The fight over 2090 Wright Street continues.
City Council’s approval on June 25 of rezoning the 10-acre plot to accommodate construction of a new facility for the Rocky Mountain Deaf School is being contested by the 2090 Coalition as an illegal rezoning. The group is circulating a petition to bring the issue before Lakewood voters.
“We filed a rule 106 action on July 23 to contest and overturn the rezoning,” coalition spokesman Michael Davenport said. “The property is part of a planned community and covered by a development plan that makes what they did illegal, which is the backbone of our appeal.”
The coalition also states that despite the city’s claims that the land is zoned for a school, it was only zoned that way for eight years after 1977, when the land was first deeded to Jefferson County Schools. Since no school was built, that zoning has expired and the land belongs to the city.
Lakewood’s Planning Commission and City Council, have voted in support of the fact that the city never owned the land and that it belongs to Jefferson County, which has the right to sell the property to the Rocky Mountain Deaf School.
“The Jeffco School District R-1 owns the land, and proof of the school’s ownership has been recorded with the county and is readily available for public access at the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder’s office,” Derek Sevier wrote in an email. Sevier is deaf and is the father of two deaf children. “The referendum is something we anticipated the opponents would do, so we were prepared for it. We are excited to have more people become aware of our school and volunteer as a result.”
For the issue to come before voters, the 2090 Coalition needs the signatures of 3 percent of registered voters, roughly 3,000 signatures, by Friday, Aug. 10. Coalition supporters have been stationing themselves at grocery stores, recreation centers and parks to get signatures.
“We have about 200 volunteers going out to get signatures,” Davenport said. “It’s been going well so far, and we’ve been getting signatures every day.”
Volunteers for the Rocky Mountain Deaf School have been going to the sites where signatures are being sought to give people additional information about the site, the rezoning and what signing the petition would mean. They say the 2090 Coalition is not giving out all the information when seeking signatures.
“According to our supporters, they (the 2090 Coalition) have been saying that the petition is to save open space, support teachers, support the Rocky Mountain Deaf School, keep out new taxes because Lakewood residents pay more for every student to attend and if they don’t want to pay $13 million in taxes to build the school,” Sevier wrote. “We want Lakewood residents to know they need to read the rezoning petition and understand it before they sign anything.”
The Rocky Mountain Deaf School plans to use grant money to build its facility and would not require any tax money from residents. Although the 10-acre plot is surrounded by open space, it has never been designated as open space.
Responding to the claim by supporters of the Deaf School, Davenport said volunteers are giving out all the information that applies.
“We believe very strongly the action was illegal and rezoned inappropriately,” he said. “We want citizens to have the choice, because we think the council railroaded this through and there’s a lot of misinformation.”
Deaf School supporters will continue to spread their information about the site as the deadline nears. Sevier wrote that people have the choice to sign the petition, but that they need to know the facts first.
For information from the city on the issue, go to www.lakewood.org/2090. The 2090 Coalition also has information on its website, www.2090coalition.com, and the Rocky Mountain Deaf School has posted information on its Facebook page, “Families for Rocky Mountain Deaf School,” and its website, www.2090coalitionfacts.com.