Councilman Chris Nevitt (Dist. 7), who represents the area in question, proposed the rezoning because he felt the R-2 category was inconsistent with the dictates of Blueprint Denver – Denver’s …
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Councilman Chris Nevitt (Dist. 7), who represents the area in question, proposed the rezoning because he felt the R-2 category was inconsistent with the dictates of Blueprint Denver – Denver’s land use and transportation plan – which identifies the rezoned area as “single family residential.” Written in 2002, Blueprint Denver serves as a supplement to Comprehensive Plan 2000. Nevitt told his Council colleagues, “I hope (you) will view this measure, as I do, as central to a unified plan to preserve and protect the unique residential character of West Washington Park.” Councilman Charlie Brown (Dist. 6), who represents the neighborhoods east of Washington Park, and is a consistent supporter of individual property rights, branded Nevitt’s proposal a “hostile downzoning.” Brown voted against the ordinance, while southwest Denver Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz, who has opposed such downzonings in the past, was not present for the vote. Those applauding Council’s vote held the view that to allow the R-2 moniker to remain would have failed to adequately preserve and protect the dominant single family character of the neighborhood’s housing stock. Those in opposition decried the decision as a taking of individual property rights, and predicted a negative impact on property values in the area. Councilman Rick Garcia’s Dist. 1 was the flashpoint for a similar debate last year when the Sloans Lake/Highlands neighborhood downzoned some 40 blocks in northwest Denver. Referring to the long-awaited rewrite of Denver’s Zoning Code, Garcia said, “I view tonight as another precursor to the big plan, which is now on schedule for next year. Taking Blueprint Denver and applying the proper and appropriate land use designation has been an enormous task.” A companion ordinance proposed by Nevitt sought to establish a moratorium on lot assemblages in the remainder of West Washington Park, to prevent multi-plex or row house construction. By law, property owners may build one residential unit for every 3,000 square feet of lot size in R-2 designated districts. The 18-month moratorium was passed by a 10-3 vote, with Councilwoman Jeanne Robb (Dist. 10) and Councilman Garcia voting in opposition, with Brown. Robb told The Profile, “Looking at the statistics for demolitions in (the rezoning area) over the past five years or so, it averaged around seven properties annually. We’re in a slow economy right now, so I figured we’d be looking at somewhere around five to seven possible situations over the moratorium period. It just didn’t strike me as being that dire. If we make a precedent of doing these moratoria in situations that aren’t critical, I’m afraid we’ll be under increased pressure to do more of them.” For information, contact Councilman Nevitt at 720-865-8900.
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