How should the WeCAN Board evaluate rezoning requests?

Here’s what you told us.

Every application for rezoning is shared with the WeCAN Board of Directors (all volunteers and your neighbors), which can decide to write a letter of support, letter of opposition, or remain silent on the issue. You vote for these Board Members once a year in November. As you might imagine, evaluating rezoning applications is hard. While we most often favor the opinions of neighbors next door to the subject parcel(s), we realize that the implications of a particular rezoning are greater than the decision on just one parcel, and in some cases, could radically change the character of the neighborhood – hence why we need to also value the diverse viewpoints of the greater neighborhood. We provide opportunities at monthly general meetings to educate the membership about any proposed rezoning to solicit feedback and also schedule focus groups for interested neighbors to discuss particular redevelopments. While we appreciate the time and effort that these volunteers show, we worry that others, who don’t have the time or energy to participate, are being left out of the conversation. Therefore, the WeCAN Board has taken the first of what we hope will be regular ongoing online surveys of development sentiment throughout the neighborhood. This first survey had its faults and needs to be improved for the future (We did our best and would love your feedback on how to make it better. As you will see in detailed feedback, desires of the neighborhood are complex and hard to capture in a single survey). Nevertheless, we wanted to share these initial results with you. We did hear from over 100 people and we hope to increase that number in the future. Thanks as always for your input and dedication to the good of the neighborhood! We greatly appreciate all your thoughts!

Insights into feelings about change in the neighborhood:

Increased density and pedestrian access is a positive, but we must make sure to stay economically mixed, and not become the Highlands.”

 

“Denver is growing. Development close to the city is the best green alternative (rather than people commuting to Denver from Aurora) and the natural course for the free market... Rarely do those things merge so easily.”

 

“I worked on Small Area plan and was involved in planning for St Anthony's--overall, I'm okay with all the development as long as it occurs in appropriate places (St A's, peripheral edges, and near light rail) and doesn't encroach into the residential areas with single family homes--I'm not a fan of scrape offs----am hoping that we see more businesses, especially with the increase of population such as a grocery store, good restaurants and cafes, etc.”

 

“I welcome some of the changes but cannot stress enough how important it is to incorporate ALL of our community voice into decision making. We already have a lot of long-time community members who feel powerless over these changes and that these changes to do not reflect the change they want to see. How do we do a better job of not just accommodating the young white middle class needs and represent everyone?”

 

“Weary of the sameness of new builds. Some People moving to the neighborhood seem unready for city life and don’t value diversity.”

 

“While I am hopeful about development and increased property value, I'm also concerned about families being pushed out with inability to afford living here. A real consequence of gentrification. I'd like to see more restaurants, shops, and grocery accessible by walking.”

 

“I generally support the development as it makes the neighborhood more lively and allows new business to start up. However, I’m concerned about the quality of construction/design, lack of density (esp. near transit and parks), auto-orientation of development (even adjacent to transit) and loss of community from displaced neighbors. New development should make space for a variety of incomes and lifestyles.”

 

“I am happy to see developments providing affordable housing, and hope that retail comes along with it to revitalize the vacant lots on Colfax.”

 

“I'm all for the positive changes moving in and bringing more local retail in place of the asphalt-laden used car lots I found 9 years ago when I moved in. I also think there are some beyond-repair bungalows that are prime for redevelopment. However, the piecemeal, haphazard approach currently seen is concerning. Ultra modern slot homes towering over tiny cottages; stalwart stucco and stone homes being cheapened by poor-quality construction and subpar materials is frustrating to witness. I think we need stronger zoning and thoughtful guidance to ensure WE influence and shape this redevelopment in a smart way... and not be left with a sad mish mosh of architecture-gone-bad... especially when we look back in 10 years. Will we be proud of what we see??”

 

“Density is needed in Denver and Sloans is a close to downtown neighborhood with tons of potential.”

 

“No more multi unit apartments that don’t provide enough parking. There is way too much street parking and traffic”

 

“The changes do not reflect neighborhood plans or blue print Denver. The city has chose to take developer checks and not follow thru on promises made. They don’t unite with Denverite to again make promises we can only assume will not be followed thru on. The mayor and COD clearly have no idea how to run a city. WECAN should be taking a position on this.”

 

“As a Denver Native, growing up in this neighborhood, it is very refreshing to see positive change, and the neighborhood getting cleaned up. The entire neighborhood had an old, outdated infrastructure needing repair and updating, and this new wave of development is doing just that. Also for the first time, we are getting a mix of new restaurants and businesses in the neighborhood that we never had nearly as many of, before.”

