At their public hearing on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, Grand Junction City Council will hear an agenda item to rezone Burkey Park to allow construction of medium-high density residential development on it.
The City plans to rezone Burkey Park from its current zoning of “Recreational” to R-8 zoning to allow residential construction of a density of eight dwelling units per acre. This density would most likely be attached dwellings like condos, duplexes and townhouses. The City bills the rezone as “medium density” development, but the R-8 designation is actually labeled medium-high density in the City Code.
The 18 acre parcel located on Patterson Road between 29 1/2 and 30 Roads was donated to the City by the Burkey family in 1967 on the condition that the City would one day turn it into a park. The City never fulfilled its promise, though, and instead let the parcel languish as a weedy vacant lot for more than 50 years, while pouring taxpayer money into other odd areas, handing over $500,000 (pdf) – $750,000 every year to Colorado Mesa University for a period of 15 years.
In 2018, City Council completely abandoned the idea of developing Burkey Park and referred a question to the city-wide ballot asking residents for permission to sell the parcel for development. To the tremendous disappointment of the neighbors surrounding Burkey Park, voters approved the sale. Many neighbors surrounding Burkey Park had bought homes there on the understanding that one day the vacant parcel would be turned into a developed park.
The residential areas immediately surrounding Burkey Park are also just outside City limits, though, so neighbors near the parcel had no say at all in the sale of the land. Needless to say, they are not happy with any of these developments.
The meeting to rezone Burkey Park for houses will be held on Wednesday, September 4 at 6:00 p.m. in City Hall Auditorium at 250 N. 5th Street The rezone is Item 6 (a)(1) on the Regular Agenda, but it will come up later in the meeting, after other pressing matters like the religious invocation, the pledge of allegiance, proclamations, resolutions, presentations, reports on what city council members have been up to and other matters. Note that citizens can only speak about the Burkey Park rezone during the comment period near the end of the meeting, a time period listed on the agenda as Item 7, “NonScheduled Citizens & Visitors.”
It seems clear that the property was gladly accepted by the city under the terms of the gifting, which means any subsequent use of the property both betrays the conditions of the gift and severely degrades the trust people should have in their local government.