Message From the President
Greetings Neighbors and Friends,
Urban Dweller, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods' (CHUN) monthly e-newsletter, is now online. Here is the latest from Denver’s largest, oldest registered neighborhood organization and your community advocate:
1290 Williams Street rezoned to PUD G-23. After more than three years of planning and unprecedented community engagement, Denver City Council unanimously approved the rezoning of CHUN's Tears-McFarlane property located at 1290 Williams Street. CHUN would like to thank Councilperson Chris Hinds for his kind words during the final hearing noting the rezoning application is in line with his vision of the 20-minute neighborhood. We could not agree more.
CHUN seeks to fill up to 5 board vacancies. The CHUN board of directors regularly engages in city issues like supporting affordable housing or promoting smart land use and zoning. If you live and/or work within CHUN's geographic boundaries, joining our board creates a unique opportunity for you to get involved in the issues impacting your neighborhood. CHUN is committed to creating a more diverse, equitable, and just community. Candidates/applicants from communities historically underrepresented on boards and commissions (including race, ethnicity, education level, housing status, et al) are strongly encouraged to apply. For more details about our diversity and inclusivity policy, please click HERE. Our bylaws and a full list of responsibilities can be found HERE.
Apply to join the CHUN board of directors HERE. The deadline is December 11, 2020.
Homelessness a challenge throughout Denver. For the past few months, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, Golden Triangle Creative District, Colfax Ave Business Improvement District, Uptown on the Hill RNO, and other neighborhood groups have engaged our members and community stakeholders to address the seeming surge in homeless encampments. This growing coalition of groups has outlined a few actionable steps to (a) support the unhoused with near-term options; (b) engage service providers on new ideas and implementation; and (c) immediately initiate long-term solutions. Collectively our groups sent a formal memo to Denver leadership, for which we have received positive feedback. Neighborhood groups have an obligation to be thought partners. CHUN is committed to being solutions-oriented and not an obstacle to this most vexing of issues. Click here to read the full text of the memo.
1295 Race should remain affordable housing. Members of the CHUN History Matters Committee met with other groups concerned about a demolition application for 1295 Race St. The building itself is historic, but most importantly, it has provided affordable housing to Denver seniors for decades. Kevin Kelly, co-chair of the CHUN history matters committee, joined other individuals in a notice of intent to file a landmark designation. This notice was designed to slow the process down and create a window for important negotiations. The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority has weighed in about how we need to find a way to preserve this property and will seek to bring additional resources to the table. Councilwoman Robin Kneich has been helpful in bringing key groups together as well. Denver Landmark Preservation and Community Planning and Development established a process to preserve unique historic and cultural features. That same process prevented the demolition of 1295 Race and the displacement of seniors in affordable housing (for now). As CHUN awaits Botnick Realty Group's reply to our request to engage in more meaningful conversations, CHUN remains unequivocal in its support for affordable, attainable housing. Rest assured, we will be at the table advocating for affordable housing and protecting vulnerable residents.
Greater Capitol Hill could be home to two temporary safe outdoor sites. Two church parking lots have been proposed as temporary safe outdoor sites. Westword covered the initial proposal HERE. It is our understanding that community partners and direct service providers who support the unhoused are proceeding in thoughtful fashion to ensure immediate needs are met for those unhoused neighbors and to address concerns of the surrounding community too. CHUN has been a part of some of these conversations to ensure appropriate analysis and thoughtful consideration of neighbor concerns. That is our duty. Two community meetings have been scheduled to discuss and review these concepts.
CHUN wants to fund your important cause and work. CHUN's SEED Awards support community involvement and foster locally grown solutions for the public good. CHUN will award more than $5,000 in community impact funds. Past projects include public murals, access to personal toiletries for people in need, computers for PTAs, and more. If you have a great project that needs financial support, apply today.
The on-line application is available HERE. The deadline to apply is November 20, 2020.
Shakespeare writes, "What is the city but the people?" For it is the people...the elected leaders making tough decisions, the unhoused in need, coalitions of neighborhood groups, the diverse backgrounds of the CHUN board, and generous members and supporters like you...who help our organization contribute to the rich fabric of this city. What is Denver but YOU?
For the greater Capitol Hill community,
Travis Leiker, MPA
President, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods
Monthly Member Profile: Interfaith Alliance of Colorado
With Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and other members, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado promotes justice, religious liberty and interfaith understanding through building relationships in order to educate, advocate and catalyze social change.
Through advocacy and technical assistance, The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado has been working to help create short term and long term solutions for our unhoused neighbors across the State of Colorado. Assisting in the approval, set-up, and winterization, we strive to create safe places for our unhoused community during COVID. Interfaith also works closely with non-profits and congregations to imagine, plan, and develop affordable housing as a long-term sustainable solution for some of Colorado's most vulnerable individuals.
Support Black-Owned Businesses in Denver
Looking for ways to support Black-owned businesses? Yelp Community Manager, Matt C., has been compiling a collection of these businesses for the city of Denver. As of this posting, the collection has 110 places on it.
Take a look at the collection if you're looking for a new business to support, and feel free to send him an email if you know of any businesses that should be added.
Sign Up for South City Park's "Leaf into Compost" Collection Program!
Your bagged leaves can support the SCP Neighborhood Association and Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods’ effort to address our global climate crisis from right here in the neighborhood! Bagged leaves will be collected on designated days through the Fall season by Denver Compost Collective, to be processed into a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer. The finished compost will then be donated to a local nonprofit farm (Frontline Farming) to help grow more food for the community! Limited time only; Sign Up Today.
