Rather than targeting on historic neighborhoods like Park Hill, Montclair and Mayfair, why does the city not direct developers to turn their energies into adding density with buildings in downtown Denver?
We don't need zoning changes along East Colfax to increase height recommendations – three to five stories is more than enough room for sustainable, manageable growth along Colfax.
If more housing is needed, downtown Denver is the perfect place to put it. Downtown is the transportation hub. You can get from downtown to many suburbs and areas beyond Denver, it makes sense to have housing including affordable housing near the transportation hub to avoid the need for cars. Along East Colfax, you'd have to take a bus to get downtown or to another stop before you could go to Highlands Ranch, Thornton or Boulder or other areas around Denver. Our public transportation system is very limited unless you're downtown! So why not put more housing in the high rises that are already built in downtown Denver? Many of the tall office buildings in downtown area are now vacant and losing their business renters due to Covid. People would live downtown if they could afford it, there's not a lot of affordable housing in the downtown area! If we were to re-purpose now empty downtown office spaces into living units, this would allow for any needed housing. Yes, it's expensive to do this, but it's not as expensive or wasteful as building something new, building in an area where it is undesired along a residential street. Denver city planners could focus on making it easier and more financially viable for builders to acquire permits for remodels for the purpose of building housing including low income and affordable housing in the heart of Denver's transportation hub.
It would also be wonderful if buildings in Downtown Denver could have green roofs added to give resident's some greenery, wildlife, fresh air and oxygen to enjoy! If new sky-rises are added, green roofs should always be considered to help ensure some green space in the city.
Why instead are city planners focusing on rezoning historic neighborhoods to accommodate highrises over 3-5 stories? High rises do not belong here, towering over our small single family homes and yards. The five-story building Phoenix on the Fax towers over a whole block of houses, rows of windows looking down upon the small homes' windows and backyards. Their former privacy was lost to the looming Phoenix. The block has become busy with traffic, especially the side streets, which are narrow and were not meant to be used by a high number of cars. Our neighborhoods don't have the infrastructure for the added pedestrians and cars that come with high rises. The landscaping and homes were not designed to have sidewalks in them, and we can't put them in due to the hundreds of healthy large trees that line the perimeters of many of our landscapes. We can't just allow for sky-rises to be put in alongside our neighborhoods that lack sidewalks, as there is no place for the residents to walk. The streets are now used for walking due to very few cars parked on the streets and hardly any car traffic. If a sky rise were to be put in, those hundreds of residents will now park/drive on these same streets, and walking in the streets will no longer be a good option. Putting in sidewalks to accommodate the new residents from high rise units is also a horrible option, as it would mean cutting down hundreds of large trees and incurring thousands of dollars for tree removal, irrigation changes, re-landscaping, and concrete cost needed to put in sidewalks. Who can foot the bill for that? The developers? Somehow we don't think they'd agree to that. Not to mention we should never be cutting down healthy trees for development!! Denver's air quality is already bad enough.
The existing 3-5 stories zoning along East Colfax allows for plenty of room for growth, if we even need it here! Hopefully, we can maintain and keep most of the buildings along Colfax anyway, as many are historic, solid brick, and well-built. If we care about the environment, the best thing to do is work on maintaining, re-purposing and taking care of our existing buildings. Currently, there are plenty of vacancies already along Colfax, some in new buildings like the now former Autozone and 7-11, both near the Colfax and Monaco intersection. Let's slow down growth to only what is necessary. We don't need any height increases, since the 3-5 stories it is now zoned for is plenty, and it allows for sustainable growth.
If developers want to build housing, they should instead focus re-purpose the now-vacant office spaces downtown into living units – with RTD's hub right in the heart of downtown, and free shuttles, downtown Denver is the perfect place to add density without adding as much traffic to the front range and Denver's most charming and quiet surrounding neighborhoods. Let's preserve our quiet, historic neighborhoods for families to enjoy for hundreds of years to come! These houses were built to last. As Denver YIMBY's for good*, we encourage city planners to think outside the box and to encourage sustainable development where it makes the most sense. Let's preserve all of Denver's last open spaces, historic buildings and neighborhoods so that people from all walks of life can enjoy these quiet special areas of Denver for another hundred years!