On Wednesday December 18th, I attended the last listening session held by City Council and the Planning Board for the NewCodeDenver.com. The people who stood up to give their thoughts had specific valid concerns. I am giving a brief overview of the most voiced concerns. I believe the city will listen and hopefully they start making changes. FINAL CHANGES WILL BE DONE BY DECEMBER 22, 2009.
The evening started with quite a few people from Five Points and Welton who articulated concerns that the rezoning may help new developers but does not help current businesses and homeowners, specifically along the railway that is now a danger zone to pedestrians. In their opinion, the setbacks that the new zoning allow will only increase the danger because it requires the buildings to be too close to the railway.
Cheesman Park had several people voicing their concerns for the lots that currently hold one single family home but could potentially be rezoned for multiple family housing. The zoning used to be limited to a 3 storie structure and now it looks like there could be 5. Concern surrounds a few square blocks that keep the minimum sized lot to redevelop at 6250 square feet. They are very concerned that the historic homes will be lost. In their opinion flat roofs are too high and they want to stick to a 25 foot maximum instead of 35 feet. They are requesting that Row Homes all have a requirement that the doors on the front of the structure face the street and do not face neighboring homes.
Congress Park was most concerned that there was an absence of setbacks, missing row home guidelines and many similar thoughts to the Cheesman Park issues specifically in the historic preservation.
The San Rafael neighborhood has concerns of losing their current views of the city and the mountains. Under the new zoning code developers will be able to be build up to 5 stories instead of the 3 allowed now. They are hoping for a minimum square foot requirement, and the smaller lots are liked. There is concern that the new zoning does not fit the existing vision the neighborhood has for the future use.
There is a Cultural Historical District near 25th and Washington to Welton along Park Avenue, preservation of the neighborhood is a large concern to the citizens who spoke.
West Washington Park citizens expressed apprehension about parking. Access along South Lincoln Street and South Sherman Street to the homes by car (driveways/garages) since alleyways are already too narrow, the new zoning allows for even more density. The business zoning hours of operation for eating and drinking and drive through times are of concern to the neighbors.
The Golden Triangle was taken off guard because in the first and second draft they were satisfied with overall standards. However, in this third draft, the neighborhood has been zoned more like Downtown instead of Urban. They have lots of red flags, why so much change from the first two? “Downtown vs. Golden Triangle is like comparing Apples to Oranges.”
I am hoping that the city listens and takes each and everyone’s thoughts seriously. The people who came this evening have thought through the processes and since they live there, I know their concerns and insight are valuable.
I have not mentioned the people wanting to talk about Solar, this will be the next topic.