Property rights win a round against RTD steamroller

Today’s Denver Post played the land–use story out of Adams County from a sympathetic angle favoring woebegone developer John Renne, prominently quoted as saying: “It will definitely hinder my ability to create jobs on the property.” How sad—and how awkward for Alice Nichol and other politicians, who had to eat their earlier words of support for Renne.

For some reason, the Post didn’t deem it newsworthy to mention the Gillans, a couple of lowly citizens who now will not be steamrolled by a government that thinks it knows best. For that angle, the rest of the story, you need to read what Jessica Corry, their attorney (jessicapcorry@gmail.com), said in an email to supporters:

So after just two weeks of intense CORA requests, fantastic earned media coverage, litigation, column writing, targeted SEO, blogs, and due in large part to the tireless efforts of one of the most amazing clients in the universe, Kim Gillan, RTD has caved!

The agency announced tonight that it will build its Gold Line–Federal commuter rail station on the east side of Federal, and is abandoning its ambitions to build the station adjacent to Kim’s lakeside property on the west side. Here’s coverage from the Post: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16868758

This is about much more than one family’s successful crusade to save a lake from reckless development. This decision could have a tremendous impact on future efforts to protect property rights and promote government transparency. It is, in my humble specualtion, the result of at least the following:

1. RTD wants to avoid any and all bad media in advance of its plans to ask taxpayers for more FasTracks money next election cycle. We must continue to hold RTD accountable.

2. It also means that RTD doesn’t want to face another Kim and Galen Foster/Bob Hoban/Independence Institute grassroots battle. As RTD’s TOD director told a national conference of transit planners last year (on our taxpayer dime no less), grassroots mobilization is one of RTD’s biggest ongoing challenges. See more from Face The State here:

http://facethestate.com/articles/15657-rtd-talking-points-detail-how-organize-against-property-owners and

http://facethestate.com/articles/14292-rtd-charges-dinner-cruises-beachfront-hotels-taxpayers

The Gillans and their neighbors still face potential challenges concerning Adams County’s proposed zoning amendments that could pave the way for future risky TOD projects at the expense of existing property owners.

This is an essential reminder of the power of Colorado’s freedom loving ground troops. On behalf of Kim, and all those who will benefit from your help, thanks to all of those who helped over the last few weeks, months or years. Colorado’s free market defenders have faced a few tough election cycles when it comes to citizens’ initiatives, but on the day–to–day, we’re having an incredible impact.

Congrats to Kim and Alan Gillan, the Colorado Property Rights Coalition and Concerned Citizens For Compatible Development.

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