The City and County of Denver will seek to return five city-owned, vacant residential parcels in the Villa Park neighborhood to residential zoning. The parcels were erroneously zoned “open space” in 2010.
- The vacant lots set to be returned to residential zoning are located at the north end of residential blocks on Meade Street, Newton Street, and Stuart Street, adjacent to other residential parcels that have one- or two-unit zoning.
- The Meade Street and Newton Street parcels are separated from Lakewood Gulch by 12th Avenue; the Stuart Street parcel is separated by public right-of-way.
- The parcels are not part of Lakewood Gulch open space and are not maintained by Denver Parks and Recreation.
This move to correct the zoning for these parcels is part of a proactive effort to ensure the Denver zoning map is completely accurate.
- About 80% of the City and County was assigned new zone districts in 2010 when Denver adopted the Denver Zoning Code and moved away from the “Former Chapter 59” code that had been on the books since the 1950s. Data resources have improved since 2010, enabling the city to analyze data citywide to improve accuracy. Since then, the city has approved six rezonings for properties incorrectly zoned as open space and approved one rezoning to classify a property as open space that was excluded in error.
- A recent example was 2600 S. University Boulevard, a privately-owned parking lot serving a residential property adjacent to Harvard Gulch open space. In early 2015 the city rezoned it to general-mixed-use from its erroneous open space classification.
Prior to the adoption of the Denver Zoning Code in 2010, five city-owned parcels bordering 12th Avenue and Lakewood Gulch at Meade and Newton Streets and Stuart Street were zoned residential (R-2). Because of an error in the mapping of the Denver Zoning Code in 2010, these five parcels were erroneously zoned “open space” (05-A) along with the adjacent gulch. The properties are:
- 1100 N. Meade St. (north)
- 1100 N. Meade St. (south)
- 1001 N. Meade St.
- 1000 N. Newton St.
- 1049 N. Stuart St.
The City and County of Denver acquired the Meade and Newton Street parcels from the Public Utilities Commission as part of the 1992 acquisition of areas along Lakewood Gulch. The Stuart Street parcel was acquired by the City and County of Denver in 1937 as a tax delinquent property.
LAKEWOOD GULCH DESIGNATION
Denver Parks and Recreation, as part of an effort to designate more acres of open space as parkland, designated Lakewood Gulch as parkland in the fourth quarter 2015, as part of its 6th round of designations since 2013.
- The department began the designation process in the spring of 2013 in an effort to ensure that the City’s parkland is protected from future development and real estate transactions. With these latest efforts, more than 660 acres of parks, parkways and natural areas are now designated, representing approximately 83 percent of all Denver-owned open space within the city limits.
- At the start of this process in 2013, approximately 68 percent of available open space was already designated. Land that had been added to Denver’s park system more recently (over the past 30-60 years) had not gone through the process of being officially designated as park land.
- Although the newer land had always been used as parks or other open spaces, the lack of an official designation meant that it could be used for other purposes or sold without requiring a ballot measure. The process of designating all eligible land means any future effort to change the use of that land or sell it to another party must be put to a vote for the citizens of Denver to approve.