City Council voted to adopt the incentive height and design overlays for the 38th and Blake Station Area and the River North Arts District at its meeting February 12. The following documents were presented for council review ahead of the vote. To see a replay of the meeting visit the Denver Channel 8 Archive.
As part of ongoing efforts to implement the 38th & Blake Station Area Plan Amendments, City Council President Albus Brooks proposed an Incentive Height Overlay for the 38th and Blake Station area and a Design Overlay for the station area and surrounding River North Arts District (RiNo).
The intention of the overlays is to help direct growth into areas of the city that are best equipped to handle change, while also ensuring that those areas become great places. The overlays promote high quality design and capture a portion of the increased property values that result from significant public investments, such as the train station, and use them to ensure that new development benefits the community. They will be implemented through Denver Zoning Code text and map amendments. The text amendment will create the overlays, a map amendment will establish where the overlays apply, and a second map amendment will rezone certain properties to achieve the appropriate base zoning for the height incentive overlay to be applied properly.
The public legislative process for the proposed text and map amendments to implement both the River North Design Overlay and 38th and Blake Incentive Overlay began with a public hearing at the Denver Planning Board on December 6. The Planning Board voted to recommend that the City Council approve the proposed text and map amendments. City Council will consider the amendments and hold a public hearing February 12.
Proposed Denver Zoning Code text and map amendments:
Proposed Denver Revised Municipal Code (DRMC) amendment:
To use the Incentive Overlay, properties must be mapped to a non-customized Denver Zoning Code zone district with a maximum height in building stories (i.e., I-MX-5 or C-MX-8). City Council President Albus Brooks has proposed a legislative map amendment to rezone some properties not currently mapped with a qualifying district to allow use of the Incentive Overlay. This map (PDF) illustrates the proposal for legislative rezoning.
Please contact Senior City Planner Andrew Webb if you have questions or concerns.
The 38th and Blake Station Area Plan Amendment process indicated a community desire for design regulations to encourage creativity and ensure the area remains a welcoming place for artists, residents, and businesses. A concurrent RiNo Art District request for a Denver Zoning Code design overlay district expressed similar desires for the wider RiNo district.
The proposed River North Design Overlay District would implement plan amendment recommendations and the RiNo Art District overlay request by establishing regulations to achieve a vibrant pedestrian realm with building and site design that emphasizes walkability and access to daylight, minimizes the impact of parking and integrates appropriately with existing buildings in RiNo and portions of the 38th and Blake Station area that are just outside the district. The Design Overlay District will include regulations for building setbacks, parking location and access, massing (the shape and form of a building as perceived by a viewer at street level), street-level active uses, pedestrian access and transparency.
The 38th and Blake Station Area Plan Amendment process indicated community support for taller building heights with development that provides community benefits. The proposed 38th and Blake Incentive Overlay would implement those recommendations by allowing a building to exceed the maximum height specified in the underlying zone district if the building provides specific benefits, such as affordable housing units in the area around the station, increased payments to the city’s Affordable Housing Fund, or community-serving uses. Specific requirements would vary depending on the uses in the building:
Affordable housing unit and fee requirements would be based on multiples of the formulas included in the Affordable Housing Fee ordinance adopted in 2016 (Chapter 27, Article 5 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code). Increased requirements would apply only to the square footage of the building above the maximum height set in the underlying zone district. This package of proposed amendments includes an amendment to the Denver Revised Municipal Code to create a new Article VI: Incentives for Affordable Housing, which would establish the affordable housing requirements for the 38th & Blake Incentive Overlay.
Planning Board Information Item
3 p.m., July 19
City Council Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Information Item
10:30 a.m., August 8
INC Zoning and Planning Committee Presentation
9:30 a.m., August 26
Feasibility Results Meeting
12:30 p.m., October 12
Feasibility study (PDF)
Proposed Legislative Base Rezoning Meeting for Property Owners
2 p.m., September 12
Drop-in Office Hours
> Tuesday, November 14
9 to 11 a.m.
Wellington Webb Building
Room 2I5 (Check-in at Records Desk, 2nd Floor)
> Thursday, November 16
9 to 11 a.m.
RiNo Art District Offices
2901 Blake Street
> Monday, November 20
2 to 4 p.m.
RiNo Art District Offices
2901 Blake Street
Planning Board Public Hearing on Text and Map Amendments
3 p.m., December 6, 2017
City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street
Parr-Widener Community Room (#389)
Staff Report (PDF)
Overlay zone districts are adopted to supplement otherwise generally applicable zone district standards with additional design standards, allowances or other special requirements.
City Council will consider and vote on this proposal at the scheduled February 12 public hearing. If approved, the proposal would be effective upon receiving the mayor's signature later in the week.
From that point forward, all projects in the affected areas in the 38th and Blake Station Area must adhere to the new regulations. A project may proceed under the previous regulations if a formal site plan is submitted by 4 p.m. February 12 AND if that plan is approved by April 2, 2018.