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Save Palizzi Farm: Residents vow to protect historic Brighton farm amid plans for stormwater improvements

The Parkland Metropolitan District's planned development was approved by Brighton City Council and includes regional stormwater improvements.
Save Palizzi Farm: Residents vow to protect historic Brighton farm amidst plans for stormwater improvements
Posted at 10:40 PM, Apr 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-24 00:40:31-04

BRIGHTON, Colo. — Brighton residents fear a planned development project will hurt a historic farm that's considered a staple in the community.

The community is rallying around Palizzi Farm, which has been growing produce in the region since 1929.

“We buy a lot of produce from them, for over 30 years. We know them personally," said Jerry VanRiper, a resident of Brighton. “They've been here through all of the good times, all of the hard times — they have survived.”

A website advocating to "Save Palizzi Farm" said there will be an "installation of an underground water drainage system to support a planned new housing development." It continued to say the construction would render the farm "permanently un-farmable" and would "end the livelihoods of everyone employed" there.

The plan was presented to Brighton City Council by the Parkland Metropolitan District in September 2023. The city council approved the plan, which included requirements of the necessary infrastructure for the planned development. Regional stormwater improvements are one of the requirements.

In an email, a representative of the City of Brighton said, "A regional stormwater conveyance that will benefit the residents of Brighton is important. Regional stormwater improvements prevent flooding from storms and move the water to the South Platte River. This has been planned as a necessary improvement for at least four decades. It is our understanding that the conveyance will consist of an underground pipe and necessary appurtenances."

Those with the city anticipate the construction will be completed after the harvest season and before the 2025 planting season.

“Somebody's trying to come into their their home and and take their livelihood. They're being robbed," said VanRiper. “I want everybody to know about this because it's just wrong. It's just wrong.”

The City of Brighton said questions would be best answered by the Parkland Metropolitan District, which is seeking the easement that crosses through Palizzi Farm. The district did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

“I have never known and I don't want to know a Brighton without Palizzi Farms," said Brighton City Councilmember Matt Johnston. "I asked [developers], "Will this disrupt the farming?" And I was told no multiple times, that there will be no farming disruption... This is a public hearing, where not just the written word matters, but because we were gaveled into a public hearing, the spoken word matters as much. So, anything said there has to be followed by the Metropolitan District and or the developer. And if not, then we will hold them accountable. Because it's been said in a public hearing that no farming will be disrupted through this process or afterward.”

Johnston said he wants to protect the farm while working to build what he believes is necessary infrastructure in a manner that is not expensive for taxpayers.

“We are trying to preserve that local heritage of agriculture, and we would never do anything to stop that from happening. We've done everything to continue it," said Johnston. “The council itself has seen it to its last rung. As far as I know, the next steps are all based on the Metropolitan District and what they want to do. What I hope will happen is that the Metropolitan District, the developers, can sit down with Palizzi Farm. And if they need a representative from the city to make sure that they don't have any fear that their farming will be disrupted... we need to get all the parties in the room together and say, "Here's what needs to happen. Here's what's allowed to happen and to make sure that the farmland and the water is protected.""

The website Save Palizzi Farm claims there is an upcoming hearing in May that will determine if the easement is granted.

The Palizzis could not be reached Tuesday for an interview, but Denver7 plans to follow up on this story.

Residents vow to protect Palizzi Farm in Brighton amid plans for stormwater improvement

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