North West Denver Potential Moratorium on Multiple Dwelling Units (Duplexes)

by Sean O'Hara on September 22, 2009

I received a copy of a bill that the Denver City Council is looking at. It is proposing a moratorium on the permitting of multi-family and duplex structures in a section of North West Denver starting on January 1, 2010.

My analysis is that certain vocal neighborhood groups are concerned about people continuing to build multi-family dwellings on lots that will be downzoned to single family in the new code.





It is my personal opinion that downzoning is a mistake and this proposal is just trying to rush the downzoning rather than wait for the new zoning code. The downzoning infringes on personal property rights (cutting property values) and isn’t good planning for a city that has a growing population. It pushes development to the suburbs and creates unnecessary urban sprawl.

Unfortunately it seems to be a race to the downzoning, one of our clients just got their duplex into the building department for a lot that will be downzoned. They had to rush to preserve their rights. If you’re in an area bound to be downzoned, there is very little time left to get your drawings complete.

Another opinion piece also just came across my email.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean O'Hara September 30, 2009 at 10:25 pm

The council passed the resolution 11-0.

Sean O'Hara September 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Well, the moratorium is really a side issue. I think it is really just political cover for about 7 weeks.

The bigger question is the long term planning for the city and downzoning (outsourcing growth). I don’t see a long term value in downzoning though most of this is back to Blueprint Denver.

There are several groups that have a voice that you could call to involve yourself; AIA Denver, HBA Metro Denver, ULI Colorado and so forth. The final decision rests with the City Council and they need to understand that the loudest group (pro-downzoning) is not the majority of their voters.

Another thought is that the vast majority of property owners have no clue about this, try to find a voice in the media. I spoke with the DBJ for an article last week, but it was more about implementation.

For the record, I like a form based code and the potential for mixed use but the reduction in potential building envelopes and densities is a bad idea period.

Gosia Kung, AIA September 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm

This moratorium is very concerning given it was not designed by planners but politicians who are not qualified to make this kind of decisions. And yes, the time is running out to voice your opinion. Any ideas on how to get heard?

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