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Lawsuit filed over Denver's planning for Park Hill Golf Course development

The Save Open Space Denver lawsuit claims the city is making plans even though the land is still bound by a conservation easement that requires a court order to end.

DENVER — A former golf course that is supposed to remain open space is the focus of a lawsuit pitting former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb against current Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Save Open Space Denver is suing the city of Denver over the Park Hill Golf Course land.

> Video above from February: Discussions on future of Park Hill Golf Course land beginning.

The lawsuit contends that the city is spending money and employee hours working on development plans for the golf course, which is still bound by a conservation easement that requires a court order to end.

The lawsuit filed by Save Open Space Denver also lists plaintiffs from each of Denver's 11 council districts, including former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, former Denver mayoral candidate Penfield Tate III and Brother Jeff Fard.

They are suing the city of Denver, Mayor Michael Hancock and Laura Aldrete, the director of Denver's Community Planning and Development Department.

The Community Planning and Development Department released the following statement Wednesday:

"The city’s planning department routinely embarks on community planning processes for large parcels of land in Denver to ensure the citizens who live around the property in question have the ability to guide its future use. Involving residents in city planning is how cities create complete neighborhoods, which offer green space, recreation opportunities, housing for a range of incomes, education, services, healthcare, with a focus on access for all residents."

RELATED: Voters will not get to weigh in on future of former Park Hill golf course land

In 2019, Clayton Early Learning, the owner of the 155-acre golf course, sold the land to Westside Investment Partners for $24 million.

A conservation easement, signed in 1997 when Webb was mayor, would have to be removed by a judge for any development to happen on the property. The easement requires that the land be used to operate a regulation 18-hole golf course.

The lawsuit contends that the city has used 1,166 city employee hours working on a Community Planning and Development-led planning and development process of the land that is still bound by a conservation easement.

Save Open Space Denver seeks a judge to prevent the city from using "taxpayer-funded government resources" for planning a development in an area that cannot be developed until it gets a court order ending the conservation easement.

RELATED: 'It’s a legacy that we have to leave': Neighbors push to protect Park Hill Golf Course

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