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Denver City Council's Public Engagement Is Worse Than Worthless

Denver City Council is not representing their constituents. They just passed the East Area Plan a few weeks ago, despite all of the engagement, feedback and opposition from 1,000s of residents.

Residents of the East Area Plan spent hours of our valuable and limited time to attend multiple meetings and online forums, writing letters and speaking at Public Hearings – and we were all ignored. There were numerous valid arguments from hundreds of residents to ask that the Denver City Council vote no on the current form of the East Area Plan. All but one* of the members of Denver City Council “listened” to all the residents' feedback and concerns for the past year and a half, and then proceeded to ignore us as they passed this ill-conceived plan. The plan recommends height increases for high rise living on blocks where there are no sidewalks, and even hints at the removal of one of the few grocery stores in our area (King Soopers in the Mayfair Center), to be replaced with more housing. While the city has admitted that no height increases were needed for growth, they still passed the height increase recommendations against the will and of the residents who live on these blocks.

Denver Yimby: Denver City Council's Public Engagement is Worse than Worthless

Resident's were not opposed to everything in the plan, but all of our feedback regarding the increase in height recommendations was completely disregarded. We simply wanted them to keep working on the plan to make sure it reflected what our area NEEDS, not what the developers want.

Who is Denver City Council listening to when making these plans and changing our zoning recommendations? Not the residents who live here. This public engagement has completely corroded the public's trust in our City Council. No longer do we believe that they represent us in anyway, they are simply paving the way for developers by removing barriers. The Denver City Council and City Planners, who are supposed to be representing the residents who live here, instead are allowing developers to influence the change of height zoning at the cost of the lower-income residents who live here.

The city council has constantly touted that affordable housing was one of the main reasons to push the East Area Plan through, however they also have stated that they will not and can not enforce that affordable housing be built. So, affordable properties will be purchased and replaced with mid-to-high end housing that will have little to no affordable options. The families who could afford to live in one of the small homes along Colfax will no longer be able to afford to buy and live here, they will be outbid by people with dollar signs in mind.

This is the very essence of gentrification. The overpriced "condos" along Colfax will small, noisy, and filled with the toxic air pollution of congested Colfax. The loud noises of vehicles and RTD buses as they rumble down the street will shake the cheap windows and wake people up at 5am. Air conditioning units will loudly chug away all summer long as the hot dry heat of summer descends upon the overpopulated city as our landscapes are covered with housing. None of this will be "affordable," it is just packing more people in, which is worse for all of us, people moving here as well as people who have lived here for decades.

Denver Yimby: Shading affordable homes

The city is essentially are stealing our sunlight and open spaces. The height increases will allow for taller buildings that will cast long winter shadows across the most affordable homes along Colfax. Then, to make things worse, developers will buy up all of the affordable properties in our area. Our last small affordable historic homes will be lost, healthy mature trees will be cut down and gardens paved over. Giant box buildings will cover more permeable ground, causing more problems with flooding as the water has nowhere to go trash-clogged sewer drains. There will be longer lasting ice in winter months in the shade of these giant buildings, with no sunlight to melt snow and ice in wintertime. The East Area Plan calls for a massive amount of development will create more problems with our already overburdened infrastructure which was not designed or built to withstand a huge increase in density. Lines will get longer and longer at the grocery stores, doctors will be booked out even more months in advance, our water and energy supply will be further stressed, our roads will be crowded with even more traffic and pollution and potholes, hospitals will be overcrowded and overburdened, the few remaining parks and trails will be crowded with bikes and people, and schools will not be able to accommodate more students (they're already maxed out).

While Denver's City Planners say that they are "planning" for a better future, they are only planning for increased density in the form of cheap high rise housing – they are not planning any improvements or any protections for our infrastructure. Where are the green spaces and parks protected in the plan? How will our roads be able to handle such a huge increase in traffic and buses? Are there enough grocery stores, schools and medical offices to sustain such an increase in density? In the East Area, our grocery stores are already overburdened and often have empty shelves and long lines, but the East Area Plan seems to be recommending that our grocery store be removed to make way for more housing. Where more parks and outdoor spaces are needed in the East Area, they are paving the way for development to cover every inch of permeable land.

Shame on Denver City Council and City Planners for turning their backs on the residents who live here.

*Only one of the City Council, Candi CdeBaca, represented her neighborhood's concerns, she was the ONLY one who voted against passing the plan in it's current form. Thank you Candi, for hearing and representing us! Watch the video below to see what she had to say at the public hearing. Sadly, her voice too, was ignored by the rest of the City Council.

Thanks for standing by us, Candi!

Greed and corruption has taking over the rest of our Denver City Council. They asked for resident's feedback, and then proceeded to ignore our concerns and pass the East Area Plan against our will. This is worse than not asking us for feedback at all, and has eroded our very faith that the Denver City Council represents us.

It's time for a change.

We need a Denver City Council that will represent the residents who live here.

To Denver City Planners & Council:

The city and community should be working to help protect our well-built historic homes, especially the smaller affordable homes, as well as all green areas in our cities. We should all work to reduce our lawn areas to be replaced with native plants and food gardens. We should work to add more trails such as along Parkways so that people can walk more safely. We should protect healthy mature trees from being cut down to pave the way for development – they help reduce flooding, keep city temperatures cooler in the summer months, remove air pollution, and provide shade for humans, and habitat for wildlife.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had more native plants and community gardens in our parks or in parkways? With more community gardens, food can be grown affordably and locally to share with neighbors and our community. Why are we wasting so much water and using toxic chemicals on huge swaths of thirsty, unused grass areas in our parkways and parks? City Planners, hear our call, let's work to make our city better. There are plenty of ways to work together with the residents to create a better, safer, less polluted city. Growth can be done sustainably, slowly, while also improving our infrastructure to make the city a more livable place. Let's focus on planning a better city for the future of all who live here.



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