Monday, February 3, 2014
by email: January 25, 2014
By Michael Henry, Committee Chair
Approximately 40 members participated in the first ZAP Committee meeting of the year. Michelle Pyle and Zoning Administrator Michael O’Flaherty of the Community Planning and Development Department updated the Committee about recent changes to the numerous proposed changes to the Zoning Code in the omnibus text amendment, which will be presented to the Planning Board on February 5. A draft of the 17-page summary of the proposed text amendments and also the full text is available for public review and comment. View it by visiting DenverGov.org/CPD or clicking here and looking for Planning Board Adoption Draft – January 21, 2014. The public hearing by City Council is expected in the late March or early April. Geneva Hooten of Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods encouraged the addition of bike-parking requirements for churches, community centers and open space.
State Representative Crisanta Duran, who represents many Denver neighborhoods, including Globeville, Swansea, Elyria and Lower Downtown, discussed House Bill 1132, which she is sponsoring, which, if passed, would allow cities and counties to have the option to allow bars, restaurants and nightclubs to serve liquor 24 hours a day, instead of being required to stop serving alcohol at 2:00am. She believes that extended hours will reduce the rush from nightclubs in LoDo at 2am and resulting violence. Almost all of the committee members, including many with nightclubs in their neighborhoods, were opposed to the bill as currently drafted and urged that much more careful thought was needed, especially about the need to explicitly allow different rules, depending on the conditions, needs and desires of different neighborhoods. After extensive discussion, the Committee unanimously passed a motion for consideration by the INC Delegation on February 8, which is printed elsewhere in this newsletter. Neighborhood organizations are encouraged to communicate with their State Representatives and Senators and to attend and testify at any committee meetings at the legislature.
The Committee reviewed statistics furnished by the Department of Excise and Licenses regarding the numbers of recreational marijuana licenses, since October 1, when hearings began for retail marijuana stores, as follows:
· the total number of hearings to date – 85 total (9 contested)
· the number of retail licenses approved to date – 36 stores, 51 grow facilities, 10 infused-products manufacturers, 1 testing facility
· the number of licenses denied to date and the reasons – 4 store applications; each for proximity to a school in violation of Denver Retail Marijuana Code (City denials; State may have additional)
· the geographic distribution of the retail licenses – interactive map on E&L website of retail stores
· how many more retail applications are in the pipeline – total retail applications received as of 1/10/2014: 123 stores, 168 grows, 25 infused-products manufacturers, 3 testing facilities (319 total, includes approved/licenses issued)
Committee members discussed hearings that they had observed and participated in. Although some neighborhood groups had opposed retail stores at hearings, none of them have yet been denied to date by Excise and Licenses, except for 4 which were found to be closer than 1000 feet to a school. Patty Ortiz of Warren’s University Community Council recounted how they were successful in persuading Excise and Licenses that a retail marijuana store license should be denied due to proximity to protected locations. Committee members urged that Excise and Licenses should verify distances from protected locations before a hearing is scheduled, instead of relying on an applicant’s representations. Stacy Loucks and Michael Sapp from the Mayor’s Office informed the Committee that background checks are performed on all applicants by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and that the Mayor would consider the ideas of neighborhood groups. Committee members expressed concerns about Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, low-priority enforcement by the Police Department against violations of the licensing ordinance and the serious need for research and education about the effects of marijuana on young people. Committee members are encouraged to attend a panel discussion on retail marijuana stores at the February 8 INC Delegation meeting at the Heritage Club at 2020 South Monroe Street.
The Committee unanimously adopted 3 motions presented by INC President Larry Ambrose concerning General Development Plans. These are printed elsewhere in this newsletter and will be considered at the February 8 Delegation meeting.
George Mayl of Cory-Merrill Neighborhood Association encouraged Committee members to participate in one of the upcoming community meetings concerning the Special Events and Planning effort by the Mayor’s Office, several city departments and a citizen advisory group (including George Mayl). The dates are printed elsewhere in the newsletter.
Alan Gass, representing the Denver Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, reported that the Tenth Annual Doors Open Denver will occur on April 12 – 13 and that its theme this year will be Celebrating Denver’s Neighborhood Architecture. More than 60 distinctive architectural sites throughout Denver, many new for this time will be open for free viewing. Regrettably, the city government has declined to make a financial contribution to the event for the first time. Financial and/or volunteer help from neighborhoods will be very welcome.
MOTIONS FROM ZAP COMMITTEE FOR CONSIDERATION AT FEBRUARY 8 INC DELEGATION MEETING
Inter- Neighborhood Cooperation opposes House Bill 1132, as it is written, during the 2014 legislative session. The bill, if passed, would allow cities and counties to have the option to allow bars, restaurants and nightclubs to serve liquor 24 hours a day, instead of being required to stop serving alcohol at 2:00am. INC believes that the reasoning and the language of the bill needs much more analysis to consider the bill’s benefits and harmful impacts for citizens, including safety, parking and noise problems for those residing near liquor-serving establishments. The Legislature needs to include explicit authority for local jurisdictions to place controls on liquor-serving establishments based upon specific conditions, needs and desires in individual neighborhoods. INC believes that there will be safety, parking and noise problems caused by allowing bars, restaurants and nightclubs to serve liquor after 2:00am and that the establishments that cause such problems should be penalized and not rewarded for such problems. INC encourages the legislature, the Mayor and City Council to do more research and to engage with neighborhoods in a meaningful discussion.
Resolution Advocating a Public Meeting Process for General Development Plans
Inter Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) has taken a strong position and is dedicated to a open and democratic processes in City land use decision making. Therefore INC resolves that:
Whereas, under the Denver Zoning Code’s language for General Development Plans (GDPs), private applicants for GDPs control the public meeting process, and
Whereas, with the adoption of the 2010 Denver Zoning Code, GDPs have new status to guide future zoning decisions, which previously had been reserved for adopted plans such as the Comprehensive Plan and small-area or “neighborhood” plans which are developed with substantial community input,
Now therefore, INC advocates that clear language amendments to the Denver Zoning Code be made shifting control of the GDP public meeting process to the government through the Community Planning and Development department, that such meetings be conducted in the manner of public hearings where public comments can be made and heard by those in attendance and where an official record of such hearings are made publicly available in a timely manner.
Resolution on Advocating Adequate Open Space for GDPs
Inter Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) has taken a strong position on the importance of open space in all new development in Denver. Therefore, INC resolves that:
Whereas, a reasonable amount of open space is absolutely necessary in large, higher-density developments to ensure the long term health of our communities, and
Whereas open space, in various forms such as green space, plazas, esplanades and paseos, is essential to Denver’s livability and its identity as a culture which honors our outdoor environment, and
Whereas, current Rules and Regulations for General Development Plans calls for publicly-accessible aggregated open space, which contributes to natural, recreational, aesthetic, historic and/or civic values and that it be of benefit to the neighborhood as well as the development, and
Whereas, in current Rules and Regulations for General Development Plans publicly-accessible aggregated open space may substitute for dedication of new parkland which may otherwise be required, and
Whereas, right-of-ways (streets, sideways, parkways) do not totally substitute for open space,
Now, therefore, INC reaffirms its Resolution of November 9, 2013 on General Development Plan Open Space Requirements, and cites clear historical precedent for having GDP requirements for open space be adequate for the population and density of all new developments, whether 10 acres or less.
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