Council has moved with urgency since last summer to water down the existing blanket parking exemption under pressure from some constituents. That once little-used policy, originally intended to encourage small-scale reuse or redevelopment, attracted opposition based on in-the-works projects that aim to squeeze in dozens of micro-apartments — as many as 108 on side-by-side lots — without providing on-site parking. Those projects will be grandfathered under the new zoning policy.
This contains several articles and also videos of Council deliberation on May 1
The issue is the small lot parking exemption, a component of Denver’s zoning code that allowed developers in certain mixed-use zones to skip the parking when they develop lots that are 6,250 square feet or smaller.
There’s a moratorium in place on using that exemption, and there were two proposals on the table. One, supported by Brooks, would have exempted parking for the first three stories if a project was close to transit and for the first two stories if it were farther from transit. The other, pushed by Councilman Jolon Clark, would require parking after the first two stories for projects close to transit and after the first story further out. Both proposals maintain the full exemption for existing buildings, even if they are being redeveloped for a new use.
Motion: City Council approved three amendments to Text Amendment 11 on first reading: the technical clarifications, the amendment requiring a zoning permit with informational notice (ZPIN) for all buildings using the small lot parking exemption and an amendment to the preamble addressing the City’s commitment to address parking demands more comprehensively. We urge City Council to vote to approve these three amendments at final reading.
“The projects that really started the moratorium in effect could in fact happen anywhere in Denver,” said Bill Vanderlan, President of the Humboldt Street Neighborhood Association.
A moratorium on the development of small lots with no parking remains in place until the end of March. In the meantime, an amendment is moving through city channels, and residents don’t like what they’re hearing.
The new wording doesn’t stop things like that from going ahead, it just legitimizes it,” said Jodie Brownlee, a resident in City Park West.