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Broomfield City Council schedules executive session on Jefferson Parkway suit

The dispute continues over Broomfield’s withdrawal from the Jefferson Parkway project.
A map of the proposed Jefferson Parkway.

Broomfield City Council approved Tuesday an executive session to discuss the lawsuit against the city and county over the Jefferson Parkway project.

Arvada and Jefferson County, which filed the lawsuit in early June against Broomfield, claim the municipality breached its contract when Broomfield City Council voted unanimously to withdraw from the project in 2020. The vote occurred after elevated plutonium levels were discovered at Rocky Flats in 2019, but subsequent testing by state health officials found that radiation was “well within regulatory limits.”

Arvada, Jefferson County and Broomfield agreed in 2008 to construct the public highway to connect Colo. 93 and Northwest Parkway, which would complete the loop around Denver’s metro area that includes Colo. 470 and E-470. The Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority, a separate government agency, was created to build and operate the parkway.

Broomfield filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on Sept. 22, on the grounds that the city and county invoked in 2020 a withdrawal provision in its establishing contract that was never discussed by the highway authority’s board of directors. The board also didn’t determine any withdrawal conditions, according to Broomfield’s motion.

The motion said Arvada and Jefferson County are attempting to persuade the court that the highway authority “has no interest” in the parkway dispute. The agency is a “necessary and indispensable party” because it has “a significant interest in assuring that, should the Court determine that Broomfield is obligated to convey right-of-way or provide funding for the Parkway, that such conveyance or payment is made directly” to the highway authority, the motion read.

In their response to the motion, filed in early October, Jefferson County and Arvada said Broomfield “utterly failed to meet the difficult burden of proving” that the highway authority is “necessary and indispensable.”

Even if the agency were indispensable, the response said, “equity and good conscience do not require that this Court afford Broomfield the drastic and disfavored remedy of dismissing this action for failure to join an indispensable party,” it read.

Broomfield invested $3.4 million of the $16 million contributed to the project so far, according to the complaint filed in June.

Arvada declined comment on the suit; however, in a statement, Jefferson County said it’s spent more than $550,000 on soil testing, “the cost of which Broomfield, Arvada and Jefferson County agreed to split.”

The statement stated “despite Broomfield’s contractual commitments to share in certain costs for the parkway, including the extensive soil testing that was conducted, and to dedicate land to the parkway, the City and County of Broomfield voted to withdraw from participation in the project on February 25, 2020. 

“The parties’ contract requires Broomfield to satisfy its outstanding contractual obligations before it can withdraw,” the statement read.

The executive session on the Jefferson Parkway project lawsuit is scheduled for Nov. 29, prior to the regular Broomfield City Council meeting. The session will be held “for the purpose of obtaining instruction to negotiators and providing legal advice,” a memo to City Council reads. Neither the public nor media are allowed in executive sessions.