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Park Hill neighbors split over proposed golf course development's community benefits agreement

The agreement was struck between a group of community nonprofits and the developer in an attempt to convince voters to approve the development.

DENVER — Neighbors in the Park Hill area are at odds over an agreement made between a group of local nonprofits and a developer intent on building housing units on the site of the former Park Hill Golf Course. 

The so-called Community Benefits Agreement outlines provisions to which the developer must adhere if Denver voters approve a measure that would allow it to build on the land. 

The agreement doubles down on the developer's previous commitments to provide a percentage of affordable housing at the site, but also includes a provision to help cover the cost of a likely property tax hike for lower-income people living within a half mile of the new development. 

"This is one of those opportunities to allow people to stay in the neighborhood or return to the neighborhood and have opportunities," said James Roy II, the director of Denver Metro Community Impact, which helped negotiate the agreement. As a signatory to the agreement, he is required to provide public support. 

Other neighbors in the area don't think much of the deal. 

"To me, it's deceptive and dishonest," said Maria Flora, who is part of a group working to oppose the development. 

Flora pointed out that the property tax provisions within the agreement only last eight years. 

"They're not going to feel the property tax squeeze until after that eight years," she said. 

She pointed out the only group that can make the developer stick to the deal is the nonprofit organizations that signed it. 

"The devil is in the details. So when you take it apart, I think it’s illusory," Flora said. 

Roy believes the agreement will help his North Park Hill neighborhood. 

"I wouldn’t have signed on to it if it weren’t something that was beneficial to the community," he said. "I feel like we got what we needed. I feel passionately about it. I feel good about it."

Denver voters will decide whether the developer can move forward with its plan, of which the community benefits agreement is a part, in the April election.


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