Friday, September 4, 2015

Controversial land swap of Hampden Heights North Park land to Denver Public Schools



The matter of what attorney John Case contends is the city's illegal taking of 11.5 acres of Hampden Heights North (Hentzell) Park is now in the hands of the Corardo Court of Appeals. Case has been fighting the legal battle pro bono for nearly three years.



Here are two reports from courtroom observers, plus the actual courtroom video. The video doesn't actually start until 24 minutes into the "broadcast." Use the slider to advance the time. A reporter for the daily publication attended the oral argument hearing Tuesday (9/1), but nothing had been printed by Thursday afternoon.
Report #1
A citizens' group on Tuesday brought a long-term solution before the Colorado Court of Appeals for a controversial land swap of Hampden Heights North Park land to Denver Public Schools. The group has argued the deal originated by the city of Denver without a vote of the people, in violation of the city charter.
"The elephant in the room is that the school district built the school with this case pending," said John Case, pro bono attorney for the nonprofit Friends of Denver Parks. "This case may set a precedent for the city to do this over and over again."
The school opened for the first time last week. Part of the group's argument is that it was being built in the Cherry Creek floodplain.
Case asked the three-judge panel to reverse the decision and remand the case to the lower court. If the court agrees, once the useful life of the school ends, in 20 or 30 years, the land would revert back to open space. Denver Public Schools would in effect lease the property until that point.
City of Denver attorney David Broadwell said the group never proved that the land was operated as a park before 1955, the year designated in a 1996 law. It was operated as a park in the 1960s and later. He made a distinction between designated parks and non designated parks.
Case said the intent to use the land as park to connect parkland in Denver to the west dated back to 1936.
The court will announce its decision later.
Following the hearing, group spokesperson Renee Lewis feared that city park land would be in jeopardy should the group lose the case. Sixty percent of the park land in the city has been considered non-designated by the city of Denver.
Report #2
John Case did a great job. He was articulate and forceful. He had the first say, and started with Section 2.4.5 of the city charter. If it was used as a park prior to 12-31-55, a park was a "common law" park even if it was never "designated" as a park. Then there's the question of the meaning of "designate", with an ordinary meaning of "denote" or "show". The word is apparently not defined in the charter. Of course, this is important because park land can't be sold without a vote of the people.
Then there's a fascinating issue of "designate" versus "dedicate". A street or alley can be "dedicated" by council resolution and doesn't require an ordinance. Hentzell Park was not dedicated by ordinance, but was included in parks maps, and an expert witness testified that it was used as a park.
David Broadwell for the city argued that it's only a park if it's so identified in the deed, in the plat, or by ordinance and that mere use as a park is not enough. Judge Rothenberg asked him about the parks commission's annual reports in which the city repeatedly listed it as a park. He responded that there was no evidence of pre-1955 use as a park.
Then Broadwell dived into the 2010 zoning ordinances, the 1983 OSA zoning for the park , the ripple effect if no OSA land could be sold, and finally his big point: THE SCHOOL HAS ALREADY BEEN BUILT AND IN FACT IS IN SESSION!
Case had the last word. He responded that in the McIntyre case, park land had been illegally sold. There, the parties worked out a settlement involving a long-term lease. Case also refuted the lack of pre-1955 park use, citing a December '55 deed connecting the "park" to a highway.
That was a lot of talking in a half hour.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

LET'S FOLLOW THIS CLOSELY - REPORT YOUR INFO IN THE COMMENTS

This message is presented for public information.  No endorsement is intended or implied.  Some may find the second attachment on noise quite informative.  Contact Denver Water directly for additional information.

VIA DAVE FELICE; From: Wittern, Matt <Matt.Wittern@denverwater.org>    
 
As part of Denver Water’s commitment to working closely with the communities we serve, I’m writing you to let you know about some work that will take place in your area in September that may impact your neighborhood.
 
We are currently conducting a study of underground aquifers to determine whether they may be suitable for use in storing water for future use. This study requires us to drill exploratory wells at several sites across the metro area. One of these sites – located at 40 th and Colorado –  is near your neighborhood (see map in attached flyer).
 
