The 2090 Coalition has won the case for the 2090 Wright St. property.
In a ruling issued on Thursday, Jan. 16, Judge Margie Enquist of the Jefferson County District Court ruled that the property is owned by the City of Lakewood and must be used …
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In a ruling issued on Thursday, Jan. 16, Judge Margie Enquist of the Jefferson County District Court ruled that the property is owned by the City of Lakewood and must be used as park or open space land. The land cannot be developed, sold, or leased without a majority vote of the citizens.
“I felt excitement and vindication reading the ruling,” said 2090 Coalition co-chair Heather Wenger. “We’ve always focused on two issues — that the city owns the land and the use of it as park land — and she (Enquist) agreed with us.”
The city issued a statement saying it is reviewing the ruling.
“The court has declared that Lakewood owns the land based on a document that is not a deed, which is the customary way land ownership is transferred,” the statement said. “Given that, the city is currently examining the details of the ruling for their long-term ramifications.”
The statement further said the court’s ruling also is clear that Jeffco Public Schools has held the recorded title to 2090 S. Wright St. since 1977 and unequivocally states that the City of Lakewood never held title to the land.
The trial over the fate of the property began after Enquist dismissed the Jefferson County School District, City of Lakewood and 2090 Wright St. Coalition’s applications for summary judgment on ownership in October.
Jeffco Schools filed a quiet title on the land in 2012 after the rezoning of the property was withdrawn.
After dismissing the summary judgment applications, Enquist heard from all parties involved and concluded the trial on Nov. 7.
“Based on a totality of the evidence presented and consideration of the applicable law, this Court finds that on Aug. 1, 1981, the district’s rights to use of the property were rendered null and void and the city’s future interest in the property automatically came into effect without any action required on behalf of the city,” Enquist wrote in her decision.
She also noted that while the city had filed a disclaimer, it was not effective to eliminate the city’s title to the property, and wrote that “the property may not be leased or sold without a favorable vote on the question of such lease or sale by a majority of the registered electors of the city voting thereon.”
In the city’s statement it states that the court ruled the city and city council acted with transparency and did not violate the Colorado Open Meetings Law.
There is still a chance for the city or Jeffco schools to appeal the decision, so Wenger said the situation is not over yet.
“So much money has been spent and there has been a lot of questioning of how it was spent. We’re hoping that any further decisions to pursue this will be voted on by the council with public comment,” she said. “Mayor Murphy said we would let the courts decide and we’re hoping this doesn’t go any further because they don’t like the decision.”
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