Broomfield Put Oil & Gas Issue to Voters

Open Space Charter Amendment

Some of you may remember ballot question 2C from the 2020 election. This question asked voters to amend the Charter to remove  “mineral extraction” as an exempted change in use for our public open space. I have been trying to remove this carve-out since 2017 when Extraction was permitted to drill multiple wells on our tax-payer funded open space. 

Now that the Broomfield voters approved this Charter Amendment, we have removed the exception for mineral extraction and it will now be considered an Open Space change in use and will require a public process. 

~ Guyleen Castriotta

Broomfield is expected to send three local ballot issues to voters this November, including one that would amend language in the city’s charter concerning accessing minerals.

On April 16, 2019, Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 19-181, which gave more regulatory authority to local governments over oil and gas operations. As a result, in May council passed an ordinance that revised the Broomfield Municipal Code regarding zoning for oil and gas development. It limits oil and gas developments to certain districts, established a 2,000 foot setback from properties, including residential lots and prohibits oil and gas development on open lands, open space and parks.

If the amendment passes, the revision would remove the exception for extraction of minerals so extraction would be considered a change of use of open space, according to the city’s memo. It would make the use of open space for extraction subject to the same procedures as other changes of use.

“This would make the charter consistent with council’s previous decision to amend the municipal code to prohibit oil and gas development in open space,” City and County Attorney Shaun Sullivan said at the June 23 meeting.

The proposed revision was presented to Broomfield Open Space and Trails Advisory Committee on Feb. 27, Sullivan said, and members gave the charter amendment their unanimous support.

If approved at the July 14 council meeting, it will go before voters for the Nov. 3 election.

Last July, council members asked staff to prepare an ordinance to place the question on the ballot to amend the home rule charter. Later that month, a majority vote of at least six council members was needed to move the item to a second reading. The item died on a 4-4 split.

Council members Elizabeth Law-Evans, Mike Shelton, David Beacom and Bette Erickson voted against.

Ward 5 Councilwoman Guyleen Castriotta, who is now mayor pro tem, was in favor of the amendment.

At the June 23 meeting, Broomfield City Council unanimously approved the language change going to voters. Council members Laurie Anderson, Kimberly Groom, Heidi Henkel, Stan Jezierski, Elizabeth Law-Evans, Jean Lim, William Lindstedt, Deven Shaff, Sharon Tessier and Castriotta all voted in favor.

Proponents of the charter change were in favor of letting voters decide since residents pay a quarter-cent tax to fund open space purchases. Castriotta felt the current language makes it too easy for the city to rezone the area to light industrial, therefore removing it from public use.

Those not in favor of the language change last year said they were in favor of protecting open space, but wanted to see how Senate Bill 181 would play out before amending Broomfield’s home rule charter.

Two other ballot issues coming to council July 14 for a public hearing and final vote are a local revenue stabilization measure, concerning the state’s Gallagher Amendment, and one setting the sales tax for the sale of marijuana in Broomfield.

Proposed Ballot Language

Shall Section 18.3 of the Charter for the City and County of Broomfield, which sets forth restrictions onthe sale of municipally owned real property and changes in use of open space property, be amended toremove the language excepting mineral extraction from the definition of change in use and therebyallowing the extraction of minerals to be considered a change in use of Open Space, subject to allapplicable requirements?Yes _____ or No_____

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