August 2021 News Shorts

Here’s a roundup of some of the shorter, but no less important, stories we wanted to share this month.

Council Unanimously Approves ADU Rezoning for Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood
By David Sabados

A garage conversion style ADU. Photo courtesy of the city and county of Denver.

The Sloan’s Lake (or Sloan Lake, depending on who you ask) neighborhood has been rezoned to allow more accessory dwelling units (ADUs). ADUs are smaller, secondary homes, sometimes attached, but often carriage house-style, detached dwellings. Property owners can use them for housing for a family member, a rental property, or other uses.

Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval, who represents nearly the entire area, sponsored the rezoning with the support of Councilwoman Jamie Torres, who also represents a few homes in the area.

The rezoning affects roughly 1400 properties across 230 acres, including some areas with historic designations or other zoning restrictions. New ADUs built must still comply with historic or other requirements. 

While the city said they received 10 letters in opposition to the rezoning, the neighborhood appeared to be mostly supportive. According to survey results from Councilwoman Sandoval earlier this year, 73% of respondents said they supported the effort with 20% opposed (7% were at the time undecided).

“ADUs are simply a win-win,” said Councilwoman Sandoval. “As we figure out how to welcome future residents who want to live in this wonderful city, ADUs are a solution that creates gentle density while retaining the beloved character of our residential neighborhoods and allowing homeowners to invest in their properties. I am incredibly excited to bring this rezoning forward for the Sloan’s Lake community and extend my gratitude to all those who shared their voices in this process.” 

Sandoval noted during the council meeting that while the rezoning covers the entire neighborhood, not all properties are eligible due to their lot size. She is working with city agencies and hopes to see minimum lot sizes, as well as ADU building costs, addressed in the near future.

Overdose Awareness Day: August 31
By Kathryn White

Nearly 30 community organizations—ranging from Servicios de La Raza to Denver Health and the Harm Reduction Action Center—are getting the word out that August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. “This is a day to mourn those that we have lost and raise awareness,” says Lisa Raville, Executive Director of the Harm Reduction Action Center. Overdoses in Denver increased from 225 to 367 between 2019 and 2020. Nationally, deaths by overdose grew by 21,000 (nearly 30%) to 93,331.

The public is invited to tour the Harm Reduction Action Center any time between 1:30 and 3:30 to remember and grieve, to join discussion, or to simply learn more about the harm reduction model. If you have lost a friend or family member to overdose death, you are also invited to add your loved one’s name or a framed photo to a memorial wall.

According to the Associated Press’s July 14, 2021 article “US Overdose Deaths Hit Record 93,000 in Pandemic Last Year,” the synthetic opioid fentanyl—over 80 times more powerful than morphine—has now replaced both heroin and prescription painkillers as the leading driver of the US overdose epidemic. “What’s really driving the surge in overdoses is this increasingly poisoned drug supply,” said Shannon Monnat, an associate professor of sociology at Syracuse University who researches geographic patterns in overdoses. “Nearly all of this increase is fentanyl contamination in some way. Heroin is contaminated. Cocaine is contaminated. Methamphetamine is contaminated.” CDC data shows that fentanyl was involved in more than 60% of overdose deaths in 2020.

In the harm reduction approach, drug overdose can be prevented by providing supervised drug use sites where interventions like fentanyl test strips and naloxone (medicine that rapidly reverses opioid overdose) are available.

Harm Reduction Action Center
112 E. 8th Ave
Denver, CO, 80203

Council Considers More District Seats, Eliminating At-Large Positions
By David Sabados

The Denver City Council Finance and Governance Committee forwarded a proposal to the full council to change the body’s makeup from 11 district representatives and 2 at-large members to 13 district representatives. The proposal was created by an unusual coalition who don’t often align. Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca led the proposal in front of the council with the support of Councilmen Clark and Flynn, who joked about the unlikely team.

CdeBaca and other supporters pointed to Denver’s rising population as a primary reason for wanting more district offices. The council size was last increased in 1968. Prior to 1968, council had 9 districts. She also forwarded an argument that cities with more at-large members are less likely to elect people of color. According to CdeBaca, in the 50 years that Denver has had at-large members, only two of the 15 councilmembers to serve at large were people of color.

With redistricting around the corner and both current at-large members term-limited, proponents said the timing was perfect and unique.

Opponents of the move included the two current At-large members. They, along with advocates for the current system, claim that at-large members have more capacity to look at big issues the city is facing and are more likely to forward legislation that benefits the entire city instead of a single area.

The proposal passed 4-3 and will now go to the full council for debate. If they support the effort, it will appear on this November’s ballot for voters to decide.

Sheridan Blvd. Development Given 2nd Chance After Council Approval
By The Denver North Star Staff

Two years ago, Denver City Council shot down a proposal for more density on Sheridan near 17th Ave. Earlier this month, council approved a rezoning on four continuous properties (3 single family homes and 1 duplex) that will pave the way to a new 60 unit complex. 

The differences between the proposals, according to supporters, is that the new proposal utilizes different zoning codes that will result in an increased setback and tree canopy along Sheridan. That will make development more appealing and a better addition to the neighborhood than the previous attempt. Additionally, a proposed project there will offer surface parking instead of a parking garage, which should result in lower unit costs for the rentals at a time when housing prices continue to increase.

The change was not without protest; some community members noted that the complex will have fewer parking spaces than units, which means that if all residents have a car, it could impact parking on nearby Zenobia st, especially if developers don’t include guest parking. Increased traffic, sight lines, and community character were also mentioned.

New Development Underway Replacing Two Homes on Tennyson St
By The Denver North Star Staff

What will likely be the first redevelopment on Tennyson St since the design overlay encouraging more mixed use development went into effect is underway. Construction fencing has gone up around two homes on the 4100 block of Tennyson.

The overlay, created by Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval and passed by council, doesn’t specifically require ground floor retail with housing above, but it makes that design one of the easiest options to build.

Concept drawings for the lots show a single four story building with what will likely be ground floor commercial uses and 3 additional floores of housing above. Osage Properties Group, whose banner is hung on the fencing, was not available to discuss the project in time for publication.

Readers have requested more development updates such as this one, and we hope to bring you more information about upcoming projects, especially in highly trafficked areas, in future editions.

Denver Animal Shelter 2022 Pet Calendar Contest is Open!
By The Denver North Star Staff

Calling all runway model pets! Do you have the goofiest grin? The most hilarious head tilt? The sweetest smile? If so, your human should enter your photo in Denver Animal Shelter’s 2022 Beautiful Paws calendar contest.

Not only will your entry help homeless pets at the Denver Animal Shelter, but you’ll also be eligible for weekly prize giveaways and the top 13 animals will win a professional photoshoot and be featured in the 2022 calendar!

Fees for photo entries and votes also help Denver Animal Protection (DAP) continue their life saving work. Photo submission is $25 and residents can cast as many votes as they like for $1 each. Visit for details. The contest runs from now through August 28.

Students Coordinate Safe Driving Mural
By The Denver North Star Staff

Denver North students responded to neighborhood speeding and DWI issues with this call-to-action art collaboration. Hosted by The Corner Custom Framing, the mural was planned during the spring semester and painted over the summer. Photo by David Sabados


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