Save the Date: Tennyson Center for Children Open House

To recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, Tennyson Center is hosting an Open House. Stop by to tour the campus, view a student art show, check out the annual spring quilt sale and learn more about how you can help Colorado children. Refreshments will be provided by Applebee’s, Dudleroy’s Bagels, SloHi Coffee. All are welcome; no registration necessary.

Open House
Saturday, April 11, 2015
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Tennyson Center for Children
2950 Tennyson Street
Denver, CO 80212

Tenn Center

Posted in Uncategorized

Denver City Council District 1, a Hotbed of Development, Weighs Approaches

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Jon Murray with The Denver Post writes:

Although Kim Wood and her family landed in northwest Denver by chance, they’ve grown to love living in one of the city’s most dynamic areas.

The recent transplants from rural Pennsylvania aren’t alone. From their newly thriving and family-friendly Sunnyside neighborhood to Jefferson Park, Sloan’s Lake and the Highland neighborhoods that also make up Denver City Council District 1, the area is vibrant. It’s walkable. It has energetic corners and urban districts teeming with restaurants, coffee shops, yoga studios and breweries.

But the Woods, who have rented a friend’s investment house since August, also have adapted to paying “the highest rent we’ve ever had, in the smallest house we’ve ever had,” said Kim Wood, 36.

And buying a place of their own? Prices in the area — and in much of Denver — seem ever out of reach.

Housing costs are the common drawback in northwest Denver, although Wood, who was enjoying the patio Monday outside Huckleberry Roasters with her friend Megan Kabakjian, takes it in stride.

She and her husband, Jake, found good public schools for their four children. Their house is an easy drive to the church they started, called Storyline Church, in Five Points.

But the pace of change in northwest Denver has been unsettling to others.

The dynamic sets the stage for the most competitive challenge of an incumbent in Denver’s May 5 election. First-term Councilwoman Susan K. Shepherd, a former labor organizer who lives in the Witter-Cofield Historic District, faces passionate neighborhood activist Rafael Espinoza, a Jefferson Park architect.

Development — including the gap in affordable housing, its effect on neighborhoods’ historic character and even the aesthetics of new structures — is the resounding issue in the race.

Espinoza has seized on the unease, criticizing Shepherd’s votes and support for some projects in a development climate he calls destabilizing. Other critics have pointed to Shepherd’s acceptance of campaign contributions from developers active in the district.

But Shepherd has defended her record. She says she’s trying to focus developers’ unstoppable interest into projects that work better for neighborhoods.

Click here to go to the Denver City Council Candidate Q&A page

Community activist Nita Gonzales supports Shepherd’s re-election, calling her a conscientious affordable-housing advocate who has confronted tough issues well.

But she says the development boom has priced out many longtime residents, especially Latinos, and the problem can’t be ignored.

“We have a strong Chicano/Latino population here in northwest Denver, which has been pretty much decimated,” said Gonzales, who lives in Chaffee Park. “My concern is: What is our plan from the city? What vision do we have?”

Jane Parker-Ambrose, president of the Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood Association, argues that Shepherd has lacked the leadership needed on development issues; she supports Espinoza. She and the association last week filed a lawsuit challenging a recent council rezoning decision allowing 12-story condos near the park.

“History should be honored and respected, and people should have a sense of living within nature — not contained by a stacked, harsh, urban space,” Parker-Ambrose said, adding: “If vertical growth is necessary to accommodate the increase of population,” then the council should influence developers to make their buildings blend in better with their surroundings and to protect neighbors’ views by requiring terraced structures with set-back heights.

Other challenges cited by District 1’s community leaders and the candidates include a need for more sidewalks, programs to address pockets of poverty, creative solutions to ease traffic backups on major streets, and efforts to encourage more biking and walking.

Please click here for the original article.

Posted in Neighborhood News, Northwest Denver, Sloan's Lake Neighborhood | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

TOMORROW: SLCG Strategic Planning Meeting

Please come and help assess our progress towards achieving our 2014 Sloan’s Lake Citizens’ Group Strategic Planning Goals. Our facilitator will be Penny McDaniel with Collaborative Connections, Inc.

