Message From the President
Greetings Neighbors and Friends,
Happy February. Last month was a busy time for Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods (CHUN). Earlier in the month, more than 100 members and community leaders joined CHUN for its 2019 Membership Meeting--our annual conversation that includes a year-in-review, a discussion about critical issues facing the city, the election of at-large delegates, and other matters of organizational priority. If you missed the event, the following are few highlights from the evening:
A special thanks to the Colorado Health Foundation for hosting our Annual Membership Meeting. Their team did an absolutely fabulous job. To Mark Whistler, and the Goods Restaurant, we extend our deepest gratitude for providing a delicious spread of appetizers and snacks for the gathering.
On January 31, the full board met for its first meeting of the year. The first meeting serves as an opportunity to get to know each other and become better acquainted with the policies and practices of C.H.U.N.'s operations. In addition, we adopted our 2019 budget and elected the officers for the 2019 calendar year.
The following were elected to serve on C.H.U.N.'s executive committee: Bill DeMaio & Rod Mullins: Co-Vice President(s) of Tears-McFarlane House; Georgia Burleson, Vice-President of Fundraising; Sarah Wells and Molly Williams, Co-Vice President(s) of Fundraising; Karen VanHaaften, Vice-President of Neighborhood Engagement; Mark Cossin, Ex-Officio; Richard Wilson, Treasurer; Andrea Hamilton, Secretary. We also filled a neighborhood 2 delegate vacancy; Boris Jonica took on this role effective January 31. I was re-elected to serve as President. My deepest thanks to my board colleagues for their continued support and leadership. In addition, I want to thank the executive committee and board for their future efforts to advance our organization's mission and purpose.
Finally, 2019 is C.H.U.N.'s 50th Anniversary year. As we celebrate this milestone year, we do so with renewed energy and optimism, steadfast commitment to our city, and a shared vision for a greater community. We look forward to seeing you at an event, meeting, or other CHUN sponsored program soon.
President, Board of Delegates
2019 Good Neighbor Awards
Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods presented the 2019 Good Neighbor Awards—an annual recognition of nonprofit organizations, individuals, or businesses for outstanding contributions to the greater Capitol Hill community. The awards recognize outstanding volunteerism, community development, historic preservation, and promoting safe neighborhoods. Award recipients included:
Longtime friends of C.H.U.N. will recall its community grants program—small financial awards to nonprofit groups within the organization’s geographic boundaries. Financial constraints caused C.H.U.N. to suspend the program a number of years ago. This year, we are excited to be able to provide small financial awards—$350 per award—to important organizations in our community. If the award recipient is an individual or a for-profit group, they were asked to select a nonprofit that is within C.H.U.N.’s boundaries and reflective of our shared values.
Vision Zero Community Program Awards Funds to CHUN
CHUN is proud to announce that the City’s “Vision Zero Community Program” has awarded CHUN funding for a project submitted to increase awareness of Vision Zero and promote safer streets! This project will be a collaboration between CHUN, the City and County of Denver, East High School and Walk Denver. The award was notified late December 2018.
Specifically, the proposed project is for the on the busiest and most dangerous pedestrian intersections at Colfax Avenue and Madison Streets. This is due to the massive influx of businesses and its proximity to residents: Bastien’s, Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs, Sprouts, Heidi’s Deli, The Humble Pie Store, Machete Tequila + Tacos, Cerebral Brewing, Milk Roll Ice Cream, Lula Rose Coffee, Enzo’s Pizza and PS Lounge.
The collaborative project is headed up by Shayne Brady, Bill DeMaio, Charles Nusbaum, Andrew Rogge, Jim Slotta and Tony Smith. Along with all collaborators mentioned above, the CHUN team will reach out and involve local businesses.
The project kicks off January 2019 and will culminate in May. Along with promoting safety, the project will help provide valuable data for the city’s many plans for Colfax Avenue.
Expansion of Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program
A popular housing assistance program, promoting stability among residents facing a housing crisis and possible eviction, has been extended to serve additional households throughout 2019. Denver City Council last night approved two separate contracts which together provide an additional $2 million in funding for Denver’s Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance program (TRUA). TRUA offers rent and utility assistance to households earning up to 80% of the area median income, which is $50,350 for an individual and $71,900 for a family of four. Paid for through Denver’s Affordable Housing Fund, TRUA is part of a collaborative effort by OED to address critical and immediate needs of people facing job/income loss or other economic pressures, unsafe housing conditions, utility shutoff, or potential eviction.
The TRUA program has served more than 1,100 households since its inception in November 2017. Rental assistance has been provided to 1,047 households, with an average rental payment of $1,200. A total of 77 households have received utility assistance, with an average payment of $378. The majority of residents served have incomes below 30% of the area median income, and a significant proportion of residents served are female heads of households.
For more information on eligibility and enrollment, visit www.Denvergov.org/housing.
Share Your Opinion with the East Central Planning Committee
In 2017 the City of Denver started what is known as the “East Central Neighborhood Planning Initiative” when City Council members Wayne New and Albus Brooks appointed a Steering Committee comprised of 15 members. The East Central Planning Area includes the statistical neighborhoods adjacent to Colfax Avenue between Broadway and Colorado Boulevard, including Capitol Hill, North Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park, Congress Park, City Park and City Park West. The planning process is now at a point where broader public input is requested. If you are interested in participating, please attend one or more of the following meetings.
