By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4)– Big changes on the east side of Colfax Avenue continue to stir up conversations within the Denver community. Tuesday night, city leaders and residents met to discuss the proposed East Area Plan.

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The three-hour meeting on Tuesday featured a Q&A session and public forum.

“We’ve heard a lot of people wanting to see Colfax as more of that community destination to provide more housing options, community serving businesses, pedestrian friendly, those types of ideas we’ve heard of over the time,” said Denver Senior City Planner Elizabeth Weigle.

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Weigle said the city has been working with residents for years on the plan.

Under the plan, a new high-frequency bus route would be added along Colfax Avenue. City leaders could also designate affordable housing in the area and change zoning to accommodate buildings up to eight stories tall.

Some neighbors have been outspoken about the proposal, telling CBS4’s Mekialaya White they were left in the dark about it all and only found out about it recently.

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“This was a surprise. Many didn’t hear about the East Area Plan,” said neighbor Blair Taylor, who attended the community meeting. She lives in the area and says she was blindsided upon hearing about it. “It affects five neighborhoods and 30,000 current residents.”

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Taylor and other single-story bungalow homeowners say they embrace the potential for growth in the area, but want it to be responsible. They’re even handing out flyers as part of a grassroots effort to prevent the plan from going forward.

“It’s zoned for three to five story buildings. Let’s do that. Let’s build what we can now. Why do we all of a sudden need to go to eight story buildings? It’s not right for this area,” said Taylor.

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City leaders say nothing is final, and the East Area Plan is a process to work with the community to create a 20-year vision for the future. They say they are listening to the concerns of residents.

“How can we address those concerns? Talking to people about what specifically they’re worried about and see if we can work that into draft recommendations,” said Weigle. “We encourage people to get involved. We’re hearing recommendations. We love to hear your ideas, and there will be additional input opportunities.”

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Weigle says they will put everything together into a summary available on the city’s website and future meeting dates. A draft plan is expected late summer or early fall.

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There will be another public steering committee meeting Aug. 22 from 6-8 p.m. at the Art Gym located at 1460 Leyden Street.

Mekialaya White