DENVER (KDVR) — Voters roundly rejected the plan to develop the former Park Hill golf course.
Nearly 60% of voters had rejected the plan as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. The campaign in favor of the measure conceded.
If passed, the measure would have overturned a conservation easement and allowed developers to build affordable housing, a park and possibly a grocery store on the land. Since the measure didn’t pass, developers say it will have to remain a golf course, according to the conservation easement.
“Unfortunately, what’s going to happen now is status quo. That land is privately owned land and it is restricted in all uses by a conservation easement that was first put in place 25 years ago, and the easement could not be more clear. It says very clearly, in black and white, that that land by law must remain a golf course, driving range and affiliated uses,” said Bill Rigler, a spokesperson for Westside Investment Partners.
Park Hill golf course owners working on plan
After the golf course closed in 2018, Westside Investment Partners bought the land. In order to build any housing, Tuesday’s ballot measure had to pass to end the conservation easement, which states “land shall be occupied, used, operated and maintained as a regulation-length 18-hole” golf course.
“This is an outcome that we are now just all really trying to process and work through. It’s certainly not an outcome we wanted and it’s absolutely not an outcome Denver needed,” Rigler said.
The easement allows for other amenities on the land, such as a driving range, clubhouse, restaurant and ball fields, but Rigler said the developer is still working on a concrete plan.
“Right now, Westside is in the process of determining what those allowable uses would be and they’ll have that announcement in the next couple of weeks once they’re ready to share that news,” he said.
When asked if voters could expect a similar measure on a future ballot, Rigler said that isn’t likely.
“They would never again be in a position or offered the same amount of amenities and return on investment, so this notion that the city can go back and renegotiate for a better deal, it’s a fiction. Denver will never again see a deal like this, and that’s unfortunate,” he said.
Denver City Council said it does not have the authority to overturn the easement.