Sometimes it’s good to keep your mind off the election. So: A couple of weeks ago, the Denver Planning Board reviewed the East Area Plan, or EAP, and came up with an amendment that took out one sentence from the plan, right about the end of the meeting: “Single unit areas should remain primarily single unit.”
That sounds meek and mild, but not to everyone. The problem was, I was not able to watch when the board members finally voted, because the tape stopped, leaving planning board chair Joel Noble staring and frozen in time. Some of these meetings go on for many hours, but when you look at the list of the tapes for these recent planning board meetings, they all now stop at 6.
Is the city no longer able to tape the length of these meetings? Is it finances? Who knows? The board voted to take this sentence out, 6-3 — later.
Then, Tuesday’s Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure meeting – i.e., LUTI — took up the EAP for discussion. The EAP neighborhoods include South Park Hill, Hale, Montclair and East Colfax, and the latter two reside on completely different planets. I do not live in the EAP, but I live in its sort-of-sister plan (the East Central Area Plan) because they were both developed pretty much at the same time. And EACP had some different “planets,” too, involving six neighborhoods.
The EAP was passed on to the full Denver City Council for the first reading, and, later, a courtesy hearing on Monday, November 16, as was noted on District 5 Council Member Amanda Sawyer on her Facebook page.
But during the land use meeting, a story in Colorado Politics quoted Sawyer about this (and I watched it):
“The change is ‘reflective of the community conversations we had,’ Sawyer told committee members Tuesday, ‘and also because, frankly, removing that one sentence doesn’t really do a lot because maps still reflect that in the East Area Plan, and there are parts of the East Area Plan that refer to that sentence, but now that sentence is gone, so it’s confusing. ‘ ”
She also noted that the Planning Board was a legislative body, and not elected, and did not attend the East Area Plan meetings, whether in person or virtually.
The chairperson of the land use committee, District 8 Council Member Chris Herndon, agreed to put the sentence back in. Here and there, were some rather tart discussions from other members.
These three paragraphs are from the story from Colorado Politics, which is the only story I can find about this meeting:
“The controversial sentence was removed from the East Area Plan after the Denver Planning Board approved the plan in a 6-3 vote following a public hearing on Oct. 7. The planning board’s approval came with the condition that the sentence be removed from the plan before the document made it to the City Council’s land use committee.
“On Tuesday, however, council members Chris Herndon and Amanda Sawyer, who represent neighborhoods included in the plan, said they would be reinserting the sentence before the legislation is up for a vote by the full council next month.”
Also: “The plan is opposed by the East Colfax Community Collective, a grassroots organization made up of refugees, immigrants, small business owners, renters and homeowners that advocates for anti-displacement issues. The group argues that the East Area vision ‘reinforces rather than challenges broken zoning tools that have historically and continue to fail’ people of color and other vulnerable, underserved communities.”
I think the public hearing will be a must-see for me, anyway. After all, a petition of about 2,000 names were submitted to the planning board noting they did not support the EAP.
The links below include the story from Colorado Politics, the tape from the committee meeting yesterday, and the truncated planning board meeting from 2 weeks ago: