Why is open space called "Vacant Land" in Denver?
Let's protect open space, our blue skies, wildlife, people and our historic neighborhoods.
READ OUR denver yimbys for good blog
YIMBYs for good!
We are YIMBYs for good*
YIMBY - Yes, in my backyard!
(Read why we called this site Denver YIMBY instead of Denver NIMBY)
DENVER YIMBYs FOR GOOD WISHLIST:
Protect any and all open space before it is developed!
No Upzoning or Height-increase Recommendations: Denver's East Area Plan proposes to change the area's zoning recommendations to allow for higher buildings. It is simply not right that our city council is changing recommendations and zoning without the approval of the residents who already live here. They do not have our permission. We've been to the city meetings and discussions surrounding the East Area Plan, and there were hundreds of people who LIVE in our neighborhood who did NOT approve of ANY height increase recommendations. Sadly, prior to the city changing our zoning, the previous zoning was sufficient for more than enough growth that the city was desiring (as confirmed by the city council!)
Don't allow developers to negotiate or make deals with the city to allow them to build higher, cover more ground, or build less than the required amount of parking
Protect our blue skies: Let's promote more walking, bike-riding, and carpooling and improve and make public transportation affordable (and not allow for more Ubers and Lyfts to congest our roads and air!)
Protect our affordable historic neighborhoods from McMansions and expensive multi-unit townhomes replacing our irreplaceable small, affordable single-family homes.
Reduce Grass: Encourage residents to remove a portion or all of their grass lawns, and instead plant more native plants to benefit both wildlife such as butterflies, birds, and native bees. Bonus: native plants use less water and are easier to care for in our climate!
Reduce overall building permits and slow down growth, we must grow responsibly. Currently thousands of units are in the process of being built, it's time to slow down and focus on responsible growth moving forward. Our infrastructure needs time to catch up with the new demand from the past several years of endless develoment. We need to make public transportation more affordable and convenient. In addition to the pressure added to our already taxed infrastructure, the constant pollution and noise of construction is harmful to our neighborhoods. The amount of demolition and construction debris is stacking up in our landfills and it needs to be slowed.
Turn our grass Parkways into native planted wildlife corridors with paths and benches so residents can walk and experience nature and open space right in the city (no car trip to the mountains needed!) For a safer experience for all living things including all humans, pollinators, birds, pets and wildlife, we should also work to discontinue herbicide and pesticide use in our parks and parkways and neighborhoods.
Protect our Right to Light! Builders should not be allowed to build higher than existing buildings if that means blocking neighboring homes', roads' and landscapes' existing sunlight.
Protect Permeable Land from Development: Water needs a place to go, and we don't want to create huge heat islands where there is little to no greenery to help cool and clean the air. Also, we need to make sure that the city protects any and all permeable land in our urban neighborhoods, to prevent flooding caused by Denver development.
This Denver YIMBYs for GOOD website is all about getting Denver residents and the city to preserve our irreplaceable historic neighborhoods, and green spaces throughout the Denver area. This will ensure that all residents – people and wildlife – will have a natural place to visit in our own neighborhoods and city.
*Why call it Denver Yimby? Yimby stands for "Yes in my backyard" and has historically been used by city developers and city planners to say that they are helping the people by building low-income affordable housing. The term NIMBY is used by developers and city planners to shame residents who want to protect their neighborhoods' open spaces and small, affordable single family homes by calling us "NIMBYs" (Not in my backyard.) This negative name calling is brainwash.
Residents like us, who want to protect our historic beautiful neighborhoods in Denver, should not be labeled as racist or elitist. They say that we are trying to keep low-income people from living in our neighborhoods – but this is simply untrue.
Quite the opposite, in fact, most of the homes that us so-called "NIMBYs" own are the smallest and most affordable homes in the neighborhood, and we already have a diverse mix of people from all income-levels living here. In fact, that's why we live here, we like the diversity!
So, this site is to turn the tables on developers – stop calling us NIMBY's – we're YIMBYs for GOOD! But YIMBY to us is about preserving what is left of our open spaces, our blue skies, historic neighborhoods including the smaller, affordable single-family homes from development. We want slow, responsible growth – and we first need to improve infrastructure, public transportation affordability and reliability, as well as preserve the last of the open spaces we have so the future of all Denver residents will be a better one.
The yimby Farce
While the city is allowing developers to build gigantic buildings in our neighborhoods, cramming more people in while promising affordable (temporary rental) housing, homelessness and mobility are only getting much worse. Our traffic and roads are completely congested with cars, turning our former blue skies hazy with pollution (Denver is in the top 10 list for the worse air pollution, see on left*), and our infrastructure such as schools, healthcare system, water supply, energy grid are all overtaxed. And, despite all the supposed “affordable housing” development going on in Denver, our homeless population is growing by the minute. Our public transportation system is troublesome, expensive, and inconvenient. Allowing un-checked development to add hundreds of thousands more people to the Denver area is only going to worsen all of these issues.