We have conducted an acoustical study and predict that when our noise mitigation strategies in place, the nighttime noise traveling off-site will be below the 50 decibel residential limit set by Denver’s Noise Ordinance. To give context, I’m also attaching a document that compares decibel levels to commonly known noise generation sources.
 
I do not think our work will cause any inconvenience to your neighborhood, but wanted to reach out and introduce myself in case you are interested in more information, would like to discuss our noise mitigation strategies in more depth, etc.
 
Sincerely,
 
     
Matt Wittern, APR | Public Affairs

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

YORK ST APARTMENT PROJECT BEGINS

The proposed construction of 180 apartment units at 17th and York has begun with the demolition of the existing buildings. This assemblage has been in the making for the last 20 years and may serve to ease the current apartment shortage

Former filling station at 17th and York
See "before" photos here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

CENTRAL DENVER RECREATION CENTER BECOMING A REALITY


First artist's rendering of new rec center that I've seen. Let's not name it after anyone. CENRAL DENVER REC CENTER SOUNDS GOOD. Go here for more info.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I WALK COLFAX


Details

  • Thu, Jul 30, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Sie FilmCenter
    Sie FilmCenter, East Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO
  • What if Denver’s premier main street, Colfax Avenue, was a pedestrian paradise?

    WalkDenver couldn’t think of a better place to launch our Fundraising Gala than Colfax Avenue. WalkDenver’s People on Colfax Initiative celebrates the “longest wickedest street in America” and its revitalization by partnering with Colfax friends and neighbors to ensure pedestrians are a top priority.

    Come join us at our “I Walk Colfax” event for an evening of food, drinks, contests and fun.

    Help us raise funds to make Colfax a premier pedestrian corridor and Denver a more walkable city by buying your tickets today at www.walkdenver.org! Your ticket includes:

    * 2 drink tickets
    * Tasty appetizers
    * I Walk Colfax video contest awards (visit www.walkdenver.org for more information)
    * Prizes
    * Opportunity to learn more about how to make Denver a more walkable city and connect with like-minded individuals
    * Raising funds for a good cause
    * And more…

    Help sponsor I Walk Colfax! Contact Frank Locantore at frank.locantore@walkdenver.org.
  • Posted by Jill Locantore

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Devil Burns, God Recycles - Dr. Connett in Denver

via email from Bridget Walsh
Please share an evening with us and Dr. Paul Connett , a scientist and an expert on incineration and ZeroWaste. We are lucky to have Dr. Connett in Denver for this night only. 
He will share information about the health and safety concerns with incineration and the virtues of the ZeroWaste philosophy. 
Dr. Connett's presentation is especially timely in view of the fact that the Denver Zoo is building and installing a waste to energy incinerator in the Denver Zoo in City Park.  If you live anywhere in Denver, you won't want to miss this talk. 
Please enjoy the video below. Space is limited so please sign up (free) on the link below or call me to reserve a place. 720.440.3562. 

https://zerowastedenver.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/paul-connett-talk-in-denver/

Ford Warren Branch, Denver Public Library
6:00 -8:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
2825 High Street, Denver CO 80205

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Denver’s Vanishing Sense of Place- From Larry Anbrose, President of INC - July 2015

