Referendum petition may postpone Promenade’s progress
By Elizabeth Wood West; photo courtesy of CRCO
Town of Castle Rock (Town) clerk Sally Misare certified for circulation a petition that seeks to overturn the Town council’s unanimous approval of development plans and new zoning for its largest commercial development to date, Promenade of Castle Rock (Promenade).
The 166-acre project is owned by Alberta Development Partners and is located between U.S. Highway 85 and Interstate 25, north of The Outlets at Castle Rock shopping mall; it will include up to one million square feet of commercial development and 350 multi-family residential units.
Castle Rock residents Keith Lattimore-Walsh and Linda Van Nostran submitted the petition, which is being supported by a local grassroots pro-prairie dog group called “Save the Castle Rock Prairie Dogs” and another pro-wildlife group called “Wildlands Defense.”
At issue is a large prairie dog colony located on the Promenade property. The pro-prairie dog group has been very vocal, protesting publicly with signs bearing slogans such as, “Choose life over concrete,” and “Prairie dog Holocaust.” Large numbers also turned out and gave testimony at the Town’s Promenade hearings, asking Town officials and Promenade developers to postpone the project’s construction until the prairie dog colony could be relocated.
The petition was filed following the Town’s 6-0 vote to approve Promenade moving forward, despite relocation requests.
According to Town officials, the referendum process, as outlined by state statute and authorized by Town Charter, allows individuals to gather signatures to require the Town council to either rescind an ordinance or put it to a public vote. Before signatures can be gathered, the form of the petition must be certified by the Town clerk.
The referendum petition will need valid signatures from five percent of registered Castle Rock voters, based on the number of voters registered as of the day the petition was approved for circulation. This means that 1,945 valid signatures will need to be collected by April 13.
Once the signed petition is returned to the Town, the clerk has up to 30 days to evaluate it and determine whether there are enough valid signatures to move forward. For a petition signor’s signature to be considered valid, they must have completely and accurately filled out the statutorily required information on the petition form and must be a registered elector within the Town of Castle Rock. If the petition is deemed valid, Town council must either rescind its decision to approve Promenade moving forward or set an election date for voters to decide whether the decision should be repealed.
To learn more about the Promenade development, visit the Town website at www.crgov.com. To learn more about the groups fighting to protect the prairie dogs, visit savethecastlerockprairiedogs.org or wildlandsdefense.org.