While YIMBY-touting developers promise that their 50 unit housing apartments built into a single-family home neighborhood will house people who don't own cars, there is no way for them to enforce that, and it's simply untrue. Cars are a necessity for most people, and, while they may not have brand new cars, a majority of new residents will have a car, even if it's just a beat-up $1000 old Honda. And those cars will be parked on the streets, as the developers are forever trying to negotiate building less parking space so they can cram more units into the lot.
* The additional cars added to the road causes a huge amount of air pollution. In 2018, Metro Denver residents inhaled elevated levels of pollution on 282 days, including 225 days of moderate degradation, 49 days deemed unhealthy for sensitive groups and eight days deemed unhealthy for all, according to federal records. Denver is among the top 10 worst U.S. cities for hazardous air pollution!
Developers are also covering every inch of permeable land allowed. When a single-family affordable home is demolished in place for a 10 unit townhome, builders are covering green space with concrete and buildings. This, in-turn, has created more flooding issues in our neighborhoods, and a heat-island effect, because there is less permeable land for the water to be absorbed into, and less greenery and trees to cool off the city. It also causes parking problems and congestion on the neighborhood streets.
Most of the excessive amount of development that has gone on in Denver for the past 10 years is often pushed and negotiated by developers with the city under the "guise" of affordable housing that they say Denver needs, but rarely is the affordable housing a permanent fixture in these new buildings, and they are typically a very small percentage of the total units. By promising this insignificant and temporary affordable rental housing, builders then negotiate with the city to build higher, more units, less parking, etc. And, what they deem affordable housing is often quite steep–in our Park Hill neighborhood, housing units are considered affordable if they start at $1300+ a month for a tiny studio apartment rental, for example, which still isn't affordable at all for most people. Worst of all, it's just temporary, so people who may benefit from more affordable housing (if you can call it that), will not be able to live there too long. Most of the affordable housing agreements are only for a short period of time (15 years). Then, the property owner can charge whatever they want, leaving residents in a difficult position to either pay a lot more or move, creating more homelessness and despair. Affordable housing by developers is almost always a farce, and it's just a way to negotiate for more units/higher buildings and to use as an excuse to shame us so-called NIMBYs for not wanting this huge multi-unit buildings stuffed into our neighborhoods. If affordable housing is to be built, it needs to be done in a way that guarantees it's affordability for the long-term, and offer ownership opportunities, not just rentals.
City Planners seem to care more about new people (and their potential taxes) moving here than they do about the people who LIVE here, many of whom have been paying taxes for decades or over generations.
More units = more taxes.
That's what we're dealing with here. It has nothing to do with helping low-income residents, it's greed that is driving this endless development. They are building cheaply-built, overpriced rental units that aren't going to help anyone but the developers.
HELP US PROTECT
denver from endless development!
We know that change is unavoidable, but why not change things for the better?
We are YIMBYs for good change! Let's preserve our historic homes, protect what is left of our open spaces before they're gone, plant more native plants, and create wildlife corridors in our city for us all to enjoy.
Because nature is important.
It might seem intuitive that spending time outside is good for you. Whether it’s taking a walk to clear your head or smelling flowers in a backyard garden, getting outside is a dependable way to feel better.
The effect is real, and over the years, scientists have shown that nature can provide stress relief, increase social interaction, encourage physical exercise and even help soothe mental illness. (Source: Time Magazine)
So city planners, hear our call, we want your support to help improve Denver for the better! Let's protect our open spaces, and our small historic affordable homes, and our blue skies! Allowing unlimited growth is not a solution for a happier, better city, and Denver still has a chance to save what we have left before it's paved over forever.
Nature's Best Hope is an insightful read that talks about how neighborhoods and cities can change the world for the better by planting more native plants and preserving our open wild spaces.
“If you’d like to turn your own little postage stamp of native soil into a conservation effort, Nature’s Best Hope, is a great place to begin.” —New York Times
“This is a handbook for not only transforming your own yard, but for talking to your neighbors, the teachers in the paved schoolyard next door, and your town councilors about connecting one green haven to another to build wildlife corridors that become, as Tallamy puts it, a Homegrown National Park.”—Anne Raver, award-winning columnist and author of Deep in the Green
“Nature’s Best Hope advocates not just a horticultural revolution, but a cultural one, bridging the human-dominated landscape and the natural world.” —Smithsonian Magazine