Denver man fights city hall over historic farm

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DENVER – For more than 130 years, Tim Van Gorden’s family has owned the land in the 4600 block of South Kipling. Since 2010, when Denver rezoned much of the city, his property—about eight acres—has been in limbo.

Each morning, Tim takes out a prison clad dummy and places it in a hanging jail cell, saying, “I feel like the city has put me in jail!”

He also has a huge sign and tee pee as part of his protest against the city of Denver.

“They are calling my land now open space,” said Van Gorden. “I can’t make any improvements on the land…I can’t even grown a garden or put in a ‘par-course’ for workouts. They’ve got me hamstrung.”

The city has said the current zoning is more flexible than the old one, when it comes to his land.

While Tim says his land has been rezoned to having park status, the zoning department says it is inaccurate to say it is now a park. Now Van Gorden is sure that the city told him he can’t sell or make improvements on the land.

Van Gorden says he pays his taxes and has filed a lawsuit against the city to ‘free-up’ his land.

Because of the law suit, city officials say they cannot talk about the case, that while Tim is being hit by late-night vandals who are cutting his irrigation hoses almost daily.

As for neighbors, most who border Van Gorden’s property say they love the ‘old farm’ next door and can’t understand why the city says they are upset having the eight acres empty just over their fences.

Van Gorden vows to battle on until the city gives him permission to make improvements on his land.

Deep down Tim says he thinks the city wants to use legal tactics to ‘take’ his land and then sell it for a profit. No one from the city would address that claim.