Harkness Heights Conservation Overlay Underway

Northwest Denver City Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval hosted two community meetings Feb. 27 and March 3 to discuss a proposed conservation overlay district in the works for the Harkness Heights neighborhood, a small community within the Berkeley neighborhood. 

The Harkness Heights Neighborhood Association has been working with Councilwoman Sandoval and Denver Community Planning and Development over the past year to create an overlay they say will “preserve the unique character of the neighborhood.” 

The meetings were intended to collect community feedback on the latest version of the plan before submitting the final draft to the city for adoption. 

A conservation overlay district is intended to “help conserve or revitalize specific areas that have distinctive features, identity or character worthy of retention and enhancement,” according to the city.

Area-specific zoning standards are adopted to facilitate maintenance and protection of the area’s character, and are also applicable to the development of vacant or underused lots. Buildings with a conservation overlay must meet the overlay’s zoning standards as part of any exterior remodel, addition or new-build.

The overlay may also be used to establish design guidelines that are more detailed than the standards of the Denver Zoning Code.

The Potter Highlands neighborhood has a conservation overlay that maintains and protects side setbacks, shorter bulk planes with allowances for taller dormers, shorter heights for flat‐roofed buildings and the absence of rooftop decks.

Residents who wish to comment on the proposal will have another opportunity at the Planning Board and the Denver City Council public hearings, which have yet to be set. You can learn more about conservation overlays at denvergov.org/zoning.


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