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Expansion and Suspension of Limitations
Zoning Administrator Has Authority During COVID and More

Once again, CPD failed to disclose during public meetings a new plan which allows the Zoning Administrator to expand the limitations of the Group Living Amendment and suspend the limitations during certain situations.

Buried on page 151 of the GL Amendment is the Emergency Expansion and Emergency Suspension provisions for residential care uses with 1-101+ persons.

The proposed residential care use category includes, but is not limited to:
  • Homeless shelters
  • Community correction facilities and halfway houses
  • Recovery residences (required supervision, treatment, or care)
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Nursing homes or hospices

Emergency Expansion
Emergency Expansion allows 125% of maximum capacity, for 10 consecutive days every 120 days, for all residential care uses during these conditions:
  • Extreme heat or cold
  • Severe weather events
  • Flooding
  • Pandemic
  • Large-scale attack
  • Hazardous materials incidents
  • Fire
  • Business closures that affect the continued provision of housing

Emergency Suspension
Emergency Suspension allows the suspension of all limitations for Homeless Shelters with 1-101+ persons, under these conditions:
  • local disaster or emergency declared by the Mayor, City Council, or public health order issued by DDPHE (ex., COVID-19)
  • shortage of capacity for guests when temperatures are projected to be below 32 degrees or exceed 90 degrees for an extended period of time
  • other situations that clearly threaten public health or life described in a written request to the Zoning Administrator made by the manager or executive director of a City department or agency, or their designee

COVID-19 Resurgence Predicted
Mayor Hancock announced new public health measures issued by DDPHE on October 16, 2020, warning of rising COVID-19 case numbers. Experts predict COVID-19 conditions into 2021.

Does experimental increased density during a pandemic and non-disclosed expansion and suspension authority make sense for Denver?
Who is the Zoning Administrator?
The Denver Zoning Administrator is an employee of the Denver Department of Community Planning and Development. This Director-level position is responsible for leadership and oversight of zoning administration through the city and supervision of commercial, residential, and project permitting teams as well as the general zoning administration staff. The Zoning Administrator is the final decision maker for all Code Interpretations (D.R.M.C

Tina Axelrad, who has a law degree from New York University School of Law, is Denver's Zoning Administrator since 2016. She was previously Assistant Zoning Administrator (2014).

Ms. Axelrad was Denver's Principal City Planner from 2006-2014. That position involved all aspects of implementing Denver's long range land use and development goals and objectives, including managing the City's Zoning Code update project and various large-scale redevelopment plans and projects throughout the city.

As Principal City Planner, she was responsible for the Denver Zoning Code Amendment in 2010. Chapter 59 areas (21% of Denver) were given an exemption from the Denver Zoning Code (DZC), but were promised to be rezoned over time.

Five years after the Denver Zoning Code passed, the Denver Auditor warned about problems with maintaining two separate zoning codes, including citizen inequity and costly inefficiencies.

The Auditor’s report in 2015 urged CPD to remedy the serious problems.  

“The existence of two zoning codes in the City and County of Denver is challenging for City administrators and external stakeholders alike. According to the Department of Community Planning and Development (CPD), these challenges include difficulties associated with the implementation of the City’s long‐term goals and staff training, as well as citizen inequity. CPD believes that converting to a single zoning code could help reach established goals and address inequity and inefficiency. However, CPD has not developed a comprehensive strategy for undertaking this conversion.”

10 years down the road and CPD has continued the pattern of negligence to rezone the Chapter 59 areas. Chapter 59 areas (21% of Denver) are exempt from the Group Living Amendment, creating even more inequity.

The same CPD leadership now proposes the Group Living Amendment -- conceived by a select group of people, exempts 21% of Denver, has numerous non-disclosed provisions, and a lack of authentic public engagement.

Group Living Advisory Committee (GLAC) meeting summaries for the past two years show Ms. Axelrad in attendance, along with current Principal City Planner Kyle Dalton.

Ms. Axelrad was a principal at Clarion Associates for 11 years and co-authored "Doubling Up and Dealing with It" with current Clarion Director Don Elliott, Denver Planning Board appointee, Group Living Advisory Committee (GLAC) member, and vocal proponent of the Amendment.

Note: Current Code allows any number of family members to reside in the same household. Unrelated Denverites can double up -- and even triple up, with a permit -- under the current Code.

CPD and City Council remain on course to pass the Group Living Amendment in December 2020 or January 2021.

Contact Your City Council Person:
Vote NO on the Group Living Zoning Code Amendment!
NO Experiments in Denver Residential Neighborhoods!

Sign the petition and share with Denver family, friends, and neighbors!

Legislative Timeline for the Group Living Amendment
10/6      LUTI Committee | Household Regulations, Alternatives + Revisions
11/3      LUTI Committee | Residential Care Introduction
11/10    LUTI Committee | Community Corrections Type 2 (11-40 person)
11/17    LUTI Committee | Former Chapter 59, Enforcement + Monitoring
12/1      LUTI Committee | Introduction into Committee + Vote | 4 votes to pass
TBD      City Council | Public Hearing + Vote | 7 votes to pass
1/2021  Implementation of Group Living Zoning Code Amendment

Land Use Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (LUTI)
Tuesdays 10 a.m.
Password: Denver
Watch via Denver Channel 8

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