What’s Happening – April 2023

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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

ADU Foes In Court To Challenge Last Year’s Rejection Of Petitions

Remember last summer’s petition drive to undo Wheat Ridge City Council’s July approval of an ordinance allowing accessory dwelling units? (If you don’t, see “Petition Drive Aims To Overturn Council’s ADU Decision,” September 2022 Neighborhood Gazette.) 

Petition organizers failed to gather the minimum 1,757 valid signatures of registered city voters by their late summer deadline, and asked for a protest hearing to challenge the city clerk’s finding of insufficiency. In October the hearing officer also found the petition signatures insufficient. So, petitioners Robert Brazell, Dorothy Archer, Ihor Figlus, Odarka Figlus and Vivian Voss filed an action in Jefferson County District Court to review and overturn the protest hearing officer’s decision. 

Although the petitioners filed Brazell, et al v. Kirkpatrick, et al (2022CV235) on Nov. 28 last year, it was not until Feb. 17 that they served the city with legal notice of the action – and then only after the judge threatened to dismiss it for not serving the City Clerk Steve Kirkpatrick and hearing officer Paul Basso with copies of the lawsuit. On Jan. 14, the judge dismissed three of petitioners’ claims because they failed to file legal arguments justifying them. Brazell was removed from the lawsuit, at his own request, on March 13.

Court records show the petitioners are not represented by an attorney. 

The petitioners, according to their complaint, are asking that the court declare its petition signatures sufficient. The Neighborhood Gazette reported in September that the petition would force city council to choose between repealing the ADU ordinance or putting it to a public vote.

In their attorney’s written answer to the lawsuit, the city clerk and hearing officer responded that (among other things) that government officials are presumed to perform their tasks in a regular manner without bias or prejudice, and that petitioners fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Don’t expect anything to happen soon: per the court’s orders, deadlines for certifying the record of actions and filing legal arguments span 16 weeks from March 13, meaning that no decision will likely  be made until July. –J. Patrick O’Leary

Wheat Ridge Historical Society Will Help You Plan And Start Your Garden At April’s Second Saturday Social

The crocuses are in full bloom, the daffodils have set buds, and the tulips are growing like weeds. So, spring weather is on its way, right? If you haven’t already, the time is right to start planning vegetable and flower gardens. And, if you haven’t yet planted seeds in an old egg carton (a great project for kids!), you can get free seedlings for a variety of vegetables at the next Second Saturday Social on April 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Baugh House, 44th Avenue and Robb Street. The tomato seedlings offered by one historical society member last year produced the most flavorful tomatoes this writer has ever eaten. 

While you’re picking out what plants to take home, you might also join the discussion on ideas to reduce the amount of waste your family produces, what’s appropriate to reuse and what to recycle. You’ll also go home with ideas of close-to-home locations where you can recycle difficult items like batteries, paint and light bulbs.

There’s still time for historical society members to renew memberships, and it’s always the right time for new members to join. Now you can pay dues, join or get more information online at wheatridgehistoricalsociety.org. You can also email us at wrhistorical@gmail.com, call 303-421-9111, or stop by the Red Brick House Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 4610 Robb St. Be sure to follow us on Facebook.

How Much Do You Know About 2023 Elections? 

The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County will inform voters with its recently updated Citizen’s Guide, slated to appear online by mid-April at https://bit.ly/3IDOS52 

in a downloadable format.

The comprehensive Citizen’s Guide includes contact information for local, state and national elected officials, as well as county, district and state court judges. Voting information includes details about voter registration and Special District elections. An election calendar alerts voters to qualifications and schedules.

For example, April 25 is the last day citizens can request an absentee ballot in order to vote in the May 2 Special District elections. These could be by mail, absentee ballot or in person. Voters should check with the individual districts in which they pay taxes for more detailed information, or go to: https://bit.ly/3YWKLJx

As the governing engines of towns, municipalities and unincorporated areas, Special Districts provide vital local services: Water and sanitation, fire, and parks and recreation, among others. To view the districts included in your property tax bill, visit https://bit.ly/3Lg9YYX

Detailed information about future municipal and school board elections in November can be found later this year at VOTE411.org.

For more information about the League of Women Voters of Jefferson County, visit LWVJeffco.org.

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