Monday night, Jan 7th, the review of the zoning waiver for the Green Flats Project was a three hour hearing with thirty-nine speakers addressing the Council. Approximately 75% of the speakers opposed the waiver. Those included board members from the Crestmoor Park Neighborhood Association RNO and they presented a poll that showed up to 85% of their residents opposed the developer’s waiver request. The idea of the additional traffic on Holly and Cedar and safety concerns were the most pressing concerns of the opposition. Secondly the opposition emphasized that the single family home character of their neighborhoods was what brought them to purchase homes in both Hilltop and Crestmoor and high density projects were simply out of character in their neighborhoods. Some of the most adamant opposition came from the homeowners on So. Hudson and the townhomes at Holly & Alameda whose property backed up to the alley that they would share with the Green Flats Project.
Theresa Lucero, the city staff member assigned to the case was in attendance to answer technical questions from the council members and to offer Community Planning & Development reasoning for its approval of the Green Flats Project. The 25% of the speakers who spoke for the zoning waiver included from the Cranmer Park/Hilltop Civic Association ( “the Association”) Interim President Wende Reoch who emphasized that the Association was not opposing the rezoning as the Board felt that with the negotiated covenants, the land title would have sufficient safe guards for any future development including the Green Flats project. Tom Hart, chair of the Association’s zoning committee, went into further detail about the agreed upon covenants including setbacks, additional parking, architectural details and enhanced landscaping. He also emphasized that part of the parcel was already zoned for apartment development which could go forward without any approval from the Council. Other speakers were individuals who supported the ideas in BluePrint Denver including Net Zero energy design, mixed housing options in appropriate “edge” neighborhood locations and the idea of more density near mass transit arterials such as Alameda Avenue.
After the thirty-nine speakers had their time to address all thirteen members of the City Council, all but two Council members took turns asking for more detail from some of the various speakers and then gave their reasons for their vote. Due to a successful effort to obtain signatures for an official protest petition which then forces Council to require a supermajority vote, the bench mark for the zoning waiver to be approved was raised to ten yes votes.
The final tally was 8 yes and 5 no, which meant that the zoning waiver request went down in defeat. Since the Covenant Agreement with the developer was dependent on the waiver being approved by the Council, the vote meant that the Covenant Agreement was now null and void.
The Association spent many hours negotiating the Covenant Agreement with the idea that in the end it would guarantee the highest quality project for the land. In the end, market forces will make the final decision on this matter.