Let’s face it: The growing number of “area plans” being developed by Denver’s Community Planning and Development are now doing everything virtually. If you join a virtual meeting, well, it’s just not the same as a real meeting. But, of course, who wants to be squeezed into an auditorium or gymnasium until the virus has gone away? Really, who knows when?
So this morning, Colorado Politics ran a story about the East Area Plan – South Park Hill, Hale, Montclair, and East Colfax – and these neighborhoods are incredibly different. But the East Colfax Neighborhood Association is choosing to pause this “long-term community vision.” They want to return to in-person meetings when the danger of the novel coronavirus has “passed.”
I would imagine that many people are thinking about this, too. In my East Central Area Plan, we were asked to affix virtual sticky notes with comments and concerns. Considering that my East Central Area Plan was over 270 pages, really?
The East Colfax Neighborhood Association said this:
“As by far the most populous and the most socioeconomically diverse of the four neighborhoods in the East Area Plan,” wrote the group in an email, “the East Colfax Neighborhood Association must insist that the Neighborhood Planning Initiative and those working on the East Area Plan put the process on hold as our communities struggle through the massive health and economic impacts of COVID-19.”
My East Central Area Plan is somewhat more homogenous, including Capitol Hill, North Capitol Hill, City Park, City Park West, Congress Park, and Cheesman Park. A stretch of East Colfax Avenue is included, but what is much more telling is the number of new apartment buildings, as developers have gone to town in some of these neighborhoods. There is a virtual steering committee meeting on July 9, and I’ll tune in.
It is undoubtedly easier to lump neighborhoods to take less time, and some of the old plans are really old. The Uptown plan – North Capitol Hill, if you please – was created in 1986. So I get it, but it is not terribly subtle about pointing out areas that are ripe for redevelopment. How convenient.
Below are links to the story Colorado Politics, and to the pages on Denvergov.org about the East Central Area Plan and the East Area Plan.