Future high-density, residential projects on small lots will likely have to provide some parking, not none. That’s the consensus, as a City Council-appointed stakeholder committee nears wrapping up …
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Future high-density, residential projects on small lots will likely have to provide some parking, not none. That’s the consensus, as a City Council-appointed stakeholder committee nears wrapping up its review of and recommendations on the small lot parking exemption to the city zoning code.
Currently, zoned lots in mixed-use commercial districts that are 6,250 square foot or smaller and that existed as of June 25, 2010 are exempt from off-street parking requirements, regardless of the development capacity or uses. The intent is to encourage small lot reinvestment and adaptive reuse of buildings, according to the City.
Use of the exemption raised neighbors’ ire when a developer received City approval to build 108 micro-apartments and a restaurant at 1570-78 Humboldt St. without new, off-street parking.
In August, in response to Humboldt Street Neighborhood Association and others, City Council passed a seven-month moratorium on Community Planning and Development approving projects using the exemption, and created a 15-member “6250 Steering Committee” to review the exemption and recommend changes.
The moratorium did not apply to the Humboldt project, so HSNA went to the Board of Appeals on Oct. 11 to challenge its permit, but lost.
The steering committee has three seats for Registered Neighborhood Associations; two are held by members of HSNA, and one by Curtis Park Neighbors. It’s met three times since September to work out an agreement on changes.
Frank Locantore, Colfax Ave Business Improvement District (CBID) director and its representative on the committee, said CBID encompasses many lots under the 6,250 sq. ft. limit, but no projects in the district are affected by the moratorium. He’s participated in all three meetings, and believes the members are close to an agreement.
“The closer a 6,250 lot is to a high-frequency transit line, the more of an exemption you can have,” said Locantore.
He gave the Humboldt development as an example. It’s a block away from Colfax Avenue on which RTD’s 15 and 15L busses travel. They arrive every 5-10 minutes, and so the Humboldt lots would receive greater or full exemption from parking requirements and height restrictions.
“But if you had that in Green Valley Ranch, where there is no high-frequency transit, then it would require some amount of parking. You could envision a sliding scale.”
As LIFE went to press, the committee was to have its fourth, and final, public meeting the Monday afternoon after Thanksgiving.
“I’m pretty confident we’re all going to be less-than-enthused about the outcome, which is what agreement is,” said Locantore. “I don’t think anyone will be 100 percent happy or 100 percent dissatisfied.”
The proposed changes will be included in draft text amendments, which will be posted on Community Planning and Development’s website in January. The Planning Board will hold a public hearing and make recommendations in February. Council will likely have a first reading that month, followed by a hearing and vote in March.
For updates on the text amendment process and timetable, visit denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/community-planning-and-development/zoning/text-amendments.html.
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