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Owners of Park Hill farm house sue for the right to demolish it after group pushes back

Our Colorado: House over 100 years old at center of lawsuit
Posted: 6:01 PM, Jul 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-08 20:01:33-04
PARK HILL HOME.JPG

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DENVER -- A Park Hill farm house that's more than a century old is at the center of a lawsuit stemming from a fight over the owners' desire to demolish it.

On July 23, the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing on an application to designate the building as a potential landmark. The lawsuit takes aim at the group's recent ruling that the property had the potential for historic designation.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of a trust that owns the home stated the commission “abused its discretion and exceeded its jurisdiction” in making that decision and allowing the application to move forward.

A spokesperson for the Denver City Attorney's Office says he can't comment on the merits of the claim until their lawyers have had a chance to review it.

The home, located at 5335 E. 36th Ave in Northeast Park Hill, was a farm house that sat on a large dairy farm. A Community Planning and Development report found the farm house fits a type of architecture called Denver Squares and that it “promotes an understanding of the early agricultural history and resources in Denver.” It is also far older than the other buildings on the block.

Conversations about preservation are playing out across Denver as other buildings are up for review. The Bonnie Brae Tavern was recently granted non-historic status, opening up the possibility for demolition although the owners said plans are not in the works. When plans to demolish Tom's Diner on East Colfax went public, a group of residents filed an application to designate it as a landmark.

"And the intention there is really just to provide an opportunity for there to be dialogue before places are lost forever," said Annie Levinsky with Historic Denver.