INC ZONING AND PLANNING COMMITTEE MINUTES – January 27, 2018

INC ZONING AND PLANNING COMMITTEE MINUTES – January 27, 2018

Committee Co-Chair Charles Nadler convened the meeting. The following items were discussed.

  1. David Gaspers of the Community Planning and Development Department updated the committee on the status of the Blueprint Denver planning process. They expect to have a draft of the entire document ready for public comment in May. CPD, Parks and Recreation and Public Works are meeting on a regular basis to coordinate the various plans that are ongoing.
  2. Analiese Hock from CPD (analiese.hock@denvergov.org) discussed with the committee the progress of the slot-home task force, which has had 10 meetings to date. The task force is well-balanced with representatives from neighborhoods and the development community. A moratorium is in place for new slot home permits and will likely be extended for 2 additional months so that an amendment to the zoning code can be passed to address the problems identified with slot homes, which are:
  • Many slot homes do not engage the street or sidewalk with street-level building activities, porches or human entrances that promote interaction with neighbors and ownership of the public realm.
  • The siting, setbacks and uses sometimes do not reflect the existing or desired future conditions of the street or neighborhood.
  • They often negatively impact the pedestrian-oriented character of the street and sidewalk by visible driveways, parking areas and garage doors.
  • Many slot homes do not incorporate human-scale proportions, heights and design elements.

There is not a “slot-home” form in the zoning code, but there have been many such structures built in the last few years, including in the Berkeley, Highland, Cherry Creek and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. They turn what would normally be their sides to the street. The draft is expected to go to the Planning Board on March 7 and to City Council in May. Heather Noyes, from the Berkeley neighborhood, who is a member of the slot-home task force representing Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation, said that there is an urgent need for neighborhood groups to participate strongly and loudly. She said that some developers and real estate representatives are opposing and trying to delay the proposed ordinance. Details about the slot-home issue, including the draft ordinance, can be found at www.denvergov.org/slothomes. Heather Noyes moved that:

Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation should support the slot-home amendment as written.

The motion passed by 21 in favor, 1 opposed and 3 abstaining. (One of the abstentions was Joel Noble, because he is a member of the Planning Board.)

  1. Sarah White (sarah.white@denvergov.org) of CPD summarized a “bundle” of several zoning code text amendments. Such bundles are usually presented to the Planning Board and city Council on an annual basis. This one includes about 80 items, most of which are small clarifications and improvements to graphics. A public review draft will be published about February 12, with a public hearing at the Planning Board approximately March 21. Some of the more significant proposals are:
  • Add a new justifying condition to support a rezoning – that it conforms to a newly-adopted neighborhood plan.
  • Clarify that a property owner cannot obtain a variance from the Board of Adjustment for an accessory use that is not allowed in the zoning code.
  • Increase, with conditions, the length allowed on a residential lot for a recreational vehicle for personal use. Persons cannot live there on the lot. The RV must be screened and must not invade the front setback.
  • Online retail sales is added to the list of allowed home occupations (with no customers coming to the home).
  • Remove the spacing requirement for body art (tattoo) establishments.
  • Remove mezzanines from allowable height exceptions in certain districts.
  1. Diana Helper from University Park led the committee in a rousing rehearsal of the song that she has written for the INC annual dinner on January 31 to the tune of “Oh! Dear! What Can the Matter Be!

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