DENVER (CBS4) – Despite an appeal from neighbors, construction of two “micro-apartment” buildings can move forward in Denver.
The complex will be built near 16th and Humboldt Street in the City Park West neighborhood close to several health centers. Many people living nearby say this is not a good location for the complex.
“We just don’t believe that this particular project, with the level of density and impact it is going to have particularly in that fragile population, is really a good idea,” Bill Vanderlan, President of the Humboldt Street Neighborhood Association told CBS4.
One of the biggest concerns neighbors have is that the complex – two buildings comprised of more than 100 units averaging 350 square feet in size – will not include any parking. Vanderlan explained the neighborhood already has limited street parking, but the city approved a permit for the apartments under a city zoning code that doesn’t require a builder to provide parking on lots that are smaller than 6,250 square feet.
Tuesday morning, the Humboldt Street Housing Association and others against the project filed an appeal to the city’s Board of Adjustment claiming the Zoning Administrator did not apply the code correctly to this project.
“The zoning appeal was kind of a longshot because of the technical language and because of the difficulty of interpreting the language,” Vanderlan told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
However, despite claims zoning staff found a “loophole in the code,” four of the five board members decided no error was made and denied the appeal.
“Now that said, we know that things have changed since the code was written and there are some opportunities to make changes to the code to make them more relevant to today,” Andrea Burns, Communications Director for Denver Community Planning and Development, said.
Following complaints from several people on the construction of micro-apartments in Denver, Denver City Council has put a temporary halt on issuing similar permits. Burns explained about 11 projects, including the construction on Humboldt Street, do not fall under the moratorium because they were too far along in their planning process.
“Councilman Brooks and Councilman Cashman are working on a review of the code to make some changes to it and we’re working closely with them,” Burns said.
During Tuesday’s appeal hearing, those in favor of the project said the style of apartments are the future of Denver, especially with the city’s rapid growth and high living costs, adding there is plenty of public transportation nearby. Vanderlan told CBS4 he and several of his neighbors are not necessarily against adding apartments to the area, but they are not fans of the lack of parking.
“Of course we’re disappointed in the outcome because we’d love to see this project stopped,” Vanderlan said, “but we actually prefer to see the project improved. In other words, we’d like to collaborate with the developer.”
Construction of the project could begin before the end of the year.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.