A couple of weeks ago, I was watching a city council committee discussing the preservation of Carmen Court. It was a very quick discussion. But then, there was a presentation by a city planner rolling out the many aspects of changes to zoning for group living.
The introduction was a list of dates that Denver did not have – or did have – the concept of how zoning would address group living. In 1925, Denver’s first zoning code, did not regulate how many people lived in a home.
By 1954, the city had decreed that “one individual or group of two (2) or more persons related by blood or marriage living together as a single housekeeping unit and doing their cooking on the premises as distinguished from a group occupying a boarding house, lodging house…” And what that meant was that “by 1954, that language had evolved to prohibit unrelated people, including LGBTQ and interracial couples, who were not legally allowed to marry in Colorado at this time.”
But most recently, the zoning code, in 2018, notes: “Two partners or two unrelated adults,” with other relatives from the existing list. It was updated in 2018 to be gender-neutral.
After a few more slides, I realized: My head was spinning. I understand that the bottom line is to create equity for all, while offering options for those who have lost their homes or apartments, or need housing. It’s a difficult time.
There have been several stories after that meeting. Last night, District 10 council member Chris Hinds conducted a Zoom meeting (and on Facebook), which wound up lasting for two hours, but it was quite educational. He and his staff had invited pro and con individuals who could address aspects for the group living proposal. The city planner, Andrew Webb, and a land use expert were there, and so were a couple of people who had experience in RNO’s, the registered neighborhood organizations.
Here’s that link:
Then, yesterday, The Denver Post printed a guest commentary written by two city council members representing District 5 Amanda Sawyer and District 4 Kendra Black.
Here’s the first paragraph:
“As the cost of living in Denver has skyrocketed, it has become increasingly difficult for the average resident to find adequate housing within our boundaries. We applaud the staff at Community Planning and Development for searching for ways to expand the affordable options for individuals and families. But while the proposal brought forward by the Group Living Advisory Committee is a valiant effort in that direction, it is too complex and extreme, and needs further refinement.”
Well, and then there is this: A story in Westword this morning points out that City Council District 11 representative Stacie Gilmore, who represents Montbello and Green Valley Ranch, noting that those two areas work under two different zoning codes. And that causes, well, confusion.
The first paragraph goes like this:
“Ten years after Denver began implementing a new zoning code, over 20 percent of the city still falls under zoning guidelines dating back to the 1950s.”
Here’s that link, too:
A few more links are below, including an 8-hour Denver Planning Board meeting addressing the group living proposal before referring it to a city council committee. When I read that, I remembered “The Cremaster Cycle” created by Matthew Barney so long ago to write a review.
And here is where to watch the Sept. 1 city council committee meeting: