By Denice Reich
This article appeared in the March edition of the Cherry Creek Chronicle.
In Denver we all share a Mayor who is a land peddler for developers, from the Highlands to Parkhill, from RiNO to City Park to Hilltop and Crestmoor, in Lowry and Cory Merrill. It is obvious that the Mayor and the City Council are paid by the developers and work for the developers with the full support of the city planning department. They are rezoning every inch of vacant and open spaces as well as air space for the purpose of developing. There are huge conflicts of interest and there is no accountability of the city officials. This out of control development has turned our city into miles of wood sticks on steroids from lot line to lot line.
These monstrosities are casting shadows and creating an open door for the future law suits that will come from injuries caused by the massive amounts of ice that will be found in their shadows. Not to mention the future fires of these plywood 75 foot (4-5 story) buildings like the one on 1800 Emerson which the officials reassured was rare. However, frequency is inconsequential when one fire can affect 13 surrounding structures as the fire on March 8th did. There are currently 47,000 stick units in Denver with another 12,000 scheduled to come out. To make these stick structures possible and to allow for cheaper building, the laws were changed in 2015. Is this the city government at its best? This is a contentious disregard for the city’s most important asset, neighborhood parks and neighbors. The City Council and the Mayor continue to give neighborhoods the finger, ignoring all protests.
The latest bombshells are in Hilltop, Parkhill, Highlands and City Park.
In Hilltop, on Holly, the owner of 227 S Holly is working with a developers are proposing a three story building with 27 units and 40 parking spaces on the tiny lot (28,000 sq.ft./0.65 acres) next to Park Burger, High Point Creamery and Novo Coffee that is already a highly congested traffic area. The owner bought the condo unit at $262,000 in 2016. The property has a sewer problem and lead based paint. However, this is not unusual. The entire neighborhood has sewers that had to be replaced and lead based paint issues that had to be mitigated. This is part of living in Hilltop and Crestmoor where many of the houses were built from the 1930s-1960s. The owner of 227 S Holly bought a property she cannot afford. She is attempting to change the zoning to profit from her mistake of paying too much for her property and she will leave us to live with the three story eyesore and choking traffic. Sadly, two neighborhoods will pay for her mistake with their future quality of life. In 2014, before Park Burger opened, there were 21,000 cars that would drive through the area in a day. That number has more than doubled and will continue to increase. This fugly three story building is an absolute outrage. The current units on Holly are the only affordable housing in the neighborhood. We shouldn’t allow these to be destroyed for the profit of a few. Unfortunately, our city council woman, Mary Beth Susman is silent. Wonder why? The Neighborhood residents are weary after going to meetings until 2am in the morning and losing and losing the fight to protest the building of the 195 S Monaco four three story condos. apartments. It is important not to give up. Neighbors need to rally and express their outrage at these zoning changes.
To express your concerns, email Theresa Lucero, the Senior City Planner, at Theresa.Lucero@denvergov.org. The pillage of Denver continues to the Park Hill golf course. The golf course (located on 35th and Colorado Boulevard to I-70) faces an uncertain future as the City Council and the Clayton Trust eyes the 155 acres and uses its “visionary process” to alter the conservation easement protecting the space for the purpose of developing the land. The conservation easement was created by the city and the Clayton Trust for the price of 2 million tax payer dollars in 1997. Its purpose was to maintain in perpetuity open space for recreational use. Changing this will squander the city residents’ investment and diminish the quality of the surrounding neighborhoods.
The saga of over development continues with no end in sight. One drive through Denver causes shock and awe at the massive out-of-control development of our city. Denver has always had a boom and bust economy. A few of us still remember the Canadian developers who ripped old landmarks down to build high-rise office buildings. Four years later you could rent the republic building if you paid the heat. Perhaps another strong correction of the market will slow the Mayor and the City Council members down. However, we will be left with the giant eyesores all over our city. Enough is enough. If your city council member is contributing to this vote them and our land peddling Mayor out of office in 2019. In the meantime fight the overdevelopment of the city any way you can.