The fee is $1 per bag. Sign up by contacting Jim Slotta, the SCP Neighborhood Association Climate Action Chairperson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Denver Water's Lead Reduction Program Update
At the end of October, Denver Water provided updates about its ongoing Lead Reduction Program. This is a 15 year program to replace all the lead water service lines in its service area. For more information on other common sources of lead in your home, visit www.colorado.gov/cdphe/lead-what-are-common-sources. Here is what you may have missed:
Financial Aid Offered to Restaurants for Costs of Expanded Outdoor Space
Survey: Should Internal Park Roads & Parking Lots Remain Closed?
Survey: Decide How Denver Parks & Recreation Will Grow!
Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR) has another survey that is open to anyone who utilizes Denver parks, trails, open space, and facilities. The feedback could be used to further develop DPR's Strategic Acquisition Plan. Click here to complete the Denver Parks Strategic Acquisition Plan Survey. It closes on November 20th, 2020.
The Strategic Acquisition Plan is being developed to help grow and maintain an equitable, sustainable, and resilient parks and recreation system. With the passage of Measure 2A and the establishment of the Parks Legacy Fund in November 2018, DPR has a dedicated source of funds for park, trail, and facility improvements, including acquisition.
More details about the plan, including public meetings, surveys, and contact information, please visit its section on the DPR Park & Facility Projects page.
City Park Playground Construction is Underway!
Elevate Denver has provided an update to the City Park Playground project, which seeks to replace the existing playground with one that is envisioned to be "a regional 'destination' playground". The new playground would eliminate safety concerns or potential hazards such as cracked surface areas and warped decking that can cause injuries. Additionally, a custom play tower will be constructed, continuing to build castle themes on the original playground's Denver Cityscape mural. A custom "dragon play" cave-like feature is also included in the renderings.
For more details on the project, its schedule, and more concept art, view the attached City Park Playground Project Summary document:
Modeling a Safe Outdoor Space for The Unhoused
Colorado Village Collaborative has pursued a vision to help Denver's homeless stay safe from the virus. Early in October, a replica of the proposed "Temporary Safe Outdoor Spaces" (or SOS) was set up at Denver's Belong Church. Although the event is over, a webinar on Safe Outdoor Spaces is available on Colorado Village Cooperative's Facebook page.
The flyer, embedded below, explains what one would expect for these outdoor spaces.
Featured Zoning News
Tears-McFarlane Rezoning Approved by Denver City Council!
After more than three years of exhaustive planning, visioning, and garnering community input, the Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods board and I are proud to announce Denver City Council **unanimously approved** the rezoning of the historic Tears-McFarlane property located at 1290 Williams Street on Monday, October 26, 2020.
The rezoning allows us to remove the current aging annex and replace it with an updated single-story structure that will house a neighborhood-friendly café for all Capitol Hill residents in the immediate surrounding area. We will be able to meet with our neighbors and friends in a pristine setting that is within walking, biking, or rolling distance from our homes or neighborhood workplace. Many favorably recall when there was such a café on site in the early 1980s.
As many of us know, all homes, and especially older historic homes, need maintenance and restoration. The stunning architecture of the Tears-McFarlane house is iconic and a historic landmark. The newly approved rezoning will not change the home, except for much-needed paint, structural work, and added amenities. Revenues from the new café will be used to keep the home updated and help fund CHUN's invaluable community programs.
CHUN always knew there would be opposition to the rezoning, and we addressed those concerns in a Good Neighbor Agreement. For nearly 50 years, the property was intended to serve as a community asset where neighbors gather, meet to discuss issues, and collaborate to shape the future of Capitol Hill. This rezoning allows us to deliver this vision for decades to come.
The next phase of project planning and permitting is expected to begin in early 2021.
Why Can't All of Denver Have Accessory Dwelling Units?
There is wide interest throughout the city to allow homeowners to create Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as Carriage Houses. Zoning regulations currently allow one ADU per lot in 25% of Denver. To find out whether you can have an ADU, visit the Accessory Dwelling Units map provided by Denver.gov.
Even in areas not zoned for ADUs, a homeowner can pay a $1,000 filing fee to ask city council for a rezoning. "Such requests are generally approved by city council, with members often pointing to the Blueprint Denver they adopted last year," writes Donna Bryson in the Denverite article.
What does the future hold for ADUs? While homeowners generally go through individual rezoning to build ADUs, residents of Chaffee Park, with the assistance of Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval, are moving forward with a proposal to allow ADUs throughout the neighborhood. Other council members are adopting the same model to explore options for East Colfax. It's also possible that a council member or Community Planning and Development could initiate a citywide ADU rezoning proposal,
As Denver continues to grow, ADUs could be a popular and gentle approach to increasing density in existing lots without drastically changing the character and environment of the neighborhood.
Read on, in the full article on Denverite.
Denver OKs Change to Free Up Land for Managed Homeless Campsites
Zoning Out: Rethinking Housing in America
HOA Sustainability Scorecard Guidebook Presentation - 11/20
This Is What Democracy Looks Like - Event Series by History Colorado
Also In The News
A Special Thanks to Some of Our Business and Community Partner Members:
The Urban Dweller is published on the first, working Monday of each month. To submit your content via email, please use the button above. Content is due by the 25th DAY of each month.