FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE • TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018
(Arvada, Colorado) Arvada City Hall got off on the wrong track when it railroaded through the $30 Land Deal last month and the grassroots group Arvada for All the People is going to court to get the local government back on the right rails.
A Complaint for Declaratory Relief was filed late yesterday in Jefferson County District Court. The suit asks that the City of Arvada be found in violation of its own laws and procedures, and that the council's approval of the $30 Land Deal Preliminary Development Plan be deemed invalid. Defendants in the action are the City of Arvada, Arvada Urban Renewal Authority, and developer Trammell Crow.
On Monday, March 19, 2018, the city council of Arvada passed a motion to rehear the $30 Land Deal Preliminary Development Plan (PDP) that had been rejected just 55 days earlier. The project formally named “Olde Town Residences” was then passed by the council 6-to-1 at that same meeting.
Arvada for All the People contends that the council motion was based on a wrong interpretation of the City's Land Development Code §3.1.17. That section mandates a previously defeated PDP must wait a year before being reconsidered if it is substantially the same – unless the council explicitly agrees to hear it sooner. Contrary to the City Charter, the council took no official action to have another Public Hearing until after it was formally scheduled and the Public Notice posted. The vote to rehear the plan occurred less than a hour before the new hearing was opened.
City emails from a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request by Arvada for All the People show that Arvada Urban Renewal and the developer were discussing literally only two days after the council originally defeated the project to revive the plan and railroad it through as quickly as possible.
Arvada for All the People argues that citizens and taxpayers depend upon the rule of law to ensure that participation in government decisions is open, fair, and meaningful. There is grave injury to the whole democratic system when government itself subverts due process for citizen involvement. As in this case, when government officials re-interpret law for the advantage of powerful special interests, then the entire concept of government of, by, and for the people is severely damaged.
“This is the kind of maneuver that creates distrust and cynicism towards local government. Heavy-handed agencies like Arvada Urban Renewal – with millions of taxpayer's dollars to giveaway – brazenly defying the expressed views of a majority of the city council and the citizens to railroad through a project already rejected sets a precedent dangerous to democracy,” said Dave Chandler, spokesperson for Arvada for All the People. “We tried to alert City Hall to the mistaken route they were taking before March 19 and were ignored. Going to court is a last resort, but the only way now to get Arvada City Hall back on the right track.”
The citizens grassroots group, Arvada for All the People, dedicated to local government reform, began calling attention to the “Olde Town Residences” apartment complex plan a year ago. The $30 Land Deal refers to the nine acres of publicly-owned, prime real estate that was to have been “sold” for $30, and all sales and property tax revenue rebated to the developer until 2034. The group has long maintained that the size of the high density residential project makes it inappropriate and incompatible with the site and location at 56th Avenue and Wadsworth Bypass in Olde Town Arvada.
Arvada for All the People is represented by attorney Karen Breslin of Progressive Law LLC.
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Dave Chandler: 303-424-9897 email@example.com
Cindi Kreutzer: 303-888-5797 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Money and Power in Arvada, Colorado
Grassroots Citizens are Put Back in Their Place
Like a classic Greek tragedy, the ultimate outcome was evident to anyone who has followed the saga of expanding government and corporate power in the United States over recent years.
A momentary lapse of indolence caused by a supremely arrogant attitude that they could never lose, caused a setback for the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority when at the Preliminary Development Plan public hearing of January 22, 2018, the city council rejected the $30 Land Deal proposal by a 4-to-3 vote.
However, instead of accepting the will of the council majority, by January 24, the Urban Renewal Authority was contriving to immediately bring back the plan and had already started exerting pressure on the wayward council members to get back on board the corporate development gravy train.
A sore loser who schemes to play the game over again with new rules that make a win for them inevitable is the most contemptible loser of all. Such is the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority and their elitist, self-important sponsors.
Thus we have now witnessed in Arvada a rare instance when grassroots citizens – without money, without professional staff, without lobbyists – were able to gain a victory over entrenched special interests. Tragically, the accomplishment was temporary and fleeting – corporate money and institutional power is not to be denied.