By Larry AmbroseLarry Ambrose
The presentation the INC Delegation enjoyed at its monthly meeting on June 9 at the Brookdale Assisted Living Center, was edifying and gratifying. Edifying because, Architect, Jeff Sheppard, whose April 4, 2015 opinion editorial appeared in the Denver Post “Denver is a great city, so why the bad buildings?” explained his theory that Denver’s new, much touted Zoning Code, lacks “heart and soul.” Gratifying because, finally we had the 2014 Colorado Architect of the Year confirm what most of us have been feeling and thinking for the past few years: That Denver’s Zoning Code is not giving us better architecture or neighborhoods.
When then Mayor, Hickenlooper, announced that the Office of Community Planning and Development would be completely rewriting and rezoning the entire City of Denver under the leadership of his Planning Director, Peter Park, and Planning Board Chair, Brad Buchanan, we were told it was intended to streamline and simplify the existing 70 year old Zoning Code. What we got was quite a bit more complex, complicated and longer. Hundreds of meetings between the “Zoning Code Task Force” and citizens resulted in claims of unprecedented citizen involvement and inclusiveness in the planning process.
When the “New” Zoning Code was brought to City Council in 2010, the City Council en masse, gave the massive document their unequivocal, enthusiastic support and their votes. It was as if, close to being divinely inspired, this document was intended to work miracles for the next 70 years.
Fugly 3Now it is clear, that we, the citizens, not being planners or architects, were at an extreme disadvantage in understanding the what effects this new Code would have or what “products” it would produce.  We were told it was contextual and form based. For most of us contextual meant,, don’t worry, what will be built will fit in to our existing neighborhoods. Form based was not as well explained, but somehow it was supposed to provide a template that would make designing buildings much simpler.  Sounded good to us, right?
What we first began to notice in 2012 when new developments began to spring up in what used to be 1 and 2 story, single family zone districts, were homes being built by many developers to get maximum square footage with no concern for quality, design, context or character of the neighborhoods.  The effect was that new development seemed out of place when you looked down the street. In addition, some zone districts seem to be more problematic than others.  For example, in some areas, what was R-2 zoning which allowed duplexes and triplexes, has been replaced by a new zone district of G-MU-3. The replaced zoning allows up to 6 units, on a 6000 sq. foot area with a building height of up to 35 feet and an allowance of an additional 12 feet for a stairway and/or utility shed on top. Six units on what previously allowed only single family or triplexes and duplexes is leading to skinny, tall, building blocks with no redeeming features. Every day, traditional one story homes, zoned in what was previously R2 but now is G-MU-3, are scraped to make way for vertical “living units” which are proliferating and changing the entire context of what are supposed to be stable neighborhoods.Fugly 1
The new code has also promoted many thousands stick and frame construction apartments. The words design and quality never come into the equation when the multi-units are approved or being built. These “people-coops” seem to be intended to house a majority of future residents of Denver. G-d knows where these multitudes will be able to go when they go crazy and want to move out of the slightly larger-than-storage unit sized apartments.
According to Jeff Sheppard, the cheap, shoddy construction is also a result from Denver’s 2010 Zoning Code. He maintains that it does not have to be this way and that changes can be made to the Code which would promote quality design and construction replacing the build and flip, quick profit incentives which exist now. It is clear to most reasonable Denver residents who merely get out and look around at what is happening in many neighborhoods, that something is afoul in our fair City.Fugly 2
It is time to stop the denial, admit that Denver’s Zoning Code is not sacrosanct and demand that our elected and appointed City officials and professional employees stop and listen to the citizen outrage. The Zoning Code needs to be changed based on neighborhood concerns and on information and advice available to them from experts both here in Denver and around the country. Tragically, it may be too late for some neighborhoods, but doing nothing should not be an option.
Pres Sig

Saturday, May 30, 2015

National Stroke Awareness Month - Stroke prevention starts with you‎

Personal note by Gerald Trumbule

National Stroke Awareness Month - Stroke prevention starts with you‎


Last month I became acutely aware of a stroke by having one of my own. Fortunately for me, my partner Pat found me on the floor next to my desk, quickly determined that I had had a stroke, called 911 who quickly came and took me to PSL ER, where they quickly decided to fly me by helicopter to Swedish Hospital Stroke Center (one of the best in the nation). In short, I quickly received all the expert care I needed to prevent the stroke (a middle Cerebral Artery Stroke caused by atrial fibrilation (a heart condition I did not know I had) from becoming worse than it was. I suffered some effects (mild difficulty walking, got excellent rehab at Swedish Hospital and later at Rose Hospital, and am now back home recuperating, thanks to the 10-15 doctors and 30-40 nurses who took care of me. Check out your risk factors and make any lifestyle changes necessary now. Believe me, brain damage is no fun and needs to be avoided. (Click above)