The Latest: Golden to U.S. Interior Secretary: Don’t Transfer Rocky Flats Land to Jefferson Parkway While Negotiations are Pending
March 3, 2011 – At its meeting tonight, the Golden City Council will consider urging U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to hold off on selling a Rocky Flats parcel needed as right of way (ROW) for the proposed Jefferson Parkway as long as negotiations continue between Golden and backers of the toll road plan.
The request, to be included in a letter to the Department of the Interior (DOI) from Golden Mayor Jacob Smith, echoes a similar appeal from the City of Boulder and Boulder County, who also are negotiating with Jefferson Parkway proponents.
The Golden City Council voted unanimously on Feb. 24 to continue working towards a possible agreement around the toll road, but not to give up the City’s right to sue to stop the Jefferson Parkway unless some very specific requirements are met to protect Golden from future traffic and environmental impacts.
The City of Boulder and Boulder County’s negotiations with Jefferson Parkway focus on a different issue – the preservation of a key open-space parcel.
The Golden City decision was made after Golden officials heard from hundreds of residents at a series of four public informational meetings and at the Feb. 24 City Council session.
“In order for these negotiations to succeed, the City of Golden continues its request, and joins the requests of the City of Boulder and Boulder County, that DOI defer final action on the Rocky Flats ROW so long as real progress is being made towards settlement,” Golden’s draft letter states.
The letter goes on to say, “Conveyance of the ROW prior to finalization of intergovernmental agreements would threaten the ability of the parties to reach agreement, because the conveyance would trigger the need for local communities to take legal actions to protect their interests.”
The Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority has indicated that it is prepared to pay $2.8 million for a 300-foot right of way along the eastern side of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. “The City Council has directed the city to keep negotiating in good faith but also to preserve all our options until there’s an enforceable agreement that meets Golden’s transportation needs,” said Golden City Manager Mike Bestor. “This letter is consistent with that position, which reflects much of the input we received from Golden citizens.”