Arvada for All the People will continue to advocate for government reform in our city, if enacted our Action Agenda for Arvada would indeed bring more democracy, openness, accountability and fiscal responsibility to our community. We will persevere.
Ever notice that when developers and/or government win -- it's final?
But in the rare cases when grassroots residents, neighborhoods, and taxpayers earn a favorable outcome, the developer/government/special interest always immediately demand another chance!
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Arvada Land Development Code
3.1.17. - Effect of city council denials.
If the City Council denies an application, that same request or one substantially the same may not be heard by the City Council for a period of one (1) year from the date of denial, unless the City Council explicitly states that an earlier reapplication will be considered. The Applicant may submit a revised application that adequately addresses all the Council's stated reasons for denial, however, at any time. Such revised application shall be treated as a new application for purposes of review and scheduling.
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Listen to a discussion about the 'Arvada Urban Renewal Attempt to Railroad $30 Land Deal'
on radio AM 710 KNUS - February 14, 2018
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Arvada city council takes up the Preliminary Development Plan (PDP)
for the $30 Land Deal at the meeting on
Monday, January 22, 2018 at City Hall at 6:30 P.M.
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This following articulate explanation shows why Mayor Williams has demonstrated bias in his public advocacy for the $30 Land Deal and by his having already officially approved this project as a member of the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority Board of Commissioners. He must step aside and not participate in the quasi judicial hearing and vote on January 22.
[Council] members must fairly apply the standards in the ordinance to the facts presented, whether or not they agree with those standards. A [council] member whose opinion about the case is fixed and not susceptible to change has an impermissible bias and must not vote on the matter. Further, a member with a bias must not even participate in hearing or the deliberation of the case. This rule applies to any board making a quasi-judicial decision, be it a city council, board of county commissioners, planning board, or board of adjustment. [*]
The $30 Land Deal PDP is a quasi judicial proceeding. Mayor Williams as a member of the Arvada Urban Renewal board has already voted in favor if this project, he has an officially recorded bias -- he should recuse himself from the January 22 hearing and vote.
Jim Whitfield, who received 26.29 percent of the vote: reform AURAJordon Hohenstein, who got 18.60 percent of the vote: reform AURADave Palm, 9.10 percent: abolish AURA
1) Economic development is best done through the free market with private dollars at risk to ensure that top priority for tax dollars is the full funding of essential city services:
• Public Safety
• Services (like Parks and Animal Control)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
By the People!
Citizens Respond to '$30 Land Deal'
Charter Amendment Petition
‘Protect Arvada Taxpayers’
(Arvada, CO) In the wake of a proposed $30 sale of publicly-owned land worth millions of dollars to a private developer by the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority, a coalition of Arvada citizens has launched a grassroots charter amendment petition to mandate that such deals be approved by the voters.
In the past two years citizen-initiated proposals reforming Urban Renewal Authorities have been approved by voters in Wheat Ridge and Littleton. The Arvada amendment would:
• Require voter approval for sales and property tax subsidies over $2.5 million to private business
• Require voter approval for city-owned land sales valued over $1 million to private business
The controversial $30 Land Deal is the proposed sale of nine acres of publicly-owned prime real estate worth millions of dollars on the west side of Wadsworth Bypass at 56th Avenue – for $30. The plan by Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) with Denver developer Trammell Crow would include retail and 248 apartment units in a six story structure that would rise forty feet above the grade of Grandview Avenue in Arvada's Olde Town. The deal would also rebate to Trammell Crow 100 percent of sales and property taxes collected on the improved property until 2034.
Citizen outrage over the taxpayer give-aways has largely been met with equivocation from members of the city council. Arvada's mayor has been the public spokesperson for the plan and is a self-appointed member of the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) Board of Commissioners as well as having appointed all of the other member of that board.
If sufficient signatures are collected during the 90 day petition circulation period an election could take place early next year.