Spring is in full swing so you know what that means, Farmers Market is up and running come May 20th, summer music festivals on Pearl Street are around the corner, your weeds are taking over your yard…so much fun! Some important stuff (and a couple not so important things) to get to in this issue to so let’s dive in.
When I was a kid growing up in Denver the population was under a million in the entire Front Range and there was no I-70 heading into the hills. Even back then there were loud cries to somehow block “outsiders” from moving here so we could keep all this wonderfulness to ourselves–that did not work out so well. Growth it would seem is pretty inevitable and unstoppable so learning how to grow as a city and adapt in positive constructive ways would be key to keeping our city…well wonderful.
In 2002 the Civic leaders of Denver created Blueprint Denver, a citywide plan to link land use and transportation. The idea of the Blueprint Denver was to promote a walk-and bike-friendly city, increase transit service, increase housing in mixed-use areas and to direct new development to areas where growth would be most appropriate all the while preserving those elements and neighborhoods that help define Denver’s character. The “teeth”, if you will, of that plan became the new zoning code and zoning map that rolled out in 2011.
For Platt Park that Blueprint Denver plan designated our neighborhood as an “Area of Stability” with various implications. One generally well-received outcome of that was it blocked further duplex and triplex construction (with a few exceptions) in our neighborhood. The areas surrounding us were mostly declared to be “Areas of Change” resulting in what you see along Broadway and Mississippi for example. Adding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to homes west of Clarkson was given the green light to potentially add housing units to the neighborhood without undermining its charm. Broadway and Pearl Street were designated as Main Street Zoning, which among various implications would require structures to front the street (like most everything along Pearl) preventing parking lots in the front of structures (like the 7-11 on Louisiana and Pearl)—just to name a few things.
It has now been over 15 years since Blueprint Denver was adopted. The city has not stopped growing and that plan, in its current form has reached the end of its shelf life. One shortfall of the original plan was the idea of designating areas of change and areas of stability didn’t go far enough to address quality of life issues. Just enabling or limiting development did not ensure the elements that make areas welcoming and pleasant to live in would be part of the package. In 2016 the City of Denver began a process towards creating a broad-encompassing update to the plan. The objective has been to create a plan that would address quality of life issues and infrastructure like safe sidewalks, bike paths, housing options, transit access, parks, open space, diversity and affordability—lofty but noble ideas indeed.
A taskforce was created, consisting of City employees and volunteers from around the City (including representatives from Platt Park) to create potential strategies to address the issues. This group met multiple times over 18 months. A series of public meetings were held throughout Denver to present the findings and receive input from the public. If interested here is a link to the materials presented at those meetings: http://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denveright/news/2018/blueprint-online-workshop-feb-2018.html
We are now at the next phase of the process. Based on the input received over the past two-years, a draft proposal of the new Blue Print is to be presented in late July. With that in hand, another round of public meetings will be available to review the draft and give feedback. One more round of refinement will take place then the plan will go before City Counsel in early 2019 for adoption. The Updated Blueprint Denver will then form the working foundation for City planners, from Parks and Recreation, Transportation, Zoning and Planning, to about every branch of our local government that will address any aspect of our future development. So to put it mildly, it’s kind of a BIG DEAL!
So not too late to get your voice heard and weigh in on all this. Stay tuned for public meetings late summer and we’ll do our best to keep you updated on what all this might mean for our little corner of Denver. Okay so if Civic issues and concerns are not your cup of tea then lets turn our attention to other, less lofty matters. Here are a few updates, rumors and answers to burning questions you’ve asked me of late.
Lets dig into the rumor basket to get a few updates. What’s going on with the location of the former Dry Cleaner, The Green Shirt at 1581 S Pearl? The space has been boarded up for a few months now. Did a little digging and the rumor is a new art gallery and wine bar may be in the works. Sounds fun, drinking wine and checking out art. I feel more sophisticated just thinking about it. How about the commercial space that fronts the new Sushi Den garage? Been a lot of activity in there and from the look of it, from the street it would appear to be some sort of Restaurant/food thing (imagine that). Well getting information out of the brothers over at the Den has historically proven to be a difficult task so once again all I have for you is unconfirmed rumor. Seems the plans are for a Japanese Bakery with the chef/baker to be someone from Japan with the required special skills (Ninja Baker?). Visa problems have delayed the plans so it has been in a holding pattern. Can’t imagine the US Government can stop Toshi and company so expect something to be happening there soon.
Have you cruised by Certified Tattoo (1559 S Broadway) and seen crowds and even lines of people and wondered what the heck is that all about? Me too. My picture of a tattoo parlor is something altogether different. Well had to run by there and check out what is going on. Seems sort of the Apple Store of tattoo parlors has quietly slipped into our neighborhood complete with famous tattoo artist and an operation that would make…well Apple feel proud. I felt like getting inked-up a little just standing there. The place was buzzing with friendly staff and lots of customers. Pretty cool place and right next to Alternations Brewery. Beer and a tattoo parlor—what could possibly go wrong?
See you around the neighborhood.
Tom and Denise Snyder