Community, City Council input secured in Park Hill Golf Course future

Published on November 05, 2019

DENVER – The City and County of Denver finalized a Settlement Agreement with Westside Investment Partners that maintains existing land use restrictions at the privately-owned Park Hill Golf Course and guarantees the community and City Council will have a defining role in any proposed changes.

“My priorities for the property and for the neighborhood have always been preserving open space and extensive community input. This agreement ensures we will have both,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said Tuesday. "The easement will be preserved while the neighbors who are most impacted by this property will be able to guide its future use.”

Above all, the Settlement Agreement maintains the requirement for Westside to get City Council approval to make changes to the land.  It also gives Westside no less than three years to complete a community engagement process to explore a different vision for the land that is not exclusively focused on a golf course, as required by the Conservation Easement.  After that time, absent an approved plan, the Agreement gives the City the right to require Westside to restore the land to a golf course at Westside’s expense.

“The existing land use restrictions are an important tool for the City to ensure community support for any changes to the property,” City Attorney Kristin M. Bronson said.  “More than 20 years ago, the City chose to use a golf course as the vehicle to deliver open space.  Under the new Agreement, the City has preserved the ability for the community and City Council to explore alternative avenues to deliver a more balanced vision for the future.”

The City acquired 25 acres of the land to build a stormwater detention basin for the Platte to Park Hill (P2P) project in order to prevent flooding.  In consideration for the real estate interests acquired by the City, the City will pay Westside $6 million. The settlement also brings to an end all litigation relating to the property. The payment will come from the P2P project and keep the project within its budget.  It will also cover any potential costs incurred for future restoration of the golf course if a consensus on an alternative plan fails to materialize.

The City accounted for recent changes to state statute concerning conservation easements and believes that applicable law provides multiple potential pathways for compliance depending upon future events.

To date, Westside has not presented any future plans for its intended use of the land to the City.