Questions? Email sloanslakecitizensgroup@gmail.com or call Margie Grimsley at 303.455.5928

March 21 from 1:00-4:00 pm
Merritt Memorial United Methodist Church
2246 Irving Street
Denver, CO 80211

Posted in Neighborhood News, SLCG, Sloan's Lake Citizens' Group, Sloan's Lake Neighborhood, West Colfax Neighborhood | Tagged , , ,

Susan Shepherd & City Council Sued Over St. Anthony’s 12 Story Condo Tower

Please note: This lawsuit was filed by the Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood Association which is unaffiliated with the Sloan’s Lake Citizens’ Group

St. Anthony

Jon Murray with The Denver Post writes:

Neighbors upset with the Denver City Council’s approval of a rezoning request that allows a 12-story condo development to front Sloan’s Lake park have taken their objections to court.

At issue in this week’s lawsuit, which serves as an appeal of the council’s 12-0 decision last month, is whether council members considered the case appropriately. The plaintiffs, led by the Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood Association, say the council disregarded an earlier task force recommendation for where to place the tallest buildings in the seven-block redevelopment of the former St. Anthony’s Hospital site.

Such cases face a high standard for court intervention, and Denver city officials could not recall a city rezoning decision being overturned. Courts typically defer to the judgment of a city council’s members as long as evidence supports it.

But the plaintiffs’ attorney, David R. Medina, said he had “every confidence in the legal and underlying fairness issues in our case.”

At Sloan’s Lake, NAVA Real Estate Development plans to build 12- and eight-story condos at the southeast corner of West 17th Avenue and Stuart Street. But the old zoning allowed just five stories.

A 2006 community task force report’s “guiding principles” for the hospital site included placing taller buildings near the center and Colfax Avenue.

The association and other plaintiffs, who are wary of shadows the buildings will cast on the park, say the council should have been constrained by that stipulation. That is because a subsequent neighborhood plan incorporated the guiding principles from the task force report.

Last year, though, a general development plan for the St. Anthony’s site that was approved by the Denver Planning Board — but not the council — allowed taller buildings along 17th.

The lawsuit also alleges that Councilwoman Susan Shepherd, who represents the area, acted inappropriately during the rezoning case. It says she misrepresented the earlier community plans in her public comments by failing to mention the preference for tall buildings closer to Colfax.

The suit alleges that other council members deferred to Shepherd in their votes, denying opponents a fair hearing.

Shepherd predicted the council’s decision would be upheld.

“My comments totally support how the (new) zoning reflects the West Colfax Plan,” she said Thursday.

Assistant city attorney Lori Strand declined to comment on the lawsuit, as did Tom Ragonetti, a lawyer representing site owner EnviroFinance Group.

The other plaintiffs are Jane Parker-Ambrose, Gerard V. Frank and Warwick Downing.

Click here for the original article.

Posted in Neighborhood News, Northwest Denver, Sloan's Lake Neighborhood, Sloan's Lake Park, Sloans, St. Anthony's Redevelopment, West Colfax Neighborhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pig N’ Whistle Pot Store Application Denied

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John Aguilar with The Denver Post writes:

Denver has denied a license to a company seeking to open a recreational marijuana store at the site of the old Pig N’ Whistle motel on West Colfax Avenue, ruling that the store “will adversely impact the health, welfare and public safety” of the neighborhood.

It is the eighth denial Denver has issued out of the 120 license requests that have been granted to retail pot stores in the city since 2013.

The Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, which handed down its decision Thursday, said the denial was made because the proposed pot store would be too close to facilities that provide “care, housing and instruction to children, and families and individuals in crisis.”

Those organizations include The Brandon Center for Women and Children, The Volunteers of America Family Motel and Talmud Torah Zera Abraham, a religious school.

City rules bar marijuana stores from locating within 1,000 feet of a school, child care establishment or drug treatment facility.

In denying a license to Cannabis for Health, which already had a building in place at 4801 W. Colfax Avenue, department director Stacie Loucks said while the organizations in the area may not technically meet the definition of school and drug treatment center, they are “extremely similar in nature” to those types of businesses.

“It is very probable that a retail marijuana store will have the same adverse impact on these extremely similar facilities as they would on the prohibited facilities,” Loucks said.

The department’s decision came despite a recommendation of approval in January from a city hearing officer, who determined that Cannabis for Health’s application was not legally prohibited by Denver’s recreational marijuana regulations.

That determination prompted an outcry by residents and civic and religious leaders that a pot store would be bad for the neighborhood.

Click here for the original article.

Posted in Northwest Denver, West Colfax Neighborhood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,