Chase Woodruff

(Colorado Newsline) Denver voters appeared on track Tuesday night to reject a ballot measure that would have allowed a defunct golf course on the city’s northeast side to be partially redeveloped into housing.

Referred Question 2O, placed on Denver’s April 4 municipal ballot by a City Council vote in January, asked voters to lift a longstanding conservation easement placed on a 155-acre parcel of land that was formerly the Park Hill Golf Course.

As of 8:30 p.m. on election night, the measure trailed with 39.7% in favor to 60.3% opposed, with more than 91,000 votes counted.

Defeat of the measure would leave in place a decades-old easement that requires that the land, located in the Park Hill neighborhood along Colorado Boulevard south of Interstate 70, to be used only as an 18-hole golf course. The golf course operated for nearly a century before closing in 2018.

Following the purchase of the former golf course property by developer Westside Investment Partners in 2019, a multi-year city planning process produced an agreement backed by Mayor Michael Hancock whereby roughly 100 acres of the site would be preserved as parkland and open space, with the remainder developed as commercial and residential zones.

But as early as the 1980s, the prospect of the site’s redevelopment has drawn intense opposition from some Park Hill residents. Following the sale of the land, opponents backed a successful 2021 ballot measure that required the lifting of any city conservation easement to be approved by voters citywide.

Question 2O was opposed by an unlikely coalition of Park Hill homeowners and progressive activists, many of whom, under the slogan “Green vs. Concrete,” have called for the land to be wholly preserved as open space. Other opponents, distrustful of the Hancock administration, faulted the development agreement as a sweetheart deal for a private developer that lacked accountability and transparency.

Separately, two measures that would tweak Denver’s zoning laws looked on track to be approved by voters after being referred to the ballot by City Council.

Referred Questions 2M and 2N would give City Council more authority to hear appeals and approve variances to the city’s zoning code. With more than 85,000 votes counted as of late Tuesday evening, measure 2M had received 73.3% of the vote and 2N had received 68.5% approval.