The East Area Plan with it's unnecessary height increase recommendations guarantees one thing: people's lives will be ruined. As five story buildings along Colfax are erected next to small affordable homes, people will either choose to live with the noise, pollution and congestion or they will be forced to move. Neither of which is easy.
While there is no guarantee that the new people housed in the apartments overlooking busy Colfax will be happy, it is guaranteed that the people on the blocks surrounding all the new buildings will be sad and upset as they watch the buildings go up, blocking sun, removing open space, and packing more people in. Our roads will be filled with dumpsters, polluting tractors and parked cars, our grocery stores will have even longer lines, it will be harder to get in to see a doctor – and, as icing on the cake, our property taxes, electric and water bills will go up.
We already live in fear as each beautiful home is sold, praying and hoping that the property won't be bulldozed to pave the way for a McMansion or multi-units to be built. Praying that the new owners won't "pop the top" and block the sun from our homes and landscapes. We'll watch mature trees be cut down, gardens demolished, permeable land built over, and we'll breath in the toxic dust from the demolition while noise pollution rocks our homes. Our future as residents? Noise: Banging, hammering, air compressors, backup-beeps, trucks running, hundreds of contractors coming and going. Then, when that finally ends, a bunch of new people will move in – bringing with them more noise, barking dogs and cars.
The East Area Plan opens the door wider for development to take over our established, historic neighborhood. Due to covering up of more and more permeable land, flooding issues will continue to get worse, as the East area of Colfax and our neighborhoods were not designed to have more of the land covered – there is no where for the water to go. With all the development underway, already we've seen homes are getting increased flooding during storms, filling basements with water, and costing homeowners a lot of money to repair and try to prevent. Are the developers responsible for the added flooding when they bulldoze a small affordable home and landscape to build giant 10 unit apartment box buildings covering up nearly all the permeable space? No. They will sell the units, take the money and run.
Despite hundreds of residents in opposition to the height increase recommendations, the City Council ignored our input and passed the East Area Plan. Now the developers have an even wider door to entice them to invest in properties. When affordable properties go up for sale, people will try to bid on them, but they will be often be outbid by those with development and dollar signs in mind. This has already been going on for years, but now with the East Area Plan, it will be even more tempting to the developers as it will be easier to get permission to do this with the new East Area Plan to reference. The last of the well-built historic & affordable homes in our area will soon be destroyed and replaced with poorly-built boxes to house multiple units. And the city will grant the permits to do it without blinking an eye.
Our City Planners and City Council do not care about the residents who live here, they only care about the number of units they can collect taxes from. They have clearly stated that the existing zoning allowed for plenty of room for growth, but apparently the added tax revenue or bribery from the developers was just too tempting.
Denver is working to create a crowded hell on earth, as inspired by other giant cities, so that we can all live in misery. Why? It's not to help people, although that's what the council keeps repeating to themselves, in an attempt to make themselves believe it as well. The plan could have continued to be worked on to reflect the residents' input. But it wasn't. Why? Because of money.
On a last note, thanks to Candi CdeBaca for representing her neighborhood, she was truthful and communicated our concerns to the rest of the City Council. But, alas, she too was ignored – and she was the ONLY one who voted against passing the plan in it's current form. Thanks for standing up for us Candi! May more people like you be elected to actually represent us in the future. Listen to her thoughts on the East Area Plan below: