The Denver City Council has approved the first overhaul of the city’s zoning laws, which govern how properties may be developed, since 1956.
“That code reflected the values at that time, which could be generalized in a few words: ‘make our city as automobile-friendly as possible’ and ‘old and small urbanism is bad, new and big urbanism is good, regardless of location,'” writes the DenverInfill Blog.
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Despite the unanimous vote by council, the 60 people who signed up to speak were split for and against the idea. But many of those opposed to the new code, which is meant to bring growth and density to areas near transit corridors and support existing development patterns, say they can live with the changes, as long as some tweaks are made, writes The Denver Post.
Councilman Michael Hancock predicts that passage of the code will amount to “the greatest economic development decision this council will make at the turn of the century.”
One of the most contentious issues is one that rescinds rules allowing multiplexes and duplexes in some parts of Denver. While some worry that the values of their lots will decline, others say the restrictions will preserve the character of the neighborhoods.
In an article published prior to yesterday’s meeting, the Denver Business Journal reported that the creators of the new code want to make it more user-friendly and hope it can stimulate economic recovery by encouraging development.