While the pandemic continues to impact our community with far-reaching effects on us all, I have watched the people of Northwest Denver come together to support our businesses and each other in a way that truly exemplifies northside pride. As we recover, we are prioritizing long-term solutions for key issues facing our neighborhoods. By collaborating closely with residents and subject matter experts, we are developing community-driven policy and delivering meaningful results.
Preserving community character
Northwest Denver is a remarkable place. We are preserving its character and adding new tools to the zoning code at the community’s request. For example, in Harkness Heights, my office sponsored a conservation overlay to 354 residential properties. This ensures new developments keep an even building height, preserves open space, keeps front porches on new homes, incentivizes pitch roof homes over flat roofs, and encourages welcoming pedestrian walkways. In addition, we added a design overlay along Tennyson Street for 445 properties requiring 75% of new development to have active street use on the ground floor, such as retail, restaurants and coffee shops. In Sloan’s Lake, we added the ability for 1,742 properties to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs). This consistent application of the ADU zoning throughout the entire neighborhood provides flexibility for living arrangements, increases density and expands capacity.
Holistic approach to health
Our focus this spring was on providing vaccines with a holistic approach to families and communities. We provided access for people who are at-risk, essential workers, and underserved communities. We sponsored clinics at trusted community-serving locations including Servicios, St. Cajetan’s, Regis University, Lincoln High School and Auraria Campus – together vaccinating thousands of community members.
Expanded outdoor zoning flexibility
During the pandemic, the city’s public health order allowed for the creation of safe outdoor sites and temporary expansion of right-of-way uses, such as the expansion of restaurant patios on our streets. My office supported the location of Regis University safe outdoor space as an alternative shelter solution for people experiencing homelessness, then worked to expand the site permitting with a zoning bridge amendment. The zoning bridge amendment allows areas of the city that were left out of the 2010 zoning code, to take advantage of the new code. Northwest Denver locations such as the Elitch’s redevelopment and the beloved Tony P’s on 32nd can now take advantage of outdoor seating opportunities.
Focus on community
Throughout a year of closures and tentative reopening’s, we have made community our top priority. Last year we transitioned open office hours to virtual sessions and continued that unique tradition. We hosted 10 virtual office hour sessions, allowing residents to engage in open and honest dialogue. We also made tactical urbanism a priority, programming simple, positive uses and activities that make a big difference in combatting negative activities in our spaces. We hosted a movie night at Zuni Park, and we will continue to host positive community events. Placemaking has been a major priority, making investments in welcoming spaces that encourage gathering and unity. At La Raza Park, we commissioned a new mestizo sculpture to complement the murals.
One great future ahead
As we look toward 2022, we do so with a sense of optimism and perseverance, knowing we will need both to succeed in our ambitious plan for the year ahead. With the passage of the 2021 GO BOND on Nov. 2, Denver has approved the investment of $17.5 million in District One!
I am honored to be chair of Denver’s council redistricting workgroup. We are starting the process early, engaging different voices in our community to ensure everyone has an opportunity to be heard in this important activity that will reshape not only our district but the make-up of the entire city for the next decade. You can provide input at denvergov.org/redistricting. As a lifelong resident of Northwest Denver, I am as committed as ever to building a community united.
Through thoughtful policy, urban planning expertise and a collaborative approach, my team is helping to create community prosperity. We are embracing the diverse voices of this changing community because we believe in the power of unity. As we look back at the past year, and on to the next, there is one constant, one truth of Northwest Denver – we are one.