Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Platt Park residents express concern over city’s new zoning code

If Denver City Councilman Chris Nevitt had any doubts about whether Platt Park residents were in a stew over the city’s new zoning code, his uncertainty was erased April 23.

More than 100 people showed up for a community meeting Nevitt organized, a good number of them bubbling with anxiety and concerns.

“I feel really betrayed,” one woman said before launching into her reasons.

No one echoed the sentiment quite as strongly, but given other pointed expressions, it clearly fit the evening. And it revealed the community nervousness that has been building ever since city planners announced they would reveal a new zoning system in May.

Four years in the making, the code revision is aimed at repairing the city’s 52-year-old system for regulating how existing homes can be altered and new homes built. The city calls the system “unwieldy” and “outdated” and proposes a whole new process. It will unveil the first draft of the plan online at the end of May.

Prior to that will be a series of public meetings, beginning May 12, that will attempt to explain ideas underlying the revision. Public comment will be collected until the end of the year, when the issue is tentatively set to come before City Council for adoption.

“We’re making difficult choices about how to transition real property to the new code,” Nevitt told Platt Park residents April 23. “And we don’t want to screw it up.”

No one else does either, which might explain why audience members peppered city presenters with pointed questions on how the new code might affect property. Representatives from Community Planning and Development did their best to answer questions and calm emotion. But since the Zoning Code Update details are still being completed, they were in the dark about much of it.

That made Nevitt’s attempts to set the scene maddeningly short of detail to many. So he assigned homework.

What’s termed a Residential Character Exercise was distributed, asking Platt Park residents to walk their neighborhood and observe building heights, setbacks, lot sizes and types of residences. Participants can do it on their own or as a group, which will begin the inspection at 10 a.m. May 2 at the Platt Park Senior Center, 1500 S. Grant St.

Platt Park extends from Broadway east to Downing Street and from Evans Avenue north to I-25.

Findings from the exercise will be discussed at a follow-up meeting Nevitt has scheduled for 6 p.m. May 7, also at the senior center.

“I want people to participate in the exercise, walk around the neighborhood, note down what you see, and when we come back, we’ll be here to get all the input,” he said.

For a list of forthcoming community meetings, go to Nevitt’s page at For details on the new zoning code, go to

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