 

“The huge number of ugly, horrible 4-plexes is turning our 'hood into a millennial slum. The number of cars on the streets is outrageous and will only get worse, partially thanks to the City Council's ridiculous ".7/unit" rule about required parking/unit. Having some places to walk to in the 'hood for food and recreation is a nice change - getting rid of the plethora of car dealers and slimy hotels is great. But losing the neighborhood feel by putting up ugly 4-plexes with no porches or personalities or integration into the neighborhood feel of the place is a terrible shift. Front porches are proven to create community and these sealed-in/insulated boxes create hidden areas for crimes to occur and for individuals to remain detached from what's happening around them. I moved here and stay here because I want at NEIGHBORHOOD, not an apartment complex. That is what it's turning into.”

 

“This kind of change means displacement. There need to be mechanisms in place that keep hosting affordable for existing residents.”

 

“As there is a main arterial road and light rail and bike network connections that are close to downtown. The neighborhood should become high density to support Denver’s growth. The problem is, like all development, in Denver, development can be done well or poorly based on design and construction materials/knowledge.”

 

“I bought a house in a neighborhood of houses. It's now being gutted to build a neighborhood of cheaply built apartments (and condos that look like apartments), with a concerted, aggressive effort to force homeowners to sell. Because the outgoing residents are lower income and the incoming are higher income, the take-over is supported by the city. The increased commercial use is great. Gutting a neighborhood of people isn't.”

 

“The development has been very unfair to the many, old and new residents alike, and only benefited a few developers (mostly out of state, so their profit does not even benefit Coloradoans)....The construction has been done by contractors who mostly take advantage of our undocumented citizens. It has been a form of slavery.”

 

“The neighborhood was once becoming rundown with more and more crime. The development is erasing that trend and making a more desirable place to live.”

“I support an increase in current residential density levels, which I consider to be mixed-density now, but prefer that West Colfax area not develop to all high-density. I support keeping the commercial development and re-development along Federal, Sheridan and Colfax. (below-I chose four and wanted to choose a few more as there are several important factors to consider).”

 

“West Colfax has much potential to grow, intelligently and mindlfully, into a safer, transit-, bike- and pedestrian-friendly community enhanced with mixed- and multi-use development. I'm excited to live in West Colfax and to be a part of the community. I'm also excited to see the used-car lots close, the SLOANS development gain momentum, and to see new opportunities for retail, housing and recreation develop for all, to include new and existing residents.”

 

“Adding density to our neighborhood is positive because it will add housing, lowering the cost of living in our community and allowing us to be more inclusive and reduce displacement. It also creates a more walkable neighborhood and will allow for transit to work better so we have better mobility options.”

“I'm excited and hopeful that planned and future developments will provide more housing, jobs, and services for the area.”

 

“Looking for more of the metropolitan feel of downtown Denver looking to enhance the neighborhood while still maintaining the culture and history.”

 

“High density residences being added without sufficient parking or regard to traffic impact.”

 

“This change is good. West Colfax will benefit from infill, improved walkability, better transportation, & commercial activities that allow for a strong urban neighborhood.”

 

“There is a lot about West Colfax that is rundown, especially along West Colfax. Some streets are quiet and the homes are well taken care of, while others have been very neglected. I think there is a place for condos and townhomes, but also the single family homes. There should be a mix of places for all types of families to live, young singles, young married, retired, and families with children who want a big yard. The gulch should be better taken care of as it is a great resource to our neighborhood, but it has been allowed to be overrun with homeless people camping. I used to walk my dogs a lot along the gulch but I avoid it now. If we have new people who move in and actually care about the state of the parks and the neighborhood, things will get better. It is nice to see people growing gardens and being out and about.”

 

“I like less crime, new things like the library, park. Feel sad about people getting pushed out because they can’t afford rent.”

 

“I am concerned about the loss of neighborhood with high density housing. Neighbors do not know each other and interact as often. Could crime rates increase? Will we lose the multi-cultural fabric of our community? I do realize the need for multi-unit housing, so have mixed thoughts for sure. As long as affordable housing is part of the plan, I can be supportive.”

 

“I am concerned about traffic and inadequate parking allotted for the high density type housing, like the micro-apts at Vrain and Colfax (1515 Flats). Also the 12 story lakeshore building etc. I would like to see a stop now to any additional high density multi-story buildings. I am also concerned with the lack of affordable housing in the area and think that needs to be better addressed. Getting through traffic on Colfax to downtown from West Colfax (and back) is becoming a bit of a nightmare already and that is before occupancy of these high density buildings. I do like the areas where homes are being more thoughtfully updated and where old or new homeowners are taking more and more pride of ownership. On Vrain St. for example, we have developed a wonderful, true neighborhood feel where neighbors are friends with both old and new residents. We built a new home on an old lot with a private archtect. We are finding that some of our neighbors who have been in the area for 20+ years were inspired to do some updating to their landscape etc. We enjoy the diversity and hope that stays, we do not want this to become another homogenous upscale neighborhood. I also enjoy the close proximity of Tap&Burger, Alamo Drafthouse, Even Stevens and Starbucks. I hope for more dining choices, hopefully high-quality independents vs. chains. I also hope some of the auto parts, auto sales etc. move on and more of the retail in the area adds to the walkable, open shop type concept.”

