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Dual Moratoriums Push Back on Infill Density in Denver

The Denver City Council approved two separate moratoriums on building types that are adding infill density to neighborhoods in the city.
August 30, 2016, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Arina P Habich

"Denver City Council put the brakes on new apartment developments that do not include parking," according to an article by Dave Young. The moratorium is one of two that respond to pressure from local activists, with the full support of the Denver City Council, to infill development.

The example examined by Young deals with a 17-unit micro apartment building that will replace a house on South Pearl Street, located about two blocks from a popular sushi restaurant.

Councilmember Jolon Clark is quoted in the article, claiming that there are plans for 100 units, among some 13 projects, around the city without parking. Councilmember Clark argues that the new developments are a case of unintended consequences. The idea behind a mixed-use exemption for small lots back, approved in 2010, "was to encourage re-use of older, run-down structures for new home or commercial projects."

The article lacks a counter-point on the subject of parking requirements. Also lacking is any discussion of the two bus lines and a light-rail station located within a half-mile of the sushi restaurant in question on South Peal Street.

An earlier article by Jon Murray details the City Council votes that paved the way for the moratorium. With two unanimous votes "the council approved a moratorium for about seven months that will prevent developers of larger projects from taking advantage of the city’s small-lot parking exemption," and another moratorium that "will stop developers for at least the next year from filing new plans for modern sideways row homes with “garden courts” between the buildings that are too narrow."

Murray explains the intended consequences of the moratoriums: to counter "the tensions caused by rising density in older neighborhoods…"

Now the city's Community Planning and Development Department will have to go back to the drawing board for amendments to both the slot-home ordinance and the small lot parking exemption.  

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Published on Monday, August 22, 2016 in The Denver Post
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