These two words aren’t normally seen together!
The very thought of Denver County annexing any land from surrounding counties has been virtually impossible since the Poundstone Amendment was passed in 1974. Prior to that time, the City and County of Denver made hundreds of annexations, doubling its area between 1941 and 1974 to about 120 square miles, much to the anger of surrounding county commissioners. Since Poundstone, Denver has been treated more as a county than a city when it comes to annexations. You wouldn’t see Arapahoe County trying to annex a piece of Douglas County for example.
Another law was also passed in 1974—at the same time as Poundstone—but it is little remembered today. A Boundary Control Commission was passed by voters and offered another option for Denver’s expansion—or not—during that era. This regional agreement between Denver, Jefferson, Arapahoe and Adams Counties technically allows for adjustments to Denver’s borders but it has been virtually impossible to get any agreements on such changes since it was passed. Thus, Denver’s borders have been essentially frozen in time since 1982 and are among the most convoluted of any major city in the country.
So how shocked was I to read the Denver Post article related to the potential use of the Boundary Control Commission or other maneuvers to allow Denver to annex 300 acres adjacent to its land near DIA in order to have a place within its boundaries for the relocation of the National Western Stockshow.
We here at DenverUrbanism were talking about this very scenario after the Stockshow announced it was moving to Aurora. But we thought using the Boundary Control Commission was as likely as getting the Poundstone Amendment repealed. The fact that it is even being brought up is testament to a belief in regionalism and working towards common goals. It also doesn’t hurt that Denver Public Schools is no longer under a desegregation order, but that’s another story.
Whether or not a Gaylord Entertainment Complex and National Western Stockshow relocation to the northeast metro area has merit is also questionable and could, would and should take up many other blogs herein. It’s a complex issue relating to sprawl, long-term sustainability, lack of transit even though the DIA train will be nearby and overbuilding of hotel rooms so far from the center of the city. Consequently, I’m just focusing on the annexation issue for now.
Ironically, the land for both projects sits just north of 64th Avenue. South of 64th is a large parcel of land that used to be in the City and County of Denver (north of Green Valley Ranch) that had to be de-annexed by court order after Poundstone was passed. In other words, Denver had nearly annexed the land back in 1973 that is now proposed for both Gaylord and the Stockshow.
The land is certainly not in the core of Aurora or Denver. But if the Stockshow is going to relocate to this area and if Denver voters are supposed to pay for its relocation, then it certainly should remain within the city/county boundaries of Denver. I fully support, and in fact, I demand that the wheels of government pursue this boundary change to allow for annexation. But even if this occurs, the battle will only be half won for Denver. The parcels currently sit in Aurora and Adams County with an Aurora mailing address under zip code 80019. This will remain in place even if the land is brought into Denver. If Denver truly wants the Stockshow to have a Denver mailing address, it is also going to have to battle the US Postal Service to get permission to move a zip code boundary. Such a battle as this could make a repeal of Poundstone look easy!!