Parks ballot measure hits retroactive snag

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Richard Skorman, who gives tours of Strawberry Fields, is leading an effort to place a measure on the ballot to protect city park land from sale or trade. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Richard Skorman, who gives tours of Strawberry Fields, is leading an effort to place a measure on the ballot to protect city park land from sale or trade.
A ballot measure that would require voter approval of all sales, trades or disposal of city park land and open space should not include a retroactive clause affecting City Council's May 24 approval of a swap of the city's Strawberry Fields open space.

That's according to the city's Title Board, comprised of City Attorney Wynetta Massey, Municipal Chief Judge HayDen Kane and City Clerk Sarah Johnson.

But that's not good enough, backers of the Protect Our Parks measure, who say they'll appeal that to the Title Board within the required two days.

The title setting happened during a hearing Tuesday that lasted nearly two hours and ended with the following title being set: "Shall the City Charter be amended to require prior voter approval for the sale, trade or disposition of city park land?"

Massey objected to including a provision making the measure retroactive to all park land sales and trades not finalized by May 1, 2016. The Strawberry Fields vote took place on May 24. She argued that the provision is administrative in nature, which is not allowed by ballot measures, which legally can speak only to legislative matters.

Save Cheyenne, a nonprofit formed amid opposition to the land swap that traded Strawberry Fields in Cheyenne CaƱon to The Broadmoor, will challenge that finding, says the group's president Richard Skorman, downtown businessman and former vice mayor.

Read the Independent's Nov. 2 edition for more on Save Cheyenne's battle to undo the land swap.

Save Cheyenne also plans to ask City Council to refer the measure, rendering moot a petition circulation effort to collect 15,202 signatures of city voters by Jan. 4.

If Save Cheyenne is successful in its appeal to restore the retroactive provision, it could seek a longer time period in which to gather signatures, meaning the measure wouldn't make the April 4 city election ballot. If enough signatures were gathered, a special election would be called, which could cost taxpayers roughly $350,000.


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