Denver Voters Will Weigh Open Space Development

Two competing initiatives seek to change city regulations for residential and commercial development on the city's parklands and open spaces.

June 22, 2021, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Denver Golf Course

Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

Two measures aiming for this November's ballot will ask Denver residents to vote for or against development on protected green space. "One measure would prohibit commercial and housing construction without voter approval on any parks and city-owned land protected by a conservation easement, including the 155-acre former Park Hill Golf Course, where development has been blocked since 1997," reports Bruce Finley in the Denver Post. "A counter-measure that also has cleared initial review, put forward by the Westside Investment Partners developers who own the Park Hill land, would change the definition of “conservation easement” to make an exception for this property — and could apply to other protected open space."

Currently, "[s]tate law governs conservation easements and lifting restrictions requires a state court order. A state judge first must determine conservation is impossible." Despite this, officials are exploring the potential for a mixed-use development at Park Hill. Despite growing voter support for ballot measures that demand open space in and around Denver, "green space hasn’t kept pace with population growth and development. About 8% of Denver is designated as parks, compared with 20% and greater in other large U.S. cities." Park Hill, financed by a $2 million easement voted on by taxpayers in 1997, is the city's largest open space and a much-needed parkland in northeast Denver, "an area that city maps identify as relatively deficient in park space and where heat islands amplify temperatures."

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 in Denver Post

Street-level view of sharrow symbol on asphalt with parked car in background

How Sharrows Became Cycling’s Most Hated Symbol

Originally designed as a low-cost way to encourage safer road sharing between bikes and cars, the sharrow has become a symbol of the lack of commitment to protected bike infrastructure in many cities.

August 2, 2022 - Denverite

A image of the World's Columbian Exposition overlayed with a picture of Keanu Reeves in the rain from the movie Point Break.

Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’

Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.

August 8, 2022 - Reel Chicago

View from middle of street in downtown Telluride, Colorado with mountains in background

Marrying Urban Identity and Economic Prosperity

A new book posits that truly successful communities have a strong economic base and a firmly rooted sense of place.

August 5, 2022 - Governing

Rendering of downtown Milwaukee sports stadium with soccer field

Sports Stadiums Bring Few Economic Benefits

While their developers often tout jobs and local economic development as benefits of major stadium projects, research shows these venues often make little impact on local economies.

4 minutes ago - Urban Milwaukee

Dallas Freeways

A How-To for ‘Freeway Fighters’

Ten recommendations for effective freeway removal advocacy.

1 hour ago - Strong Towns

Rendering of elevated rail ine

Miami Rapid Transit Project Moves Forward

The county completed the draft environmental impact study for a monorail and people mover planned as part of its rapid transit system.

2 hours ago - The Next Miami

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.