of the initiative. Measure 302 exempting the land from the vote is still trailing, with over 62%, or 49,879, voting no.
Initiative 301 adds another hurdle to developing the 155 acres of defunct land in Northeast Denver. It’s backed by the group Save Open Space Denver which believe the land can help address the city’s climate issues and dwindling open space.
Measure 302, on the other hand, is the developer-backed response to 301. Developer Westside Investment Partners bought the land in 2019 with the goal of creating a mixed-use development. Their measure uses state definitions surrounding conservation easements to cleverly exempt Park Hill Golf Course from the citywide vote. This is important for Westside, who bought the land with the goal of lifting the conservation easement through discussions with the city.
But these measures are just one part of the complex discussions surrounding the golf course.
Westside still has until 2022 to conduct community surveys and outreach regarding development. In general, the community outreach has shown that residents are open to creating a mixture of development and open space. But if Westside is unable to get a plan for development approved by the city before their three-year timeline is up, the whole process will be scrapped at the developer’s expense.
Save Open Space Denver advocates believe the land is instrumental in combatting the effects of climate change, like the city’s heat island effect and bad air quality. Their continuing efforts to ban development include their lawsuit alleging that Westside’s community outreach process is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
The two groups have fundamentally different views of the 1997 conservation easement protecting the land. It boils down to whether the easement was a sweetheart deal between a strapped-for-cash nonprofit and the city, or if it was a serious conservation effort meant to stand up to state laws and statutes.
The easement has gone through multiple phases and drafts. Here’s more about the history of the easement, as well as the history of the neighborhood that surrounds the course.
Election results are not final until they’ve been certified, days or sometimes weeks after Election Day. The Associated Press is not calling races in Colorado this year, and Denverite doesn’t call races. We will report vote tallies as they are counted and reported by the Denver Elections, and we will report if a group supporting or opposing a ballot measure concedes defeat.