 

“Denver has gone too far already rezoning Sloan's Lake for the St. Anthony redevelopment. We are already seeing parking and traffic problems soar, and Denver has done nothing to remedy these issues. I don't want more problems from a city that won't fix the ones it creates.”

 

“I'm ok with the growth but wish the developer designs would have been more in conjunction with the neighborhood.”

 

“It's exciting to see the new development in the area. there are far more options and reasons to stay in the neighborhood regarding food, activities and entertainment. it's feeling like a cleaner, safer place to live. Yes there are far more people walking, running and biking around the lake and more parked cars on the streets but I guess that's the trade off. I've enjoyed seeing all of the new developments in the neighborhood thus far.”

 

“With so much residential space being added, I would love to see more retail development. I feel like this will come naturally, but am also worried that it's not being considered enough with current developments (from what I know of them).”

 

“It's sad to see some of the older homes go to the wayside but nothing lasts forever. Most of the homes they are tearing down aren't as nice anyway. I do worry about parking. On my block there are a lot of four units going in that sell for $500,000+. They only have one parking spot. Most of the residents are going to have to have a roommate/domestic partner at that price point.”

 

“This neighborhood is 3 miles from a major US city yet currently does not have a lot of density or amenities for the people that live in it. I view an increase in density as a driver for greater commercial activity which should be good for all.”

 

“When I first moved to the neighborhood in 2012, it was a place where working-class folks could live and raise a family. They've been pushed out by high rent or taxes, or couldn't afford NOT selling to a developer. Neighborhoods like West Colfax once housed craftsman, construction workers, nurses, etc., and now I feel like all my neighbors are lawyers, white-collar, or work in tech. The neighborhood is changing from what I believe once was a socio-economic diverse community, into something more homogenous.”

 

“Change in the neighborhood has been great over the last two years, new parks new standards. There is still a ton of people just throwing their garbage wherever and the homeless situation in Paco Sanchez is ramping up again. I play the disc golf course regularly and have encountered whole encampments of over 15 people using drugs and just being blatantly aggressive.”

 

“I realize that we need to increase our density. But 'slot homes' should not be allowed. I would prefer to see more duplexes, and more two-three story apartment buildings with small yards rather than whole blocks or portions of blocks that dwarf neighboring homes and take up every inch of lot space.”

 

“Area in terms of traffic congestion cannot sustain 12-16 story type of buildings. Low lying condos are preferred. Dining and entertainment businesses are welcome but to the quality of LOHI or West High or Tennyson, which gives it a unique flavor.”

 

“Not sure the development is being done in a thoughtful manner. Congestion is a concern. Access to transportation needs to improve as more people move to the neighborhood.”

 

“Need more commercial but concerned with apartment building going up, prefer single family housing”

 

“As a newish resident. Is tough to see the change people like me exact on long time residents. But I believe the changes are positive. The respectful thing to do it the make sure it doesn’t happen too fast.”

“The quality of the mixed density buildings is low and that is concerning. Additionally, the type of commercial development for the pocket neighborhoods is poor and there is a lack of it. The overall infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, public lighting, internet service) is not improving at the same rate as the development.”

 

“I do not want to see just large complexs with micro apartments and high rents. There needs to be a good mix of price points. We need some good places to go and eat and a community center”

 

“Developers demonstrate no vested interest in community economic development when proposing a development.”

 

“I have been waiting for these changes for close to a decade. I look forward to feeling safer in the neighborhood and for West Colfax to become a mixed-use walkable neighborhood with useful and enjoyable businesses”

 

“I find these questions to be oddly worded. What I want to happen and what's going to happen are two different things. The solutions below are not based on principles. I think it'd make more sense to survey principles and the how solutions fit them.”

 

“Too much and no regard for what residents want”

 

“Neighborhood is changing for the better. Enjoying some of the developments as this area was in need of some major change and is still a dump in a lot of areas.”

 

“We are losing diversity”

 

“There are too many instances of redevelopment in the face of widespread neighborhood opposition. It is telling that the list below of WeCAN board considerations says nothing about respect for adjacent properties owners. At the last meeting CM Espinoza encouraged the board and WeCAN to pay special attention to that, since they are who will be most affected.”

 

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