Process for obtaining permits for events at Denver parks questioned

DENVER -- After the denial of permits for Denver’s 420 Rally, questions are being raised about how they are granted to organizations holding events in public parks.

Some people believe there should be a more vigorous public discussion before the city gives event organizers a greenlight.

In the fall of 2018, Overland Golf Course Park could be shut down for several weeks if the city approves a permit for a concert and art show.

"When you're talking 50,000 to 70,000 people per day for three days, you're talking three weeks of major construction ... and we’re talking stages that are two and three stories high," said Helene Orr, who lives across the street from the course. "This is a major major thing happening."

Orr said there was never a public notice that a company had applied to hold the event here.

"The city feels like they have the right to use or misuse for whatever they want to do. And combine with a neighborhood that doesn’t have a lot of lawyers and architects that live there to fight it," she said.

"It’s not fair," Tom Morris said.

Morris has been fighting to change the way the city of Denver approves permits for events at public parks.

"We need to have an organized process where we’re guaranteed to be notified if there is going to be a change in the use of the park and time to think about it and opportunities to participate with public discussion," Morris said.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department said organizations currently only need to apply for a permit and no public hearings are necessary.

That's not good enough for Morris.

"I have been asking to zone the parks because we apply zoning to every other scrap of land in the city and not our most valuable land, which is these parks," he said.

The city has not yet approved the concert and show at Overland.

A parks spokesman said it wants to make sure the venue is ready to handle the noise, trash and parking.

Still, some who live nearby are worried there will be problems.