Erik Solivan, the director of the city’s Office of HOPE (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere) explained the almost-finished five-year Comprehensive Housing Plan to the committee. In 2016, a Housing Advisory Committee, which is the author of the plan, and an Affordable Housing Fund were established by ordinance. The fund, which replaces the money raised by the former inclusionary housing ordinance, is expected to raise approximately $15 million per year. The city is also looking for financial help from foundations and major employers. The city of Denver’s population, currently 700,000, grew 27% since 2000. The term “affordable housing” is meant to cover a wide area of the housing market, from no income to 80% of the average median income. The fundamental values of the plan are:
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Bridget Walsh and Tom Morris spoke about the issue of major land use decisions within parks being removed in the 2010 Zoning Code from the elected City Council and put in the hands of the Executive Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, appointed by the Mayor. After discussion, the Committee approved the following motion by a vote of 17 in favor, 1 opposed and 5 abstentions:
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It is Resolved by Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation Zoning and Planning:
We request City Council to amend the Zoning Code such that OS-A land is
subject to community-inclusive zoning control processes similar to other zoning
classifications and under the authority of City Council and commit to take no action in
Council to bring forth a bill in this matter until a meaningful community engagement
process has been completed.
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Charlotte Winzenberg now represent INC on the STR Advisory Committee. Excise and Licenses has hired a private company to search for STRs, primarily through online listings, to make sure that, as the ordinance requires, an owner has obtained a license for the STR and that the STR is the primary residence of the owner. The city believes that there are approximately 3000 STRs (although many are rented only a few days per year). Currently, 2054 (about 67%) are licensed. Other city departments, not Excise and Licenses, regulate properties for issues such as noise and trash. Excise and Licenses has issued about 1600 warning notices and imposed fines on 35 properties.
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The Zoning and Planning Committee of Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation met on August 26, 2017 and briefly discussed the proposed “framework agreement” that will govern the National Western Center for the next 50 years and which is expected to be filed with City Council on September 7, 2017. Please note that we had no access to the document to review, because the very lengthy agreement has not been made available to the public and was negotiated and written behind closed doors.
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The new ordinance will require a 1000-foot buffer between cultivation facilities and schools and residential zone districts. In the future, unlike the past, any new applications will be subject to a full needs-and-desires hearing by the Department of Excise and Licenses. In addition, applicants for new or renewed licenses will be required to have a “community engagement plan,” which must include plans to create positive impacts in the neighborhood where the business will be located and procedures to address neighborhood concerns.
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Chair Margie Valdez convened the meeting of the INC Zoning and Planning Committee and led an internal discussion of committee members about several important ongoing topics:
There is a well balanced citizen advisory group working to recommend regulations and procedures to the Department of Excise and Licenses to implement Initiative 300, which Denver voters passed in November 2016, regarding social consumption of marijuana. Margie, who is a member of the advisory group, mentioned the following:
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