Tuesday, February 5
East Central Area-Wide Community Workshop
Scottish Rite Masonic Center, 1370 Grant St, Denver, 6 – 8 pm
Thursday, February 7
North Capitol Hill and City Park West
Colorado Health Foundation, 1780 Pennsylvania St, Denver, 6-8 pm
Tuesday, February 12
Capitol Hill and Cheesman Park
Althea Center, 1400 N Williams St, Denver, 6-8 pm
Wednesday, February 13
City Park and Congress Park
Church in the City/Beth Abraham, 2280 E 16th Ave, Denver, 6-8 pm
Turn Over a New Leaf
Denver has launched a new program called “Turn Over a New Leaf” to vacate low-level marijuana convictions. Do you know someone with a low-level marijuana crime from before legalization? These crimes can now be expunged under Denver’s Turn Over a New Leaf Program. Anyone interested can apply online or in person at one of four clinics. Learn more by visiting www.Denvergov.org/ANewLeaf or email email@example.com questions. CHUN wants to ensure that those who can take advantage of this program are able to participate.
Attend the Local Emergency Planning Committee Meeting
This year the Denver Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) will meet quarterly to discuss hazards in our community, including risks from hazardous material storage and transportation. Denver residents, first responders, chemical industry representatives, and other local stakeholders are encourage to attend. Please see the invite below for details. Click here to RSVP
Denver Offers Free B-cycle Passes
Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver Public Works and Denver B-cycle gathered at Denver’s newest B-cycle station at Zuni Street and West 14th Avenue to announce the Mile High City is making 5,280 B-cycle passes available to Denver residents at no charge to encourage new riders and increase mobility choices around the city. The passes are good for unlimited 60-minute rides during the 2019 calendar year. To ensure that residents who benefit most from the new passes have access to them, Public Works and Denver B-cycle will also be making a concerted effort to get these passes into the hands of Denver’s lower-income residents by reaching out to organizations that support underserved communities. The 5,280 Free Rides program supports Mayor Hancock’s Mobility Action Plan to reduce single-occupant vehicle trips and increase the percentage of people who commute by bike, foot and transit. The 5,280 free passes would double the 2,600 Denver residents who currently carry Annual, Annual Plus, Monthly and Flex memberships. Funding for the passes was provided in the Mayor’s 2019 Budget.
Denver residents can visit B-cycle’s website at denver.bcycle.com to claim one of the 5,280 free access passes that will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals will be required to show proof of Denver residency. B-cycle’s 89-station system offers riders more than 700 bicycles from City Park to West Denver, from Cherry Creek to RiNo and The Highlands
CHUN Committee Updates
Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods: Zoning, Transportation and Licensing
CHUN endorsed a tax credit allocation from the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) to help finance a new affordable housing project at 1275 Sherman Street that would be constructed by Mile High Development, and that a letter acknowledging such support be sent by CHUN to CHFA. If constructed, the affordable housing project at 1275 Sherman Street would be known as the Capitol Square Apartments.
The Capitol Square Apartments will contain 103 units, comprised of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments (approximately 70% 1 bedroom, 30% 2 bedrooms) in a six (6) story building. The existing CMX‐8 zoning for the site allows an 8 story building. Zoning currently requires .75 parking spaces per unit, which the project intends to complied with. No variances or waivers of the zoning code are being requested. The Area Median Income (AMI) range for the project is 30% AMI ‐ 80% AMI, with the average AMI level being just under 60% AMI. There will be no “special services” provided in the building. The ground floor will contain space for the management and leasing offices, and a community room and fitness center for the tenants. This ground floor space, containing approximately 5,000 sf, will wrap around the corner of 13th & Sherman, activating the ground floor. The balance of the ground floor will be used for parking, as will the basement level of the building.
Mile High Development will be making an application for Affordable Housing Tax Credits to CHFA, which is due on February 1, 2019. This is a competitive process, which is why support from neighborhood organizations is important. If the applicant is successful in receiving a tax credit allocation from CHFA, notice would be given in April or May 2019. Mile High Development then intends to proceed to finalize its design and financial plan over the ensuing 12 months. Under this schedule, construction would start in the 2nd quarter of 2020 and the project would be completed prior to year end 2021..
Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods: Historic Preservation
The next historic preservation committee meeting will be on Wednesday February 13 at 7pm at the Castle Marne at 1572 Race Street. Anyone is welcome to attend and/or join the committee. Please let me know if you have any questions about the committee.
News Affecting CHUN's Neighborhoods
Upcoming Public Meetings
Public hearing before Denver City Council regarding a proposal to rezone the properties at 1709 and 1717 Washington Streets. Those properties are currently zoned G-RO-5, and the proposal is to rezone them to C-MS-5. This hearing before City Council will be on Monday, February 11th starting at 5:30 PM, and will be held in the City Council Chambers (Room 451) of the City and County Building, which is located at 1437 Bannock Street. Contact Denver City Council regarding procedures for commenting in advance or testifying.
Public Hearing before the Board of Adjustment regarding the property at 1780 Marion Street - appeal of a denial for a new multi-unit development on a parcel with 2 separate zone districts that will result in building form violations. Hearing to be held on February 19th at 9:30 AM at the Wellington Webb Office Building, 201 W. Colfax Avenue, 2nd Floor Tower Hearing Room, 2.H.14. Contact Denver Board of Adjustment regarding Case No. 3-19 for more information (720-913-3052).