A letter from Jefferson County Superintendent Cindy Stevenson put an end to the battle over a request to rezone 2090 Wright St. for the Rocky Mountain Deaf School.
During Monday’s City Council meeting, the issue of whether council should overturn its decision to rezone the property for the school came up after the 2090 Coalition collected enough signatures on a petition to trigger a special election on the question.
City Manager Kathy Hodgson read aloud a letter Stevenson sent that day on behalf of Jeffco Public Schools, the applicant for the rezoning.
“On behalf of Jeffco Public Schools, I regrettably request the Lakewood City Council rescind the rezoning decision of July 25, 2012, for the 2090 Wright St. Property,” the letter said. “We make this request because these are times of financial distress and economic uncertainty; therefore, we believe it is unconscionable to ask the citizens of Lakewood to spend a quarter-million dollars on a single, special-issue election.”
The letter said the request was not a comment on the merits of the request; its worthiness had been established by a favorable staff report, the unanimous approval by the Lakewood Planning Commission and the majority vote by City Council. Stevenson wrote that the rescinding of the vote showed fiscal common sense and a desire to “turn down the volume of political discourse that surrounds the matter.”
Council voted unanimously in favor of rescinding its decision, but members were visibly emotional about the matter. Several council members reiterated their support of the school.
“I would vote for this again tonight — it’s the right thing to do. I have no question about it whatsoever. I would vote for this again in a heartbeat,” Ward 2 Councilman Scott Koop said. “I wish you luck on finding your new location, and look forward to hearing that it will be opening, wherever that may be.”
“I’ve never seen an issue like this unfold, and to me its regrettable, it’s embarrassing. As elected officials and adults in our community, it’s our job to provide for the children, and provide and be that voice for the future,” Ward 4 Councilman Adam Paul said. “I welcome your school, and you have advocates on this council who will continue to support you and your cause because Lakewood is inclusive. We do welcome people of all kinds, and children are important to our community.”
Nancy Bridenbaugh, director of the Rocky Mountain Deaf School, posted a message to supporters on the school’s Facebook page, writing, “We will continue ongoing discussion with Jeffco Public Schools and explore all options to secure property for our new school.”